“You’re worthless!” … “You’ll never amount to anything!” … “I wish you had never been born!” Words like these in childhood can wound the heart for a lifetime. And further wounding takes place in adulthood when “control” is the name of the game. Threats like … “If you leave me, I’ll hurt the children!” or “I’ve taken the keys—you’re not going anywhere!”… are both emotionally and verbally abusive and are ways of maintaining control in relationships.
Emotional abuse is the unseen fallout of all other forms of abuse: physical, mental, verbal, sexual, and even spiritual abuse. People often minimize the importance of emotions. Yet with deeply wounded people, feelings can be the driving force behind their choices. At that point, for those people, their emotions become the life-sustaining element of their very beings. Emotional abuse strikes at the very core of who we are … crushing our confidence … wearing away our sense of worth.
Abuse can be perpetrated without a word − whether with degrading looks, obscene gestures or threatening behaviors. These actions inflict immense pain and impede emotional growth. You don’t have to allow an abuser to make you feel worthless. Jesus says that God knows not only each and every sparrow, but He also knows you intimately and gives you worth.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)