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Verbal Abuse: Hard To Define Objectively

One of the challenges in communication is to define in some objective way, what constitutes verbal abuse.

When you are exposed to what YOU think is verbal abuse, it FEELS like you can define it, because there's a tendency for the recipient to believe that his or her feelings and reactions to a particular verbal interactions are universal.

This, in itself, creates conflict in relationships, both at home and at work, because the recipient and the sender often use completely different definitions.

To help you out of this dilemma consider the following:

  • Verbal behavior is culturally defined. So is verbal abuse. Not only does this apply to countries, but it also applies to regions, large cities Vs. small towns in the same country, and even for sub-cultures in the same location. For example, inner city slang is often felt as abuse by those unfamiliar with it, while certain behaviors out in the suburbs may be perceived as disrespectful in the "hood".
  • Verbal abuse is contextual. There is no absolute way to define abuse without considering the overall conversation, tone, culture, and issue. What could be abusive in one conversation between two people, may not be abusive, even if it is exactly the same words and one, in another conversation between the same people.
  • Most of us know when we are on the receiving end of verbal abuse, even if we can't define it, but always remember that the other person may not be intending harm at all. That's why conversation is so important, to better understand the intent, cause, and emotions involved.



More On Understanding Verbal Abuse

  • The Ethical Vacuum and Workplace Abuse

    By Cedric Johnson - Workplace abuse does not occur in a vacuum. Nor does it develop suddenly. There is a slow erosion of life-affirming values to the point where abuse in the workplace is viewed as normal. (Added: 4-Sep-2003 Hits: 1296 )

    By Judith Wyatt - Work abuse" is the brutalizing and dehumanizing of a person through patterned ways of interacting at work. This includes systematic denial that emotional abuse is happening. The interactions are determined by a "work culture"--a set of unconscious rules, or "norms," about how things are done, what is allowed or not allowed, and what is, or is not, faced openly and talked about. (Added: 6-May-2003 Hits: 1441 )
  • Identifying Subtle Verbal Abuse Helpcard - Preview

    By Robert Bacal - The first step in dealing with verbal abuse is recognizing it is occurring, so you can surface the problem, and take action with the other person. That's that this card is about. It lists about 15 verbal abuse tactics that are often used in relationships of all kinds that contribute to you dissatisfaction with the interactions. Now you can identify more clearly why you feel attacked in situations where the attacks are below the surface. (Added: 6-May-2003 Hits: 1175 )
  • Trump Cards: The Abuser's Game-Changer

    By Cindy Burrell - Trump cards are often used by verbal abusers to end a conversation. Learn more about what they are so you can recognize them if you use them, or if somehone uses trump cards on you. (Added: 9-Mar-2016 Hits: 663 )
  • 123 Verbal Aikido

    By Thomas F. Fischer - Learn how to apply the principles of Aidido to defusing and dealing with verbal abuse and other hostile behavior. (Added: 13-Jul-2004 Hits: 1815 )
  • Culture-by-culture clues to family violence and abuse

    By Medical News Today - According to the vast body of research presented in the new book, International Perspectives on Family Violence and Abuse (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004), the term conjures quite different descriptions from individuals throughout the world. Edited by Kathleen Malley-Morrison, a professor of psychology at Boston University, the compendium presents evidence that, among participants in the two dozen countries included in the study, a country's history and culture strongly influence what its residents consider to be unacceptable -- and acceptable -- examples of domestic violence and abuse. (Added: 26-Nov-2004 Hits: 1402 )
  • What Is SUBTLE Verbal Abuse?

    By Robert Bacal - Verbal abuse is often NOT the in your face kinds of things like yelling and insults, but can be much more subtle. Find out about the many forms of subtle abusive language. (Added: 17-Aug-2012 Hits: 642 )

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