Depression - finsished size 16'' x 16''
The injuries from emotional/verbal abuse are invisible to the eye; they do not show up as bruises or broken bones.
The victims of abuse often develop depression. Bruce Linton, a family therapist, quoted in this article, speculates that we are inclined to underestimate the damage that verbal assaults -- harsh words, or even words spoken in a harsh manner -- can inflict. Over time, the unremitting assault on individuals' autonomy and sense of identity can erode their confidence and self-esteem.
In her book Verbal Abuse Survivors Speak Out: On Relationship and Recovery, Patricia Evans defines 15 types of verbal abuse:
- Withholding (refusing to talk to or acknowledge the victim)
- Countering (always telling the victim that he or she is wrong)
- Discounting (not taking into account the victim's perceptions)
- Verbal abuse disguised as a joke
- Blocking and diverting (thwarting the victim's attempts at communication)
- Accusing and blaming
- Judging and criticizing
- Trivializing (telling the victim his or her concerns are inconsequential)
- Undermining (eroding the victim's confidence)
- Threatening (implying physical harm through a fit of rage or though an unspoken threat, like punching the wall)
- Name calling
- Forgetting (regularly "forgetting" appointments, agreements, or incidents)
- Ordering and demanding
- Denial (denying all abusive behavior)
- Abusive anger (frightening the victim with repeated angry outbursts)
Children who have been abused have a higher risk of developing depression in later life. "The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that among adults ages 18 and older, approximately 15 million have major depression and 3 million have chronic mild depression. The onset for depression for most people begins after age 30, and it affects a higher percentage of women than men. People with a history of emotional and physical abuse have an earlier age at onset of depression and a longer duration of illness, according to a study published in the "Journal of Psychiatric Research" in 2010."
If you have a friend or family member who is experiencing abuse here are some things you can do to help. The most important thing to remember is that the choice to leave or not is theirs. You can't make them leave a bad situation but you can be supportive and helpful in their choice. They will need someone they can count on when/if they do decide to end or leave the abusive relationship.