Ever heard the saying Sticks and stone can break my bones but words can never hurt me?
Well, it is totally wrong. Words can and do hurt. And this idea that they don’t perpetuates a lot of further harm to victims an downplaying the effects of the abuse.
Verbal abuse can cause real and lasting harm.
Types of verbal abuse that harm are name calling, blaming a victim for the abuse, sarcastic comments intended to belittle, harsh and persistent criticism with the intent to make a person feel bad, gaslighting, manipulation (“if you really loved me you wouldn’t dress like that”), making someone the butt of the joke, threats, refusing to use someone’s requested name/pronouns, and the silent treatment.
Verbal abuse can lead to anxiety, depression, chronic stress, decreased self-esteem, shame, guilt, hopelessness, PTSD, social isolation and substance use.