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Amaryllis CruzMiss WohlferdEnglish II, P526 January 2018Artillery of WordsImagine a friend, family member, or anyone else close to you is constantly berating what you do or how you do it. Relentlessly, they will shatter your confidence and self esteem with the worst part of it being that you may not even know that it’s happening. Take any story from the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV), for instance Jenna’s partner never laid a hand on her but he didn’t have to, in order to hurt and manipulate her life. With the continuous criticism, intimidation, and demands Jenna’s life revolved around her husband and left her constantly on edge (1). While not discrediting the equally unfavorable effects of what people do (physical abuse), verbal abuse causes more harm than what one may originally believe. Considering the possibility of slander, physical, and mental effects it is not challenging to see how harmful people’s words can be. Interestingly, gossip and rumors are a common occurrence in today’s society however, despite its commonality its effect can be quite disastrous. With slander generally being reserved for people of higher power, damage to your reputation is still an issue caused by the careless use of words. Whether at school or in the workplace, your peers words can be detrimental to you and those around you. The journal published by Andrei Novac, MD goes over the effects of rumors and gossip. Specifically, in the workplace rumors have a direct impact on the quality of the work environment. Additionally, gossip affects the productivity and creativity of the employees working (1). Furthermore, according to the article Schoolyard Blues: Impact of Gossip and Bullying, in an educational environment students may suffer socially, as well as academically, especially if these rumors or gossip result in the students exclusion (2). This isolation will result in a social withdraw and behavioral changes. Besides damage to you reputation verbal abuse can have serious consequences to your physical health. The old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” has been told time and time again however research would indicate otherwise. Verbal abuse can cause both long term and short term physical effects to the victim, some of which may be irreversible. According to Kellie Holly, the author of the article Effects of Verbal Abuse On Children, Women And Men the long term physical effects of verbal abuse can be chronic pain, migraines, stammering, and stress-related heart conditions. In addition to this, research conducted by Harvard University psychiatrists suggests that children who are verbally abused will exhibit higher rates of physical aggression, delinquency, and social problems compared to children who are not verbally abused (2). When English writer Robert Burton said “A blow with words strikes deeper than a blow with a sword,” there was a semblance of truth behind his words.Moreover, the list of psychological effects caused by verbal abuse is nearly double that of the physical effects. The article Effects of Verbal Abuse On Children, Women And Men also mentions author Patricia Evans who writes that victims of vituperation may develop difficulty forming conclusions and making decisions and will begin to experience self-doubt, and low self-confidence. Even more unfortunate Evans states that these victims will begin to believe or even accept the fact that their is something wrong with them, such as they are too selfish or sensitive (3). Author, Kellie Holly, also goes to explain some of the mental effects caused by this maltreatment such as hypervigilance, intrusive memories, irritability, and substance abuse. In addition to this, victims may develop disorders such as anxiety, and depression (8). The study conducted by Harvard University stated that their research suggests that, “When verbal abuse is constant and severe, it creates a risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, the same type of psychological collapse experienced by combat troops in Iraq.” Besides this, the study concludes that similar studies have indicated that childhoods fraught with condemnation and criticism have a higher risk for developing unstable, angry personalities, narcissistic behavior, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and paranoia (4). In the end the wounds inflicted by the words of others, although not usually seen, penetrate far deeper than an injury. From damaged reputations to damaged mental health the outcome of people’s words is a far overlooked danger. Martin Teicher, associate professor of psychiatry at McLean Hospital, once stated “Verbal abuse may also have more lasting consequences than other forms of abuse, because it’s often more continuous . . . and in combination with physical abuse and neglect it may produce the most dire outcome.” Physical and verbal abuse are no simple matters that anyone should have to deal with. From physical abuse comes bruises, cuts, and broken bones all of which are temporary inflicted injuries that heal with time. Verbal abuse can create life lasting conditions and disorders altering the life of the victim infinitely. Works CitedCromle, William J. “Verbal Beatings Hurt as Much as Sexual Abuse.” Harvard Gazette, Harvard University, 26 Apr. 2007.Elish, Jill. “Invisible Scars: Verbal Abuse Triggers Adult Anxiety, Depression.” Invisible Scars: Verbal Abuse Triggers Adult Anxiety, Depression, Florida State University, 22 May 2006.Holly, Kellie, and Harry Croft. “Effects of Verbal Abuse on Children, Women and Men – Verbal Abuse – Abuse.” HealthyPlace, Healthy Place, 26 May 2016.”Jenna’s Story.” DVRCV: Domestic Violence Resource Centre VictoriaNovac, Andrei, et al. “Negative Rumor: Contagion of a Psychiatric Department.” The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., 10 Apr. 2014.Rosnow, Ralph L, and Eric K. Foster. “Rumor and Gossip Research.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, Apr. 2005, “Schoolyard Blues: Impact of Gossip and Bullying.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, 29 Mar. 2006.


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