Words Hurt and Words Control
As I was growing up I often heard and even said a chant about words. Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me-was the chant. Are you familiar with this? As children we feel empowered as we chant this at someone who just called us a name or excluded us from their group-and we thought that we were not effected, yet we were often effected. God warns us in regards to our tongues and our thoughts. We are to guard the tongue and we are to keep our thoughts pure and mindful of others.
As children are little, parents sometimes tell their children that they are lazy, a liar, or other disheartening names. Then as we go into a social forum we are told by strangers, and those who we thought were our best buddies-that we are mistakes, evil, or stupid. I do not know about you, but I was hurt. The harder I worked to fit in, the more I sacrificed, yet it appeared I continued to fall short of other''s expectation. I feared rejection even when only a small child and each occasion that I experienced the same or similar rejection or ridicule-I found myself with a work-based agenda to be good enough.
We learn early how to use defense mechanisms and how to manipulate others from social forums such as home, school, work, and the media-which shapes and skews our perception of the world. We learn to blame and to deny while operating from dysfunctional mechanisms to escape consequence, to deceive, to attempt to appear good enough; and/or to get our way. Pouting, blaming, acting out, crying, repeated requests that turn into demands, drama, and using reverse psychology empowers small, middle aged, and adolescent children when reinforced with others caving to the demands as they experience shame, guilt, and fear.
Some examples of how one attempts to control and/or hurt are: "Well, if I cannot go to (place desired) then I just won''t go! I just stay home cause you hate me anyway" "If you are going to make me eat (unliked or untried food) then I just won''t eat! I will just starve!" " I do not want anything from you!" "If you leave me, I will kill myself!" "You always loved my brother or sister more!" and other like threats or accusations are shouted. If the receiving party gives in due to embarrassment, believing that the person would harm themselves, others or self, as well as, if they are now feeling shame or guilt; then those individuals continue to reinforce the use of abusive, control with aggressive, angry words.
Any person who cuts, burns, or threatens to commit suicide or homicide need immediate attention and therefore Crisis needs to be called by dialing 911 for help. This is nothing that should be treated lightly. Especially in today''s culture where suicide and killing is encouraged within social media forums. That child or adult needs help.
Those confronted with angry words and the need to control must understand that people hold to these techniques to have power and control, to have their way, to shame and blame, and perhaps because they do not know what to do with their own emotions. Without more appropriate coping tools then anger is expressed. Most of the time-anger is a derivative and a topical covering for an underlining FEARED issue. What appears as anger is often deep fears. Another point to remember is that if one reacts to such negative tools then one is more likely to say or do something that exacerbates the issue or situation. As long as one caves then one reinforces the negative behavior. Learning to be calm and to make the time to ask questions, or to think of all of the consequences and possible alternatives prior to providing a response, helps the recipient to responds more accurately and confidently to the abuser.
The person who is threatening may still feel as if a wrong was done to them and may leave. Or that person may respect their target and may reconsider their choice-but at least with this approach they have learned that they cannot control others when others do not fall for these tactics that are very prevalent in today''s world. In fact, it may be a seed sown to help that individual to begin growth. The targeted person cannot control what the abusive person chooses but can take control back over their own life. Unlike the blame of it being your fault, the choice belongs to the person who is making the threats as to what their consequences are-and not attributed to the target of those threats.
Heal and Hope Counseling Services works to build strong conflict resolution and communication skills during their DV and Anger Management Classes, as well as during individual sessions. If you or a loved one is using anger and manipulation to control you and others-please come for help.