Verbal Abuse Update

The post I did on verbal abuse for Blog Catalog's Blogging Against Abuse challenge last September is still getting regular hits, so I thought I
would post an update to some of what's going on in the relatively new field of the study of verbal abuse.

There's this tiny link on the home page, to this fantastic essay from the St. Petersburg Times called "Life: The lies that bind."

Oh. My. God. Bad enough to have been raised by a verbally abusive father who can get under your skin and does so knowingly. I had this epiphany when I was in my early thirties, I think. Can you imagine having it when you were seven? And this father takes it a step further... by ramming it home to his little girl in no uncertain terms in the middle of the night, along with the crystal clear message that he thinks she is stupid and worthless. Seven years old. Oh My God. I pray for the children. I pray for the inner child in all of us, even the abusers.

I haven't mentioned The Zero before. It's Andrew Vachss' website. He's a lawyer and author. He's also a leader and a warrior in the anti child abuse movement. He's awesome. The website's 10th anniversary was in 2006.

"I am an unrealistically optimistic person, so I surprise myself by closing on a sad note. Amid all of this self-congratulation for The Zero, I know that so far we have failed. Kids are still not safe. When more people care about cruelty against animals than cruelty toward kids, we have failed. When the National Rifle Association has more money and more members than PROTECT, we have failed. When the most dangerous place for children is their own homes, we have failed. I am glad The Zero exists, but I love it less for what it is than for what it will be."

The Zero to Me: 10 Years Down and a Lifetime to Go
Joel A. Dvoskin, Ph.D., ABPP

Mr. Vachss' opinion of CASA:

Nutley, NJ: How effective do you feel CASA programs are and why would its existence be unwelcome in any particular County. I'm interested in helping to establish this program in Passaic County. Your comments are welcome!

Andrew Vachss: CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates, evokes two separate feelings in me. When CASA volunteers are used as ADJUNCTS in the representation of a child, I couldn't be more supportive. However, in jurisdictions where CASAs are used INSTEAD OF legal representation for a child, I think this is a pernicious denial of due process for children. The idea that a warm, caring volunteer could "represent" a child who has putatively been abused by adults, who are themselves going to be represented by actual attorneys is, to me, a replication of the child's situation in his or her own home. That is, not a fair fight.

Pain Management: Andrew Vachss
Chat Transcript
Online chat at, October 4, 2001



The Official Website of Andrew Vachss

Here are some excerpts from Patricia Evans' latest e-newsletter. I don't see a direct link to the newsletter on her site so I'm reproducing it here, along with the link to sign up for it yourself at the end:

INMATES BECOME AWARE! And UpcomingWorkshop.

This is our 8th Newsletter. Please feel free to forward it to your friends.

I hope you find this newsletter most interesting, because, besides the workshop reminder, I have taken excerpts from letters from one California Prison, where men are waking up to what they've done and what's gone wrong.

Information about my spring workshop/retreat Clarity '08 is at this URL

If you can come, it would be great! :):) I am there the whole time talking a lot. You will meet the coolest women who also share a lot, (but no one has to talk unless they want to). It's an opportunity that only comes once a year-to be in a room with women who are just like you-conscious, smart, capable and wanting to see the world awaken to its better potential. I'll be bringing you new healing techniques and insights. Networking opportunities and a networking table will also be available. Please call me at 925 934 5972 with any questions or thoughts.

Please NOTE: Starting this year, all Clarity '08 information will only be sent via e-mail newsletters and via my websites and Please feel free to send this on to your mailing lists and to anyone you think would be interested.

It seems to me that people can become aware of what is true and what is not, of their own purpose and value by understanding what has happened to them and why it has happened, and, most importantly, why, no matter what they say or do, they cannot always gain love and acceptance from certain others.

Usually people who have grown up in a world where people have attempted to control them by defining them or threatening them, or using them, or abusing them, need to understand what is wrong with the controlling person or persons around them. They need this before they can love and accept themselves.

Seldom has this point been made more clearly than by the words of some young men in a California prison. I heard from two of them recently, while they told me of others with whom they were sharing their enlightenment. These young men had possessed intelligence and gifts that gave promise to themselves and to the world. But this promise had not been realized because they had not realized what had happened to them, nor of the malignant influences around them, and so they found themselves seeking relief by self-medicating- i.e. using drugs that led them to their incarceration.

I will not use their names although they said I could. One of them reached me by phone. He told me he had sent a letter and that he and five other inmates were reading "Controlling People" and becoming aware, inspired and motivated.

