We all get angry at our S.O. every now and again. However, anger should never result in passive-aggressive behavior or verbal abuse. The same goes for the opposite—refusing to speak can hurt just as badly and is a symptom of greater issues in a relationship.
Poor communication about someone's feelings can be just as abusive as using words to humiliate or put that person down. A spouse may engage in the silent treatment or belittle their partner for having certain feelings. Doing so minimizes them. When your feelings are minimized in such a way, you eventually learn to ignore them.
How do you know if your feelings are being dismissed? Read on to learn more about the impact a lack of communication can have on you and your relationship.
If you express feelings they are not happy with, they may respond by not responding. Of course their message is clear, but by saying nothing, they make you do all the work of figuring it out. If this is a frequent tactic for expressing distaste or disappointment, the one on the receiving end may stop expressing themself entirely, which will exponentially exacerbate the problems in the relationship. Both people may begin to feel like their worth is in a backslide.
If this happens to you, you may have noticed the relationship between being listened to with respect and not feeling heard. But the only way to be certain how someone feels is for them to tell you, and when they engage in the silent treatment, there is no way to fully understand what they are thinking.
Taking No Action Toward Change
Your spouse may acknowledge your feelings but do nothing to change the situation. He or she may be a great listener and communicator but poor at taking the steps needed to solve your shared problems. Assuming that they do speak to you about certain issues (in other words, they are not giving you the silent treatment), their actions may contradict the respect you feel you receive from them in conversation.
Verbal commitments are only as reliable as the person who makes them. When communication in a relationship is shaky, the trust between partners may erode; broken trust results from blatant contradiction between what they say and do.
Criticism or Deprecation About Their Feelings
Your spouse listens and then belittles you for feeling the way you do. Have you ever sat down and opened your heart to your spouse, only to have him or her tell you that you are being silly? By dismissing your feelings outright, one learns to hide their feelings. You feel insecure in the relationship and doubt your own feelings. In terms of power in the relationship, you become the child and your spouse becomes the parent.
Verbal abuse can be hard to identify and respond to. Unlike physical abuse that leaves scars for others to see, verbal abuse leaves emotional scars. Although those scars are hidden, they are just as devastating.