The Link Between Verbal Abuse and Anxiety That No One Talks about

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verbal abuse anxiety

Anxiety can be the result of many abusive behaviors and traumatic experiences. Verbal abuse can also play a huge role in this illness.

Sticks and stones may break your bones and words….they can hurt you too. Verbal abuse is demeaning, disrespectful and just plain wrong. Have you ever had someone in your face yelling at you because they’re upset, or have you been called names before? I have, and unfortunately, I have called people names myself. We often look over this form of abuse and think it’s okay, but it’s not okay at all.

Verbal abuse – the worst kind

Whether it’s bullying, cyber bullying or domestic abuse, verbal onslaughts can be worse than any other form of abuse. The reason this is true is that it affects the connection between the right and left hemisphere of the brain. Considering our brain develops over time, for many years, the developmental process is affected by this violent verbiage.

Just as with sexual or physical abuse, we are changed dramatically as children, then as adults, we look at the world in a completely different way than those who were not abused. Many of us suffer from anxiety as a result of verbal abuse.

Observations show the truth

While observing, through a brain scan, young adults between 18-25, scientists were able to tell the difference between those who suffered from anxiety and depression as opposed to those who did not. Those who did suffer from anxiety and depression were also former victims of verbal abuse.

It turns out that these same individuals which experienced verbal abuse, went through this trauma during middle school years, a time when the brain is developing at its highest rate.

Verbal abuse/emotional abuse

Both verbal and emotional abuse are similar. In fact, when someone is verbally abused, it affects them emotionally. Particular words even used passively, can cause severe damage to the self-esteem and emotions. This can act as a domino effect, causing disruptions in the victims work, relationships and home life, even years later.

At some point, anxiety will kick in, which will then become a rather uncontrollable response to otherwise normal changes in life. You can see the connection between these things and even imagine the permanent and detrimental damage that can and will be done to the brain and its structures.

Now, let me be frank with you

There are many symptoms associated with verbal abuse. There are immediate consequences as well as long-term effects. Here are a few examples of the damage that can be done just by speaking harshly. All these things can be directed linked to anxiety disorders, by the way. This is going to make you think about what you say beforehand, trust me.

Short-term effects:

  • Trouble communicating
  • Overanalyzing situations
  • Low self-esteem and no enthusiasm for life
  • Impaired decision making

Long-term effects:

  • Migraines
  • Chronic pain
  • Digestive disorders
  • Anxiety (there it is, folks)
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicide

Now you can see what your harsh words and name calling can do to someone you love. Maybe it doesn’t cause this much damage in the first, second or third incidence, but over time, great harm can be done. Basically, people learn to frame their life around what others think and say about them, if they have yet to discover their own healthy self-esteem.

Anxiety surely can come from verbal abuse, and if you are enduring such abuse, you need to put a stop to it. Want to know how to recognize verbal abuse? Let me help you change your life, check out the list of indicators below.

Name calling

Verbal abusers use name calling as a way to shock you into doing what they think is right. It’s basically about instilling fear. Calling you names is normal to them, and damaging to you.

Behind closed doors

Most often, the verbal abuse will happen behind closed doors. This is because the abuser knows that others will recognize the abuse, while the victim, alone, will be easier to manipulate.

Surprise abuse

Many times the verbal abuse will occur when you are starting to gain a little enthusiasm. If you seem happy, notice how the abuser will swoop in and start criticizing you. I believe, personally, that the abuser is afraid of losing control when you’re happy. I will even surmise to say that if they aren’t the source of your happiness, they become petrified and use abuse to gain control again.

Attacks the victim’s interests

The abuser will attack the things that the victim loves to do. If you are able to function enough to enjoy something on your own, the abuser will degrade what you do. Notice how your abuser never likes the things that you are interested in. It’s a clue.

No apologies

Unlike most other disagreements or fights where both parties apologize, the abuser will never admit to any wrongs. When he is proved wrong and there’s really no way for him to deny that fact, he will respond with, “Just drop it” “Just forget about it” and “It’s over”. This shows that he cannot win but he will not lose control.

Isolation

The victim of a verbal abuser will always feel isolated from other people, namely family, and friends. The abuser feels that once you’re isolated, they have full control to make you into whatever they want.

Of course, a little personal input

Since I started blog work for this page, I have over turned many rocks which covered the damage done to me in the past. I have discovered so many things which have played a role in my life and that molded who I am today. Unfortunately, many of the things that I overlooked were actually abusive and destructive. These were both things that I had done and things that were imposed upon me as well.

