How am I supposed to stop my parents from mentally and emotionally abusing me?
Hi there and thanks for your question.
Abuse of any kind is not on, even from your parents. It's really important that you know it's NOT YOUR FAULT. Although your parents are abusing you, the fact you can recognise your parents' treatment of you as abusive is good. Many children and young people believe their parents' abusive behaviours are normal or think they deserve it. You don't deserve it, even if that is what you are being told.
Emotional (mental) abuse is very hard for some people to understand or accept as abuse because it can't be seen the same way physical abuse can. From what I can tell about your situation, if you take some steps to stop the abuse from your parents, you hurting yourself may stop as well.
Now, what can you do about it? If you haven't already, you could speak to a trusted adult in your life, such as someone at school like a teacher or counsellor, and tell them about your relationship with your parents. If you aren't comfortable doing this, you could contact some support yourself. You could firstly try the NSW Child Protection 24 hour helpline on ph. 13 21 11. Otherwise, try contacting the Kids Helpline or Lifeline (details for both are below).
If your parents reject you, ignore you, isolate you or verbally abuse you, these are all forms of emotional abuse. If they minimise their behaviours by telling you their behaviors are okay or not that bad, or if they deny their abusive behaviours, that is also emotional (mental) abuse. Your parents may not even realise they are being abusive but that does not make it okay.
If you take the next step and contact the NSW helpline above, they will be able to give you further support. Tell them you have been physically hurting yourself as well and they can give you some information on people in your area that can support you.
In the meantime, here are some suggestions you can try to stop hurting yourself:
- Try to fight the urge; it will pass. The more you hurt yourself, the more the urge may increase, and the more you may act on it.
- Distract yourself, such as by calling a friend, going for a walk or a bike ride, watching TV or listening to music.
- If you are feeling emotional pain you could look for other ways to express it, for example, drawing the pain, writing about it or singing a song about it.
- You could try replacing hurting yourself with rubbing an ice cube on your skin or drawing on your skin with a pen.
Have a look at the link below for more information and ideas. All the above phone numbers can also offer you more advice on how to stop hurting yourself.
Thanks again for your question. You are being very strong in asking for support and absolutely are making good choices about how to stop your parents' abuse and stop hurting yourself too. All the best for your future.