Psychological Abuse Of The Adult Children

Many parents psychologically abuse their adult children with emotional manipulation, criticism and comparisons. This invisible dynamic can eat away at the well-being of men and women, who remain dependent on their parents.
Psychological abuse of the adult children

Psychological abuse of adult children by the parents through manipulation, blackmail, hurtful words and comments that feed the insecurities of their childhood is common.

The passage of time does not guarantee that harmful childhood ties will be broken or repaired. Sometimes they continue well into adulthood, which then has a negative effect on self-esteem and well-being.

Psychological abuse comes in many forms and can affect anyone. Some children abuse their elderly parents, some parents abuse their young children. In fact, some independent men and women are still psychologically abused by their father, mother or both parents.

What can be done in these cases? Contacting social services or other organizations dealing with these types of issues often seems pointless to adults experiencing abuse. After all, what’s the point of trying to solve something you’ve been dealing with since childhood?

Many victims of psychological abuse do not believe that it is possible to change their circumstances. They have resigned themselves to their situation and are still in contact with the abusive parent.

One thing is clear: an abusive parent and their child always have a bond, a connection that feeds dependence, fear, and even love. However, it is a harmful kind of love, clearly poisoned by the abuse. Unfortunately, these situations are common and can easily become chronic.

Psychological abuse of the adult children

Parents who psychologically abuse their adult children

Psychological abuse is any behavior aimed at controlling or subjecting another person to:

  • fear
  • manipulation
  • humiliation
  • harassment
  • projection of guilt
  • compulsion
  • constant disapproval

While this type of aggression may not leave physical marks, it affects psychological integrity. Its impact on a child’s mind can be devastating.

If this kind of abuse continues for decades, you can imagine the consequences. It has a huge impact on basic aspects such as self-esteem, identity and personal safety.

This kind of abuse does not start when the victim is an adult. It is always rooted in behavior that started during their childhood. That also explains why many people reach adulthood with heavy emotional baggage. In fact, a lifetime of psychological abuse can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder.

One notable aspect of this type of abuse is the extraordinary efforts people make to pretend that everything is normal. Very rarely do relatives and friends, even those who are very close, know anything about this abuse. The circumstances therefore remain hidden and are closely guarded.

When the ‘monsters’ are your parents: normalizing psychological abuse

As we mentioned above, many parents abuse their children psychologically. The first question that probably comes to mind is why this is happening. How can people endure these terrible conditions? Wouldn’t it be better for these people to cut ties with these abusive parents?

But it’s never that simple. The bond between a victim and an abuser is incredibly complex. Sometimes, despite terrible circumstances characterized by fear, humiliation and contempt, you can still love someone who hurts you. In the end, it’s your parents.

If you’ve never known another parent-child relationship, this behavior may seem “normal.” The passage of time does not turn monsters into angels. They continue to feed on power and control because it is part of their personality.

What is the effect of psychological abuse?

One of the consequences of emotional and psychological abuse that begins during childhood is post-traumatic stress disorder. Community studies from Utrecht University and the University of Coimbra in Portugal have shown the significance of this relationship.

Psychological abuse that continues into adulthood has the following consequences:

  • Problematic and unsatisfactory emotional relationships.
  • Low self-esteem, feelings of redundancy, damaged pride, feeling unsafe and unmotivated, etc.
  • Emotional suppression and the tendency to hide feelings.
  • Anxiety, stress, sleep disorders, etc.
Sad man with emotional baggage

Psychological abuse, is there a way out?

While situations like this often seem hopeless, there are ways to get out of an abusive relationship. To begin with, the adult must be fully aware of the abuse and committed to addressing it.

This is easier said than done, as dependence is common in abusive relationships. It is not only about emotional but also financial dependence. Many adults in this situation cannot leave their parents’ homes because they are not yet financially independent.

However, being financially stable doesn’t mean it’s easy to break these abuse ties. They are very difficult to break because of the abuser’s constant manipulation and criticism. The victim must be firmly convinced that his situation is untenable and must change.

As a result, there are only two options. Gather the abusive parents together and cut ties with them completely, or reduce communication significantly.

Adult children of abusive parents also need psychological help. Decades of humiliation and suffering leave a very deep wound that must be healed.

The goal is for them to restore their self-esteem and personal security and rebuild their lives so that they can be independent and happy.

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