Tag Archive | verbal abuse

You Are A Door Prize, Not A Doormat

Dr. Jay Grady in his book, You Are A Door Prize, Not A Doormat: How to Break the Cycle of Verbal Abuse, speaks very candidly about the effects and damage of verbal abuse. He speaks from a place of knowing, of having been there…. and because of his experience he offers the reader encouragement and hope.

I highly recommend this very insightful and direct book in which Dr. Grady exposes the silent killer of verbal abuse. Unfortunately, this silent killer can hide in the church as well.

I applaud Dr. Grady for bringing the atrocity of verbal abuse to the foreground, for shedding light on this silent destroyer.

Having grown up in a home of verbal abuse I know why Dr. Grady refers to verbal abuse as the silent killer. Sometimes it is so subtle that we don’t refer to it as verbal abuse as in the case of intimidation- when someone punches a hole in a wall, or throws things, due to uncontrolled anger all the while blaming someone or something else for their explosion, or when someone uses threats to manipulate, or they tease in a way that is degrading and demeaning and is fun only for the “batterer”, teasing that demoralizes the person it is aimed at.

He defines verbal abuse as words that attack or injure, that cause one to believe a lie, what is false, or that speak falsely of a person. Verbal abuse constitutes physiological violence. It is damaging to the spirit.

Dr. Grady states: “ the underlying premise of  verbal abuse is that of control: a means of holding power over another. Unlike physical abuse, there are no outer signs of injury, like bruises and black eyes. Broken bones may not exist, but there will be damage.”

He also speaks very candidly about child abuse, the damages and the responsibility as parents to bring up our children in love and kindness.

In his ground-breaking book, Dr. Grady lists the different types of verbal abuse and the signs of psychological and emotional difficulties as a result of verbal abuse, and the consequences of verbal abuse.

He also explains the classic cases and profiles of abusers and batterers.

 Another issue he addresses, which I think is very insightful and important, is in regards to soul ties. He defines it as the joining or knitting together of the bonds of a relationship. He offers prayers in which all ungodly soul ties must be renounced and severed in order for the control another person has over us to be broken.

Dr. Grady offers Word therapy, a step by step program that will help you in the healing process, a restoration back to God through the word of God. He offers scriptural techniques for breaking the shackles of verbal abuse and reclaiming control over your life. He presents us with guidelines in order to end the verbal abuse and bring balance to the relationship. 

It is time, as Dr Grady suggests, that we, the church, wake up and begin to confront this destroyer of human dignity and begin to call verbal abuse what it is: SIN

 I strongly believe that through this book victims of verbal abuse, whether past or present, will find help and healing.

Check out Dr. Grady’s website: http://www.askdrjaynow.org/

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WHAT IS VERBAL ABUSE?

Dr. Jay Grady has written a book called, “Stop Verbal Abuse” and although I haven’t read it, I have read excerpts and quotes and he is endorced by an author I respect.
Millions of hurting people, especially women, need to be set free from the effects of verbal abuse.  Dr. Jay emphasizes that now is the time to spread an awareness of the seriousness of the problem.
We can define verbal abuse as words that attack or injure an individual, words that cause one to believe an untrue statement, or words that speak falsely of an individual.  Verbal abuse constitutes psychological violence.  Verbal abuse is damaging to the spirit.  It takes the joy and vitality out of life.  Although it would be impossible to estimate the number of individuals in verbally abusive relationships, we can assume that millions of people around the world are limited in their pursuits of happiness.  Why?  Because low self-esteem and lack of confidence can be a direct result of having been undermined by verbal abuse.
A verbally abusive relationship can be compared to the story of the frog placed in a pan of water and placed on a stove.  The fire under the pan is slowly increased.  At first the frog swims around happy, with no worries in the world.  As the heat increases, however, he becomes more and more uncomfortable until at last the heat is too much and he dies.  The temperature of the water increases gradually, therefore the frog did not detect the problem early enough to do anything about it.  Unless verbal abuse is dealt with early, the relationship may eventually die as well.
The underlying premise of verbal abuse is control, which is a means of holding power over another.  Unlike physical abuse, there are no outer signs of injury, like bruises, and black eyes.  Broken bones may not exist but there will be damage. 
Let’s take a moment and look at a classic example of verbal abuse and its focus on control, one of its primary characteristics.  In January 1971, a television program aired that would become an overnight success and was one of the longest running television shows of all time.  It would be one of America’s favorite TV shows for years.  The name of the show was All in the Family.  America’s families would sit in front of their TV sets and roar with laughter, as Archie, the head of the fictional Bunker family, would berate his poor wife, Edith, by steadily referring to her as “dingbat.”  He would also insult his son-in-law, Michael calling him “Meathead” and would put down his daughter, Gloria, for marrying Michael.  No one went away untouched by his vicious mouth.  We tried to label him a “bigot” and maybe he was, but a better name would have been a “Verbal Abuse Batterer.”
Even today the show is shown around the world and people continue to laugh at other’s misfortune.  The one thing that the producers of the show did bring out was that Edith was a person with low self-esteem and totally insecure.  And just think we sat there and laughed, thinking it was funny.  The next time you are sitting in front of the TV and watching your favorite show, try this, listen to see if there is any verbal abuse or control being used.  Be alert to name-calling  or put-downs.  You will be surprised by what you see.  During the years that  All in the Family aired, they only had one episode where Edith had enough courage to leave Archie, but because of her low self-esteem and insecurity, she came back.  Unfortunately, this is another characteristic of the verbally abused person.  This show was and still is a sad commentary as to how far Americans and the world have drifted from what was once a fairly decent society to the place where we laugh at others pain.  I am fully aware that this was only a TV show and the family was not real, but the theme and content of the show give one something to think about.
In her book The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Patricia Evans states “verbal abuse is a kind of battering which does not leave evidence comparable to the bruises of physical battering.  It can be just as painful, and recovery can take much longer.  The victim of verbal abuse lives in a gradually more confusing realm.”
 Dr. Jay Grady, Ph.D.

