The Power of Words, Guest Post


Today’s post represents a departure from what I have done since starting my Blog several years ago.

The body of today’s post is a speech given on Tuesday, May 6th by a fellow Toast Master, Sharon.

I found her speech to be very inspiring, powerful and motivating.

I also found it relevant to my sacred mission of supporting conscious, mutually empowering relationships.

I asked Sharon if she would spend some time reading my blog to see if she could authentically support my work and our community by allowing me to post her speech.

I was absolutely delighted, when she agreed.

So without further fanfare, here is Sharon’s speech.


Did you ever say to your child, “Why are you stupid?”  Or, “You are truly worthless.”  Well, STOP IT!

Child abuse comes in many forms – physical, neglect, sexual, psychological, medical, etc.

And the result of this abuse has staggering statistics.

But tonight I want to talk about the abuse where the bruises don’t show, the verbal abuse.

Verbal abuse is a form of emotional abuse.

Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”?

It’s not true.

Insulting names, degrading comments, and belittling criticism can give a child extremely negative messages about themselves – messages that can have dramatic effects on their future well-being.

Most parents occasionally will say something derogatory to their child, and this is not necessarily verbal abuse.

But it is abusive to launch frequent verbal attacks on a child’s appearance, intelligence, competence, or value as a human being.

Verbal abusers have two distinct styles.

There are those who attack directly, openly, viciously degrading their children.

They may call them stupid, worthless, or ugly.  Or, even worse, that they wish their child had never been born.

They don’t bother to hide behind rationalizations.  Instead, they just bombard their children with cruel insults, and derogatory names.

These parents are extraordinarily insensitive to both the pain they are inflicting and the lasting damage they are doing.

Such blatant verbal abuse can sear into a child’s self-worth like a cattle brand, leaving deep psychological scars.

Others are more indirect, attacking the child with a constant barrage of teasing, sarcasm, insulting nicknames, and subtle put-downs.

These parents often hide their abuse behind the façade of humor.

They make jokes like “You must have been hiding behind the door when they passed out the brains.”

And, if the child complains or acts hurt, the abuser usually accuses him or her of not being able to take a joke.

Eventually the child can’t distinguish the truth from a joke, a threat from a tease.

Children take sarcasm and humorous exaggeration at face value.  They believe and internalize what their parents say about them.

Many parents dish out their verbal abuse under the guise of guidance.  To justify their remarks, they might say, “I’m just trying to help you become a better person.”

Then there are the perfectionist parents.

The impossible expectation that children be perfect is another common trigger for severe verbal attacks.

Many verbally abusive parents are also high achievers, so all too often their homes become dumping grounds for career stress.

These parents seem to operate under the illusion that if they can just get their children to be perfect, they will be a perfect family.

So often these children grow up and never reach their potential because they feel that if they can’t be perfect, they may as well give up.

Children need to make mistakes and to discover that it’s not the end of the world when they do.  That’s how they gain the confidence to try new things in life.

While there is no question that children can be damaged by put-downs from friends, teachers, siblings, and other family members, children are most vulnerable to (verbal abuse) from their parents.

Parents are the center of a young child’s universe.

And, if your all-knowing parents think bad things about you they must be true.

If Mother is always saying “You’re stupid,” then you must be stupid.

And if Father is always saying “You’re worthless,” then you are.

A child has no perspective from which to cast doubt on these assessments.

When you put these negative opinions into your child, they internalize them, and this internalization changes “you are” to “I am” and forms the foundation of low self-esteem.

Besides significantly impairing your child’s sense of himself as a lovable valuable competent person, your verbal abuse can create self-fulfilling negative expectations about how they will get along in the world.

So I will sum up by saying, STOP and THINK before you speak.

Remember that what you input today will materialize in one form or another tomorrow.

Do you want it to be a positive, or a negative?  It’s your choice.

Thank YOU Sharon!

I sincerely hope that you found this post inspiring and useful.

I am here if you need me.

I invite you to support our community by posting a comment or question on my blog. I am here if you need me.

See you next week.

Live, connect, love and prosper

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