Verbal abuse was one of those things, and I believe whole heartedly that a good portion of my anxious behaviors derived from the hateful words and manipulative actions of my abusers. I know now that it wasn’t normal to be called names, degraded and humiliated in front of other people.

I no longer have the victim mentality that I once buried myself in, and I hope my work can help you too.

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Sherrie

Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.




Copyright © 2018 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

28 Comments

  1. Stephen Perry August 10, 2017 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Being screamed at and berated from birth to move out for every single thing I ever did set me back 20 years. I’m forty and just realizing I’m a person worthy of good things and hapiness.

    • Vero Hunter August 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm - Reply

      Yes you are, don’t let aholes ruin your life, cut off all ties from toxic people!

    • Helena Romih August 10, 2017 at 8:04 pm - Reply

      You are wonderful just like we all are ☺️

      • Sherrie August 14, 2017 at 6:31 pm - Reply

        I agree!

    • Sherrie August 14, 2017 at 6:26 pm - Reply

      Yes, Stephen, you are worthy of whatever you desire.

  2. Vero Hunter August 10, 2017 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    No wonder i have stressful anxiety just thinking about my mother in law, pure f*n torture! Cutting off all ties is the best!

    • Sherrie August 14, 2017 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      Vero,

      Verbal abuse can be a monster. The best thing you can do for revenge is grow stronger.

  3. Minhthi Xuan Nguyen August 10, 2017 at 4:41 pm - Reply

    How harmful words are.

    • Sherrie August 14, 2017 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      Minthni,

      Yes, I agree. Word can create or they can destroy.

  4. jake August 10, 2017 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    very much unfortunately my abuser was my father
    i’m sure . he destroyed my bigger brother now he blames him because he can’t be independent
    i became independent and learned many stuffs he doesn’t know . now he still trying to control on me
    the only reason i’m still living with him is my dear mother. unfortunately my mother is very submissive

    • Sherrie August 14, 2017 at 6:31 pm - Reply

      Jake,

      My mother was also submissive. She would cook and if she forgot something, my father would refuse to eat at all. This would upset her so badly because she knew he would then blame her for not eating. It was a powerful manipulation. He was also verbally abusive, yelling at her, and at me. My heart goes out to your family, Jake. I hope everyone can find peace in the turmoil.

  5. Wendy Thompson August 10, 2017 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    So true.. the awareness of domestic and family violence campaigns should be focusing on Verbal Abuse of Adults and Children as much as Physical Violence.. Just because you don’t see it on the Outside does not mean it is not there. Verbal Abuse leaves lifelong scars too.

    • Sherrie August 14, 2017 at 6:33 pm - Reply

      Yes, ma’am, it does. As I have said before, I am learning all the little reasons why I react to things in my relationships. I have triggers and temper tantrums and always thought these things were normal. As I learn more and more about abuse and trauma, I understand where my less-than-savory aspects of my own personality come from. Verbal abuse from my past is probably why I yell sometimes now. It takes practice to stop that too and not let the abuse pass down to my children. Thank you for reading, Wendy.

  6. Leslie August 31, 2017 at 1:12 am - Reply

    I just left my teaching job because I’ve been verbally abused by my principal and vp for 4 years now. It happens frequently and I’m alone behind closed doors. They tell me I’m hates by all, even my family. They hate my face and everything about me . Every time I get anxious and start crying, and I can’t breathe. I’m taking disability leave because I have serious PTSD. It’s so bad I can” t even think about school without shaking and gasping for air.

    • Sherrie September 19, 2017 at 6:36 am - Reply

      Leslie,

      What you are going through is a form of bullying, and here we thought we had gotten rid of bullying. This makes me angry and I send love to you. I hope you can find support for what you are going through and are able to reveal these negative things about the ones who are persecuting you. Be strong! You know in your heart what kind of person you are.

  7. Sakib September 4, 2017 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    Sherrie I can’t believe anyone would be horrible to you when you seem like such a nice person. I wish I could give you a hug.

    • Sherrie September 5, 2017 at 12:02 am - Reply

      I am just an ordinary person, and it doesn’t matter how nice you are. There will always be someone who will want to be abusive and manipulate nice people.

      • Sakib September 5, 2017 at 12:28 am - Reply

        Well its all yin yang, the light can’t exist without the dark, unity of opposites etc. I’ve noticed that difficult people make you stronger and you have to experience unpleasant stuff that makes you grow. Just like medicine tastes awful but apparently benefits you in some way. Keep travelling and you meet so many nice people, they are out there!

