Call 911 for all emergencies.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (2-24453)
National Sexual Assault Hotline 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)
What Is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional Abuse is a form of abuse where the perpetrator uses fear, humiliation or verbal assault to undermine the self-esteem of their victim.
Many people think that if they’re not being physically abused, they’re not being abused. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Emotional abuse is extremely difficult to identify because it is often subtle. Emotional abuse leaves no physical “marks.”
Emotional abuse often accompanies other forms of abuse, but it can happen on its own as well. No abuse – neglect, physical, sexual or financial – happens without psychological consequences, therefore all abuse contains elements of emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse doesn’t just “go away.” Emotional abuse gets worse over time as it erodes a person’s self-esteem, confidence, and trust in their own judgment. It is similar to brainwashing – it can cause a victim to question reality and their own sanity, which leaves them at the mercy of relying on the very person who is abusing them.
Like other forms of abuse, emotional abusers strive to overpower the other person – the one with all the power has all of the control.
Emotional abuse is every bit as damaging as physical abuse.
How Does Emotional Abuse Happen?
Very few people willingly enter into an abusive relationship, but many of us who were emotionally abused as children find ourselves in emotionally abusive relationships as adults. We did not learn how to develop our own standards, viewpoints, or validate our own feelings as children, so as adults, the controlling/defining stance of an emotional abuser is familiar.
An emotional abuser (like his or her victim) struggles with feelings of powerlessness, anger and hurt, and may be attracted to those who haven’t learned to value themselves and their feelings.
The first step in recovery from emotional abuse is to evaluate and understand your relationship patterns (especially family relationships).
Knowing where you came from and why you’re like this can help prevent future abuse.
Signs You’re In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship:
How to Spot Emotional Abuse in Your Relationship
You must remember that emotional abuse is often subtle and, as a result, it can be very hard to detect. If you are having trouble understanding whether or not your relationship is abusive, stop and think about how the interactions with your partner, friend or family member make you feel. If you feel wounded, frustrated, confused, misunderstood, depressed, anxious or worthless any time you interact, chances are high that your relationship is emotionally abusive.
Here are signs that you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship. Keep in mind, even if your partner only does a handful of these things, you are still in an emotionally abusive relationship. Do not fall into the trap of telling yourself “it’s not that bad” and minimizing their behavior. Remember, everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.
Emotionally abusive people display unrealistic expectations. Some examples include:
- Making excessive demands of you
- Expecting you to dump everything to meet their needs
- Insisting you spend all of your time together
- Being dissatisfied – no matter how hard you try or how much you give
- Criticizing you for not completing tasks up to his or her standards
- Expecting you to share their opinions – you’re not allowed to have your own opinions
- Demanding that you name exact dates and times when discussing things that upset you. When you cannot, they dismiss the event as if it never happened
Emotionally abusive people invalidate you. Some examples include:
- Undermining, dismissing, or distorting your perceptions or reality
- Refusing to accept your feelings – trying to tell you how you should feel
- Requiring you to explain and explain and explain how you feel
- Calling you “too sensitive,” “too emotional,” or “crazy when you share your feelings
- Refusal to accept that your opinions matter or are valid
- Dismissing your wants, needs, requests as “ridiculous”
- Suggesting that your feelings are wrong or that you cannot be trusted by saying things like “you’re blowing this out of proportion” or “you exaggerate”
- Accusing you of being selfish, needy or materialistic if you express your wants or needs. He or she has the expectation that you should not have any wants or needs outside of your partner
Emotionally abusive people create chaos. Some examples include:
- Starting arguments for the sake of arguing
- Making confusing and contradictory statements (sometimes called “crazy-making”)
- Having drastic mood changes or sudden emotional outbursts
- Nitpicking at your clothes, your hair, your work, and more
- Behaving so erratically and unpredictably that you feel like you are “walking on eggshells”
Emotionally abusive people use emotional blackmail. Some examples include:
- Manipulating and controlling you by making you feel guilty
- Humiliating you in public or in private
- Using your fears, values, compassion or other hot buttons to control you or the situation
- Exaggerating your flaws or pointing them out in order to deflect attention or to avoid taking responsibility for their poor choices or mistakes
- Denying that an event took place or lying about it
- Punishing you by withholding affection
Emotionally abusive people act superior and entitled. Some examples include:
- Treating you like you are inferior
- Blaming you for their mistakes and shortcomings
- Doubting everything you say and attempting to prove you wrong
- Making jokes at your expense
- Telling you that your opinions, ideas, values, and thoughts are stupid, illogical or “do not make sense”
- Talking down to you or being condescending
- Using sarcasm when interacting with you
- Acting like they are always right, knows what is best and is smarter
Emotionally abusive people attempt to isolate and control you. Some examples include:
- Controlling who you see or spend time with including time with friends and family
- Monitoring your phone calls, text messages, social media, and email
- Accusing you of cheating and being jealous of outside relationships
- Taking or hiding your car keys
- Demanding to know where you are at all times or using GPS to track your every move
- Treating you like a possession or property
- Criticizing or making fun of your friends, family, and coworkers
- Using jealousy and envy as a sign of love and to keep you from being with others
- Coercing you into spending all of your time together
- Controlling the finances
Signs You May Be Emotionally Abusive:
Although not an exhaustive list, here are some signs that YOU may be emotionally abusive:
- You feel your partner pushes your buttons.