Here is what he told me, stating, "I-hereby authorize and sanction this letter to be publicized if Patricia Evans wishes to do so." and so he signed it.

Referring to the disconnection, I describe in the book, and the identity that is built backwards from the outside in, the first young man wrote, in beautifully uniform print, this excerpt:

"These confinements are plagued with amoral people who have been built backwards. All of whom seem to be content with their "disconnectedness." Thanks to your doctrine (book) I am now able to recognize the undercurrent of "control" as it subtly and relentlessly permeates these institutions; possessing many inmates to execute heartless actions that are unfathamable to the common folk. Patricia, your concepts are totally therapeutic. I have read and reread your book "Controlling People" and each time I study it, I become more and more enlightened- oftentimes I find myself pondering over your teachings and the end result is I have remedied my distorted views and purged my dysfunctional train of thought and outrageous expectations. I have introduced your doctrine to my associate and together we have set out to effect betterment amongst the inmates so we can hopefully achieve our ultimate goal which is to facilitate peace and harmony throughout the penal system. Advancement demands change! We are diligently advocating your doctrine and actively promoting your book far and wide. I feel indebted to you for opening my eyes to a better reality."

He went on to say, that as a 26 yr old he did not make a conscious decision to lead a lawless life and walk a socially unacceptable path, rather he said "I was naïve and unable to recognize the deceptive welcoming into this lifestyle for what it was."

There was more to his letter, but now an excerpt from another inmate who has studied my book along with others at the prison.

He stated: "I authorize you to publish any portion of this letter if you want" and so he signed it.

"-I'm a 36 year old intellectual who has read many self help books. I've also done work with- Nothing I've read or studied has opened my mind and broadened my perspective of my life. Your book has reconnected me to myself. I have a totally new way of thinking. I'm indebted to you. I am now connected to my compelling force. Your book has made me realize I was in a totally discombobulated state of mind."

I also want to note that I received another letter at the same time from another young man. He was not in prison nor ever had been in one, but his words again exemplified the impact of understanding the concepts in "Controlling People." He wrote a long and eloquent letter, here is some of it:

"You have shown me how to break the spell for myself.-Thank you for showing me how to use these tools which have allowed me to save myself. The anxiety, which had plagued me for so many years, a physical manifestation of my inner confusion and fear is gone. I feel stronger with each day and can honestly say that I feel happy, despite whatever events may occur in the outer world. I'm happy inside, because I am at peace. I can feel who I am. Those deep questions, that probing of others for answers, which only I can provide, are resolved. I wake up, and my smile shines from the inside. Please, do keep writing."

With warm regards,

Patricia Evans
EICI, Inc.
So. Maybe there is hope for the abusers.

Sign up to receive Patricia Evans' newsletter here.


  1. Reading Patricia Evan's books has given me such clarity about what is going on in my so called marriage. I am getting stronger every day. Thanks for blogging about this very important issue.


  2. I spent 23 years in an emotionally abusive relationship when I read one of Patricia Evans' books (Emotionally Abusive Relationships). I felt that both I and my ex-husband jumped off of each and every page.

    I am no longer in that relationship and my life is getting better and stronger each day.

    Today, I work with a fellow who is helping people effectively reduce fibro pain without drugs, ongoing costs and without rigid lifestyle changes. We have found that many of the people that came to us for help have suffered terribly from the mouths of emotionally abusive parents. The toll emotional abuse takes on peoples'lives is enormous.

  3. Thank you Jennie and Lori for commenting. Lori, I look forward to learning more about what you're doing regarding FM. So far I've found that alternative treatments for FM are even more expensive for me than traditional ones are. Because I qualify for most types of financial assistance for traditional treatment. There is no help for the less intrusive alternative methods. To put it bluntly, that sucks.

  4. Given your affinity for Andrew Vachss' work, I thought this might be worth sharing: Oprah's 1993 interview of Andrew Vachss has been uploaded to YouTube. If you missed it the first time around, you can watch it now at

  5. Thanks Connie. That's probably the Oprah show I first saw Vachss on. Then I started reading his fiction, which I wasn't too impressed with. I just remember he kept repeating the same phrase over & over about the main character's affinity for blow jobs. So I quit reading him in disgust for many years, then for some reason tried him again and found that either his writing had improved or my taste had taken a nose dive. Probably the former since I'm just getting older and ever more disgusted with BJ obsession. Now I keep up with all Vachss' fiction.


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