    • Julian October 9, 2017 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      The nicer you are, the gentler you are, the stronger you are, the bigger the take-down and the bigger the prize.

  8. Sharren October 10, 2017 at 7:30 am - Reply

    I was abused By My Sperm donor(AKA Father) He abused Me verbally for Years. I was called a Slut at 5 years old. It got worse over the years. A friend of his also started to sexually abuse me at 5 then at 8. Then had My Sperm donor sexually abuse Me when I was 12 years old. I hate him for what He has done to Me, and I can no longer have it out with Him, because the Mongrel up and died from Lung Cancer 2 years ago. I hope He suffered So badly. Trying to get on with My Life, have an Amazing Husband of 24 years after constantly falling for Narcs. Thanks for the insight Sherrie, it is welcome Knowledge that I am not just losing My Mind, but I am suffering from Long buried trauma’s. xoxo

  9. Julie November 8, 2017 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Do you think this can create in a person the need to go to great lengths to avoid conflict or confrontation?

    • HeWhoShallNotBeNamed December 7, 2017 at 3:15 am - Reply

      I think so!

  10. Lisa February 21, 2018 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    So any articles or steps for children/teens/adults who are being verbally abused-what to do about it. How to reinforce its not about them but about the abuser’s issues of control. Steps to take to avoid these people especially if it’s your parents.

  11. LiLi March 20, 2018 at 10:36 am - Reply

    I have been dealing with verbal and emotional abuse for several years of my life. In the recent few years I just figured out that what I was enduring was abuse. It happened so frequently that I thought it was normal. I believed that I was the problem because I was blamed for everything. I thoughtI was worthless and couldn’t do anything right because I was always making mistakes, and being verbally attacked for it. I couldn’t understand how someone could be so mean. I still don’t understand. I have both a narcissistic mother and grandmother who have attacked me all my life. Dealing with them has been both mentally and physically draining.
    Imagine someone provoking you into a argument everyday over the simplest of things. Most things that people wouldn’t get upset over they become enraged over. The slightest disagreement, or different opinion and they are going off on a shouting tirade. It’s always their harsh loud tone, yelling, along with the disrespect and insults. I of course feel offended every time and because I speak back they always call me disrespectful and blame me for their heated anger. And when the episode is over and hours have passed and I’m calmed down they come into my space and bring up the situation all over again to start a brand new argument. I kid you not. I have tried everything, I tried speaking back but that only makes it worse by arguing. I’ve tried walking away out of the room but they have followed me, banged on my door, or even worse physically blocked my pathway so that I won’t get away. I’ve tried staying mute as they go off on their tantrum, but me staying quiet makes them repetitively call my name over and over again for several minutes or physically poke me in the chest with their finger just to provoke me to answer them back, I get so annoyed that I finally am provoked to speak back and no matter how calm I am a argument still erupts. I can’t escape it. I’ve tried everything. And if they aren’t yelling, cursing me out or insulting me, it’s public humiliation. I promise my mother finds comedy in embarrassing me at the most inappropriate times. Like in front of a guy I like, or friends of mine. It doesn’t matter she’ll tell a story so embarrassing to make me look dumb, or she’ll yell foul language just to scare and humiliate me in front of company. I wish I was making this stuff up but unfortunately I’m not. And it’s so bad that it’s physically making me sick, but at the same time most days I wish to be sick because when I am sick they are actually nice to me and let me rest. How crazy is that. I just want it to end. I feel everyday like I’m walking on sharp knives. I never know which one of them I’m going to get nice or mean. I feel like I am in a dark room with no windows or doors. I can’t escape. I hate to blame them but I feel like they are the root cause for my anxiety, depression, and anti social ways. I don’t like being around people because I don’t trust people. I’m scared that someone I get close to will hurt me and be mean to me and treat me like they have. I just want to feel loved but I feel so hated. And I fear that I’ll be alone for the rest of my life because I can’t open up and just be myself. We live in a time right now where people have short attention spans, people glorify sex more than they do real love. And I just am old fashioned. I have a old soul, I believe in love in a traditional sense and I just don’t know if I’ll meet a guy who will accept all my flaws and painful heavy baggage. I just want to be happy and I feel the first step is to rid myself of these hurtful people in my life, but it’s hard because I’m codependent on them, which makes my situation ten times worse. I really have no choice. I wish there was a place that helped verbal abuse codependents get their own individual apartments. Because I so need to just have my own space, away from my abusers and I don’t want to live with anyone else. I just want to have my own individual place to myself and be independent for a while. Get to really know myself and make my own decisions and fully feel like the adult I am. But I know that this idea is just wishful thinking. Most people ignore and don’t understand the pain of victims of verbal abuse, or people who suffer with anxiety, social fears, or depression. Most say I’m making excuses, get over it, and call me lazy.
    I’m not, I’m just hurting and hurting so badly it’s making me physically sick. There is so much I haven’t said but just know my life has been horrible pretty much my entire life and I have nothing to be happy about.
    It’s crazy because in the past three years all of my cousins and friends have revealed to me that they always knew I was being mistreated. They all said they disliked my mom and grandmother because they were so mean to me. Imagine that your own peers describing your own mother as mommy dearest. Such a damn shame. Anyway I’m done… I just had to vent.

