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4 Ways Emotional Abuse Affects Your Child

Emotional abuse is a term that many people toss about carelessly. People often refer to negative emotional encounters as emotionally abusive, though this is not always an accurate definition. If your teen has been emotionally abused, they may struggle with mental health issues and substance abuse. Therefore, it may be necessary to find treatment for these conditions, which can also help teens cope with emotional abuse. To learn more, please contact Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today at 662.373.2828.

What Is Emotional Abuse?

You might find yourself saying emotional abuse with a high-pitched tone of questioning curiosity. Emotional abuse? You ask, wondering if there is some way you may have emotionally harmed your child without realizing it. Parents learn patterns from their parents, and the pattern repeats until a new generation breaks the chain. Verbal abuse is one form of emotional abuse. There are many negative behaviors and patterns that constitute emotional abuse, which a parent may not realize is harming their child. Teasing, for instance, when it is excessive and undue, is considered abusive. You might think that they know you were joking, they must know you love them, they never say anything, they play along, they know how to handle that one family member. Teasing is a constant digging in a pre-existing wound, hitting one artery of insecurity after another, creating long term damage. Children who are relentlessly compared to their siblings or others instead of celebrated for their individuality experience emotional strain. Children who receive all the material support in the world but minimal emotional connection with their parents suffer. Parents who guilt, shame, and manipulate are emotionally abusive. Parents who expect perfection from their children and create a high standard which comes with high pressure and extreme criticism can also be causing harm. Each child and parent relationship is unique. Likewise, the way that children experience the emotional actions of their parents is unique and the way that those experiences manifest is also unique. Commonly, however, those patterns can include:

Toxic Relationships

A common result of experiencing forms of abuse as a child is repeating those patterns of abuse or other forms of abuse in relationships. Any relationship, from romantic relationships to work relationships to friendships may take on emotionally abusive qualities.

Low Self-Esteem

Many forms of emotional abuse are in some way degrading and demeaning. Children are forming their identity throughout their early lives, as is their brain developing until about the age of 26. Emotional abuse tells children they are wrong, what they think is wrong, and what they feel is wrong.

Emotional Difficulties

Emotional abuse creates a situation of survival for a child. Instead of learning how to thrive, children in emotionally abusive situations learn how to survive. As a result, children of emotional abuse do not learn how to identify, articulate, or communicate their emotions. Mood disorders, personality disorders, and various forms of self-harm often manifest because of emotional difficulties as can problems in working and social environments.


Children who are not getting the emotional fulfillment they need from their parents may search for it elsewhere. Validation is an internal, emotional experience. However, when validation becomes synonymous with a physical being, a parent, the search for validation becomes focused on external sources. Attention is a form of reward. Other rewards could include harmful behaviors which can include abuse of harmful substances.

Seek Support from Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center

Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers long-term residential treatment programs for adolescent and teenage boys. Building positive foundations through life cleansing therapies, boys graduate from our program ready to take on life. It can also help them cope with past emotional abuse. We offer a wide array of treatment options, including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Art therapy
  • Adventure and nature therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy

Let us help your teen overcome emotional abuse. Call Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today at 662.373.2828 for information.