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To ask if being verbally abused has had a long term impact on you?

(39 Posts)
Shagmundfreud Wed 17-Apr-13 11:26:42

.... have been mulling on this issue.

Posted another thread about in relation to this issue. DD1 (13) is adamant that the abuse that is dished out on sites like this is common and that teens are used to be called whores and ugly bitches - she says she's not bothered by it.

I don't agree - I think verbal abuse can be incredibly harmful, particularly for young people, and can leave emotional scarring. I think dd is being damaged by it, however much she denies it. I consider myself a strong adult, with good self-esteem, but I can still remember and feel saddened by cruel things that were said to me years ago. I would NEVER put myself in a situation where I was practically inviting people to comment on my looks and personality - which is what you're doing when you join a site like It's all about attention seeking and being desperate to be validated, which is why teens like it.

So, am I being a bit over-sensitive and a wimp? Or is it fair to believe that we're not entirely in control of your feelings and responses when it comes to verbal abuse. Especially when that verbal abuse is strongly sexualised.

aldiwhore Wed 17-Apr-13 11:38:41

The verbal abuse that has stuck with me has been the abuse that hurt me initially.

My ex was a name-caller (amongst other things) and mostly they didn't sting, but a couple of names he called me hurt because they hit right at the heart of my own insecurities (as he intended them to).

He was years ago in my past, and mostly I can hear certain 'names' been spouted and am not bothered by it, quite often those names are the strong sweary ones (bitch, cunt, whore, slag) but the ones that really stick are the otherwise rather lame ones for some reason.

DH and I were joking around, I think I called him a knobber (after he did something sweet but silly) and he retorted with something that was really neither here nor there in the offensive stakes, but it was the same word as my ex had used all those years before.... it was then I really understood the damage he'd caused.

After many tears, and a bit of an argument, and apologies from DH (who was rather confused by my reaction) we've agreed on certain 'buzz words' that we won't use under any circumstance.

YANBU. But 'damage' is relative to both the person giving and receiving the put down. Hope that makes sense.

SirBoobAlot Wed 17-Apr-13 11:42:20

I think she's right in that it's unfortunately common. Think she's wrong in that it does damage self esteem.

Sparklyboots Wed 17-Apr-13 11:48:47

I think if she says she is not bothered by it, then that's your evidence there that it's damaging; any woman unconcerned about sexualised and gendered abuse has to some extent internalised the double standard and accepted the basic premise that women have particular qualities of behaviour and being that mean that particular kinds of abuse are exclusively appropriate to them. IMO.

LangenFlugelHappleHoff Wed 17-Apr-13 11:57:51

As a child to early adulthood I suffered from very obvious skin conditions. Growing up I was always called "scabby skin" which hurt but after a while it bec Fast forward to last year I had a flare up of bad skin, as I walked into the bar to meet friends one of them piped up "here comes scabby skin". Instant reaction was to thwack him across the face then run away and cry...verbal abuse stays with you...

LaMaga Wed 17-Apr-13 11:59:19

I was about to write a reply, but Sparkly said it better.

LangenFlugelHappleHoff Wed 17-Apr-13 11:59:23

Stupid iPod

Meant to say after a while it becomes normalised

jacks365 Wed 17-Apr-13 12:05:51

Only where i know there may be some truth behind it so call me a whore or slut and i'd just brush it off because i know its not true but hit one of my insecurities ie my weight and it stays with me. Ask yourself how casually your dd shrugs it off, if any tenseness then its affecting her.

DorisShutt Wed 17-Apr-13 12:13:33

I'd agree with jacks365 regarding the insecurities being the worst.

If you know it's not true, then you can ignore it and move on; if it might be true, then it stays with you.

I have a memory from childhood about being teased about body odour - "there's Doris, don't play with her, she's got BO and doesn't use deoderant" - which was not true; I didn't have BO and I did use deoderant.

However I am now exceptionally paranoid about how I smell; I now use two deoderants (roll & spray) and will often rewash clothes to ensure that this cannot be used against me. DH is frequently puzzled by my checking if I have BO with him.

ConferencePear Wed 17-Apr-13 12:27:46

When I was about 13 an old lady I told me that I had legs like Boston Stump. I've been self-conscious about my legs ever since even though I know that in reality they are unremarkable.
It definitely stayed with me.

skippedtheripeoldmango Wed 17-Apr-13 12:30:18

Yes. It stayed with me.

zukiecat Wed 17-Apr-13 12:32:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

confusteling Wed 17-Apr-13 12:34:48

When I was sixteen my grandmother asked if my doctor had ever told me to lose weight. I said the doctor had told me I wasnt that overweight and not to worry. My grandparents burst out laughing, my grandad so much that he was hitting the table. They then said the doctor must be blind. I have never forgotten it and never will. I would be terrified using a site like!!

