9 Signs You Had An Emotionally Abusive Parent While Growing Up

Abuse can come in many different ways and forms, it can be physical, verbal, and it can even be emotional. It may happen between couples, it may come from your parents, or other family members, it is also prominent in the workplace as well.

Family is one of the most important things in life. Throughout life, you’re always going to need their support, even if you become financially independent, their care, love, and affection are always going to be a necessary part of your life. The parents that brought you to life, the people that you grew up with, these are the human beings you love and cherish. However, it may so happen that the people who brought you to life are the same ones causing you the most pain. Parents, in some cases, tend to be the people who, intentionally or unintentionally, are or have caused emotion abuse to you at some point in your life.

emotionally abusive parent signs


When you think about it, there isn’t much you can do about the past. However, after realizing that you are the victim of emotional abuse, you should take matters into your own hands and work on regaining your self-confidence. Also, you can use your experiences and learn from them in order not to act the same way at some point in the future.

Parents as perpetrators of emotional abuse may constantly criticize you, belittle, as well as humiliate you. After all is said and done, a child remains feeling insignificant, without any power or self-esteem, and it may even happen that these children who were or are the victims of emotional abuse from their parents may grow up to become adults with problems, internal as well as external.

What are the signs that you have experienced emotional abuse in the household while growing up?

emotionally abusive parent signs

1. You can’t keep healthy relationships with people

According to Bustle, the inability to maintain healthy and long-lasting relationships with other people, as well as the inability to communicate could be a sign that you have grown up in an emotionally abusive environment. When a child experiences emotional abuse, their trust tends to get compromised, and therefore they will find themselves lacking healthy relationships in the future.

2. Your parent/s placed ‘inappropriate expectations’ on you

There are certain situations, as research has suggested when children are expected to become a form of parental figures. They are expected to give their contribution to the family income at a very early age, and there are also the cases when the parent expects their child to show perfect adult behavior all the times. These not only destroy the child emotionally but also block their natural growth.

3. Degrading through verbal abuse

A harmful word is never forgotten, especially when that word may come from your parent, the person you hold closest to you. Verbal abuse is a prominent form of abuse that contributes a lot to the mental state of the child while growing up, and in their adult years. According to research, a study has been made, that concluded that childhood verbal abuse increases the risk of developing personality disorders. Also, verbal abuse may even contribute to other co-occurring psychiatric disorders.

4. Humiliate you publicly

Oftentimes, children try to avoid humiliation, and especially in front of an audience. Another sign of emotional abuse when it comes to parents would be their tendency to humiliate and shame you in front of a large number of people. This leaves children feeling embarrassed, hurt, and lower their self-esteem.

5. You hold in your emotions

If you have grown up experiencing abuse, you will tend to hold in your emotions. According to Goal Cast, repressing emotional pain is another way to cope with abuse, especially if expressing your emotions as a child was considered a weakness.

6. You try to get attention

Growing up seeking attention and validation can be a sign of not receiving enough of it during your childhood years, the time where you probably needed it most. People who have experienced emotional abuse during their childhood years, tend to become people who seek validation due to feeling like you’re not worthy.

7. Your parent teased you

Teasing is all fun and games until it becomes excessive and starts giving negative effects. Growing up being teased means you might become an adult that does the same thing to other people, as Bustle suggests.

8. Isolation

Isolation is also a form of emotional abuse, and it can indeed affect the adult life of the child who has experienced isolation. Parents who isolate their children threated them with violence if they do not return home right after school, or forbid them to have people over or even go to other friends’ houses. According to research, isolation begins with mistrust. Parents tend to not trust anyone outside of their household, and therefore end up isolating their children this way causing damage to their adult life. Other reasons as to why parents might isolate their children might also be them being scared of other people influencing their children’s thoughts, or might even become jealous of anyone else giving their kids what they need.

9. Privacy Invasion

According to Psychology Today, some parents tend to want to know exactly what their children are doing without taking into consideration as to how much their children want to share. There are certain boundaries, such as keeping a personal journal, that in one way or another become a way for the child to express themselves somewhere they know won’t be invaded. Invading your child’s privacy excessively may even lead to confrontations, and the children might even feel like their parents mistrust them or are violating their privacy. However, PT suggests that learning about appropriate boundaries is important in a family. The results that might come from the betrayal of these boundaries may have many consequences in the future.


At the end of the day, we cannot change the past, but you can work on the present as well as the future. However, it’s important to know that you are worthy, you are capable of doing things and capable of achieving your goals. You belong and people love you. Work on your self-esteem. Remind yourself that you’re a child of the universe too, go find yourself, and become the version of yourself you want to be. Even though it might be difficult in the beginning, if there’s a will, there’s a way!

It’s true, the marks that an emotionally abusive parent can leave you, and the way they have affected your life will stick with you. But try to bring forward the parts of you that you want to bring forward, by working on yourself, and spreading kindness!


Further reading: 10 Signs Of Emotional Abuse In A Relationship.