ANOTHER GOOD RESOURCE ON THE TOPIC OF VERBALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS: https://bible.org/article/verbal-abuse
Many months ago I posted a guest commentary written by a woman who had left a long-term relationship because of verbal abuse: https://pnissila.wordpress.com/?s=is+it+the+silent+treatment+or+emotional+survival
There had been some physical abuse as well early on in the relationship, she reported, but in the end, it was the long-term, often unpredictable, spates of verbal abuse that left her numb.
She wanted to explain the difference, in her piece, between what’s called the “silent treatment,” itself abusive, and the opposite phenomenon, what she calls, “emotional survival”. They may appear to be similar, but are in fact, opposites.
Withdrawal (which, in her definition, is for the purpose of mental and emotional survival vs the abusive “silent treatment” which is chosen to torment) is what happens in a relationship where one’s words, actions, opinions, and so on, may at any moment be criticized, blamed, shamed, put-down, mocked, or held in angry contempt. The recipient can never know for sure. Experts describe a common response to this dynamic as “walking on eggshells.”
The bruises caused by this kind of abuse do not show, and perpetrators may appear to be anything but their lesser selves to everyone outside the relationship; however, bruises there are–on mind, heart, psyche–and relationship.
Fortunately, as the counsellor/teacher’s article linked above indicates, God’s Word has clarity, practical information, and hope for those in this situation, too–both perpetrator and recipient.
My view (and encouragement)? Dramatic and truly altering heart and mind changes, no matter what one is facing, start here:
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10, NIV).
This is a two-part instruction.
First, ask for and wait on God for the “pure heart,” His heart, as it were, for the situation, the person, or the relationship. If needed, begin at the beginning: ask for the “new heart” gifted us at salvation, where, in an extraordinary, spiritual “re-birthing” process, the spirit of Jesus Christ is imparted to those who earnestly seek Him and who ask.
Part two: when one slips and slides backward or sideward, go back to Him for “renewal”.
And this applies to all those (read, “everybody”) whose attitudes and behaviors are deep-seated and or influenced by family cultures, “the world, the flesh (and/or) the devil.”
God can grace you with clarification on all that, too.