How to deal with verbal abuse in a relationship

By Blessing Divine

In the last edition, we spoke on physical abuse being misconstrued as spicing things up. Today, we’re talking about how verbal abuse could ruin a relationship. Yes, you’re just trying to do your bit to encourage the other person but you could be hurting them!

In relationships, partners do look out for each other (that of course is the definition of the love between them). A spouse to a musician is praying and aspiring that his/her partner becomes famous in the music industry, a teacher’s spouse desires a better salary and employment for his spouse, same applies to every profession. We all want our partners to be at the very best place in life and in their chosen careers and we’d be willing to do everything possible to get them there but are we still not hurting them by the words of our mouths?

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There’s a popular saying that actions are louder than words, but, some words echo forever in people’s minds especially when it has to do with their very much sought after desires that had not come their ways.

Let’s take for example, an athlete who wants to be world’s best in his profession and he keeps putting in his best, but due to competition, isn’t yet there, a harmful word from their own spouse as regards this, might be unpardonable.

After a very stressful and long day at work or wherever we were at, no normal human being would want to come home to engage in an exchange of hurtful words with their partners, whether physically or via the phone.

While we are doing our bit to encourage them, we should be mindful of the kinds of words we speak.

The mistake many partners make is the mistake of comparing their spouses to someone else, someone who is more successful, who is more fashionable, who is more fit, someone who is more famous amongst many other comparisons. Most times, we tend to compare people with those whom we assume are their mates, whether or not we know the story of the other person.

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“Just look at him, he has a car, he works with one of the big companies in the country, he got a house, he got this, he got that. He’s not even 30 yet. And take a look at yourself, you are a tenant, you’re still at the entry level in your office, your pay isn’t even enough to start a family yet.”

Whoever said your partner doesn’t desire the big things of life, who said they don’t desire the big houses, the big cars, the fat paycheck? Of course, they do, but life happened! Not everyone has the opportunity to become rich and successful at an early age.

Taking a closer look at the last sentence, what actually defines being rich and successful in today’s world? Is it the expensive cars and glamorous lifestyle? Or the fact that we actually are making progress towards achieving our desired goals, however little?

Riches and success are concepts that are all encompassing. We should be able to define success on our own terms and not enforce it on the other person.

In relationships, while encouraging the other person to be successful, we might be pushing and stretching them beyond their limits. And, we might be guilty of projecting our failures on them. No human being has had it all good, we’ve made mistakes, we’ve tried and failed though we also have our portion of some sweet success stories, no matter how young a person might be.

We’ve had our fair share of failures but we do not want them to fail but we do not acknowledge that failure is part of the process. While it is good to encourage them to be better, it is not proper to push them to do things that they’d rather not do. Let them learn at their own pace. The fact that you’re now a partner does not mean that they’ve leased out their entire life to you to handle and push them around like a puppet. He is a human being too, she is a human being too with a free will, the ability to think, to reason, to do, to decide not to do. Even the creator doesn’t choose for us. That probably explains why the language of the holy books sounds more like an admonition rather than a command.

A partner should be a shoulder to lean on for the other person, should be available to encourage and give sweet soothing words not make the other person feel like a piece of trash for one or many failures.

Celebrate the little success you spouse is making. The word little here might be unnecessary but let’s take a look at this scenario.

A partner has a habit of sleeping so little which affects the level of her productivity during the day. She decides to put a check on that and develop a healthy sleeping profile. At first, she was able to extend her usual 3 hours of sleep to four hours, to 5 hours and is now at 6 hours. She feels happy and fulfilled as she notices that she is more productive at work. Only few people will celebrate this. Why? She didn’t get a promotion at work yet, no salary raise, no certification earned, just a healthy sleeping habit? This isn’t too good.

Albeit, with all said, don’t leave your life ‘unlived’ while trying to build up your spouse. This is the mistake many people make especially when they feel that their spouses are in th industries where success is easily attained and they are not. Live and let live even in marriage.

Live, get a life if you don’t have any already. Get a new job, a hobby, pick up a new skill or anything at all. So, as you’re encouraging the other person to do better, to live well, he/she also has something to give back to you in terms of encouragement to be better.

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