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I Have Emotionally Abusive Parents

Published: June 12, 2015
Dear I Have Emotionally Abusive Parents,

I have emotionally abusive parents , took me a while to figure that out. For a majority part of my life I blamed myself for all the stuff I've been through because of not getting the marks that my parents wanted from me in exams. It's not just my parents even my brother is emotionally abusive & psychically abusive since I was 12. Now idk if he was ragged in school but every single day he brought his frustrations on me like a punching bag and my parents always found fault in me like I started every single fight when I was the victim. All this is directly and indirectly affecting my life even if my family isn't imvolved. I spoke to my parents about me going to a psychologist but I'm not sure that's gonna happen. Is there any way to go to one without them knowing ?

Dear I Have Emotionally Abusive Parents,

TeenHealthFX wants to start by saying that it is very common for children and teens to assume that their parents’ unloving behaviors are because they, themselves, are unlovable. This then puts children and teens a position to blame themselves or see what they can do differently to elicit their parents’ love. To move to a healthier place it is important for that child or teen to eventually accept that the problem was not that they were unlovable, but that they were dealing with people not capable of being loving.

What is particularly hard in your situation is that your brother took out his anger with your parents on you – so instead of having an ally in him, you had yet another family members acting in an unloving way towards you.

FX can appreciate how terribly hard all of this has been for you to deal with over the years, and we definitely support the idea of your talking to someone about your feelings and about how to deal with your parents and brother going forward.

As far as treatment, ideally it would be best for you to be in a combination of individual and family therapy, so that these issues can be addressed with your parents as well. The best possible scenario would be for all of you to be in treatment with your parents taking responsibility for their part in this and working towards change – that would promote the best possible healing for all of you. If that is not a possibility because your parents are too resistant to participating in treatment, then the next best thing would be for you to be in your own individual treatment. FX thinks the best way to go about this (if your parents are resistant to your being in your own treatment) is for you to find someone who can advocate for you. You could speak to a school counselor or your family doctor – either one would be able to speak to your parents about setting up a consultation for you with a reputable clinical social worker or clinical psychologist. If your parents are still resistant, then speak with the school counselor or doctor about your options. Depending on the level of abuse, it might be necessary to involve child protection services so they can assess the situation and implement any needed services.

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line (Text “Start” to 741-741; it’s free, confidential, and available 24/7) or call the USA National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 (24/7).

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.