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A Rainbow of Spirituality

What Is Verbal Abuse?

What is verbal abuse?  It may include such acts as threats of abandonment, cursing, demeaning comments and other deprivations.  It can deeply affect the mind and spirit, destroying faith and causing confusion, doubt, mistrust, guilt and fear.

Verbal abuse is very harmful to children on the above mentioned levels.  I have had to deal with the residue of such abuse as a child.  From this abuse, though, I have learned how to help other victims as a healer now.  One needs to always remember that a child who is continually criticized can begin to believe the negative messages.  Children who suffer repeated emotional or verbal abuse may experience depression, develop feelings of low self-worth, and have difficulty in their interpersonal relationships.  All of these effects may be extend into adulthood.

Be aware of any negative, hurtful verbal responses and reactions, including negative words, tone of voice, and overall approach to communicating with others - especially children.  I have seen the below eight "rules" work when put into practice by myself and others -

Instead of Yelling:

1. Pause and reconsider what you're going to say.  Think of a better response - or no response at all for the time being.

2. Remember the last time you felt like yelling, and concentrate on what you did that helped you then.

3. When tempted to yell or use demeaning or threatening words, count to 20 or more before you yell.

4. Put your child, and even yourself, in a time-out chair.  Just sit there and cool off for a few minutes.

5. Sing or hum a favorite tune or song.

6. Call a friend to talk or even temporarily relieve you of childcare if necessary.

7. Go outside for a breath of fresh air.  Look at the sky to get the bigger picture.

8. Write a brief list of your immediate feelings of frustration.  Then write the feelings you think you may still have in 10 minutes or so.

The prescription is simple, and wonderfully effective.  It is love.  It is plain, simple, everyday love and respect that is the most effective tool in curing abuse and other family problems.  It is a tender plant that needs nurturing.  But it is worth all the effort we put into it.

My plea - and I wish I were more eloquent in voicing it - is a plea to save the children (our future).  Too many of them walk with pain and fear, in loneliness and despair.  Children need sunlight.  They need happiness.  They need love and nurture.  They need kindness and affection.  They do not need nor do they deserve the abuses they suffer at so many levels - in the family and as victims of abuse...and war. 

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