It has recently come to my attention that I am under no obligation to appease anyone with my words or actions. This is actually completely liberating, as I have been living under the impression that it was my duty to ensure the comfort and general contentment of others. This is a common side effect of being raised as a “PK”. You either rebel hard and far, or you end up like me: unable to be yourself for fear of letting everyone down.
For anyone who is unclear about it, verbal abuse is not less horrific than physical abuse. I tie verbal and emotional abuse together because, well, they are related to one another. I may even venture so far as to opinionate that verbal/emotional abuse is more damaging than physical abuse (though physical abuse is seldom without emotional abuse). When you are verbally a/o emotionally abused, there is no outward evidence of the abuse. You can’t go to the police and seek asylum, because while physical abuse is illegal, emotional and verbal abuse are not. I really feel that some victims of emotional and verbal abuse end up antagonizing their abuser in the hopes that they will strike them for this very reason.
In my lifetime, I have suffered verbal and emotional abuse from several individuals and groups. Rather than acknowledging that I was being abused, those who I went to for help insisted that I was just being overly sensitive. I began to believe them, because I trusted them. I wasn’t being abused, I was just being dramatic.
Why, then, do I retain emotional scars from their non-abuse? Why is it that I’m afraid to speak freely, to have an opinion, to be myself, to do the very simple tasks that normal people do without thought? I have extreme anxiety, but I wasn’t born with that anxiety. As a child, I was quite carefree and even a bit of a dare devil who once decided to jump off the second story roof of a house into a tree (I missed!).
No, years of emotional and verbal abuse have contributed strongly to my current state of anxiety and my ongoing struggle with depression. People have been cruel and then used words and my own emotions to manipulate me into believing that they were right about how worthless I am. Because I wasn’t being physically assaulted, it was widely believed that I was just being a sensitive sod.
I’m done with that. Honestly, I’m well over due for being done with that. I want to encourage those of you who are being abused, or who have suffered abuse, to understand that you are or were abused. You do not deserve to be emotionally manipulated or verbally slaughtered by anyone, and you are not overly senstive if you feel bashed by words. Words are powerful. Words are the most powerful thing in the universe, in my opinion. Words can kill you, absolutely. If you don’t believe that, then please take a moment to consider how many suicides have resulted from verbal abuse.
Everyone deserves to be happy, and to be daily reminded of their worth as a human being. If there is someone in your life who causes you to feel despair, even if it is only with words, then separate yourself from them permanently. If you are of an age or in a situation where that is not possible, please seek help. If you just need someone to talk to, I’m always available. I will always take the time to be here for you, even if you have never meet or spoken to me. Reach out, I will reach back.
We have to encourage one another in love. We have to lift one another up. Life is so short. If you aren’t actively seeking ways to be encouraging to people who seem downhearted, then I ask you… why? Think of a time when you were truly down and a stranger complimented your hair? Remember how that felt, how you might have burst into tears to be reminded that not everyone is cruel. Then endeavor to make someone else feel that way. Be a blessing. Not a curse. And be blessed for it.