We’ve all heard the adage about “sticks and stones” and how “words can never hurt you”. Well, it’s not true and we have studies to prove it!
One study showed that the “mental health effects of childhood bullying are still evident up to 40 years later.” The study also showed that “Victims of bullying have ‘poorer health, lower income, lower quality of life’ as adults”.
Another study found that verbal abuse could cause as much damage in adulthood as physical and sexual abuse. One researcher opines that “Verbal abuse may also have more lasting consequences than other forms of abuse, because it’s often more continuous.” As someone who suffered verbal and physical abuse in the home as well as major bullying throughout school, these studies explain a lot about my mental health issues.
Language and it’s use and abuse will be a continuing subject on this blog. I was 30 years old when the concept of damaging words first came to my attention. It’s been an item of interest to me ever since. So expect to hear more about language as we go forward. So many topics of interest to me have a strong basis in language: racism, sexism, self-hatred. The list can go on and on. And the damage is not just individual, but societal as well.
What are your thoughts on the effect of language not only on individuals but on society? Have you experienced this kind of abuse or witnessed it? What are your experiences?