Language: Tool for Good or Weapon of Destruction

Language is one of our greatest tools.  It is also one of our deadliest weapons.  What we say, how we say it, where we say, and to whom we say it can all have a tremendous impact.  The environment and the listener’s state of mind add to the impact.  Emotions come into play.  Statements are taken out of context.  Statements can and will be misinterpreted.  Once communicated, one;s statement may have positive or negative results.  There is a strong possibility at times that the resulting reaction to the statement may be completely contrary to the intention.  Once a statement is made, it cannot be taken back.  History is made, and it cannot be reversed.  What is said or has been written down becomes permanently memorialized.  In a word, it is irreparable.

How do you use or separate emotion from verbal communication?  That is the question.  There is no bullet-proof answer.  One of my weaknesses is that my anger gets in my way.  And people get in the way of my anger.  I have gotten in the way of other individuals’ anger.  I am sure that this is the case with many others.  Then, one or the other ends regretting what they have said or not said.  Afterwards, there are feelings of remorse.  If there is retaliation from the recipient, the situation escalates.  There may even by more anger.  Then, the question becomes who is in control and who is not in control–until it reaches a point where there is no possible reparation or no one really cares.

If one is a sociopath or a reptile, I guess none of the really matters, since they are cold-blooded anyway–to them, someone else’s emotions do not matter.  Therefore, they do what they do.  IN business, that type of creature seems to be more prevalent than in the past.  Automation and the Internet does not help.  They have made people more cold-blooded and less thinking.  You do not get a hug from a computer screen or a text message.  Yet, so many people would rather communicate through mechanical devices.

Whatever the case, as far as the above is concerned, it seems that more people in the work environment have become alienated.  Too often, the work environment is perceived as a hostile world that takes the life out of people.  So many times, perhaps because of all the bureaucracy, whether private or public, workers are subject to more than their fair share of angst, dread, and spiritual deprivation.


  1. This is such a highly intelligent and articulate post on the power of words. They truly can be, and often are, weapons of destruction. That’s what makes verbal abuse so devastating; it causes wounds to our psyches that have no cure. Like you, I’ve found that anger is the emotion wielded in our modern society in a very real struggle for dominance. Some – especially the sociopaths you speak of – are the aggressors. They are constantly on the offense…and also constantly at the ready to become ‘offended’ at the merest perceived slight. Narcissistic Personality Disorder – one of the major psychopathologies – has increased during the past 10 or 15 years. I read somewhere that NPD is approximately six times more prevalent today than it was back then; and that these people do indeed make their way into positions that allow them to dominate others.

    Others are pulled into what I call ‘reactive abuse’. That is, we become so distressed by the cruel verbal abuse that’s being hurled at us, we do everything we can to defend ourselves and our reputation. I believe this is all part of a narcissist’s game. He or she wants us to react and will push and push us until we do. They then turn around and accuse us of being the abuser. It truly does mess with your head – crazy-making behaviour at its finest.

    I’ve found ‘rational emotive behaviour therapy’ (Ellis) to be a really helpful tool in learning to not react to an abuser’s onslaught. It’s a technique often used in psychotherapy and I’ll be doing a post on it shortly. Keep up the good work. Your insights are valuable.


    • I really do appreciate the time that you have spent reviewing the post. I try to articulate what is my heart.

      I read a lot. I am a writer. I have a book called “No Silver Bullets.” It is has been edited and ready for publication.

      There are a number of good books out there that I ready about NPD. In my thoughts, I think that the issue is more of sociological perspective. When you have an addicted society, orientated towards immediate gratification, do we not create more these type of individuals?

      I also have a question about why the need for pharmaceutical companies to advertise directly to the public. Besides New Zealand, we are the only country that allows that. We present silver bullets, with this advertising, when, in fact, it is about money and control. People use these expecting to get better and they do not. Frustration increases when these illusions are not met. Could that be impacting suicide rates? I am not sure.

      Back to CBT. Beck and Ellis were the guys behind this. It can and is effective. I suspect that this type of processing would not work with borderline or narcissitic individuals.


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