4 Ways Couples Verbally Abuse Each Other
by Angie Lewis 4/26/2007 / Marriage
Some of us may never learn how to communicate our thoughts and feelings properly. Instead we go on a rampage and say things we mostly don't mean to say, but say them anyway because we're angry, tired, confused, frightened, stressed, resentful, or? We are literally allowing our feelings tell us what to say.
1. Lack of Proper Communication
The power of our words can make or break a marriage. The way we treat our spouse because of our own inability to communicate properly can literally build up barriers between couples. Words hurt, even though as children we learned to say, "words may never hurt us" the simple fact is, words can be darn right abusive. Most of us when abused with words, abuse back, because we don't know how to fight back properly.
Ethel calls Tom a lazy sex addict because he won't help around the house, and when he is not working he watches TV or looks at porn. Tom calls Ethel a floozy because she dresses provocatively to work and has been known to flirt with Tom's friends.
What is the problem here? Lack of proper communication is the biggest problem I see. Instead of Ethel calling Tom a lazy sex addict she should do something about it. Probably if she stops dressing like a floozy to work, and starts appreciating her husband more, he will stop devaluing women and start valuing his wife for a change. Tom has been taught since he was little that women are sexual objects to exploit to his advantage, and Ethel reinforces that for Tom by the way she dresses and by the way she treats him.
Instead of Tom calling Ethel a floozy, he should start appreciating her more for being the "person she is" rather than what he imagines her to be. You see, both Tom and Ethel need inner healing and guidance that the world is not going to give them. Heck, neither Tom nor Ethel thinks they have a problem! The world thrives on immorality and lust in marriage. As long as Ethel has a low self-esteem she will dress like a floozy, she knows no other way to be. And as long as Tom thinks women are nothing but a sex object, he will continue devaluing his wife and other women.
Verbal abuse of any kind is disrespectful. It hurts a person emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Many couples disrespect each other and they don't even know it. The pattern of disrespect is in unproductive communication. It is not that you cannot tell your spouse your feelings, but it is in how you tell them! If it is destructive or negative towards your spouse then it is unproductive, and disrespectful.
Why do we disrespect the person we are supposed to be loving? One reason is because we don't know how to be loving people. Superficial love is what most couples live off of. Is there any wonder marriage cannot survive on superficialities. Another reason is because when one spouse verbally abuses the other it causes a chain reaction.
3. Negative Feelings
How we communicate our feelings to others shows in how well we are doing as a person. I have learned that we do not have to be aggressive with our feelings to get our point across, we can be assertive instead. In this way we do not hurt others with our awful words.
Don't say: "You can't do anything right, I'll just do it myself?" (This is invalidating and rejecting)
Do say: "Yes, that is one way of doing it, but I like doing it this way because" (This is not invalidating or rejecting)
Don't say: "You make me so angry" (This is blaming and accusing no one can make you angry, but yourself)
Do say: I feel angry when" (This is directing your anger toward yourself instead of on your spouse)
Don't say: "You made me commit adultery because" (This is making your spouse feel responsible for your weakness)
Do say: I made a mistake, I'm sorry for being unfaithful in our marriage. (This is taking responsibility)
Don't say: "All you care about is what you want, what about me?" (This is selfish)
Do say: "I feel that we do a lot of things that you want, and I would like to do something that we both like." (This is compromise)
Do you see where I am going with this? You would not believe how many times a day that we direct our negative and destructive feelings at our spouse, and accuse each other for stuff that has nothing to do with them. We have control over our feelings and how we use those feelings in interaction with those we love. Think before you speak.
4. Lack of Faith
A Good relationship with Christ means a good relationship with our spouse. I encourage couples to start applying God's wisdom filled ways into their marriage and using that as a guide toward inner healing and restoration of marriage. As long as we are devoid of the Holy Spirit within us, we will direct our emotions and feelings in negative and destructive ways towards one another.