Wounded by Words: Healing the Invisible Scars of Emotional Abuse
Susan Titus Osborn, Karen Kosman and Jeenie Gordon tell their personal accounts of being victims of emotional abuse as children by various family members. Each story is intense and powerfully depicted, and readers will find themselves engaged (and enraged) by each one.
Told in both first person and third person points of view, the authors take turns sharing their own journeys toward emotional health and how they each discovered that they were not to blame for the ill treatment exacted upon them. Though their life paths have been up and down because of their rocky beginnings, all three now stand on the opposite side of the victim fence and offer a solid resource of hope and help to countless men, women and children.
In this 12-chapter text, interested observers or individuals who suffer silently from emotional abuse in their adult relationships will learn from others’ stories of trial and triumph on topics such as these: the power of words as lethal weapons meted out to control and dominate others; how verbal abusers isolate, disorient and indoctrinate their victims (usually family members); how the abused often lack confidence and have distorted images of themselves; how to recognize the tell-tale signs of abuse, which might include reclusive behavior and poor decision-making; how breaking the cycle requires understanding the deeper underlying issues; when physical personas begin to reveal the inner turmoil; learning how to break the cycle of abuse and laying a new solid foundation in Christ and His promises; setting appropriate boundaries against further abuse; and engaging in fresh opportunities for new growth by understanding God's faithful care and presence.
Throughout the text, there are inspirational poems and stories as told by numerous men and women from across all economic, social and religious backgrounds. Many of these accounts of emotional abuse are inflicted by close family members such as parents or spouses. However, there are also stories of those who suffered from church authorities, employers, teachers and other non-family individuals. What may strike readers most is how frequently the abused fail to recognize that they are being manipulated by another until either a crisis occurs or someone from outside the situation intervenes and calls attention to the problem.
Readers will appreciate the candor and honesty as told by the authors. Clearly, they understand that of which they write, and people will find practical measures to take to remove themselves from continuing the cycle of abuse from every vantage point. WOUNDED BY WORDS is an excellent resource for identifying and revealing the emotional and verbal abuse that, sadly, is found as much in the church as outside of it.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on January 17, 2008