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Sunday, June 5, 2011

More Verbal on Abuse

I received the following comment on the blog “More Verbal Abuse” Friday, July 9, 2010

“It is never acceptable to take verbal abuse. Some that is gets angered on occassion is normal, those who are doing it for control ... it is not. Just like any type of harrassment you ask them to stop speaking to you or whatever is less threatening the the abuser. All that will happen by allowing this behavior is your self esteen will be destroyed. The only thing you can control is your reactions to that person.”

My response: It is true that the only thing you can control is your reaction to another person, not the other person’s behavior. So it really is not possible to “allow” or “not allow” someone else’s behavior. The only thing you can “allow” or “not allow” is your own behavior.” (Except, of course, in the case of children you are raising.)

That being said, a lot of “emotional release” goes on in a relationship that is not necessarily specifically directed at the other person. It is not helpful to think of oneself as “the target” of someone’s anger because then you get angry and upset. There is no specific “right thing” to do in the case of another person “acting out.” 

If you can keep from getting so emotionally involved yourself, you can better deal with what is happening. If you can avoid “taking it personally” or otherwise putting your own “intentions” on what the other person is doing; if you can say to yourself “what can I do to take care of myself in this adverse situation” then your behavior will be appropriate and less harm will be done to each other and the relationship. 

Just because you don’t retaliate does not mean that you are “taking verbal abuse.” You can ignore it, absent yourself from the scene gracefully and quickly, but asking the other person to stop speaking to you is trying to control their behavior. 

It is an old cliché but still a true one that the way to meet a behavior is with a behavior. A. B. Curtiss


Ginger said...

Yes, we don't have the ability to either allow or prevent others from behaving in a certain manner.

If we could "make" someone behave a certain way wouldn't our "power" really be skill at intimidating or manipulating others? Nothing authentic or satisfying can come from that!

Still, I hear empathy in Linda's comment, and I appreciate her concern and supportive tone. She also may be implying, when she says to never put up with verbal abuse, that one should never stay in a relationship with a person who indulges in using angry behavior consistently. That's one choice.

Sometimes we choose to stay, and hope to learn through such a relationship how to be more self-defined, self-possessed, and emotionally independent.

I have made that choice, and I still don't think it is always easy, but I have made great strides in my own development through hanging in.

Having said that, I still do have days that lead me to wonder, "What's the point? I'm married to a narcissist who will never be able to truly love me. I should just go."

But I do love my husband, and do want it to work out, so I tough it out. I have grown in ways that I would not have if married to an easy going person.

As for my husband, there is a lot of immaturity there, but I am convinced that he does the best he knows to do. His inner demons, impatience, disappointments, fears, etc., get in his way.

It is important to note, that I don't feel like a victim, as I used to, even on the roughest days. That to me is huge, and Arline's support, wisdom and guidance have helped enormously.

Anonymous said...

I still think the greatest achievement is not to get someone to love you, but to be able to love another. A. B. Curtiss