- Your partner puts you in a bad mood.
- There are times you don’t want to speak to or be around your partner.
- You feel you have to criticize your partner for not being more efficient or more reliable or a better person.
- You treat your partner in ways you couldn’t have imagined when you first started loving her.
- You sometimes make your partner feel like a failure as a provider, partner, parent, or lover.
- You automatically blame your partner when things go wrong.
- You resort to name-calling, swearing at your partner or putting him down.
- You threaten to take his children away.
- Your family and friends would be surprised to know how you treat your partner behind closed doors
Children are sensitive to what is going on around them and to the environment in which they live. Emotionally abusive actions towards children may include:
- Ignoring your child when he or she is in need.
- Not calling your child by his or her name.
- Making your child feel unwanted.
- Comparing your child to siblings or peers.
- Isolating your child from family and friends.
Types of Emotional Abuse:
Emotional abuse can be subtle that reading this list may be an eye-opener for you:
Abusive Expectations – Makes impossible demands, requires constant attention, and constantly criticizes.
Aggressing – Name calling, accusing, blames, threatens, or gives orders, and often disguised as a judgmental “I know best” or “helping” attitude.
Constant Chaos – Deliberately starts arguments with you or others. May treat you well in front of others, but changes when you’re alone.
Rejecting – Refusing to acknowledge a person’s value, worth or presence. Communicating that he or she is useless or inferior or devaluing his or her thoughts and feelings.
Denying – Denies personal needs (especially when the need is greatest) with the intent of causing hurt or as punishment. Uses silent treatment as punishment. Denies certain events happened or things that were said. Denies your perceptions, memory, and sanity by disallowing any viewpoints other than their own which causes self-doubt, confusion, and loss of self-esteem.
Degrading – Any behavior that diminishes the identity, worth or dignity of the person such as name-calling, mocking, teasing, insulting, ridiculing,
Emotional Blackmail – Uses guilt, compassion, or fear to get what he or she wants.
Terrorizing – Inducing intense fear or terror in a person, by threats or coercion.
Invalidation – Attempts to distort your perception of the world by refusing to acknowledge your personal reality. Says that your emotions and perceptions aren’t real and shouldn’t be trusted.
Isolating – Reducing or restricting freedom and normal contact with others.
Corrupting – Convincing a person to accept and engage in illegal activities.
Exploiting – Using a person for advantage or profit.
Minimizing – A less extreme form of denial that trivializes something you’ve expressed as unimportant or inconsequential.
Unpredictable Responses – Gets angry and upset in a situation that would normally not warrant a response. You walk around on eggshells to avoid any unnecessary drama over innocent comments you make. Drastic mood swings and outbursts.
Gas-lighting -A form of psychological abuse involving the manipulation of situations or events that cause a person to be confused or to doubt his perceptions and memories. Gaslighting causes victims to constantly second-guess themselves and wonder if they’re losing their minds.
What is the Long-Term Impact Of Being Abused?
