When the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act defines domestic abuse, it includes physical harm, bodily injury or assault, but it also comprises the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault. Even when adults or children sustain no direct physical harm from abusers, threats and other types of severe verbal abuse can cause long-term harm — both psychological and physical. Victims need to learn to recognize the symptoms and when to seek legal assistance.
Verbal Abuse Can Have Profound Psychological and Physical Effects
It is widely recognized that abused children often grow up to be abusers, subjecting others to the only type of relationships that they know. Unfortunately, this general rule applies to verbal abuse as much as to physical abuse. While verbal attacks may not immediately send victims to the hospital, the long-term effects are very real, including the following:
- Self-incrimination, taking the blame for the events leading to the abuse
- Experiencing challenges when forming appropriate conclusions or making decisions
- Feelings of fear and anxiety, particularly in the face of verbal threats
- Development of psychological disorders, such as depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), along with possible alcohol or drug abuse or even suicide
- Physical effects that include chronic pain, migraine and frequent headaches, digestive disorders or even some heart conditions
Of course, this is far from an all-inclusive list, but it illustrates how anyone who falls victim to verbal abuse experiences serious issues that affect themselves along with others who are close to them. It is also important to recognize that not all verbal abuse remains verbal forever; all too often, it leads to eventual physical abuse.
Recognizing Verbal Abuse is the First Defense
People who live in close proximity to each other are bound to have verbal confrontations. Parents loudly reprimand their children. Spouses engage in major disagreements. Even non-relatives who reside with each other have explosive conflicts from time to time. Even though these situations can get loud and harsh words are spoken, they do not automatically represent verbal abuse.
Still, when verbal combat seems to flow solely in one direction — and when the attacks regularly threaten physical harm or involve personal attacks and insults, they often represent verbal abuse. In fact, when individuals engaged in numerous verbal conflicts find themselves going through feelings of self-doubt or experiencing physical symptoms on a regular basis, they should consider the possibility that they are victims of abusive situations.
There are times when victims of domestic abuse try to rationalize their situations and even deny that they are victims at all. Still, the only way to find an end to the pain is to seek advice from an individual with the experience needed to identify when an abusive situation exists and offer options to get help. Call us at (763) 783-5146 or use our convenient contact form to gain a better understanding of your legal options.