Verbal Abuse 101


Verbal abuse can be a difficult concept to understand. In fact, throughout the thirty plus years I was getting whipped about the head and shoulders, I argued a blue streak there was no such thing.

So here are a few verses for my old self in case I ever show up looking:

Proverbs 18:20-22 (AMP)

20A man’s [moral] self shall be filled with the fruit of his mouth; and with the consequence of his words he must be satisfied [whether good or evil].

    21Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].

    22He who finds a [true] wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.

I like this one in context. Notice how the verse before speaks of a man being satisfied with the consequences of his words, either good or bad. The verse after speaks of finding a wife. Interesting juxtaposition, no?

Psalm 57:3-4 (AMP)

3He will send from heaven and save me from the slanders and reproaches of him who would trample me down or swallow me up, and He will put him to shame. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! God will send forth His mercy and loving-kindness and His truth and faithfulness.

    4My life is among lions; I must lie among those who are aflame–the sons of men whose teeth are spears and arrows, their tongues sharp swords.

Not sure who wrote this and too tired to click a few buttons and look it up but let’s make pretend I did and say it’s David. Pretty obvious nobody was biting on his legs or stabbing his gizzard with their tongue. In today’s pop-psychology speak, this verse would go something like, “I’m stuck here with a whole pack of verbally abusive bad guys and God’s going to get them good.” (Ida’s Imaginative Translation)

Psalm 64:2-4 (AMP)

2Hide me from the secret counsel and conspiracy of the ungodly, from the scheming of evildoers,

    3Who whet their tongues like a sword, who aim venomous words like arrows,

    4Who shoot from ambush at the blameless man; suddenly do they shoot at him, without self-reproach or fear.

Venomous words? I can relate.

Psalm 140:2-4 (AMP)

2They devise mischiefs in their heart; continually they gather together and stir up wars.

    3They sharpen their tongues like a serpent’s; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!

    4Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; preserve me from the violent men who have purposed to thrust aside my steps.

Pause and think calmly? Dude—seriously. You’re triggering me over here.

Proverbs 15:3-4 Amplified Bible (AMP)

3The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good.

    4A gentle tongue [with its healing power] is a tree of life, but willful contrariness in it breaks down the spirit.

Some of the stuff flying  around my house was way worse than willful contrariness.

And of course:

The Entire Book of James

All that about the tongue being set of fire by hell and all.

No such thing as verbal abuse. Really? What was I thinking?

I’m guessing I wasn’t.


More to follow however, I received a scathing email from the anti-husband dooming me to the pits of hell and since I can’t respond the way I’d like, I plan to fuss here.

Just as soon as I stop bleeding.

4 responses »

  1. I’ve recently received one of those emails too.

    People don’t understand verbal abuse. There are some good resources on it, especially by Patricia Evans. You just have to look for those statements that define you, tell you what you are, how you think, what you will be, what you were thinking, and so on. They think they have a right to tell you who you are.

    • Aren’t they fun? Amazing how something like an unexpected verbal (or emailed) lashing can open those old wounds.

      I certainly didn’t understand verbal abuse. Maybe I was so shut down emotionally after so many years that trying to address anything seemed overwhelming. I do know I didn’t cry for almost twenty years.

      Love the way you put it, “statements that define you, tell you what you are, how you think, what you will be, what you are thinking…” Concise, easy to remember. Never thought of it that way. You should write an article 🙂

  2. Dear Friend, I just want you to know that those Scriptures you shared are incredibly powerful – a reminder not only of the power of words to destroy (no physical thrashing required), but also a reminder of the truth that our God is fully aware. Nothing escapes His notice. And He is also offended.

    And please remember that you are not alone. As you know, I have been there, and now that you are “out there,” others like you will seek you out and remind you that they have had similar experiences. (It doesn’t minimize the pain, it just helps us to know we’re not crazy!) I used to call one of my friends after getting blindsided. All I had to say was, “I just got shredded,” and they knew just what I was talking about and would be able to come alongside me and help me to regain my footing. We’re all in this together. Remember his objective: to win. And he cheats.

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