This also dovetails with the history of the relationship. It may be that there has been physical abuse in the past but the abuser was forced to stop because of a restraining order or he has just stopped because he doesn't need to use physical abuse anymore to get the results he wants. So now verbal abuse is all that is necessary to intimidate and control. This may help people understand how verbal abuse can be used for controlling an individual.
Another wonderful concept that has helped many is that when someone tells us something about ourselves, they are really giving us information about themselves. i.e. if someone says, "you are selfish" then if we think about it, we are learning how they perceive the world. So it really is only their perception they are giving us a glimpse into. It has nothing to do wit us...Easier said than done...I know.
Another interesting bit of information is that most of the time the abuser doesn't necessarily mean what they are saying nor do they really care i.e. when they criticize how you cook or how you look or how you clean or how you parent....etc. They are only saying it because they are digging deep down to think of what is the most hurtful thing they can say to you and if one reflects on this they will realize that it is something that they have prided themselves on or have previously been praised about by the abuser. You're their bowling pins...they set you up so they can knock your down. One red flag might be, if a verbal abuser is building you up about something, this may soon be the thing they are using to tear you down.
I suggested to one woman I was working with to say "Thank you for your input or contribution." When she did this there was nothing he could say and she quickly realized that they really had nothing to talk about, nothing in common anymore now that she wasn't participating in his game of trying to get a reaction out of her. She also said, "You don't see the process but you feel the blacklash.
A great deal of this technique has to do with the TONE SCALE linked below.
An additional note here: We now have a message board for people to connect with others about their abuse and realize that they indeed have experienced verbal abuse, on the link below.
Another book Patricia Evans has written is called Teen Torment. This one seemed to make things clearer to me. She talks about the imaginary world the abuser lives in and one of the kids in my kids’ group said, “And they are President of their world. That is so right. The abuser is the only one who is right, who can have an opinion, who knows everything. who can ask questions, who doesn’t have to answer questions. You get the picture. So when we find ourselves defending our actions, or decisions, we are being drawn into their world. They want us to believe that we are wrong or stupid, or irresponsible. They are redefining who we are and if we were to believe what they are saying we would believe ourselves to be someone we are not. I like how Patricia says,” someone we are not.” It gives me hope. I am not who they are defining me to be. She has also written other books of this same nature to be found on the link below..
In The Celestine Prophesy and the Celestine Prophesy: An Experiential Guide, by James Redfield and Carol Adrienne they speak of the 4 ways people steal energy or power from us. They are through intimidation, interrogation, aloofness, and “poor me”. These summarize quite well the ways the verbal abuser draws us into their imaginary world. It is wonderful to see how so many books overlap with the same information to empower people who have to deal with abusive people.
The Tone Scale
A Book Review About This Subject
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Books Related to Trauma
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Other Books by Patricia Evans
A Verbal Abuse-You're Not Crazy Site
Irene Matiatos, Ph.D. Dr. Irene's Verbal Abuse Site...informative & delightful