“Disagreement is acceptable. Disrespect is not.” Stephan Labossiere
Imagine for a moment, you’re in the next room while your daughter and her husband are having an argument. You’re listening-in because you’ve been worried that she might be in a verbally abusive relationship.
Every time your daughter tries to express what she’s feeling, she gets cut-off mid-sentence.
Her husband clearly is far more interested in yelling than talking in a reasonable tone of voice. He’s clearly more interested in talking AT her than he is in listening TO her. He is more interested in blaming her for the issue than in taking any responsibility or accountability himself for what has transpired between them.
His voice gets louder and his tone more condescending.
He’s getting in her face and poking fun at her.
Now he’s hurling insults and calling her names.
What would you do?
Would you think that was okay?
Would you think that was acceptable?
Would you think that’s just how marriage is and she should get used to it?
Would you advise her to stay even if that continued?
Then why, my darling, do you think it’s okay for you to be treated like that in your own relationship?
Why do you make excuses for bad behavior?
Why do you overlook or allow this kind of treatment from someone who is supposed to love you?
That’s not love.
That is a verbally abusive relationship.
And somewhere, you both lost your way.
If he was throwing punches as opposed to insults, you would call it abuse.
When something becomes a regular occurrence, we become de-sensitized to it.
We make excuses in order to justify it so we don’t have to face our fears and make the necessary changes to remove ourselves from a toxic environment.
And over time, that verbal abuse chips slowly away at our souls. It’s so subtle, we almost don’t even notice it until we’re so disconnected from our power and confidence that we actually begin to believe that on some level, we must deserve this…it must be our fault.
Just another argument that ended in anger and tears…
Just another few days of the silent treatment as payback…
Just another act of violence in the very place where and with whom we should feel safe.
If any of that sounds familiar to you at all, it’s time to stop and take a closer look at what is likely a verbally abusive relationship and what you’re overlooking inside that relationship.
If those were punches being thrown rather than hurtful words and insults, would you call it what it is?
I attract a lot of Type A women to my coaching practice. And because they’re so strong in so many ways, those are the women that would never think of themselves being in any kind of abusive relationship – much less a verbally abusive relationship…so they overlook it and call it something else.
We have to tell ourselves and one another the truth about that.
If we wouldn’t want it for our own daughters in their most intimate relationship, then we should not accept that for ourselves.
PS – (Because you might be wondering…) Yes, sometimes it’s the man who is in a verbally abusive relationship. Women yell too.