How to Handle Emotionally Abusive Parents (with Pictures)

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How to Handle Emotionally Abusive Parents (with Pictures)
How to Handle Emotionally Abusive Parents (with Pictures)

Not all abuse and aggression result in scars and bruises. In fact, a much more common form of abuse is verbal aggression, which can be just as or more traumatizing than physical abuse - it can have long-lasting negative effects on children's social, physical and emotional development. The most effective way to deal with your parents' emotional abuse is by setting boundaries and keeping your distance (if possible), but you can also vent to others about the difficult situation you've been in. Also, by learning ways to deal with stress and increase your self-esteem, you will find it easier to deal with the problem, both now and in the future.


Part 1 of 4: Looking for Help

Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 1

Step 1. Talk about these experiences with your friends and loved ones

Having someone to vent during an abusive situation can be quite comforting, so trust a loved one and ask for help - they may offer words of support, validate your feelings, or share some advice.

  • Say something like "I know this might come as a shock to you, but my family life is really bad. My mom looks down on me and says I won't be anyone when I grow up. It's just words, but this situation makes me feel bad with myself".
  • Keep in mind that emotional abusers often brainwash victims that no one will care, believe them, or take the story seriously; however, you may be surprised at the amount of support you will receive from sharing the story with your loved ones.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 2

Step 2. Talk to a trusted adult

If you are a child dealing with any type of domestic abuse, talk to a family member, teacher, religious leader, or any other adult you can trust - don't let your abusive parents pressure you to keep it a secret. An adult can intervene in situations where a child feels completely helpless.

  • You may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about abuse with an adult, but sharing your story with others is very important, so start by saying something like “I've been having some issues at home lately. Can I talk to you about this?”. Another option would be to put these feelings down on paper if you feel more comfortable writing.
  • If you've already talked to one of your teachers or instructors, but he hasn't helped you much, make an appointment to talk about the problem with your school's guidance counselor.
  • You can also call the Human Rights Hotline on 100 if you don't want to speak to someone in person. This phone is free, confidential, and works 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 3

Step 3. Seek a mental health professional

Emotional abuse can cause a lot of psychological damage, and without proper treatment, you will be at greater risk for self-esteem issues, and you may also have difficulty developing healthy relationships throughout your life. Breaking the negative beliefs and mental patterns created by emotional abuse can be difficult, but a therapist will help you cope more easily.

  • Look for a therapist who specializes in children or adults who are victims of abuse. Gradually, you will feel more comfortable in the company of this professional and will begin to share your experiences during therapy - he will ask relevant questions and offer ideas to guide each session.
  • If you're still a child, check to see if your educational institution offers any kind of free psychological counseling - if so, see your school counselor or psychologist and say something like "I've been having problems at home. My dad doesn't hit me, but he does insults and humiliates me in front of my brothers. Could you help me?"
  • If you are an adult, contact your health plan and see if it covers psychological assistance services.
  • Many therapists offer discounts for patients who cannot afford the full cost of sessions, and you may also be able to consult the Psychological and Social Care Center (CAPS) or the equivalent service in your municipality for free care.

Part 2 of 4: Keeping Your Distance

Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 4

Step 1. Refuse to participate in the situation

Withdraw from the environment whenever someone begins to verbally abuse you - you are under no obligation to stay, call, visit, or otherwise expose yourself to abuse; so don't let adults use guilt to convince you that you deserve or need to be mistreated. Set and respect your own limits.

  • Discontinue visits or phone calls if you are being abused at your parent's home.
  • If you live in the same house as they do, go to your room or a friend's house when your parents are yelling or insulting you.
  • Set limits if you decide to stay in touch with them - say something like "I'll call you once a week, but I'll hang up if you start being mean to me."
  • Remember that we don't need to participate in a discussion when we don't want to, meaning you don't have to defend yourself in any way, nor are you obligated to respond to a nasty adult comment.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 5

Step 2. Gain financial independence

Don't live with emotionally abusive parents and don't allow them to have control over your life - many abusers control their victims through emotional or financial dependency, so earn your own money, make your own friends, and live alone. Don't depend on these abusive parents for anything.

  • Study if you can. Look for courses at public universities or research student funding options, and see how to do this without the need for a parent to participate - you may need to present a document issued by a mental health professional attesting to domestic abuse issues.
  • Leave home as soon as you have financial conditions.
  • If you are unable to finish college without living with your family or counting on their financial support, make a point of taking care of yourself and setting personal limits.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 6

Step 3. Assess the possibility of severing relationships

You may feel that you owe your parents something, but these family interactions can be a major source of pain, particularly if emotional abuse is still present. So consider severing ties with these people if the relationship brings more pain than love.

