I just love verbal abuse……NOT!!!

are you listening

by Kenneth Justice

~ What is it about us human beings that causes us to be so darn temperamental?

I feel like too often I’m walking on a earth of eggshells;

if I don’t step correctly people immediately get pissed off, fold their arms, stop listening, and pout like a baby

Last week I had to tell a client to chill out – the client was this retired man who was twice my age and he was acting incredibly rude, so I said,

“Did your parents teach you no manners? If I was acting like you; my parents would have whooped my arse as a child!”

Of course the client didn’t care for what I said….

But, without getting lost in the details of what occurred; the client was clearly in the wrong, he was acting like a child and when I confronted him his face went into shock;

He couldn’t believe I had called him out

Of course he didn’t apologize for his rude behavior….he merely walked away and refused to talk to me anymore…..which was more than fine with me!

What has happened to us human beings? Why have we become so rude and nasty?

I am fortunate; I am self-employed and my clients are coming to me

I make enough money that I don’t mind the risk of losing a client…..I’m going to call it the way I see it.

But when I was younger; I was deathly afraid of telling someone ‘the way it was’

Especially with relatives

I have a lot of fundamentalist Christian relatives and for most of my adult life they have been very rude to me – it drives them nuts that I am no longer a fundamentalist like them so they have gotten in my face and been out-and-out nasty.

For many years……I put up with a lot of verbal abuse and I never stood up for myself

and then……

One day I decided I had enough

I made it clear to my relatives that I wasn’t going to put up with their shenanigans anymore; many of these relatives haven’t talked to me ever since!

Its really difficult knowing these relatives are so darn stubborn that they won’t apologize for their verbal abuse; and that they would rather stop being friends than give up their nasty behaviors.

In psychology we learn that a lot of women put up with verbal abuse; from their husbands, boyfriends, fathers……

Because men are often bigger and stronger…..they take advantage of their physical features and intimidate women; THIS SUCKS!

– There are definitely times in our lives where we need to bite our tongue –

But when relatives, boyfriends, spouses, clients, bosses; are verbally abusing us; isn’t it important for us to stand our ground?

or am I wrong?

Should we just keep quiet?

Don’t say anything?

Don’t rock the boat?

Since I have children I think about these things a lot

I don’t want my children to be intimidated by others

I don’t want them to be intimidated by me

I want my children to stand their ground…..and to not be afraid of speaking their mind……of course I teach them to be respectful……but I don’t want them to grow up and get involved in relationships where they are the brunt of verbal abuse……right?

Is that typical?

To be honest……I have noticed that a lot of parents don’t allow their children to disagree – Is that healthy?

More questions……..but I don’t have all the answers……

Thankfully I will have a cup of coffee and try to forget about all these people who drive me nuts!


Categories: Culture & Society, relationships

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

30 replies

  1. my kids disagree all the time, sometimes a little too much. we gave them the repspect of their thougths but now they need to learn to pull it in a bit.

    I find the worst people for verbal abuse are those that say “take me as I am, but you will need to change to suit me” or “I’ll say what I like to you but don’t you dare say anything back to me” I have personal experience of both these and it is like banging your head against a brick wall. they just dont get it.

    My secret is to be as nice as possible to everyone regardless and get them with niceness. Putting yoruself at their level is pointless, try and be the bigger person. But then, there are times and places that require action. Pick your battles.

  2. Hey Kenneth
    I ponder the same topics you do. The practical aspects of relationships I can do something about. Humor that is on the wicked side is entertaining but in face to face interactions, worse than childish. I have heard men talk about verbally abusing women to arouse themselves sexually. That would never fly with me but I think that is deep seated anger and force just like rape. I mentor young girls and warn them to look out for beasts that would harm them emotionally.
    I love your coffee shtick. It reminds me of Mr. Rogers’s cardigan and tennis shoes. Very comforting.Ellen

    • Ellen,

      I’m not sure whether to be flattered with your Mr. Rogers comparison or whether I feel like gagging; Me = like Mr. Rogers!!!! Uh oh I think I’ve lost all my sex appeal and I’m not even middle aged yet!

      ha ha but I get what your saying

      I learned a long time ago that we human beings are creatures of habit; we like consistency and traditions because…

      as you pointed out; “very comforting”

  3. Hypocracy drives anyone nuts! Your relo’s are not bright sparks (no offense) and if they had any common sense they’d overcome feeling slighted from being told off. Emotionally immature. They have a lot to learn.

  4. You are correct. Verbal abuse, emotional abuse and even physical abuse are tolerated far too often in our society. There are times when you have to draw the line. Unfortunately, most people can’t or won’t do that and they are the ones seen as out of step with the rest of the world. If enough of us stop, tolerating it maybe things can slowly change.

