Perusing library shelves is ongoing in the 360’s section of the Fulton County Public Library. This is a broad category called Social Problems & Social Services. With a category attempting to incorporate all social problems, you can imagine the sheer size of this section! Obviously there’s no way I can cover all social problems in a few blog posts so I’ve been trying to bring attention to many that may not be as well known. In the meantime though, I’ve actually been reading about many other topics that don’t necessarily get their own posts. Lately some of those topics have been: foster parenting, adoption, home visits, children with parents in prison, and birth mothers.
With better education most of us are at least aware of the topic of abuse.
Certain types of abuse are more obvious than others. Physical scars and injuries make it easier for us to see and respond to abusive situations. However there are types of abuse in which the injuries and scars do not show and it might be easy to miss or not take as seriously.
Often the literature refers to only a woman as the abused and a man as the abuser. Statistically a woman is more likely to suffer from this type of abuse, but in some cases it’s the woman who is abusive and the man is the target. I’ve also read that verbal and emotional abuse is a huge problem among many same sex couples. No one deserves to be abused; ever.
The effects of verbal abuse are real and may manifest in physical and/or psychological symptoms.
The good news is that there are very effective ways to combat verbal/emotional abuse. Here are some highly recommended books to help:
This book is exactly what it says it is on the cover. Of all of the books of this type that I’ve read, I would say this is by far one of the most encouraging and informative ones that I’ve ever come across. Why Does He do That? by Lundy Bancroft is an easy to read book (also available in audio book format) that may be read straight through or the reader may use it as more of a reference type book by looking up a question and reading its response by the author. Even though this book is written primarily with women in mind, it is a helpful resource to anyone experiencing verbal/emotional abuse.
This book is a must read. The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans literally changed my life. I happened across this book several years ago while I was doing some research about workplace bullying. When I first read this book, I was absolutely horrified that I was reading about my own life in its pages. This may sound strange, but until I read this book I had absolutely no idea that my (then) relationship was verbally abusive. It was the same story as the proverbial frog sitting in water that is slowly being heated. The changes in my life up to that time had been so gradual that I was only just beginning to feel the boil. I don’t want to make this post about me (and I will be covering more of this in my own book as I’ve mentioned before), but I think everyone should read this book. There is invaluable information on how to respond to abuse or even recognize the abuse when it happens to your or other people.
Invisible Scars by Catherine Dowda, M.Ed., LPC is a very interesting book that gives a lot of empowering information. It differs from many other books of its subject matter in that it will help the abused person to realize if his or her situation can be changed. It is the only book of it’s kind I’ve ever seen that gives specific reasons why an abuser is or is not likely to change. This book may help someone to save a lot of heartache.
If you are experiencing emotional or verbal abuse educate yourself and then get help. Abuse of any kind is never ok. There are many ways to do this:
- Read books
- Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline -advocates are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Counselors at the hotline are fluent in over 170 languages. All calls are confidential and anonymous.
- Visit websites starting with the Domestic Violence Hotline site-http://www.thehotline.org/help/ . On this site you can read important information, chat with counselors, and learn about safety planning.
If you are not being abused but know someone who is, you can help by:
- Providing a safe place for a target to go-whether temporarily or long term
- Working out code words or signs (for example a porch light on during the day) that could signal for you to call for help.
- Respond appropriately EVERY time to verbal/emotional abuse.
Abuse thrives on silence so by all of us speaking up and speaking out any time we encounter verbal/emotional abuse it becomes harder to deny. More importantly it becomes harder for an abuser to continue . Abusers often try to silence their targets because they lose their “power over” when a target speaks out. It takes courage to speak up and speak out but it is one of the best protections. The more people who know about it, the better.
Have you ever had to deal with verbal/emotional abuse? Have you ever helped someone in this type of situation?