Who to Call for Help

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline:      1-800-4-A-CHILD

Call this number for help if you are  1) a victim of child abuse     2) a survivor of child abuse     3) an abuser or someone who is afraid they may abuse a child     4) a witness of child abuse or someone who suspects a child is being abused .  Your call is anonymous.

Who do you think you are?

Finally after much begging on my part I owned my very own pony. She was a beautiful jet black Welsh pony that stood about 13 hands high. She came with the name Stormy but I often called her Black Storm. She had a white blaze on her face and two white socks, and I loved her.  I spent all my free time with her, grooming her, feeding her, riding her and loving her.

Maybe she wasn’t the fastest or even the most elegant but to me she was special. I took pride in her and each day together was an adventure. Each outing an opportunity to explore and to escape. Some days we helped with the herding of the cattle, or we had to watch the cattle while they grazed along our 1/2 mile driveway making sure they didn’t venture out onto the highway, and some days were just for pleasure riding.

I rode this little mare bareback and sometimes we would go into the vegetable garden and raid the carrot patch. I would grab enough carrots for us both and then head out to our favorite spot where we would just relax in the warm sunshine. Often I would lie down on her back while she grazed and I would munch on my carrots watching the clouds float by dreaming of a different life. Storm would sometimes turn her head and that was my clue to give her a bite of my carrot. She loved carrots.

 Storm also loved running through the creek getting us both soaked.Time spent with Stormy was probably some of the happiest days of my childhood. 

Except for one day, a day I’ve tried to forget so many times but a day that haunted me for years. A day when a lie formed in my mind. A lie I believed and lived, words spoken that shaped so many of my decisions and desires in the years to come.

I had just come in from a leisurely ride and had to go through the yard and pass by the house in order to get to the barn. I did what any normal child does- I looked to the house to see if there was anyone home. I didn’t look to see if anyone was necessarily watching me, I simply looked to see who was at home.

But just as I looked at the kitchen window my uncle looked outside too. We made brief eye contact. And the next thing I knew he was outside in a rage.To this day I can’t remember all the exact details but I can recall the hurtful, wounding words spoken. In an explosive rage once again he was in my face. Shouting and cursing. And what he said would be forever imbedded in my mind.

“Who do you think you are?”

After those six words that he shouted at me, I can’t recall exactly word for word all he said but he was basically saying I was a nobody, that nobody wants to watch me or see me ride by. Why did I have to look to see who was home? On and on he went until his rage was spent. And my heart once more shattered.

I led my pony to the barn, shoulders hunched, head down and tears once again silently streaming down my face. I groomed, watered and fed Stormy and I wept into her mane. As I stood there hugging her neck, my face nestled into her mane, she seemed to understand and stood quietly while I wept. Once in awhile she would give a soft whinny and turn her head towards me nuzzling me softly.

I made an agreement that day that I was a nobody. No one wanted me, let alone to ever look at me. I wasn’t worth being noticed, being seen.

It was better to be invisible. I was too much and yet so often not enough.Who did I think I was? I would spend much of my life hiding from people, never wanting to be noticed or recognized. Compliments were scary and threatening. 

That day my uncle left me a powerful, shaming legacy- the belief that any attention to yourself is wrong or sinful.That’s why it took me so many years to risk looking back at my past….but I needed to in order to provide a context for change. We can’t be free if we don’t see it. My shame-bound self-concept affected me and my relationship with God and with others.

Years ago in counseling I asked God to give me “wisdom in the hidden parts” of my self-concept so that I could recognize the negative effects of believing that others were perfect and I wasn’t. The negative effects that had me believing I was worthless while everyone else was worthy.

I risked asking God to help me to learn to see myself as He sees me…..realizing that He does see…..that He desires to see me….that I am worth seeing…..He is different than my uncle who was a father figure to me….God longs to see me to see us.As His child He delights in me…..in who I am and what I do…..He does not shame me or tell me I am too much or not enough…..He does not question me asking me who do I think I am…..He knows who I am and loves me…..He loves me!

And He continues to teach me to live in the freedom of grace and truth…..breaking the bondage of my past, of the lies, and leads me into a future where I am increasingly released from shame.