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I’m not sure how old I was, but big enough to stand at the stove to cook my own eggs.

My Poppy walked into the kitchen. Looking over my shoulder, he told me to turn off the burner, because the pan was hot enough to finish cooking the eggs. At the time I thought he was just being miserly, as my depression era grandfather was known to be.

Like I said, I’m not sure how old I was, but let’s quietly agree…it was a long time ago. Yet, almost anytime I cook eggs, I can hear my Poppy’s words, as I decide just the right time to turn off the heat.

Words live as far as I’m concerned.

His words were positive and added to my library of cooking skills, but not all words are so helpful.

Words can hurt.

Especially when they are used wrongly.

Hence the term, verbal abuse.

Those derogatory, demeaning, and cutting words, meant to put you in your place. To give another power over you. Those words not only hurt you when they are said, but when said often enough, become part of you and your thinking about yourself.

Words were one of the hardest obstacles for me to overcome, as I worked through the healing from abuse.

How I looked.

What kind of person I was.

My intelligence.

My capabilities.

I mostly think I’ve come to be on good terms with words. But still, even after all these years, some will catch me off guard. The person saying them may not even mean harm in them. Yet, because those words harmed me in the past, I’m sensitive.

My Poppy’s words live in me, fondly when I cook eggs.

My abuser’s words, fortunately, less and less over time. And, I have learned to take those words in stride when they catch me off guard.

How about you? How do words effect you? And what are some tips for working through this?

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