It’s not uncommon to see parents shout some harsh words at their children as a result of frustration or in an effort to discipline them however research has shown that the long term effect of this kind of disciplinary measures can be devastating on the child’s social, emotional and mental development. It can even lead to an antisocial behavior, aggression and in some cases depression.
A study was conducted by a team of researchers from Pittsburgh University which suggested that verbal abuse over the course of 2 years had the same psychological effect in children as physical abuse. Furthermore, they were able to conclude that the amount of emotional support, love and affection known as parental warmth between the children and their parents didn’t lower the effects of verbal discipline. The fact that parents believe that the verbal punishment is for their children’s own benefit doesn’t reduce the damage they inflict when applying it. As a matter of fact, verbal abuse can even be more devastating to a child since they’re unable to defend themselves from the attack.
Home is Where Verbal Abuse Often Starts
According to a study published in the Western Criminology Review children exposed to parental verbal abuse tend to become victims to peer bullying or some other similar form of abuse. Kids look up to their parents and if they believe their parents think little of them they’re prone to self-esteem issues and tend to accept such views of themselves by others in their surroundings as well. It’s been proven that verbal abuse has a direct effect on the increased risk of general anxiety disorders and depression, even more so than physical and sexual abuse.
Defining General Anxiety Disorder
Our brains begin to grow and develop from the moment we appear on this world and all of our experiences have an effect on this growth and development. If we, as children or adolescents are exposed to abuse of any kind, on a regular basis our brains cannot develop properly.
One part of our brain, the superior temporal gyrus, is vital in regulating language comprehension, auditory response and cognition, regulating eye movement, visual stimuli interpretation and so on. All of these play a crucial role in our social interactions. The fibers that connect different brain sections to this superior temporal gyrus are weaker in adolescents exposed to parental verbal abuse as ids compared to those who haven’t had such an aggressive experience. All in all, verbal abuse by the parents can affect our ability to analyze, process and interpret language negatively.
If the two hemispheres of our brain aren’t able to communicate we can develop different types of brain dysfunctions. If we’re exposed to high stress levels, over time our body starts adapting to these conditions and we can develop PTSD, anger and hostility, depression, anxiety, dissociation and narcissism.
The biggest problem is that early verbal abuse from parents can cause life-long damage to the kids, even when they grow up. It can manifest later in life as lack of trust, self-criticism, low self-esteem, feeling of rejections and so on.
Verbal abuse can be manifested through a number of ways including:
- Inappropriate and/or offensive language
- Excessive criticism
- Cuss word use
It’s not just kids who suffer from verbal abuse, even thought its negative effects are hardest in this fragile period. Even adults and seniors can become more prone to depression, anxiety and similar mental disorders when exposed to regular verbal abuse from their partner, peers or colleagues.
How to Make Things Better?
When it comes to improving the condition there are a number of options you can try. Whatever your experience, be it verbal abuse from your parents, your spouse or your peers the damage can be lessened and you can feel much better.
Here’s a short video in which you can learn how a young woman struggled with this problem and was able to overcome it:
Article and image source: http://dailyhealthkeeper.com