Stopping Verbal Abuse -- Look

In order to LOOK at what's happening in verbal abuse, the question to consider is "Are there confusing or hidden presuppositions?" Presuppositions are what someone assumes and uses in proceeding as if they were true.

In Stopping Verbal Abuse, LOOK inside to notice the feelings produced with each interchange. If you feel ashamed, stupid, or fearful, the hidden presupposition is that you should feel ashamed, stupid, or fearful. Name it. Don't yet say it to the abuser.

For Stopping Verbal Abuse, it is important to LOOK diligently for the hidden presuppositions. Then reject them as not coming from oneself but from the abuser. Write them in a list as if in the mouth of the abuser. "You are..." or "You should..."

Other things to LOOK for in order to identify verbal abuse include the use of words shown to be unwise in the training here in "Listening Language," and the use of personal language that exposes things close and private.

LOOK for emphasis spikes in verbal abuse. This is what leads to shouting and yelling. Notice higher vocal pitch or volume on some words or phrases. Notice them in order to avoid similar emphases and to keep a moderate tone of voice in responding.

Some of the ideas for this article came from these works:

Elgin, Suzette Haden. The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1980.

Elgin, Suzette Haden. How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable: Getting Your Point Across with the Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense. New York: Wiley & Sons, 1997.

Copyright 2014 Wilma Zalabak