The most common type of abuse people talk about or feel one has the right to get traumatized by is sexual abuse. However, there is more to trauma and what can cause trauma. Any bad experience or occurrence can leave a victim feeling traumatized until he begins to deal with it.
One such case is verbal abuse. Verbal abuse is not limited to just yelling, or using foul words but tone and mode of communication that may have been wrongly done, false allegations and witnesses, blackmail, and a case of lack of freedom of speech and expression. I sum them all up to verbal abuses.
People who get yelled at, often get defensive at everything. They tend to lack confidence and the fear of rejection often lurks somewhere in their head.
When one has been used to being screamed at, he may likely exhibit the same attribute. Abused people often tend to become abusers if trauma isn’t properly handled. A lot of people who grew up being screamed at often feel that the right way to get a message to sink in is by screaming.
- Bad Tags/Foul Words
People who are often used to being called ugly names or told negative things about themselves will always end up taunting other people, giving ugly names, and will just outrightly derive pleasure from these things.
People who constantly get told that they are useless, ugly, or stupid will most tomes find themselves trying to live up to the tag. Sometimes even when they don’t want to, somehow, they end up there, not being productive, feeling ugly, and feeling like they can’t be anything great.
And guess what!? They may likely do the same to another vulnerable victim.
- Tone and Mode of Communication
People raised and surrounded by people who could not communicate with them properly will oftentimes shrink or feel every communication pattern points to what they’ve experienced. For example, one who is used to the parents using criticism, sarcasm, silence, or any form of punishment as communication of displeasure will find himself resentful to any form of strict correction even when it isn’t done with spite or criticism. You have to tiptoe with words and how you use words around these ones.
- False Witness
Being in a position where anyone had to lie against you whether over a serious or unserious matter can be quite traumatizing. Victims always end up being overly defensive and uncomfortable in a situation where an occurrence requires people to be fished out. For example, if a shoe gets missing in a room, she might not be the culprit but may begin to act suspiciously because she feels all eyes and allegations will fall back on her.
- Blackmail/Limited Freedom of Expression
I hated that my mum always told me the things to say to people and the possible responses to their own replies, and would often ask me about the outcome later. “When you get to your aunt’s, tell her this, and when she says that, reply to her with this.” And when you get back she asks what they said and what you replied. Failure to do it as she said would be met with tongue lashings.
Now, that can be traumatic and would leave a child wondering what to always say, speech conscious or with the fear of saying the wrong things always.
Parents are known to always blackmail their kids; “If you dare say anything!” They’d threaten. People love to blackmail or buy people’s freedom of speech with blackmails. this can leave one with trauma and fear.
There is also the case of “why are you sounding like that? Why is your voice like that? You should not talk too fast! You talk too slowly!” These were not fun experiences.
A victim may become tongue-tied and overly timid. And in a bid to break free, a victim might become too expressive as well, not knowing where to draw the line. Because she wasn’t allowed to exercise her freedom of expression and to grow with it.
How to Cope with Trauma
You must have heard this before and I’m reiterating it; decide that the past doesn’t define you. Now, this is easier said than done. Say these words, believe them, give yourself time for the declaration and assertion to sink in, and pardon yourself for failing to remember them sometimes.
The screaming, the allegations, the foul words, bad tags, and criticisms don’t define you. They are not you anymore. You are all you are striving to be now.
Be conscious and intentional about breaking patterns. You read that right. Don’t subconsciously or consciously mete out the same damaging pattern on someone else. Be alert enough in all your dealings to make sure you don’t tow that path too.
Doing the same negative things to others will never heal your pain, it may look like it does or that it will, and might give you pleasure but it’s simply just leading you to your ruins.
Accept that those who didn’t communicate with you properly, who lied against you, who said you’re useless, lazy, stupid, yelled at you, or whatever verbal abuse or tags, are the actual fucked up people. You read that right.
Even if you didn’t do something well or failed at something severally, or you’re lazy about a particular field, you do not deserve the treatment or form of “correction” that is traumatizing.
You do not deserve shame or abuse, so yes, they are messed up. If they were not, they would do better at handling your flaws or nonexistent ones.
Embrace yourself. You are all you’ve got. You might begin to doubt yourself or develop an imposter syndrome because of criticism or feel the need for external validation always. Accepting and embracing these flaws, like the fact that you’ve sunk low to this point as a result of the experiences, is one step to doing better for yourself.
When you realize you’re in danger, you will consciously work towards your freedom. This consciousness will help you to form new habits, which will in turn build the new you.
Do not be hard on yourself for being that way, accept that things made you that way and that the things made you that way, isn’t an excuse to remain that way. So with so much love and patience with yourself, begin your journey to getting better.
Get away from places and people who trigger or keep giving you traumatic experiences. Where you can’t physically walk away, emotionally detach yourself from them and the outcome of their actions. Be more focused on the things that edify you and keep at them
And never forget that you’re not the mess, your abusers are sick and sadly may never recover because they haven’t realized they are but you’re here now, and you should move past them.
Become You! Just the way you were created to be!