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Hurt on the inside: What is emotional abuse?

Child listening to shouting or abuse

What is emotional abuse?

It’s when an adult says or does things over and over again, that makes you feel bad, scared, sad or alone.

Child in the dark listening to parents yelling

What it might look like…

Always calling you names, yelling, teasing or ignoring you. They might say things to scare you or stop you from having friends. It can happen when your parents fight or hurt each other in front of you too.

Child surrounded by confused feelings

It may make you feel…

Scared, bad, embarrassed, confused or sad. You may feel unloved, unwanted or alone. No matter what you feel, Kids Helpline is always here for you.

Child surrounded by negative and hurtful words

Words can hurt

Being yelled at or called names all the time can make you feel bad about yourself.

You may start to believe what they are saying and feel that you deserve to be treated this way – BUT you don’t.

Child talking happily to parent or guardian

Emotional abuse is NOT ok

All kids have a right to be treated with love and care. It’s NEVER OK for someone to make you feel bad about yourself or hurt you on the inside.

Adult comforting child

It’s NOT your fault

There is nothing you can say or do that makes it OK for someone to make you feel bad about yourself or scared. Emotional abuse can happen to anyone and is always wrong.

Child surrounded by positive and encouraging words

Things you can do

Make a list of things you like about yourself and what you are good at. Remind yourself of this list when you feel down. When you can, spend time with people that make you feel good about yourself.

People in supportive roles such as counsellor, social worker, doctor

Find someone to talk to

Talk to somebody you trust and feel safe with about what is happening at home. It might be an older relative or friend, a Kids Helpline counsellor or a school teacher.

Boy calling Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800

You are not alone – we’re here for you

If you can’t tell an adult in your life then tell a counsellor at Kids Helpline. We will listen and help you. Give us a call, send an email or start a WebChat.

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This content was last reviewed 06/09/2018