MrsBucketxx Wed 17-Apr-13 12:36:36

being bullied all throughout my school life really affected me.

it took years to have any self confidence at all.

OTTMummA Wed 17-Apr-13 12:43:31

My mum was verbally and physically abusive, I can remember the violence but it lost it's impact after a while,, you become numb to being knocked about and beaten.
However I vividly remember the things I was called, the look of disgust and hate on her face and how I was spoken to, I still go over them in my head over 15yrs later.

It has affected me deeply, I have extremely low self esteem and suffer from anxiety which I have been continually treated for over the last 10yrs.

When you are a child, your parent(s) are like gods to you, you learn your worth from them,, if you get called stupid and dirty often enough then why wouldn't you believe that?

Sunnywithshowers Wed 17-Apr-13 13:05:17


Among other things, I found out once that my DF had said I would 'never amount to anything'.

That was over 25 years ago and it still affects me.

cherrycarpet Wed 17-Apr-13 13:20:38

YANBU. It's sad that we can live in a society where your DD thinks those words are acceptable... Why?

I was called 'Four Eyes' when I started wearing glasses. I was 8 and to this day (I'm 44) I still hate wearing glasses and will only go out in public wearing my contact lenses!

The other word which really hurt was being called a 'slut' by my Dad when I had one of my first boyfriends. I'm still not sure what invoked his wrath. I was about 17 and that definitely affected my self esteem...

marjproops Wed 17-Apr-13 13:22:48

yes. it never goes away. permanently scarred for life.

wonderingagain Wed 17-Apr-13 13:36:36

What a sad thread.

But there is a huge difference when it's done by someone you know and obviously far worse if it's someone you love.

I think when it comes from a nobody unknown on the internet there is a different impact. The intention I believe is to normalise it.

They see a lot of bullying at school and I think this is a way of them pre-empting it without going through the reality of being bullied (or liked). I think they witness a lot of other horrible stuff and this is their way of steeling themselves against it.

There is also a gang mentality to it too. When someone is really hurt by it they will be able to put their hands up and say 'we were all doing it, it's just what kids do'.

I think the internet has damaged our childrens psyche in ways that we have yet to comprehend.

My dd did it, it was a kind of 'dare' to herself and I made her get off immediately as it was just a bit sad. But I think I understand why they do it.

TheSeventhHorcrux Wed 17-Apr-13 13:56:23

verbal abuse can sometimes be more damaging than physical.

My step dad used to tear into me about loud chewing. Really, really nastily. It took me years to realise that this is why I have such a sensitivity to people eating noisily.

Ironically I go back home sometimes and can barely be in the room with him because he's such a loud chewer!

I think it largely depends on the person though, sometimes it just rolls straight off!

TheSeventhHorcrux Wed 17-Apr-13 14:02:47

A lighter heartened example is when my chemistry teacher was telling me off once and said "come on, horcrux, you're a reasonably intelligent girl..."

I was so affronted that I stormed about it later to my mum who found it hilarious and still occasionally uses the word "reasonably" to wind me up.

It's good though because by the time we have a school reunion I fully intend to be a consultant neurosurgeon and them we'll see who is reasonably intelligent grin

SoleSource Wed 17-Apr-13 14:04:21

My Father verbally abused me evry single day from my earliest childhood memory hiding at the back of the toy shed at the age of three cring as i did not want to go home until the last time i saw him when i was 32. I cut him and my enabling Mother and toxic Sister.

The life limiting and painful legacy they left me with has been eased by having eighteen moths of weekly one hour Psychodynamic therpay.

I still have a way to go but my self esteem is the strongets it has ever been.

I deserve even better.

SoleSource Wed 17-Apr-13 14:05:22

Please excuse my typos, my netbook is shit.

marjproops Wed 17-Apr-13 18:10:24

These posts are so sad to read, yet i can identify with all of them. it still goes on in my life and i cant get away from it.

the worse thing is being called a useless mum and my fault DCs disabled. no one loves and cares more for their child than i am with DC

why dont people evr look at their OWN faults?

SoleSource Wed 17-Apr-13 18:12:10

marj i am soooo angry at these people who are abusing you.

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