It’s not something that most folks will admit to the public masses or shout from a street corner but the truth is there are many people out there that withstand excessive verbal abuse within their relationships. It’s an art of twisting words into bullets and firing at close range, usually straight through the heart. Victims are left broken and helpless, dizzy with emotional shrapnel lodged beneath their windpipe only to then be bandaged up by the same person who inflicted the pain. It’s a dangerous teeter-totter of balance by both parties, held up by a bomb that could explode at any moment.
I’m sure it doesn’t start like that. I’m sure it starts perfectly magical with both parties falling for each other and getting swept up in the winds of romance. It’s as if all is perfect and magical… until it’s not. I’m also sure it doesn’t start abruptly, with just a few rude comments here and another offensive comment over there until it becomes common to except an hourly tongue lashing based on nothing more than not folding a fitted sheet properly.
I’m lucky to have never experience verbal abuse in its full devilish form but I know of many people who live with it daily, who can never say anything right and are constantly being attacked for saying or doing the wrong thing, even if it’s not wrong in the least. It’s as if their abuser gets so extremely aggravated over minutiae that they are blinded by the rage of words tumbling from their red-hot mouth, demeaning the person they so often declare to love.
But that’s not love. It can’t be, can it? Can you truly treat someone that you love so much with so little respect? Can you truly care for the person you are putting on trial, demeaning with vulgarities before declaring them guilty of pushing your buttons and hanging them by a noose in your own court of the law? Is it fair to then loosen the noose with apologies once you see their face turning blue, haunting their dreams and terrifying the victim into not stepping out of line again?
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not anger and awful words, slurring together into some form of rabid arsenal of syntax built to torture and scare. If you truly care for someone, or ever did, why would it ever seem right to speak to them in a way not even fit for a prison inmate? Too many times do abusers speak dreadful things to the person they “love” and then turn around and apologize, blaming it on this, that and the other thing. It’s a vicious cycle and it often never improves. The worst part is that people in these types of relationships justify the fact that it’s not physical abuse and find excuses for their loved one’s behaviour.
Sorry, but “Oh, he’s had a few drinks” or “She’s been really stressed at work” don’t ever cut it as reasons why someone can speak to another human being in a way they wouldn’t even talk to a junkyard dog. It’s despicable and inhumane to pretend to love someone, spew vitriol, then turn around and apologize thinking that words do not leave scars.
Because words do leave scars. Deep, jagged emotional scars that may heal, rugged and invisible, but that probably never truly go away. Like a piece of glass, pressed into your heart and pulled across it until it is left open, deep and bloody. These imprints leave wounds on your soul and questions in your head, as you try to justify why they did it or what you did to deserve it. The answer is nothing and the remedy is to walk away. To heal and mend properly, sometimes removing yourself from it is the only way to do so.
The hardest part for a victim of verbal abuse is to walk away. To finally say enough is enough and to decide that they no longer need to stay with someone who so clearly does not love them. Because yes, words are stronger than love. Each time a word is slurred, meant to maim, is one more indication of a love that never was. Perhaps lust, maybe a shadow of adoration at some point, but no longer either because love is never having to say sorry… for disgusting words and raised voices. Love is not meant to hurt and while words may be stronger, they will never kill the heart of the person who knows they deserve more. Words may cut and wound but they will not destroy those who know they deserve true love, despite any words that previously might have indicated otherwise.