When emotional abuse is severe and ongoing, a victim may lose their entire sense of self, sometimes without a single mark or bruise. Instead, the wounds are invisible to others, hidden in the self-doubt, worthlessness, and self-loathing the victim feels. In fact, many victims say that the scars from emotional abuse last far longer and are much deeper than those from physical abuse.
Over time, the accusations of verbal abuse, name-calling, criticisms, and gaslighting erode a victim’s sense of self so much that they can no longer see themselves realistically. Consequently, the victim begins to agree with the abuser and becomes internally critical. Once this happens, most victims become trapped in the abusive relationship believing that they will never be good enough for anyone else.
Emotional abuse can even impact friendships because emotionally abused people often worry about how people truly see them and if they truly like them. Eventually, victims will pull back from friendships and isolate themselves, convinced that no one likes them. What’s more, emotional abuse can cause a number of health problems including everything from depression and anxiety to stomach problems to insomnia.
What Do I Do If I’m Being Emotionally Abused?
Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult and can be dangerous. If you do not have friends or family that can help you, please contact a local women’s shelter or other organization that can help you safely leave the abusive relationship. Here are some tips for things you can do to help yourself if you’re being emotionally abused:
Make yourself physically and emotionally well – step one will always be to make sure you’re getting all the help you can. Stop worrying about pleasing the person abusing you. Take care of your needs. Do something that will help you think positive and affirm who you are.
Establish healthy emotional boundaries with your abuser – Firmly tell the abusive person that they may no longer yell at you, call you names, insult you, be rude to you, and so on. Then, tell them what will happen if they choose to engage in this behavior.
Stop blaming yourself – guilt may be the enemy of emotional abuse victims. What’s happened to you is not your fault – you couldn’t have known what your partner would do. If you have been in an emotionally abusive relationship for any amount of time, you may believe that there is something severely wrong with you. Why else would someone who says they love you act like this, right? But you are not the problem. Abuse is a choice.
Realize that you cannot “fix” the abusive person. Despite your best efforts, you will never be able to change an emotionally abusive person by doing something different or by being different. An abusive person makes a choice to behave abusively. Remind yourself that you cannot control their actions and that you are not to blame for their choices. The only thing you can fix or control is your response.
Do not engage with an abusive person. In other words, if an abuser tries to start an argument with you, begins insulting you, demands things from you or rages with jealousy, do not try to make explanations, soothe their feelings or make apologies for things you did not do. Simply walk away from the situation if you can.
Build a support network. Stop being silent about the abuse you are experiencing. Talk to a trusted friend, family member or even a counselor about what you are experiencing. Take time away from the abusive person as much as possible and spend time with people who love and support you.
Work on an exit plan. If your partner, friend, or family member has no intention of changing or working on their poor choices, you will not be able to remain in the abusive relationship forever. It will eventually take a toll on you both mentally and physically.
If your safety has been threatened, don’t hesitate to contact the local authorities.
Educate yourself about emotionally abusive relationships.
Remember that you’re not alone. The abuse is not your fault. No one deserves to be abused. Help is out there.
How Can I Help Someone In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship?
If safety is ever a concern, don’t hesitate to find outside help. Here’s the State Coalition page for a state-by-state list of resources.
Educate yourself about emotionally abusive relationships.
Be gentle when you talk to the victim in an emotionally abusive relationship. Criticism of the abuser and his or her behavior may cause the victim to withdraw from you. Offer to lend an ear if they’d like it.
Help the person disconnect from their abuser so that they can see the situation in a more balanced light. You may be able to help provide the distance and clarity needed for the victim of emotional abuse to see the patterns of abuse.
Suggest continued therapy to overcome the abuse and work through their issues.
Additional Emotional Abuse Resources:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (2-24453)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)
State Coalition List – Directory of state offices that can help you find local support, shelter, and free or low-cost legal services. Includes all U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
Domestic Violence Coalition: State-by-State directory of the Domestic Violence Coalitions.
Domestic Violence Shelters: State-by-State Directory of Domestic Violence Shelters.
RAINN: The nation’s largest anti-sexual assault network and a list of International Sexual Assault Resources
Page last audited 7/1/2019
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD
What Is Child Abuse?
Child abuse is an act by a parent or caretaker that results or allows a child to be subjected to emotional harm, physical injury, sexual assault, or death. Emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse are different types of child abuse.
