Help to combat emotional abuse
My parents consistently swear at me, make me feel bad and put me down. This is what one boy told Childline.
If someone repeatedly puts you down, shouts at you, ignores you, or makes you feel bad about yourself, then that’s emotional abuse.
This boy is just one of the hundreds of children and young people who contact Childline each year and say they have been emotionally abused.
This kind of abuse also includes being made to feel like you don’t belong or being controlled and pressurised into doing things you don’t feel comfortable doing.
Or it might be that you regularly witness violence and aggression in your family, you are stopped from having friends or you are made to take responsibility for things you shouldn’t have to until you’re older.
Last year, some young people who contacted Childline with suicidal thoughts or feelings talked about being constantly put down by their parents, being told that they were useless and made to feel unwanted.
In many of these cases the young person had lost their sense of self-worth and didn’t think they would be missed if they were to take their lives.
Sometimes young people who talk to a Childline counsellor don’t actually realise that what has happened to them is emotional abuse and that it’s wrong.
This can be because they’re used to being treated in such a way.
The abuser may be a parent, someone at school or a boyfriend or girlfriend, and there are many reasons why they act in this way.
It might be because they are stressed or they feel a need to control other people, especially if they’re struggling to control their own life.
But whatever their reasons, it’s not OK.
All children and young people deserve to be treated with care and respect.
If you feel this is happening to you, the best thing to do is not struggle alone but to tell someone about it. Our Childline counsellors are always available to listen and give support.
Also you can share your feelings with other young people on our Childline message boards.
Children and young people with any worries can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk
Meanwhile adults who are concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC’s free and confidential helpline on 0808 800 5000.
There is also a video about Childline on the website.