Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones, But Words Can Just About Cripple You

Few of us would passively hold still while being whacked with sticks and pelted with rocks. So how come, when it comes to verbal assaults, so many of us go all deer-in-the-headlights?

Maybe it’s because some of those word missiles have been launched at us so many times, we no longer consciously register them (think of the parent who’s been telling his offspring they’ll never amount to anything for the past, oh, forty years). Other times, we don’t hear the verbal slap for what it is because it comes disguised as “advice” from someone we think we can trust.

But even when verbal attacks are pretty obvious, it’s not always easy to know how to defend against them. Consider the following:

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