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Made in India Magazine | November 27, 2020

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Divya Singh

Violence can happen both in its physical form and in the verbal, emotional form. Emotional abuse hurts as much if not more than physical abuse, and yet we indulge in it with abandon. In this piece, we will see how we can control ourselves from hurting others.

Peace and non violence are not just things that we practice in our actions. Indeed, the law under which we all serve require us to refrain ourselves from taking violent actions. Physical abuse is a punishable offence, so we’re forced to be nonviolent in civil society by law. But what about verbal violence? While the justice system identifies emotional and verbal abuse as forms of abuse, it is often very difficult to prove these things.
And yet, the pain caused by emotional abuse is as much – if not greater – than that caused by physical abuse. Also, emotional abuse caused by words can last longer, and torment the victim and leave deeper scars than a slap on the cheek. Today we will look at some ways in which we can control our propensity towards verbal abuse.
1. Understand that the tongue is a loose weapon. It is extremely easy to let go of your emotions through your words, without realising how much they hurt or affect the people who hear them. So practice silence in deeply emotional situations; when you’re feeling as though you will burst with emotion and that you have to give vent to them through words, that is the time when it is perhaps prudent not to say anything at all. A word not spoken is a word that cannot hurt.
2. Refrain from feeling superior to others. One of the most humiliating emotion that people report in relationships is being patronised by their partners. When you feel superior to your partner, you will inadvertently say things that will make them feel inferior. These can be simple gestures, like rolling of the eyes, or saying things like, ‘Oh, let me handle this. You cannot.’ Understand that in all healthy relationships, both partners need each other, and neither is superior to the other.
3. Go easy on the sarcasm and wit. Humour is good, and so is a sense of fun. But there are different kinds of humour, and it’s always better to reserve sarcasm for those who are so close to you that they won’t take it personally. Self-deprecation always works better than insults. It may be sarcastic or witty or funny to you, but always stop to think how the person on the receiving end of the insult would feel.
4. Handle disagreements with detachment. Disagreements are part and parcel of life, whether they are between friends or between partners. It is when you attach yourself to your point of view that you get offended by those who disagree with you. Let go of your attachment to your ideas, and debate them with a calm, rational mind. That way, you will not allow your disagreements to escalate into fights.
5. Use criticism as a vehicle for self-improvement. Our first reaction to any criticism is to take it personally and get angry. Instead, if we examine it with a logical mind, most criticism offers us opportunities to become better people. And it will also keep us from getting angry and saying things that aim to hurt.

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