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March 13, 2009

STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES BUT WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME: THE POWER OF WORDS IN RELATIONSHIPS

 

I often hear people proudly say that they’ve never hit their child or loved ones in an effort to defend how they speak to them (I.e.: “I may call my son a wimp, but at least I don’t hit him”).  I’ve never heard so clearly however, the absurdity of justifying ones words by the lack of physical beatings as I heard today when Sarah shared a little saying of her grandmother’s.  The loving saying (I say this in jest mind you) went like this:  “I never laid a hand on my children, but I could peel the skin off their back with my tongue”.

 

Yikes…I could not have expressed the toxicity of cutting words more perfectly myself, no matter how hard I tried.  You have to love these little quips for providing us with wonderful life lessons on what NOT to do. 

 

The reality is that words can be just as painful, scarring, and brutal as fists and belts.  Being proud of never striking your partner or child is wonderful… if you’re also being loving and respectful.  If you believe however, that as long as you don’t hit your loved ones you’re okay--think again.  Abuse is the maltreatment of a person and it is harmful regardless of whether the weapon of choice is your hand or mouth.

 

CHALLENGE:  For those of you who can “…peel the skin off the back of your loved ones with your tongue”, read about the impact of that below…and learn to keep your tongue in your mouth and your mouth closed if you can’t control your toxicity.

Dave Barnes
Sticks And Stones lyrics

 

You would have kept those words on your tongue,
If you had known the hurt they had done.
While your fists stay by, right by your side,
Your words they bruise me deep inside.

I'd rather have sticks and stones and broken bones
than the words you say to me,
Cause i know bruises heal and cuts will seal
but your words beat the life from me.

Sometimes your words are thick as lead,
You swing them strong upside my head.
But what hasn't killed has made me strong,
So i'll take my scars and move along.

I'd rather have sticks and stones and broken bones
than the words you say to me,
Cause i know bruises heal and cuts will seal
but your words beat the life from me.

Goodbye is the best way that I know,
To forgive and still be letting go.

I'd rather have sticks and stones and broken bones
than the words you say to me,
Cause i know bruises heal and cuts will seal
but your words beat the life from me.

 

Comments

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this is the most beautiful thing i ve ever read in my life ... i ve bullied all my life.... i wish if everyone can read it !!

sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me. When i'll die, you will cry for all the things you told me.

What you said makes me feel like you are an idiot.
The reality is that words can be just as painful, scarring, and brutal as fists and belts.

No...words do not hurt as much as fists.
You really think that verbal abuse is as bad as actual abuse.
Words should not hurt, they are just words. Words can hurt but NOWHERE CLOSE TO ACTUAL ABUSE.
You probably have never been abused, so you think that words are bad.
Calling someone names is much better than kicking and punching someone.

Verbal abuse is for people that have never actually been hurt.
You wouldn't have the balls to tell someone physically abused that you know their pain because you were verbally abused. And if you say that, you are an idiot.
Verbal attack is not an attack or abuse.
They are words, I am sorry that you are so sensitive that anything said to you makes you cry.

Verbal abuse is nowhere close to physical abuse.
It is bad, but not that bad.

Terrible terrible post.

Dear Collin: I've been thinking about how to respond to your comment and can only say that although you may have had a great message to myself and my readers...your message got lost in the delivery. The harshness of your words truly weakens your message. If you speak like that to your loved ones than you are fooling yourself into thinking your words don't hurt. They will beat the spirit out of those close to you.
Physical abuse is horrendous and I do not think in any way that it is not toxic, abusive and scaring as well. My point of the post was that words can also do great harm to individuals. I know many children who were constantly told they were losers, stupid and no good by their parents. These children grow up to doubt themselves, hate themselves and believe what they were told about themselves. Words cause damage as does physical violence and often people spend much of their lives trying to overcome that damage.
Lisa

Very true. Words have a deeper meaning then a lot of things. It is really hard to forget when someone ridicules, berates, or embarrasses you. I am just glad that I am learning to control my words now.

Nice post, Lisa, and I love the lyrics.

Sometimes we don't realize even our "humor" is painful. Biting jokes made at the expense of another person peels the skin too. As you have pointed out to me many times, sarcasm's root is "rending the flesh."

So, I'd add, realize your humor can be just as much of a whip as abusive language.

Great post!
Kim

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