Tag Archives: verbal abuse

“I’ve Been Bullied, therefore you have to accept any behavior I choose to exhibit . . .”

25 Aug

Had a great talk with my Sunday school ladies today, so I wanted to make sure I was crystal clear in a point I was making the other day about verbal abuse.  This point applies to any verbal abuse, whether someone is doing it to me, I am doing it to someone else, or two totally different parties (or more) are involved.

Verbal abuse/bullying is never okay.  

You should always remove yourself from any situation where verbal abuse/bullying is present (well, if it is a child too young to be left alone, you are unfortunately going to have to stay and help that child make right choices.  But otherwise . . .).  

Do not let the person make an issue of whether you have done “the right thing” in the situation until now.  The other day when I was being verbally savaged, it came down to whether I could prove I had written an email response to something that was sent to me two weeks before.  I had intended to write the response.  I probably did write it.  But I could not find a copy of that email.

And that whole issue was a red herring.  You see, even if I did forget to send that email, nothing ever justifies the torrent of abuse that person was sending my way.  

Understand?  The verbal abuser will try to tell you that you “deserve it.”  That you have done something wrong and that the verbal abuse is so that you will “get yours” in the situation.  

Wrong!  Refer back to my first two paragraphs, above.

Verbal abuse is never justified in any situation.  Full stop.

The other thing that my verbal abuser tried, once she realized (after about three seconds) that I had not the slightest intention of trying to find that email to justify myself in the situation, was dusting off her history.

It went like this, “Well, I have been abused my whole life so this is the only way I know to relate to people.”  

She immediately regretted that, I think, as I told her that, while I will always be her friend and wish her well in her journey, she has more need of a counselor right now than she has need of me (or anyone) as a friend.  

See how that works?  She was pleading, in essence, that she is too pathological to have a normal friendship.  But she wanted the sympathy vote in which I would let her get away with murder verbally and still call the relationship “friendship.”  

Instead, I suggested that, if she is that broken, she needs to work on the brokenness before she can even hold out hope of having an even relationship with another person that would be labeled “friendship.”  

That is sad.  But that is true.  

And isn’t it kindness to tell someone that, instead of letting her think she can go through life verbally attacking people who are trying to help her, then becoming puzzled when they pull away from her?

Like what did she think was going to happen?

I believe our public schools have led the way by letting people use the victim mentality so much that we now believe we can throw the “victim card” to cover any atrocious behavior we may exhibit.  

Not true.  And the way to stop that is to not accept it when someone tries that tack with us.

It is not only for our best, it is for theirs, too.  

Rage just begets more rage.  Studies have shown that.  We do people no favors by letting them vent all over us.

Regardless of their history.

Help them get straight with their history.  

Don’t let them keep on perpetuating a cycle of bullying!  That would go on forever and only diminishes everything in its path.  

Ya know?

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“You Have My Permission to Walk Away . . .”

21 Aug

I was angry.

Angry . . . and remembering God’s command that, in our anger, we not be sinful.

I was quietly praying for wisdom as I communicated with a younger friend via Facebook Messenger.

I had mentored this young woman, who has similar disabilities to my son’s, for years.  She had idolized me for most of that time.  Then, in the moment most realistic counselors dread, she came to the point that she decided it was okay to use me as her mental punching bag, to blame all of the things that were out of control in her life on me, as though I were her god.   

I had never allowed her to make me a god in her life, whether a good one or a bad one.  And now the moment for action was here.

With tears in my eyes, I texted back that we were not going to continue this exchange until she could talk to me as one adult to another, with our dignity and respect for each other intact.

I withdrew from the conversation for the course of about three months.  When she protested that that was not necessary, I assured her that it was.  That she needed to work on herself and to stop the torrent of verbal abuse being flung at me (and at her parents) more than she needed to try to woo me back as a friend.  

I said I will always be here for her, but I will not be her human garbage disposal.  That part does not fall within the definition of friendship.  Nor of any human relationship.

Yes, Jesus became our human garbage disposal in order to remove our sins.  I get that.  I also get that no other human can do that for me, nor I for them.  Theologically, that would make me a god in their lives and that is a role I cannot and must not take.

I have used those lines:  “I love you and I will be here for you, when you are ready to talk to me as two adults, with respect and dignity” many times in my life.  They work with angry spouses.  They work with angry children, after a certain age.  They work with friends.  They set a limit that is healthy and good. 

I highly recommend them, not as something magical or superspiritual that I have discovered, but as a practical way to keep our relationships clear of clutter.

You see, it is a universal human dilemma to want to let our hurt go somewhere.  Hurting people hurt people.  We have all heard that.  

But only I can impose limits on others that stops that from happening.  

While I acknowledge that there is much wrong in this world, that there is much hurt in this world, that still does not make me the human garbage disposal for anyone else’s hurt.  

And they need to know that, in no uncertain terms.  We do them no favors by letting them think it is okay to blow up and verbally abuse another human being when our own hearts are hurting.

Walk away.  Tell them you will resume the discussion later, when it can involve mutual dignity and respect.

You owe that to each other.  

P.S.  If my friend’s father asks me, I am going to give him this exact same advice, with the twist that he needs to actively protect his wife from the verbal abuse of their daughter. The way she described it to me, it sounds as though he is so anxious to defuse the daughter’s anger, when it ratchets up, that he sympathizes with her and soothes her, rather than telling her that she is not allowed to speak to her mother that way.  I believe he will regret that tactic, as anger only begets more anger.  Allowing her to spew at her mother will only create more of the same.  He needs to actively protect his wife and his marriage.  I believe I have the full weight of the Scriptures behind that counsel.

Walk away, folks, not to get away from your relationships, but in order to save them.   

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