Words Do Hurt. Literally.

What if words do hurt, not only emotionally, but physically? What if verbal abuse turns into physical abuse? Will people be careful with their words knowing that their words cause pain literally?

These are my questions while I was writing Words Do Hurt, a short story of mine that is now published on Wattpad (you can read it for free here). This idea came to my mind while I was listening to The Greatest Showman’s “This Is Me” specifically, the line “When the sharpest words wanna cut me down…” (By the way, the story is in English so you can check it out.)

Story behind:

This short story is largely based on my own experiences. My author’s note at the end best explained the whole short story and reasons why I wrote it. Note: Iris is the main character in the short story.

This is a short story but I did as much as possible to show what Iris is experiencing and to get my message across. The whole time I was writing this, I can’t count how many times my eyes got filled up with liquid. Ever since I was young and up until now, I continue to experience verbal abuses from my parents. But I got better at handling it because of the community I am part of. But still, this pandemic I struggled with verbal abuses a lot because I’m always at home.

At the end of this short story, I imagined that the young woman would help Iris in her journey similar to how my community played a pivotal role in teaching me how to respect and love myself while at the same time, respecting other people around me. I also noted that the young woman herself had scars of her own meaning she experienced verbal abuses too but she still got up and chose to be kind. And I know that Iris can too. She just needs someone who can support her throughout her journey.

And this short story is not to induce hate to my parents or your own parents if you are experiencing this as well but rather to understand. Also, I wanted to inform. A lot of people think that verbal abuse only includes curse words but, no. There are others like gaslighting. Iris parents are parents that are hurt but still think that cursing on their child is not good, hence they try to rephrase their words as much as they could. A detail that I want to discuss is that Iris’ parents like to repeat themselves. They continue to say the same thing but in different arrangements of words. Such actions neither contribute anything to the conversation nor does it move the conversation forward. The only thing it does is continue to cause emotional damage to the other person by constantly reprimanding them for the same thing.

To people experiencing verbal abuse, your feelings are valid. You can get mad. You can get sad. That’s okay. What’s not okay is hurting other people either physically or emotionally. Just this morning, while listening to The Greatest Showman’s “This Is Me”, from the line, “When the sharpest words gonna cut me down…” I caught the idea of what if words really cut someone? What if verbal abuses became visible? Will we be more careful with other words? Or will we continue to hurt each other because we are hurting too?

Published by

Claire Hernandez

I'm Claire, a college student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. I write about my journey, growth, and how design influences the behaviour of the users. Moreover, I am fascinated about the psychology of space, hence you can see me citing research studies in my posts. Email: hernandezanaclaire@gmail.com

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