  • You are not indebted to a person who abused you.
  • In addition, you should not explain to anyone if your family or neighbors do not understand the reason for the break up.
  • Having one last conversation with an abusive parent to "end the story" won't always be possible - if you don't want to keep in touch with them anymore, but are afraid you'll never be able to "end this chapter" of your life, ask yourself: he was willing to listen? Did he recognize my feelings? If the answers are negative, perhaps the best option is to simply eliminate the contact once and for all.
  • If you decide to care for your parents at some point in your life, always keep your discussions focused on their care and nothing else. Immediately remove yourself from the environment if they begin to engage in verbally abusive behavior - show that you will not tolerate such behavior.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 7

Step 4. Protect your kids

Don't allow them to experience the same type of abuse that you suffered as a child, so intervene when your parents criticize or offend children. Put an end to the conversation or stop visiting them with the family.

  • End the subject by saying something like "We don't talk to Miguel like that. You can talk to me if you have a problem with his table manners." While most conversations between adults should take place in private, your child will need to see and hear that you will protect them in the event of abuse.
  • Children will have a happier childhood if they are not subjected to the abuse of grandparents.

Part 3 of 4: Taking care of yourself

Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 8

Step 1. Avoid the other person's emotional triggers

You can probably already recognize which triggers (words or actions) trigger your parents' abusive behavior - in which case, you can more easily avoid them, or withdraw from the environment in time to avoid an aggression. The easiest way to recognize such triggers is to talk to a friend or write about situations in a journal, as this will help you identify which factors contribute to abuse.

  • Let's say your mom always yells and insults you when she's drunk-in that case, leave the house when she starts drinking.
  • If your dad tries to belittle your accomplishments whenever you get something, avoid sharing that kind of good news with him - instead, share the news with supportive people.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 9

Step 2. Find safe places indoors

Look for environments (such as your bedroom) that can function as refuges; in addition, look for places to have fun, pass the time, and take care of your chores, such as the library or a colleague's house. In addition to being able to count on your friends' support at this time, you will also avoid your parents' accusations and disdain.

Protecting yourself from abuse is smart, but you'll also need to recognize that the situation isn't your fault-no word or action justifies someone's emotional aggression

Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 10

Step 3. Develop a safety plan

The abuse isn't physical yet, but that doesn't mean things can't get worse-so create a plan to protect yourself if your parents take a violent stance and your life or limb is at risk.

  • The plan should include a safe place, the phone number of someone who can help you, and the steps needed to report the abuser to authorities, if things get that far. Enlist the help of another adult, such as a psychologist or tutor, to develop a plan that will help you feel safe in times of crisis.
  • Also plan to always have a charged cell phone nearby, in addition to your car keys, if you already have one.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 11

Step 4. Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself

Healthy self-esteem is the best antidote to emotional aggression, but unfortunately, victims of abuse often have a negative self-image and often end up getting into other abusive relationships because of it. Combat self-esteem issues by spending more time with friends, caring family members, and others who help you feel better about yourself, not worse.

Another way to increase self-esteem is to participate in activities that you do well, so join a sports team or study group at school or in your neighborhood. Such an initiative will offer two advantages: in addition to helping you feel better about yourself, these hobbies will provide a reason to spend less time indoors

Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 12

Step 5. Set personal boundaries

You have every right to set boundaries in relationships, so if you feel safe to do so, talk to your parents and tell them what their behaviors are acceptable and what they are not.

  • Also, determine what the consequences will be if your limits are breached. Some abusive people don't respect other people's personal boundaries, in which case you shouldn't feel guilty for asserting their consequences - putting them into practice is very important, as empty threats undermine your credibility with the bullies.
  • Say something like “Mom, I'm moving to grandma's house if you insult me ​​again when I get home drunk. I want to be with you, but this kind of behavior scares me."
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 13

Step 6. Learn to manage stress

Make no mistake about it: Emotional abuse can be stressful and can often lead to long-lasting problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Therefore, develop an arsenal of positive activities to be able to deal with the problem.

Healthy stress management habits such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga will help you feel calmer and more centered in your everyday life. If your symptoms are severe, seeing a therapist can be a great way to learn to deal with stress and other negative emotions

Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 14

Step 7. Identify your positive attributes, and focus on them

Regardless of what adults say, you are an important person and full of qualities, so don't listen to insults and teasing. This may take some time, but it's important that you develop self-esteem and learn to love yourself - particularly if you don't get that love at home.

