One of the most unfortunate childhood rhymes goes, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
What a terrible lie! It’s meant in good spirit, of course, to help empower children to cope with their classmates’ or siblings’ taunts, but it very often backfires because as everyone who has ever been the recipient of unkind words knows, words DO hurt. Especially words that change their perception of themselves.
Have you ever been told, “You’re ugly!”
Or “You’re stupid! Look at the mess you made!”
Or “You are so boring! Why would anyone ever want to talk to you?”
These mean words can leave lasting scars that can impact the rest of your life. Here are some types of verbal attacks and what you can do to cope:
1. Words that discount – you don’t matter. “Nobody’s stupid enough to believe (what you just said)!” “Oh, I get it, you’re the expert here so what you say, goes!” The speaker does not value you, but you can feel better by realizing that they are voicing an opinion that you do not have to share! Of course this kind of verbal attack is extraordinarily painful when it comes from a loved one, and in this case you can remind yourself that it’s their own inner pain that is causing them to feel that they need to beat you down so they can feel better about themselves.
2. Words that devalue = you’re not worthy or wanted. “I don’t even care what you do anymore” or “I don’t love you” hurt because they mean abandonment. You no longer mean anything to the other person and that can be devastating. However, consider that words like this are often said in order to guilt you into behaving a certain way – the threat of abandonment and loss of love is real, and we often capitulate to avoid it, even when the relationship has gone sour and leaving would be a better option. To feel better, know that you ARE worthy of love. Repeat to yourself every single day, “I love myself.” Do this for several months without fail and watch your perspective change – you’ll be empowered to stand strong and do what’s right for you!
3. Words that demean = you’re no good. “You’re such a loser” or “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” sting because the implication is that you are no good. But you are. You truly are. You may have made mistakes and made some unfortunate choices, but your actions are not you. They are something performed by you and no one has a right to say to you that you ARE your actions. The best way to silence this critic is to let your actions speak for themselves – take full ownership of your behaviors and actions and always do your best… and even though you will never convert everyone to believing in you, at least you’ll have the inner satisfaction of having done you best and being inwardly happy with that.
The best way to respond to verbal attacks is always from a place of love. You don’t have to say anything, but practice mentally sending the person love because their words can only come from their own pain. Elevate them, by raising your own vibration through loving intention. And if they are too low vibrationally for you, you will naturally fall apart – and that’s okay… you’ll attract someone who is a vibrational match for you!