Regardless of the type of child abuse, the result is serious emotional or physical harm.
Almost 5 children die every day as a result of child abuse. Three-fourths of those children are under the age of four.
It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.
Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
Long-Term Effects of Child Abuse:
While there are several types of child abuse, all child abuse leaves lasting scars long after broken bones heal.
Difficulties with relationships. Growing up in a negligent and abusive environment damages the ability to easily trust another person.
Emotional Irregularities. Thanks to being unable to express emotions as children, adult child abuse survivors may have unexplained emotional irregularity, like unexplained depression or anxiety.
Core feelings of being worthless and damaged. It’s very difficult to overcome the feelings that, as an abused child, you were to blame for the abuse. As adults, it’s common to accept that those core feelings of worthlessness are facts. This may lead to settling for less than deserved in every aspect of adult life.
What Are The Types of Child Abuse?
As there can be a number of types of child abuse, it is important to note that most children are abused in a number of ways and may exhibit a great number of symptoms.
Physical Child Abuse:
Physical Child Abuse is when a parent, loved one, family friend, or caregiver causes any non-accidental physical injury to a child. There are many signs of physical abuse. If you see any of the following signs, please get help right away. Nearly 29% of adults report that they were physically abused as a child. Physical abuse may include striking, kicking, burning, biting, hair pulling, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping or any other action that injures a child. Even if the caregiver didn’t mean to cause injury, when the child is injured – it is abuse. Physical discipline from a parent that does not injure or impair a child is not considered abuse; however non-violent alternatives are always available.
Physical abuse can result in:
- Bruises, blisters, burns, cuts, and scratches
- Internal injuries, brain damage
- Broken bones, sprains, dislocated joints
- Emotional and psychological harm
- Lifelong injury, death
Signs of physical abuse in parent or caregiver:
- Can’t or won’t explain injury of child, or explains it in a way that doesn’t make sense
- Displays aggression to child or is overly anxious about child’s behavior
- Indicates child is not trustworthy, a liar, evil, a troublemaker
- Delays or prevents medical care for child
- Takes child to different doctors or hospitals
- Keeps child from school, church, clubs
- Has history of violence and/or abuse
Signs and symptoms of physical abuse in a child:
- Any injury to a child who is not crawling yet
- Visible and severe injuries
- Injuries at different stages of healing
- On different surfaces of the body
- Unexplained or explained in a way that doesn’t make sense
- Distinctive shape
- Frequency, timing and history of injuries (frequent, after weekends, vacations, school absences)
- Aggression toward peers, pets, other animals
- Seems afraid of parents or other adults
- Fear, withdrawal, depression, anxiety
- Wears long sleeves out of season
- Violent themes in fantasy, art, etc.
- Nightmares, insomnia
- Reports injury, severe discipline
- Immaturity, acting out, emotional and behavior extremes
- Self-destructive behavior or attitudes
Child neglect is when a parent or caregiver does not give the care, supervision, affection and support needed for a child’s health, safety, and well-being. Child neglect may involve:
- Physical neglect and inadequate supervision
- Emotional neglect
- Medical neglect
- Educational neglect
Physical Child Neglect: Children need enough care to be healthy and enough supervision to be safe. Adults that care for children must provide clothing, food and drink. A child also needs safe, healthy shelter, and adequate supervision.
Examples of physical child neglect:
- Deserting a child or refusing to take custody of a child who is under your care
- Repeatedly leaving a child in another’s custody for days or weeks at a time
- Failing to provide enough healthy food and drink
- Failing to provide clothes that are appropriate to the weather
- Failing to ensure adequate personal hygiene
- Not supervising a child appropriately
- Leaving the child with an inappropriate caregiver
- Exposing a child to unsafe/unsanitary environments or situations
Emotional Child Neglect: Children require enough affection and attention to feel loved and supported. If a child shows signs of psychological illness, it must be treated.
Examples of emotional child neglect:
- Ignoring a child’s need for attention, affection and emotional support
- Exposing a child to extreme or frequent violence, especially domestic violence
- Permitting a child to use drugs, use alcohol, or engage in crime
- Keeping a child isolated from friends and loved ones
Medical Neglect Some states do not prosecute parents who withhold certain types of medical care for religious reasons, but they may get a court order to protect the child’s life. Parents and caregivers must provide children with appropriate treatment for injuries and illness. They must also provide basic preventive care to make sure their child stays safe and healthy.
