My father abuses me emotionally

Emotional abuse: when parents harm their children

Lina's mother is once again annoyed by her daughter, who always has a lot of questions and likes to talk a lot. She yells at Lina: "Now be quiet at last and it would be best to disappear into your room, I just can't stand you anymore!"

Olli made a lot of mistakes when making the announcement and is also struggling with homework. His parents are already pretty desperate and frustrated. Olli has often heard that he was just too stupid to write.

When Nico goes to his father crying after an argument with his older brother, he has no understanding for his son's plight and sends him with the words "Now don't act like that, you are no longer a baby!" just gone again.

Emotional abuse has many facets

Emotional abuse has many faces that often go unnoticed at first glance. Every kind of humiliation and devaluation, from ridicule to bullying, yelling and insulting, excessive demands or excessive pressure to perform, deprivation of love, neglect, ignoring and not perceiving the other, burdening the children with responsibilities that they cannot fulfill, them in power games between theirs Involving mostly separated parents, bringing them into conflicts of loyalty and blaming them for all sorts of things are just some of the forms of emotional abuse.

All of this, as well as physical injuries, continues into adulthood. It leaves deep marks in the child's soul. And some of it can be found in the everyday life of many families and in almost every relationship.

Overstrained parents

Everyone knows situations in which they are overwhelmed and, above all, extremely stressed. When the burden of family, work and household becomes too great, money is scarce, there is a threat of unemployment, there are tensions or illnesses within the family system, then the level of suffering is high, the stress limit is significantly lower and the patience is much shorter. Then it can be that you feel completely at the mercy of these situations and powerless. Then you try to feel better again by devaluing the other. Nobody is aware of what he or she is doing to their own children, but also to adults.

It's all about the tone

It is clear that in the course of upbringing, injustices happen again and again. The decisive factor, however, is how and how often a child is exposed to it. It is then also important that the child still feels accepted and safe in his family, that he has someone who will take care of him in such situations, who will care for him, is understanding and offers him love and stability.

Developmental impairment

The earlier emotional stress sets in for a child, the more harmful it is for the development of the brain and thus leads to physical and emotional problems that often affect adulthood. The effects are manifold, because everyone reacts differently to such a loveless interaction.

For their development, children need an environment in which they can feel comfortable, in which they experience security and structure, in which they are encouraged and appropriately challenged. In short, they need a positive environment in order to be able to grow up in a mentally healthy and stable manner.

Great influence

Even if a child is experienced as exhausting, if it is annoying because it is constantly looking for attention, the adult is required to check his inner impulses and only then to act. Children react very strongly and quickly to their surroundings and to their caregivers: If the adults are stressed and restless, have fear or anger in their stomachs or are disappointed, then your child reacts disturbed and restless, it whines or talks incessantly, is also very restless, seeks closeness or is aggressive. If the parents are relaxed and have time, then the children are also relaxed and calmer and can often do better on their own.

Everyone can react inappropriately in a stressful situation. That is authentic and understandable. But taking out your own worries on the children is not beneficial and only makes the situation worse for everyone concerned. A vicious circle may develop that no one wants to have. Even if it is sometimes difficult, it is necessary to apologize to the child for an inadequate act or statement. Often it is only a question of tone of voice, choice of words, facial expressions and gestures that convey to the child that something is wrong.

Your experiences?

Do you know situations like those described in the text and how do you react then? Post your experiences, questions and ideas in the forum! (Andrea Leidlmayr, Christine Strableg, December 2, 2016)