Lynn Cohen, MA, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Vacaville, California, says verbal abuse victims are often isolated and confused, and may think that they are the problem rather than the abuser. "In therapy, we would usually start with building self-esteem in the client, so they could ensure that the verbal abuse didn't continue in the relationship, or that the victim didn't continue in the relationship," Cohen says.
One of the largest hurdles verbal abuse victims need to surmount, Evans says, is to stop blaming themselves. "It often takes time for the partners of verbal abusers to realize that the abuser is the one with the problem," she writes in her latest book on the issue. "Most women who are verbally abused spend time focused inward, soul-searching, taking inventory, trying to identify their 'sins,' trying to find out what they did wrong."
Defending yourself through language judo Not surprisingly, many of the survivors portrayed in Evans book opt to end their abusive relationships. Those victims and their partners who decide to battle the demons together must work with their partners to change the abusive behavior. For people who are serious about ridding their lives once and for all of verbally abusive relationships, linguist Suzette Haden Elgin, PhD, has written a concise, easy to follow book.
You Can't Say That To Me: Stopping the Pain of Verbal Abuse -- An 8-Step Program that describes how to overturn even the most entrenched patterns of abuse, whether these same have evolved in family, work, or social settings. "If you are a verbal victim, you need to set aside the idea that you are weak," writes Elgin. "It takes a great deal of strength to endure life in an environment of verbal violence. It takes courage to get up every day and face your tormentor(s) again.