Examples of medical neglect:
- Not taking child to hospital or appropriate medical professional for serious illness or injury
- Keeping a child from getting needed treatment
- Not providing preventative medical and dental care
- Failing to follow medical recommendations for a child
Educational Neglect: Parents and schools share responsibility for making sure children have access to opportunities for academic success.
Examples of educational neglect:
- Allowing a child to miss too much school
- Not enrolling a child in school (or not providing comparable home-based education)
- Keeping a child from needed special education services
Signs of Child Neglect: There is no “smoking gun” for most child neglect cases. While even one instance of neglect can cause lifelong harm to a child, neglect often requires a pattern of behavior over a period of time for the child to develop symptoms:
Signs of Child Neglect in Caregivers/Parents:
There is no “typical neglectful parent.” Nevertheless, certain indicators may suggest a parent or caregiver needs help to nurture and protect the child or children in their care:
- Displays indifference or lack of care toward the child
- Depression, apathy, drug/alcohol abuse and other mental health issues
- Denies problems with child or blames the child for problems
- Views child negatively
- Relies on child for own care and well-being
Signs of Neglect in the Child:
While a single indicator may not be cause for alarm, children who are neglected often show that they need help:
- Clothing that is the wrong size, in disrepair, dirty, or not right for the weather
- Often hungry, stockpiles food, seeks food, may even show signs of malnutrition (like distended belly, protruding bones)
- Very low body weight, height for age
- Often tired, sleepy, listless
- Hygiene problems, body odor
- Talks about caring for younger siblings, not having a caregiver at home
- Untreated medical and dental problems, incomplete immunizations
- Truancy, frequently incomplete homework, frequent changes of school
Child Sexual Abuse:
Child sexual abuse occurs when an adult uses a child for sexual purposes or involves a child in sexual acts. It also includes when a child who is older or more powerful uses another child for sexual gratification or excitement. Over 21% of adults report being sexually abused as a child.
Sexual abuse of children includes:
- Non-contact abuse
- Making a child view a sex act
- Making a child view or show sex organs
- Inappropriate sexual talk
- Contact abuse
- Fondling and oral sex
- Making children perform a sex act
- Child prostitution and child pornography
Signs of sexual abuse in parent or caregiver:
- Parent fails to supervise child
- Unstable adult presence
- Jealous/possessive parent
- Sexual relationships troubled or dysfunctional
- Parent relies on child for emotional support
Signs of sexual abuse in a child:
- Difficulty sitting, walking, bowel problems
- Torn, stained, bloody undergarments
- Bleeding, bruises, pain, swelling, itching of genital area
- Frequent urinary tract infections or yeast infections
- Any sexually transmitted disease or related symptoms
- Reports sexual abuse
- Doesn’t want to change clothes (e.g., for P.E.)
- Withdrawn, depressed, anxious
- Eating disorders, preoccupation with body
- Aggression, delinquency, poor peer relationships
- Poor self-image, poor self-care, lack of confidence
- Sudden absenteeism, decline in school performance
- Substance abuse, running away, recklessness, suicide attempts
- Sleep disturbance, fear of bedtime, nightmares, bed wetting (at advanced age)
- Sexual acting out, excessive masturbation
- Unusual or repetitive soothing behaviors (hand-washing, pacing, rocking, etc.)
- Sexual behavior or knowledge that is advanced or unusual
Child Emotional Abuse:
Child Emotional Abuse occurs when a parent or caregiver harms a child’s mental and social development, or causes severe emotional harm. While a single incident may be abuse, most often emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that causes damage over time. Nearly 11% of adults report being emotionally abused as a child.
