Saturday, February 17, 2018

Psychological Abuse


Psychological abuse is a subtle method used to destroy a child's sense of well being, to instill fear or terror, or prevent, undermine or destroy confidence.  The use of psychological abuse, brutality or torture on a growing child is most damaging.  It prevents the child from being who they were born to be, and limits or destroys their ability to function normally in life.  It is the most damagning of child abuse, without leaving any physical scars.

Psychological abuse was described to me by a grandfather as "cruel words that leave invisible scars that last a lifetime, each invisible scar more tender than the one before."


  • Abused child gets favored child’s hand me downs

  • Open sibling favoritism

  • Playing one sibling against the other

  • One child is left out of gift receiving

  • Constantly, "You don't mind . . . There just wasn't enough money to buy everyone a gift."


Family Dynamics to Deliver Psychological Abuse

  • Accused of lying or stealing when you didn't

  • Humiliates in public with shame driven words

  • Relentless verbal assault -vicious or hateful

  • Told you were responsible for the death of a child

  • Forbids crying

Family Scapegoat

  • Blamed for all family problems

  • Blamed for things over which child had no control

  • Parent didn't set alarm clock and gets fired; child blamed

  • Child blamed so much they begin to blame themselves

  • Take ownership of all family problems; some how it is their fault

  • Blame child for parent getting fired, arrested

  • Child becomes family scapegoat; blamed for all problems

Other Psychological Abuse, Brutality or Torture

  • Witness to the verbal or phyiscal abuse of loved ones
  • Witness to the violent abuse of pets
  • Threats to harm loved ones
  • Shunning 
  • Accomplice or participant in abuse, brutality or torture of loved ones
  • Withhold Medical Treatment for injuries suffered  (both psychological and physical torture)
  • Withhold Food for longer than 8 hours  (Going to bed without dinner on occassion is not abuse, brutality or torture)

Emotional Abuse Example
Birth through 13 Years Old

Name Calling

  • "Brat"
  • "Baby"
  • "Sissy"
  • "Wetty pants"
  • "Shorty"
  • "Bean pole"
  • "Stretch"

Unflattering Nicknames

  • Midget
  • Four-eyed freak
  • Big-boned Bertha
  • Gordo
  • Blimp
  • Fatso
  • Miss Piggy
  • Porky
  • Pimple face
  • Not words of endearment but hurtful words

Make fun of Physical Imperfections (things you can't change)

  • Body size or shape
  • Eye color, hair color or texture
  • The way you look
  • Stuttering or lisp
  • Too thin or too large
  • Lazy eye

Purposeful Embarrassment

  • Repeated stories of child's embarrassing moment
  • Shamed in public
  • Intentional embarrassment of something the child wants to keep private
Discourage Exploration and Learning
  • Put down when wanting to learn new things
  • Ridicule free expression of child's delight
  • Told not to try things new
  • Negative comments on slow progress learning abstract ideas

Make Fun of Child's Development
  • Comparing child negatively to other children
  • Make fun of child asking questions
  • Make fun of trying to learn to skip, ride a bike or use imagination
  • Labeling stages of development as a permanent flaw
  • Uses child's natural curiosity to do them harm
  • Make fun of reading out loud, singing
  • Make fun of child doing well in school
  • Demean child's accomplishments at school

Witness Emotional Abuse of Family Members

  • Parents call each other hurtful names
  • Mother called bad names
  • Family members yell vulgar words to each other
  • Loved ones hurt each others feelings
  • Siblings call parents bad names
  • Parents talk back or rude to grandparent


  • Wimp
  • Weirdo
  • Spoiled
  • Cry Baby


  • Dumb
  • Stupid
  • Retarded
  • Ignorant
  • Won't ever amount to anything


  • "Worthless"
  • "No good"
  • "You can't do anything right"
  • "You will never amount to anything"
  • ""Your step siblings are worth more than you."
Emotional Rejection
  • Told, "Don't touch me" when injured and looking for comfort.
  • "Stay away from me."
  • "You aren't my kid, get away."
  • Pushed away when seeking comfort
  • Parent or guardian unresponsive to child's distress
  • Ignored, rejected or shoved aside to make room for the favored one

Poke (Hurtful) Fun

  • Dumb blonde jokes
  • Ethnic jokes
  • Gender jokes
  • Sexist jokes
  • Religious jokes
  • Words that hurt feeling or make the child uncomfortable
Laughed At
  • for displaying kindness or sympathy
  • for expressing sorrow at death of pet of family member
  • when injured
  • for crying
  • when hurt
  • for trying something new and being clumsy

Verbal Emotional Abuse

  • "I wish you had died and your sibling had lived."
  • Parent use hurtful words
  • Siblings use hurtful words
  • Extended family members use hurtful words
  • Neighbors and peer, teacher and clergy use hurtful words
  • Stranger uses hurtful words
  • What person's actions will hurt the most?

Withhold Emotional Support

  • Purposely withholds affection, interaction, play
  • Withholds any sign of love or compassion
  • Never sticks up for child when being verbally abused
  • Parent or guardian indifferent, aloof, detached or cold
  • Parent physically home but does not interact with child
  • Parent doesn't speak to child
  • Child never receives hugs or kisses
  • Child never touched, hand held
  • Child never hears applause or encouraging words
  • Child never held on lap and read a book
  • Lack of nurturing environment

Emotional Void

  • Forbid expression of any human emotions
  • Laughter must be muffled or not displayed at all
  • Never allowed to cry or have tears
  • Forbidden to get angry or show anger
  • Crying is forbidden and severely punished
  • Told to "Shut up" frequently
  • "Give you something to cry about."

Family Emotionally Abuses Child's Friends

  • Makes fun of child's playmates
  • Makes fun of the same things they say to their child
  • Ridicule their best friends parents
  • Calls them names
  • Puts them down
  • Makes comments to their face, and in front of the child
  • Comments on their financial status

Outside Home: Neighbors and Peers Call Child Names

  • Hear family members verbally abuse child so they join in
  • "Your Dad is a druggie, can't hold a job."
  • "Your Mom is a worthless bitch and so are you."
  • "You all are just poor white (ethnic slur) trash."
  • "Your sister is a tramp."
  • "Your Mother is a hippo."
  • "You are a no good foster care brat no one wants."

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