Counseling/verbal abuse

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Question
Hello
At work I have had my night supervisor verbally abuse me to a few other co workers.  I have reported him a few times and it has slowed down but I am worried he will start up again.  He has no people skills.
I also hear verbal abuse from my neighbours.  I hear names like retard and loser usually from behind doors but also at times when they may pass my door.
A co worker told me that when someone runs another person down it is because that person has self esteem issues.  Another co worker told me just try to always think of happy thoughts. For me it is  a pleasant smell, so to imagine being surrounded by a pleasant aroma when the verbal abuse is starting.
My mother says I am too sensitive, and I need to stop caring what other's think. If the person does not come to my face and say it, it shows that he or she is a coward so why let it bother you she told me.  Should I give a response such as, thank you, I only wish I can be more like you and then giggle or give this response, that's what you say and then laugh.  I need your help please so verbal abuse will not get to me anymore.  Will these responses actually make the verbal abuse worse or is it best to not give the satisfaction of a reaction.  When I hear the  abuse start, what are some of the best ways you feel to handle this verbal abuse? so I can sail right thru this verbal abuse.  I don't want it to show that it is upsetting me as my sister said if the person knows he or she is getting under my skin he or she will keep it up and I do not want to lower myself to his or her level by giving verbal abuse back to that person.

Thank you for your help.

Answer
Hi Jeff,

You ask a very good question about how to respond to someone who is verbally abusive.

I do actually like your response: "thank you, I only wish I can be more like you and then giggle or give this response, that's what you say and then laugh."

I suggest doing absolutely nothing, but then he thinks the door is open to continue.  Therefore,
try saying: "Thank you for those words of wisdom - you must study wisdom a lot.  - Do you have any other words of wisdom you wish to share right now?"    Then walk away.   Let me know what happens.

Can you ignore him; not talk to him at all, even if he is talking to you?

Also, check the law in your province about verbal abuse. Continue letting your employer know and remind the "wise one" he may lose his job by being verbally abusive. Is he verbally abusive to others.  

Dr. Pat

Counseling

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Patricia A. Schafer, Ph.D.

Expertise

I specialize in various forms of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and also stress, phobias, life changes, grief, women's issues, men's issues, etc. My licenses are: Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor -Supervisor(LPCC-S) and Licensed Professional Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC) in the state of Ohio and a National Certified Counselor (NCC).

Experience

12 years experience. I counsel substance abusers, families of alcoholics/drug addictions, and codependency issues. I also specialize in social phobia; stress; anxieties; women`s issues; grief and adjustments to life changes. Some therapeutic techniques used are: CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behaviorial Therapy)REBT (Rational Emotive), SFT (Solution Focused) and 12-Step, etc. If you live in the Cleveland area, you can contact me at my office for an appointment at: 440-349-4521. I am on various insurance panels and EAP programs.

Organizations
ACA, OCA, NCOCA, OMHCA

Publications
Experiences of prejudice among individuals in African American and Caucasian Interracial Marriages: A Q-methodological Study (Doctoral Dissertation - December 2008; Wilsnack and Beckman's book: Alcohol Problems in Women (1984). Alcohol use and marital violence: Female and Male Differences in reactions to alcohol(pages 260-279.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. In counseling MA In Counseling BS In Psychology

Awards and Honors
Previous president of NCOCA (North Central Ohio Counseling Association); previous president of Chi Sigma Iota. Two years VISTA volunteer on Navajo reservation in Inscription House and Shonto.

Past/Present Clients
Do to HIPAA privacy laws, I do not release any info about my client.

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