"Preaching Face" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
I've been verbally abusive in the past. I'm not now. So say those who speak into my life.
But I've also been verbally abused. In fact, I get verbally abused nearly every day. So I've learned from my own personal experiences and observations how to recognize when I'm being verbally abused and when someone is being verbally abusive.
Here are 10 easy indicators. You are being verbally abused when...
- you can say "I don't think I deserve this!"
- they are shouting, pointing fingers, turning red, and using all caps.
- you can say, "I would NEVER speak to anyone like this!"
- you're thinking, "What they're saying isn't true!" but there's nothing you can do
- you doubt yourself while they're talking
- you don't feel free to respond and they won't hear you anyway
- when you express your hurt, you're blamed for being too sensitive
- they say horrible things to you but add "I love you" or a smiley emoticon
- they use words like always and never
- you actually fear that this could escalate into something worse
I'm sure you could add to this. The list is by no means comprehensive.
And you and I both know this can happen a lot during sermon time.
One of the most important books in my life that helped me recognize when I'm being abused (because sometimes we are so entangled and enmeshed in a toxic relationship, or codependent in a relationship, that we can't recognize it), is Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
. Wow. It really opened my eyes. If you haven't read it, you must!
So when you're being verbally abused, what can you do? Sometimes it's not easy. Sometimes it feels impossible. But here's what you can do:
Walk away! Block them!
You could also join The Lasting Supper
. We are learning together to become independent and whole. Please join us. I'll personally welcome you to the table and do everything I can to make you feel comfortable.