Emotional Abuse


Definition:

  • Emotional abuse can be defined as reoccurring attacks, in a variety of forms, on a person. A child experiencing emotional abuse could be insulted, made fun of, threatened to be attacked violently, they could have their personal property destroyed, they could be stalked or be faced with sexist, racist or homophobic verbal abuse. The abuser uses emotional abuse on their victim to gain control over them and place limits on their freedom.

General Indicators:

  • Obsessive compulsive behaviour
  • Unusual fearfulness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Disruptive behaviour
  • Speech disorders
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Bed-wetting
  • Developmental delays
  • Suicidal attempts
  • Overly compliant
  • Phobias
  • Learning disorders
  • Habit Disorders (sucking, biting, rocking….)
  • Withdrawal or aggressive behaviour

Facts:

  • Emotional abuse usually arises when an adult is unable to accept a child’s limitations.
  • Constant insulting, humiliating or rejecting a child, or saying that a child is ‘stupid’ or ‘bad’, can harm a child’s sense of worth.
  • Emotional abuse involves an attack on a child’s sense of self. Emotional abuse is usually found in the context of a long-term problem in a parent’s treatment of a child. It is often part of a pattern of family stress and dysfunctional parenting.

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