Really Subtle But Damaging

I have often questioned whether what I have experienced was actually verbal abuse, but it seems to me like this form of abuse runs rampant. The most obvious example is with young girls around the ages of 12-15. That's not the subject I wanted to get into though. It's just a good example that a lot of women can probably unfortunately relate to. I have been abused verbally in a very very subtle way. I always thought that it wasn't abuse and it was really just me being too sensitive. I can't help that though, and I think that I have been mislead because the people who are doing the abusing will deny outright that they have done anything wrong. They'll tell you that you are being too sensitive and so you shut down, internalize it all and are forced to try to deal with it in the confines of your mind. You believe then that your reactions are unfounded and therefore you should never express them in public for fear of being called a cry baby. In my case, it was mainly my older sister who did this to me, although my whole family (except my mother) have a habit of it. I'm not sure what my sister's motives were, but I always suspected jealousy or something. We got along for the most part, but the thing that bothered me was this. From the time I was small, she critiqued every aspect of my appearance. So much so, that I eventually adopted these criticisms for my own. Now, being an adult, I can easily point out every flaw that I have. It's been ingrained in me to a point that I can't walk outside without hearing all of the criticisms in my head that I think people would be thinking about me. I think psychologists like to call that social anxiety. I remember clearly the first time that I felt the criticism. It was when I bought my first pair of bell bottom jeans. I was probably six or seven years old. I remember her complaining to me that I was too girly, and that the bell bottoms looked stupid and I shouldn't wear them. I couldn't put on clothes without them being judged harshly from then on. Then later on, she was joined by my peers. At age thirteen I remember of a female friend telling me (in front of a large group of girls at a slumber party) that I had a unibrow and then the whole group laughing at me. Then there's the indirect criticisms that you hear girls making about other girls behind their backs. Then you can only imagine what they must be saying about you. I was always into art as well, and I became quite good at it. This was a sore point for me at times because other girls would often complement me on my abilities, but then immediately say something like "I wish I could do that. I suck at art". This ruined the compliment completely for me because then it was as if they were not commenting simply to be nice, but because they were jealous. Then I would feel like my artistic abilities made people dislike me. I rarely showed anyone my drawings for that very reason. It's beyond me how anyone can block that stuff out and not let it get to them. How do you get past all of that? I have to say that I seriously admire people who appear to be above it.
Veryrandomgirl8 Veryrandomgirl8
22-25, F
2 Responses Jan 20, 2013

yeah. its like im the senstive one but if my father and my older sisters wernt so mean then i wouldnt have to be sensitive. it is not my sisters fault though. it all stems from my father who is a ******* pyscho and my mother wont admit it.

My husband tells me I'm too sensitive about EVERyThING. It IS verbal abuse. I'm not overly sensitive. I'm a normal nice lady.

I agree. I think the reason I was thinking about this subject in the first place was because of this article that I read a while back. I have some friends who identify as feminists who posted it multiple times on Facebook, so I decided to read it. I found it very interesting. It helped me feel less ashamed of my emotions.

Great article!

I thought so. It explains a lot.