It did not take long for you to recognize that your spouse had an anger problem and was a bully. You tolerated the verbal abuse for the first few years of your marriage. But looking back, you realize that was far too long.
The constant criticism, name-calling, threats and other wounding remarks took a toll. They changed you, and not for the better. You have decided that the best thing you can do is leave this marriage. That is the first step. Then expect years of recovery because verbal abuse likely has more lasting consequences than other forms of abuse.
Depression, fear and helplessness
Contrary to what some people think, words do hurt and can lead to long-lasting damage. Verbal abuse and threats will remain in your memory for a long, long time because they affect parts of the brain. It leaves a legacy of self-doubt, anger, a lack of self-confidence and mistrust of others.
Here are some of the ways that verbal abuse may affect a person.
- Becoming overly critical of yourself in tearing down your self-esteem often thinking you did something wrong and second-guessing your decisions.
- Questioning and overanalyzing the intentions of others, waiting for rejection at any time. You just do not trust people.
- Succumbing to depression and anxiety.
- Becoming fearful and timid. You think that emotional pain is just around the corner.
- Feelings of helplessness. You have been conditioned to accept this abuse and wonder who to turn to because you think no one will believe you.
We can only hope for a world without any type of abuse. However, that likely will not happen. It is time to get out of this bad marriage and back on the road to living a fulfilling life.
Recognize that abuse occurred
Constant criticism can make anyone feel terrible about themselves, and verbal abuse also affects us in other personal relationships. The first step toward recovery is recognizing that abuse took place. Leaving your marriage will help you, and so can therapy and discussions with mental health professional.