People who indulge in verbal abuse want to keep real people out of their pretend world. They want to turn real people into pretend people. They feel they have succeeded if they can get the real person to try to explain him- or herself. If the real person tries to explain and argue against what the abuser is saying, the real person is acting as if the abuser’s world is the real world, instead of a pretend one. It is a “win” for the abuser because he or she has gotten someone to take his or her pretend world seriously.
It is better to say, “Nonsense!” to verbal abuse (since it is nonsense) than to try to deal with the abuser in a logical way. In other words, explaining why something said to you is wrong doesn’t keep the verbal abuser from abusing you. When people indulge in verbal abuse, they are not being logical. They are being irrational. Verbal abuse is all pretend talk….
Thinking about it, we know that no one lives inside another person, so no one knows our inner world. But when someone tells us who we are or how we feel, or anything else about our inner world, our identity, how we do what we do, or how successful we’ll be, most of us feel as if we want to set them straight, correct them, or give them an explanation. In other words, we want to talk to them as if they were in the real world with us. But they are in a pretend world.
— Patricia Evans, Teen Torment: Overcoming Verbal Abuse at Home and at School, p. 21-23