Parents are supposed to love their children unconditionally. They nurture us so that we can grow up to be strong, capable adults and confidently navigate through this cruel world. Unfortunately, a child is emotionally abused every ten seconds.
Child abuse is a sad reality that affects more than 6.6 million children every year. In the United States, 1 in 8 children experiences neglect, emotional or physical abuse. As emotional abuse doesn’t leave any physical scars, it can often go unnoticed.
What is emotional abuse?
Parents have the right to reprimand their children when they make a mistake, but when such behavior starts to impact the self-esteem of the child, then it can be emotional abuse.
Emotional or psychological abuse is subtle and overt. As it can take place under the guise of parental advice or ‘guidance, it is hard to identify. Emotional abuse involves non-physical toxic and manipulative behaviors which systematically eat away a child’s sense of self-worth, self-concept, and self-confidence. It negatively affects their development and impairs their psychological well-being. Emotional abuse includes emotional assault, verbal abuse, brainwashing, criticizing, belittling, humiliating, or isolating a child.
Effects of emotional abuse
Emotional abuse can be more damaging and lasting than physical scars as it can cut to the identity and perceptions of the child.
Psychologists believe that emotional abuse is a serious threat to childhood and emotional development. The American Psychological Association states “Given the prevalence of childhood psychological abuse and the severity of harm to young victims, it should be at the forefront of mental health.”
Being unloved and neglected can cause broken trust which may permanently damage a child. Emotional abuse can scar your entire life. It can cause poor mental development and make it difficult for you to maintain relationships as an adult.
According to studies, 80% of 21-year-olds who experienced childhood abuse had at least one psychiatric disorder. Over 66% of adults getting treatment for drug abuse have experienced neglect or abuse in their childhood.
When they don’t seek help, victims of childhood abuse can become abusers themselves as adults. It can also affect your education, career and lead to criminal behavior as well.
In this article, we are going to look at some of the most common signs you were abused in your childhood by your parents.
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Now let’s take a look at some signs you experienced childhood emotional abuse.
10 Signs you had an abusive parent
1. You have unhealthy relationships
If you grew up with toxic, abusive parents, then that’s the type of relationship you will seek as an adult. You will find yourself in relationships that reflect the relationship with your parents, as it is the first relationship you formed. Experiencing emotional abuse as a child can damage your ability to trust others, and this affects your ability to experience and maintain healthy relationships.
If you have a pattern of being in unhealthy relationships involving emotional abuse, then it’s a strong indicator that you had abusive parents.
2. You have low self-esteem
Having low self-esteem and a poor sense of self-worth is one of the most prominent signs of childhood emotional abuse. Emotional scars from childhood can cut deep and affect how you think, feel and behave as an adult. Low self-esteem mainly stems from verbal abuse and constant criticism which can make you feel inadequate and worthless. It can also lead to self-doubt, self-criticism, and self-hatred damaging your motivation, hope, and pride. Emotional abuse in childhood can even result in depression in your adulthood.