Emotional abuse can include:
- Rejecting or ignoring: telling a child he or she is unwanted or unloved, showing little interest in child, not initiating or returning affection, not listening to the child, not validating the child’s feelings, breaking promises, cutting child off in conversation
- Shaming or humiliating: calling a child names, criticizing, belittling, demeaning, berating, mocking, using language or taking action that takes aim at child’s feelings of self-worth
- Terrorizing: accusing, blaming, insulting, punishing with or threatening abandonment, harm or death, setting a child up for failure, manipulating, taking advantage of a child’s weakness or reliance on adults, slandering, screaming, yelling
- Isolating: keeping child from peers and positive activities, confining child to small area, forbidding play or other stimulating experiences
- Corrupting: engaging child in criminal acts, telling lies to justify actions or ideas, encouraging misbehavior
Signs of emotional abuse in parent or caregiver:
- Routinely ignores, criticizes, yells at or blames child
- Plays favorites with one sibling over another
- Poor anger management or emotional self-regulation
- Stormy relationships with other adults, disrespect for authority
- History of violence or abuse
- Untreated mental illness, alcoholism or substance abuse
Delays in development, including:
- Wetting bed, pants
- Speech disorders
- Health problems like ulcers, skin disorders
- Obesity and weight fluctuation
- Habits like sucking, biting, rocking
- Learning disabilities and developmental delays
- Overly compliant or defensive
- Extreme emotions, aggression, withdrawal
- Anxieties, phobias, sleep disorders
- Destructive or anti-social behaviors (violence, cruelty, vandalism, stealing, cheating, lying)
- Behavior that is inappropriate for age (too adult, too infantile)
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
What Do I Say To An Abused Child?
If you’re in a situation where a child discloses abuse to you, there are a number of steps you can take.
- Listen carefully to the child. Avoid expressing your own views on the matter. A reaction of shock or disbelief could cause the child to ‘shut down’, retract or stop talking
- Let them know they’ve done the right thing. Reassurance can make a big impact to the child who may have been keeping the abuse secret
- Tell them it’s not their fault. Abuse is never the child’s fault and they need to know this
- Say you will take them seriously. A child could keep abuse secret in fear they won’t be believed. They’ve told you because they want help and trust you’ll be the person to believe them and help them
- Don’t talk to the alleged abuser. Confronting the alleged abuser about what the child’s told you could make the situation a lot worse for the child
- Explain what you’ll do next. If age appropriate, explain to the child you’ll need to report the abuse to someone who will be able to help
- Don’t delay reporting the abuse. The sooner the abuse is reported after the child discloses the better. Report as soon as possible so details are fresh in your mind and action can be taken quickly.
- Child abuse is rarely faked, so it’s important to take any allegations of abuse seriously. If a child comes to you with claims of abuse, call 1-800-4AChild to report abuse or get help.
- Reassure the abused child that it was not their fault; that they did nothing wrong. It’s hard to come forward and the feelings of guilt are strong for an abused child.
- Don’t play interrogator and fire questions at the child because it will only confuse them and make them feel as though you’re questioning the validity of their claims of abuse.
- Remain as calm as you can.
- Make sure that the child is safe. Do not put yourself or that child at risk. Alert the professionals to the abuse.
Child Abuse Hotlines:
National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (US, its territories, and Canada)
National Youth Crisis Hotline – 1-800-HIT-HOME
For Parents: 1-855-4-A-PARENT
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).
Canadian Child Abuse Hotlines:
Child Abuse Prevention: 310-1234 (no area code needed)
Child Abuse Resources For Parents:
National Parent Helpline Resources and an anonymous helpline staffed by volunteers to help foster emotional support for parents and build stronger families.
Parents Anonymous is a child abuse prevention organization dedicated to supporting families creating strong communities and safe homes for all children.
Abuse Lawsuit.com – We provide legal support and advocacy for survivors of institutionalized sexual abuse. No amount of legal recourse can reverse the pain and damages brought on by sexual abuse, but we believe survivors deserve compensation for the physical and emotional damages wrought by abuse of power.
Professional Resources for Child Abuse:
Nurse-Family Partnership – a voluntary, free maternal and childhood health program, Nurse-Family Partnership gives first-time moms valuable knowledge and support throughout pregnancy and until their babies reach two years of age. Partnering first-time moms with caring nurse home visitors empowers these mothers to confidently create a better life for their children and themselves.
Darkness to Light – nationally available program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes and change child protective behaviors. This site also has a list of state-by-state resources.
National Children’s Alliance: is a professional membership organization dedicated to helping local communities respond to allegations of child abuse in ways that are effective and efficient – and put the needs of child victims first.
