Monday, January 23, 2012

Verbal Abuse is not Ok

Whats happening in 2012

Picking up where 2011 left off we continue to be plagued with verbal abuse and bullying in our society. Even as I type this blog the next door neighbors are arguing so loud that you'd think the walls were paper thin. Cartoon Network has made efforts in the past months with "Stop Bullying" commercials. With the advent of  Youtube and other similar video sharing sites, more and more incidents of verbal and physical are posted for all to see. In a effort to further educate I decided to compile some info as well as do a little experiment of my own. But first lets properly define "verbal abuse." And by "properly define," I mean do a wiki search...

Verbal abuse (also known as reviling or bullying) is best described as a negative defining statement told to you or about you; or by withholding any response thus defining the target as non-existant. If the abuser doesn't immediately apologize and rarely indulge in a defining statement, the relationship may be a verbally abusive one...
...A person of any gender, race, culture, sexual orientation, age, or size may experience verbal abuse. Typically, in couple or family relationships verbal abuse increases in intensity and frequency over time...
...Despite being the most common form of abuse, verbal abuse is generally not taken as seriously as other types of abuse, because there is no visible proof and the abuser may have a perfect persona around others. In reality, however, verbal abuse can be more detrimental to a person's health than physical abuse. If a person is verbally abused from childhood on, he or she may develop psychological disorders that plague them into and even through adulthood.
People who feel they are being attacked by a verbal abuser on a regular basis should seek professional counsel and remove themselves from the negative environment whenever possible. Staying with a verbal abuser is damaging for a person's overall well-being; and all steps to change the situation should be pursued.
Ok, with the definition out of the way lets try this. Below is a detailed list of types of verbal abuse. If you have at one time or another regularly suffered from that type of abuse add the corresponding 5 points to your total score. In the end, take your remaining score and vote to your right. You can also leave a anonymous post below with your number score, or if you really wanna help inspire and let friends know they are not alone, post or even tweet this page along with your score to friends. With all the stupid number games on Facebook lets attempt something that could really educate for a change...

(BTW- My score is 50, the majority of which came from school, with absolutely none of that coming from my wife. Had to head off the rumor mill...)

Types of Verbal Abuse
Belittling - 5pts
Belittling "puts down" the victim and invalidates her opinions or feelings. Or it may be designed to tell the victim that her concerns or accomplishments are insignificant. Belittling statements may be patronizing put-downs such as, "Well, that's nice that it gives you something to do."
Some belittling statements include:
  • You can't take a joke.
  • You're too sensitive.
  • You don't know what you're talking about.
  • You're making a big deal out of nothing.
  • You always have to have something to complain about.
Countering and Correcting - 5pts
Countering shuts down the discussion and opposes denies the victim's reality. The abuser argues against her thoughts, her opinions, and her reality. By negating her views, the abuser feels he is maintaining his control and dominance over her.

Abusive "Jokes" - 5pts
Put-downs disguised as jokes often refer to woman’s gender, to her mental abilities, or to her competency. This can include statements such as:
  • You need a keeper!
  • What else can you expect from a woman?
  • You couldn't find your head if it wasn't attached.
Holding Out - 5pts
The abuser who refuses to share himself with his partner, who ignores or refuses to listen to her, or who refuses to share information is violating the premise of a relationship. Holding back emotional support erodes confidence and determination. Holding out includes refusal to communicate, and statements such as:
  • There's nothing to talk about.
  • You wouldn't be interested.
  • It's none of your business.
Side-Tracking and Shutting Down - 5pts
Forcing the discussion off track, shutting it down, or changing the subject are ways to control and frustrate the conversation. Sometimes accusing and blaming are used to hijack the discussion and throw the victim off balance. Some shutting-down statements are:
  • You're just trying to have the last word.
  • I don't want to talk about it anymore.
  • Just drop it!
Transferring Blame - 5pts
Many abusers blame their partner for their anger, irritation, or insecurity. Telling the victim that the abuse is her fault confuses her and puts her on the defensive. An abuser may accuse the victim of the very actions done by the abuser himself. (This can be very "crazy-making.") Some blaming phrases include:
  • It's all your fault.
  • You're just trying to pick a fight.
  • If you weren't so...
Faultfinding - 5pts
Most statements that begin with the word "you" or "always/never" signal abusive faultfinding and criticism. Faultfinding veiled in help or advice is abusive.
  • You’re always so….
  • Why can’t you just…?
  • You should just let me do that.
Intimidation - 5pts 
Intimidation can come through words or actions that threaten or imply harm or loss. It is designed to control and gain power through fear.

Insulting and Labeling - 5pts
Insulting names and personal "labels" are abusive, as are demeaning sexual references.
  • Dingbat, air-head
  • Slut, bitch, broad
  • Stupid, ugly, fat
Selective Memory - 5pts
Abusers may "conveniently forget" or alter the facts. This selective memory can be used to deny, twist, and rewrite reality (this is also "crazy-making"). Selective memory is signaled by statements such as:
  • I don't know what you're talking about.
  • I never said that.
  • You're making that up.
Commanding - 5pts
When someone commands or demands instead of respectfully requesting, he/she denies the worth and independence of the victim.

Lashing Out - 5pts
Lashing out at someone is never justified. Angry verbal attacks, yelling, raging, and temper tantrums can be effective ways to intimidate and control others.

So what now? Don't ask me. I'm only here to educate. I'm no doctor. But talking about it is always a start...

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