    • Jessica May 3, 2018 at 6:46 pm - Reply

      Lili, where do you live?? There are safe homes for victims of abuse in most areas. As far as I know they feel that abuse is abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual, etc. The shelter in my area even has accommodations for families to bring their pets because a lot of times that’s the one thing keeping someone from getting out of an unhealthy situation. Also science proves that animals help with healing from almost everything! Search google for safe haven, battered women’s shelter, abuse victim refuge or other similar terms and don’t give up! I hope you can separate yourself from the madness you’ve described and that you can find a secure and safe support network for your journey toward healing, trust, and self reliance. Im sure it’s scary or intimidating to think about leaving and being on your own but when you realize what the ABSENCE of abuse feels like, your apprehensions will melt into relief, and with practice and support you’ll grow into a life and self that you love and OWN. Love and light to you. -Jess

  12. Joyce B. May 11, 2018 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    I believe I am a victim of verbal abuse. My first husband verbally abused me and called me names. We had seven sons together. I divorced him after 28 years because he physically beat up one of my twins. I met someone else after a while, who is younger than me. He seemed very nice, very respectful, very caring about what I had gone through with my first husband. After a couple of years of being married, he too, started to not only verbally abuse but physically abuse. He didn’t punch or slap – he pushed – pushed me into a wall and my collar bone broke – pushed me down several times – finally, I had enough and threw a cup of coffee at him and told him I was NOT going to be abused any longer and I was going to get a divorce. He stopped the physical abuse – but the emotional abuse continues. I had an automobile accident and he screamed at me when I called him – never asked if I was alright. Sometimes he doesn’t answer me when I talk to him – he shows no emotional “warmth” at all. We have very little “togetherness”. In the evening when we’re watching TV, he’ll either get up and go to the kitchen on his computer – or he’ll just go to bed. He sleeps in a recliner in a room off the living room because he had back problems and can’t lay flat. I feel as if I’m always alone, even when he’s home. (he is still working) He has his clothes all over the place – on the floor – piled on top of the washer and drier – in order to do laundry, I have to pick up his clothes and pile them on a couch in the family room where he sleeps. He uses foul language a lot, mutters and complains about everything – doesn’t do certain things around the house that need to be done which would make things a little easier for me and make me a little happier. He always complains that he’s tired and sleeps quite a bit when he’s home..He works 4 – 10 hour days. On the days he is home and we do have dinner together – he quickly eats his food, puts his dishes on the counter and either get on his computer (laptop which he uses on the kitchen table) or walks away to another room, leaving me to sit and finish eating alone. (I eat slowly). For the last couple of years, I periodically have heaviness on my chest, shortness of breath, a feeling of being “drained” and passing out. I was just in the hospital for three days – nothing wrong with my heart or lungs. Two of my sons told me it is anxiety and stress. I am a young 81 years and should not have to be living with this “negativity” and/or being ignored sometimes. There is no feeling of love for him anymore – I feel that he destroyed what love I had for him – there is no closeness and gentleness and understanding from him at all – really never was. I do what I can on my own. He’s there for me for doctors’ appointments and help in that way (I’ve had a few medical problems, including cancer), but there’s not a lot of compassion or support or love. I feel I’m to old to get a divorce and get away from him – but I need to put an end to the feeling of always being alone with no companionship. I try to ignore him sometimes – sometimes it works – sometimes it doesn’t and I have these “attacks” of not being able to breath. I have to change MY life style – but how?

  13. Raeleen Mcadam June 23, 2018 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    omg 🙁

  14. Molly July 9, 2018 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    I have recently been told to shut the f up and told I’m making him lose his friends cuz I’m antisocial and forcing me to talk the people and arguing with me in front of them. Then he says I cry a lot and to grow up. Isn’t this all signs of verbal abuse?

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