For Victims of Child Abuse:
Childhelp – dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse. If you are being abused, know that no one has the right to do this to you. Please call the hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD, then press one. The hotline is confidential which means you don’t have to tell them who you are. It is also free, so no one will see the number on your phone bill.
This hotline is staffed by degreed, professional counselors who are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. All calls are anonymous and toll-free. Use this number if you know or suspect a child is being abused; if you are a child who is being abused; of if you abuse or fear you may abuse your children
Page last audited 7/2018
Hello The Band,
I am a 33 year old female from Florida. I have turned to this site for guidance, support, and hopefully, help. I’m hoping I can find other women who can relate to my situation, help me understand how to cope and deal with the problems at hand, and, if possible, guide me in the right direction.
I met my current boyfriend on an online dating site back in July of 2015. I was with my ex-husband for 13, years and we have one child together. That relationship was a disaster towards the end. I honestly didn’t think I could ever fall in love again – until I met my current boyfriend.
In September, we decided that because of the distance between where we both lived, moving in with him was a good option. Driving back and forth was killing me.
Everything was amazing for the first five months.
There were little spurts of anger here and there about silly things like the dog barking too much or the dishes not being clean enough, but I figured this was just the kinds of little idiosyncrasies that come from being in a new relationship.
In December, I lost my job. I have not been able to contribute a whole lot to the household since then, but every dime I do make, I give to him – including my government assistance.
Lately, he has started making comments that I do nothing, that I’m useless, that all I do is sit around, that I’m overweight and need to exercise. I would never say such horrible things to him.
I feel like the comments are getting worse. Now he’s mad about every single thing. If he doesn’t have enough socks, it’s somehow my fault. If he cant find a clean pair of shorts that he likes for work, that’s my fault, too. He screams at me, and if I cry or tear up, he calls me a baby, a princess, or weak.
He tells me that without him I would have nothing.
When I was younger, I was in a relationship where I dealt with minor physical abuse, but I have never dealt with emotional and verbal abuse before. I almost wish he would just smack me instead of saying these hurtful things. I feel like the sting would be less and not last as long as the hurtful words he has been saying.
Now, he has stopped making love to me. He will never let me talk to him about how I am feeling. If i say “I am not okay with you talking to me like that,” he starts screaming that I am stupid for not knowing by now what pisses him off.
I feel so out of character lately. The old me would never have let anyone talk down to me like that. With him, I am quiet, timid, and I just stand there and take it.
Every time I build up the courage to speak up, I am shot down immediately. I feel so sad. I was sure this man was the one for me. I fell madly in love with him, and now I am scared I’m losing him. I don’t want this to happen. I want to make him happy, but the harder I try, the more things he finds wrong.
What should I do? Is what I’m feeling normal? Is this true verbal and emotional abuse?
Please, any words of advice, or help, or wisdom would be a blessing right now. I am so utterly distraught. I am scared of getting hurt anymore. I’m scared he will start cheating, which is my worst nightmare. I have a serious fear of being cheated on …I just need some friendly words.
Scared, Confused, and In Love.
You beat me mercilessly and I learned to be gentle with my own kids.
You said hateful things to me and I learned to weigh the consequences of my words carefully.
You sexually abused me and I learned that I could survive pure evil.
You were a raging alcoholic and I learned to watch my alcohol consumption, lest I become you.
You thought only of yourself and I learned to think of others.
You were angry and cruel and I learned that being kind is worth the effort it sometimes take.
You were a judgemental bigot and I learned to be accepting.
You were a horrible parent and I learned what kind of parent I never wanted to be.
You were a horrible husband and I learned to look for a loving heart before appearance, wealth or status.
You always found someone else to blame for your problems and I learned to accept responsibility for my actions.
You would jump to conclusions and accuse and I learned to listen.
You preyed on the weak and I learned to fight for the underdog.
You lied and cheated to get what you wanted and I learned to be honest and trustworthy.
You told me I was worthless and I learned to find my worth from within.
You tried to break me and I learned I have a strength I never knew was possible.
You showed me who you were and I learned exactly what I did NOT want to be.
You tried to kill my spirit and, in the end, all I had learned, set my spirit free.