  5. NOT!!!!!! I have been ROCKING the BOAT since I was a kid. Or maybe you knew that already. 😉 I have only mellowed in my dotage! BUT I am a VAU—! I am a CAPRICORN and can’t be intimidated. BlaBLaBla! Just ask my mother, Smiles. But I don’t like bullies either. And raised my children to be their own peeps. I guess I did well because I can’t even tell em what to do, BUT they do well for themselves, and that’s all we can ask for as parents. Hope you got my message earlier. GREAT POST and a HAPPY HUMP DAY to you.

  6. I think it’s very important to tell people when they are confrontational in a way that shuts you down or makes you feel bad. Sometimes it is right to walk away when people are too angry or emoting– as long as you come back later and talk it through. I think we’re losing the ability to communicate, and it’s important to be able to respond in multiple ways– always with A FOCUS ON THE OTHER. But entering into a real conversation makes both people vulnerable, and both people need to understand and respect that. My husband has taught me a lot just by saying to me, “please be charitable.” It turns my focus from my own frustration to his place in the conversation/relationship. It is one of the best and most important values, and a very kind way of calling me out! I’ve also experienced what you describe with relatives– self-righteousness often leaves no room for the other at all and is never charitable.

    • Susan,

      great thoughts…..there is definitely a fine line we each have to walk;

      we don’t want to walk around taking on everybody who is rude towards us…

      but on the other hand we definitely need to know when to stand our ground

      I like your husband’s ‘please be charitable’

  7. people are extraordinarily rude. it drives me up the wall! personally i saw this the most when i was working at a call center – im just some disembodied voice so why should the caller be remotely polite right? ppppffffffftttttt. it’s no freakin’ wonder there’s a lot of turn around at call centers – no one can handle that kind of verbal abuse for long. it’s ridiculous. i personally have always been one to bit my tongue also, but im slowly but surely starting to stand my ground more because dang, that kind of talk just isn’t called for. victims of verbal abuse tolerate it, at least from what i hear and have learned but makes a lot of sense to me, is the lack of self-esteem. when abused long enough you believe the bad and think you “deserve” it. it’s very tragic because NO ONE deserves that ever. verbal abusers, in my mind are just bullies. bullies are usually insecure and in order to feel better they do the one thing they know how be mean to make themselves feel better or feel more in control of the situation or they’re control freaks, can’t handle someone not succumbing to their ideas, etc. okay so one day i’ll narrow my thoughts down to a line or two haha. 🙂 have a good day.

    • Jen,

      I don’t think i could last a week at a call center….I’d probably end up hitting myself in the head with a mallet if I had to listen to the calls you used to deal with…. props to you

      No wonder you are so happy working in journalism now!

  8. I do agree with you. Isn’t better to say disagreement in a polite manner?

  9. I really don’t understand why some people will be so rude and mean to others. It should be so simple: Treat others as you would want to be treated. I always try to treat people with respect, at least with politeness even if I don’t respect them. I actually take a perverse pleasure in being overly nice to people who are rude to me … It drives them nuts ;). But I’m enough of a coward that I just keep my feelings to myself when someone is particularly rude or unreasonable. I’m an easy crier and there’s nothing more humiliating for me than crying in front of someone who I know will be unsympathetic. Hopefully what your children are also learning from your example (and I imagine they are) is not just to be able to say what they think but also to listen to people who think differently. I envy them their upbringing 🙂

  10. We can wrap it up in all sorts of adjectives… but it usually comes down to plain bullying… one cowardly person trying to intimidate another. No-one ever deserves this abuse. I’ve stood up against these types of bullies when they’ve abused other people in the past. Hopefully, this is something that can be seen as more and more acceptable – or just the right thing to do – as we continue to slowly evolve.

  11. To much narcissism in today’s world.

  12. Fabulous post, Kenneth 😉 definitely raises some important questions: raising children to stand up for themselves, and not allow themselves to be verbally abused but at the same time to have manners and to not be rude or verbally abusive themselves. In my life, I grew up in a family where my dad was verbally and emotionally abusive to my mom, and since this was normal it was a behavior I didn’t question, I didn’t know it was wrong or that it didn’t have to be this way; as I grew up, yes I hated the way he talked to her, and as a teen, I hated the way he talked to me. And guess what happened? I married a man who was extremely verbally and emotionally abusive, (and also physically) because it was normal behavior to me. Thankfully, I found a way to grow up, to mature to the point where I could say No, I don’t have to accept this behavior, and therefore, I am glad to be divorced. I didn’t’ want my children to grow up under that, to accept verbal abuse, to think it was normal for people to treat others that way. But it’s sad to me that my mom didn’t learn that she didn’t have to take that treatment until she’d been married for 30 years. I’m glad I was only under that for 5 years, as horrendous as it was. I think an important thing for everyone to remember is that children learn by example, not just by what you say and teach; if you speak in a verbally abusive way, they will learn to do the same. Man, you really got my creative wheels turning this morning!! I think I’ll go write some more, after I have my own cup of Joe 🙂

