I ran across this wonderful example of how verbal abuse leaves scars which often times leave deeper scars than physical abuse:
There was a little boy who had a bad temper and would curse and bully others. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper and cruel words rather than drive those nails into the fence.
Finally, the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. That day, the boy’s father sat him down again, and said “I’m proud of you son. But there’s one thing I want you to do now. I want you to pry out all the nails you hammered into my fence.” It took the boy all afternoon to pull them out, but he felt good about it. He felt like he was undoing the damage that he had done. That is until he had finished, and his father looked at his handiwork and asked the boy what he saw.
“A bunch of holes in the fence,” he replied. “But I took out all the nails, just like you asked!” The father then looked at him and said, “You have done well but now try taking out the holes. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.”
Our words, our actions, like the nails in that fence, leave an impact that can’t be undone. What comes out of your mouth is what contaminates, be it hateful noise, or indifferent silence. Bruises may heal but words leave scars that last a lifetime. No matter how many times you say you are sorry, the wound is still there.