  • Think about everything you like about your personality - do you know how to listen carefully? Is it generous? Intelligent? Focus on the things you admire about yourself, and remember that we all deserve love, respect, and care.
  • Dedicate yourself to your talents and participate in fun activities to build self-confidence and self-esteem.

Part 4 of 4: Identifying Emotional Abuse

Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 15

Step 1. Understand the risk factors for abuse

This problem can occur in any family, but some factors contribute to an increased risk of physical or emotional abuse in childhood. Parents are more likely to behave this way if they abuse alcohol or drugs; if they were also assaulted in childhood; or if they suffer from mental disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder but do not receive adequate treatment.

  • Many abusive parents don't even realize that their attitudes are harmful - perhaps they don't know another way to raise a child, or perhaps they don't realize that taking out their own emotions on their children is also a form of abuse.
  • Well-meaning parents can also be abusive.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 16

Step 2. Notice if your father tends to humiliate you or belittle you

Maybe he says these things as a joke, but abuse is no laughing matter - a situation is emotionally abusive if adults always make fun of you, if they ignore your ideas and concerns, or if they belittle you in front of others. people.

  • Let's say your dad says something like "You're dumb. You can't do anything right" - that's a form of verbal abuse.
  • Maybe he says these things between four walls or in front of other people, making you feel bad about yourself.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 17

Step 3. Determine if you feel in control

If adults try to control your every step, get angry when you make their own decisions, or disregard your abilities or autonomy, these behaviors are signs of an abusive situation.

  • Controlling individuals often treat victims as inferior people who are incapable of making good decisions or taking responsibility for themselves.
  • Perhaps adults try to make decisions for you - your mother could visit your school and talk to the guidance counselor about a career you have no desire to pursue, for example.
  • They may strongly believe they are just being "parents", but this behavior is abusive.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 18

Step 4. Reflect on whether they always accuse you of something - some bullies have high expectations of their victims but refuse to accept responsibility for their own mistakes

  • These individuals find ways to blame the victim for any and all reasons, even situations for which no reasonable person would criticize another. Maybe they say you're the cause of their problems because that way your parents don't have to take responsibility for their own actions and feelings. In addition, they can also hold their children responsible for their own emotions.
  • Let's say your mother blames you for being born because motherhood forced her to give up her singing career - in fact, this situation is not your fault.
  • When parents say their marriage was destroyed "by the children," they are discounting their own inability to cope with the changes in their children's lives.
  • Blaming a person for something they haven't done is another form of abuse.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 19

Step 5. Note if you often get an "ice" from your parents

Adults who distance themselves and refuse to maintain the necessary emotional closeness to their children are also engaging in a form of child abuse.

  • Do they ignore you when you do something that upsets them, show little interest in their activities and emotions, or try to blame you for their own distance?
  • No one should have to negotiate love and affection with the family, so this situation is abusive.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 20

Step 6.Consider whether they seem to have your best interests in mind

Some parents, particularly those with narcissistic tendencies, may see their children as an extension of themselves-in which case, it's impossible for them to want what's best for you, even if they strongly believe you have your best interests in mind.

  • Some signs of narcissism include disrespecting your personal limits, trying to manipulate you into doing what you believe is "best" for your life, and showing annoyance when you don't meet their unrealistic expectations.
  • Narcissistic people are also very upset when their children receive more attention than they are, so they always try to be the center of attention.
  • A single parent could make their child feel guilty with phrases such as "I know your friends are having a party, but I'm so lonely here. You always leave me" - throwing this kind of blame on children is a form of abuse.
Deal With Emotionally Abusive Parents Step 21

Step 7. Recognize a parent's normal behavior

Children and teenagers make mistakes, and this is a normal part of human life and the maturation process - therefore, the parent's job is to provide guidance, support and discipline whenever necessary. Learning to distinguish abusive behavior from normal disciplinary tactics is very important.

  • Generally, we can distinguish these two things according to the amount of anger displayed by adults - most people feel angry or frustrated when their children break some rule.
  • However, when anger fuels a certain behavior or punishment, a person may be about to engage in abusive behavior. Emotional abuse involves conscious, reckless words and actions that are clearly intended to hurt someone.
  • You may not like to live under strict discipline, but try to understand that your parents set rules and consequences to protect you and help you to develop positively.
  • Look at some of your friends who have healthy relationships with their parents - what are those relationships like? What kind of support and discipline do they receive from the family?

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