  13. Right on! What a marvelous write! I walked away from 35 yrs of verbal abuse he was also an alcoholic 3 yrs ago. I lived exactly what you are talking about. I was verbally and emotionally abused along with other abuse just about all my adult life. I knew it was wrong but he had that much power, fear had a hold of me. The threats were exhausting. It has taken me a long time to get my head on straight, he did a real number on my head. Fear of the unknown, fear of not having a roof over my head, then I decided on night after he had been drinking for 3 days straight I am 57 I am going. Left with my dogs and the clothes on my back and started again. As a result of my life before I can not handle stressful situations, it messes with me. So I now look for a quiet life to give my dogs the best of their later life, they are 16 now. My poetry and camera work and a little writing of short stories. Helps me. I like reading your pages they are so factual and honest.

  14. speak your truth my friend. My children have grown up to speak theirs…. doesn’t mean people are always going to like it…. 😉

  15. Love this post – and the fact that you REFUSE to tolerate verbal abuse from ANYONE! I have only recently determined that I have had more than enough and will no longer tolerate ANY form of abuse. Many people know what child abuse, domestic abuse, mental (psychological) abuse and sexual abuse are – but they never stop & consider that verbal abuse is not only common, it is a “legitimate” form of abuse & it is rampant – and often “acceptable” by victims – who do not understand that they are being abused (in most cases)! Well done & thank you for sharing this post – I am following and will visit your site often, as my limited online time allows. ~Hunter~

    • melenacholy,

      one sentence of yours really stands out, “and often “acceptable” by victims – who do not understand that they are being abused”

      very true

  16. I just came home from a two week stint with my parents. My father almost died and yet that didn’t stop them …. That is who they are and who they will remain. I told them I would leave if they continued to be mean. I love them and want to help them but no longer at my expense. I have 8 sisters and women in my family stand in the lowest caste. A sense of humor and self kept me intact and dissipated the pull of my old role in the family. Thanks for your thoughts and words and visiting my post

  17. I think that one of the biggest virues in the world is discretion. I mean the ability to act and react accordingly to a situation. When it comes to people there are many ways to deal with them, but you can divide most cases into 2 divisions and further 2 subdivisions. The people you know and the people you don’t know. You can see and tolerate some things from the people you know, not because they are stronger but because you can allow them a moment of bursting out, of a relief, especially if this is not their common behaviour. You can be their punch bag, because some times this is helpful. The fact that you happen to be present and suffer the blow, is not what you might think it is. You are not the target You can talk about it later, when they have cooled off a bit. Of course the cases when bursting out is all you get, you have to stand up (in a better time of course) and make your point clear and loud. But you really have to know the person, not speculate, not mirror your thoughts on him. After all there are so many ways of hurting another person, (ignoring him, not spending time, other priorities, keeping a long face etc).
    And then there are the cases of the people you don’t know. Theses are harder nuts to crack, but you can either deal with them with the luxury of time and nerves of steel until you get to the bottom ofthe situation, or just find a way to send a message and at the same time send them away.

  18. The fact that your posts always generate such great discussions in the comments is a testament. And may I just add that your wonderful use of the word “shenanigans” definitely requires that you be elevated from Mr. Rogers to … at least Jack Handy and his deep thoughts.

    Seriously though, I have the sneaky suspicion that wisdom of the caliber we ponder here with Culture Monk comes as we age. We’re like cheese in a cave. Or barrels of wine.

    At home, in schools, in their community – children and young adults … cheeses and wines … should all be encouraged to think for ourselves and not become “sheeples.” Until the U.S. society recognizes the difference between disagreement and disrespect we will also be bored or angered out of our gourds by a two-party system and threatened by the bad kind of group-think.

  19. This is an old post I’m commenting on, but the topic is one that’s been on my mind a lot the past few days. I hate that ‘walking on eggshells’ feeling too! I recently read the first part of a discussion (somewhere else) about how people are advised to bite their tongue and keep the peace, especially in a family… to be the ‘bigger person’ by not rising to the bait. But you hate yourself for your lack of reaction. If the other person keeps on with the barbed remarks or whatever, it takes a bit of a hissy fit to make them back off. Even if the other individual breaks ties with you, you feel better about yourself for speaking up.

    I think something that might help is to hint that you do value the other person and there is something you would like to see from him/her that you’re not getting. (E.g. more emails, a Christmas visit once in a while). Hopefully, when they think over your words later, there’s a chance they’ll feel less like marching off in high dudgeon. 🙂

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