Emotional abuse (also known as psychological abuse) is when a child or young person is persistently emotionally mistreated.
Emotional abuse can take many forms, including:
- Humiliating, mocking, and calling names
- Isolation and ignoring
- Constant criticising
- Shouting or deliberately making the child afraid
- Blaming and scapegoating
- Being absent or never expressing emotions (also known as emotional neglect)
- Never saying anything kind or expressing positive feelings or praise
- Exposing the child to traumatic events (i.e. taking drugs, violence)
- Not recognising a child’s individuality, boundaries or limitations
- Imposing inappropriate or unrealistic expectations on a child
- Not allowing a child to socialise
- Making a child perform degrading acts
- Telling a child they are worthless or ugly
It may involve bullying, making a child feel frightened or in danger or exploiting or corrupting them.
Emotional abuse can have long-lasting and devastating effects on a child’s emotional health and development. Children and young people who are emotionally abused may also be the victims of other types of abuse, such as physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.