Verbal abuse

Essay by a24mUniversity, Master's April 2003

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Verbal abuse has become quite common in relationships; it is believed to be most frequently imposed on women by their boyfriends or husbands. There are many examples of women who are quite verbally abusive as well. For the sake of simplicity of pronouns in this paper, I will identify the abuser as male and the victim as female. Reading though the literature and articles it was obvious that it isn't as well known as physical abuse, but is viewed as type of emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse is as damaging as physical abuse, though it is harder to recognize, and as a result harder to recover from. It was interesting to see how emotional abuse causes long term self esteem issues and profound emotional repercussions for the partners of abusers. Self-esteem is worn down, sense of options evaporates, self-care is compromised, and the power of choice is eroded. (Engel, 1990).

Furthermore, it is amazing how emotional abuse affects an individual even if it doesn't mean leaving black eyes or visible bruises. It is more seriously damaging than one may think to ones self-image. It is cruel and scars ones soul. Over time the victim loses her equilibrium and begins to wonder if she is the one who is crazy. At this point I would like to refer to a passage I ran into by Beverly Engel (1990) in the literature, which paints a perfect picture of emotional abuse.

"Emotional abuse is any behavior that is designed to control another person through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assault. It can include verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics like intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased." It is very similar to brainwashing in that it systematically wears away at the victim's self-confidence, sense...