Abusers who have not yet turned to physical violence could be “time bombs” with fuses of unknown length. If your abuser feels that his “normal” verbally abusive techniques are not working, he will probably move into physical abuse to maintain his control.
Abuse escalates over time. Abusive relationships make you feel beaten down and devastated – but it is never too late to get help.
Long-term Dangers of Verbal Abuse
It’s good to know the dangers you face living with verbal abuse as it applies to his behavior. But how does verbal abuse mess with you in the long haul? What will you give up in response to the constant verbal, emotional and mental battery?
An abuser’s crazy-making can change you from a vibrant, independent person into a confused, paranoid, and hopeless pawn for his use. Your life disappears. You disappear.
If you’re lucky, at this point there’s nothing “wrong” with you except in the eyes of your abuser. But the long term effects of abuse cause mental and emotional issues that increase your confusion and lessen your resolve to be your true self. Abuse is designed to imprison you.
As you read this list of long-term effects and dangers of verbal abuse, ask yourself “What will I sacrifice to tolerate abuse?!”
- Your doctor may diagnose you with Depression and/or anxiety.
- You could develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
- You may feel trapped and in a constantly “on-guard” state of mind.
- You may lose your spontaneity and/or enthusiasm.
- You could become unsure of your ability to communicate effectively.
- You may suffer the loss or shattering of dreams.
- You may wish for death.
- You could be preoccupied with hypothetical fears or “what-if” scenarios.
- You could become unsure of your ability to understand effectively.
- You may feel “crazy” or out of control.
- Others may say you have low self-esteem; or, if you realize you’re losing self-esteem, you often don’t know why.
- You could turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, or any other addicting behavior that will cause you long-term harm.
- You could feel lost or experience thought-circles resulting in increased confusion.
- You may find that you rely on another person to tell you what you should feel or do
- You could feel uneasy or even paranoid with no defined cause.
- You may over-examine yourself wondering what you could have done, should have done, or will do instead in the future.
- You may find that your internalized “critical voice” typically agrees with your abuser’s accusations.
- You might feel that you are ”missing something” or that time is passing too swiftly to accomplish your dreams or any goal.
- You could find yourself waiting for some point in the future when “everything will be better” before you do things that you want to do.
- You may want to escape or run away but often don’t know why you want to go or what/who you want to escape from.
- You may experience sleep disturbances.
- You might put yourself down in conversations with family or friends (if you’re not isolated from them).
- You may experience unexplained physical maladies or fear that you’re a hypochondriac because your medical complaints cannot be verified by tests.
So…What are you willing to sacrifice to tolerate abuse? Check out another list of symptoms resulting from abuse at Effects of Abuse.
(*Adapted from The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans, St. Jude’s website, and my personal experiences with verbal abuse.)