Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

This old saying could not be farther from the truth. Verbal/emotional abuse happens when yelling and anger go too far or when someone constantly criticizes, threatens, or dismisses you until your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth are damaged. It also includes being around constant family conflict.

Here are some examples of verbal and emotional abuse:

This kind of abuse may seem invisible. But the effects can be extremely damaging. No child, teenager, or young adult should be responsible for the emotional well-being of his/her parent.

It’s Not Your Fault!

You don’t have to carry around guilt and shame for something you haven’t done. You’ve only been in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person, and absorbed the wounds of someone else’s dysfunction and illness.

But what you can do is to choose how you respond to the abuse you’ve experienced. You can let it turn you into a miserable, depressed person. Or you can allow the pain and hardship you’ve experienced to turn you into a compassionate, caring person who can help other people going through their own difficulties.

Take it day by day and always know that there are people who care about you and who can help you any way that you need it. Count on your friends to be there for you.

If you realize that you are living in a verbally/emotionally abusive situation, it’s important that you tell someone. Find someone you can trust to talk about what’s going on at home. It will help you get perspective on your situation, and help you decide what actions you need to take to protect yourself.

If you don’t know who to talk with, you can always connect with one of our free, confidential online mentors. Just click on the “Connect with a Mentor” button below and fill out the form to get started.

If you are in immediate danger, contact the police (911) as soon as possible. If you’re under 18, and living in the US, you can also call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

(Original article found at

This article was written by: Dawson McAllister

Photo Credit: Daniel Garcia