Verbal abuse from mother

Building Your Case: How to Document Abuse

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If you are in an abusive relationship and are in the process of taking (or deciding to take) legal action against your abusive partner, documenting the abusive behaviors of your partner can be an important component of building your case.

It’s worth noting that each state has different laws about what evidence and documentation can be used in court. Speaking with a legal advocate in your state might better prepare you for your unique situation (our advocates at the Hotline can help locate a legal advocate near you). According to WomensLaw, in most states evidence can include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Verbal testimony from you or your witnesses
  • Medical reports of injuries from the abuse
  • Pictures (dated) of any injuries
  • Police reports of when you or a witness called the police
  • Household objects torn or broken by the abuser
  • Pictures of your household in disarray after a violent episode
  • Pictures of weapons used by the abuser against you
  • A personal diary or calendar in which you documented the abuse as it happened

Below are a few actions you can take to create documentation, if you are able to or feel safe doing so:

Visit the doctor.

More and more, doctors and gynecologists are trained to recognize signs of abuse. Your health care provider could also be a safe resource for disclosing the abuse. If you’re visiting a doctor for an injury, ask them about safe ways they can make notes about the abuse — ex. Some can write “cause of an injury” without it having to go to the police.

Consider outside documentation.

Do you have a trusted friend, coworker or family member who knows what’s going on and would be willing to help? There are many ways they can help document the abuse — whether that’s a coworker making note of times your partner calls you at the office, or a friend holding your journal at her house.

Create a stalking log.

If your partner is stalking you, creating a stalking log can be very helpful to your case. The National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center has examples of stalking logs (in PDF and Word formats) as well as additional information on stalking.

Learn more about police reports.

ex. Like filing about a lost bike. Ask, “Hypothetically, if there was something that was happening that I would want to report…”

Always ask questions. Call your local police department’s non-emergency number and find out about the protocols and procedures of filing a police report.

This can help you prepare for filing a police report if you need to, which creates a paper trail of the abuse.

Take pictures.

A digital camera or your phone camera may not always be safe. Consider getting a disposable camera. Another option is for someone else to take the pictures and keep them for you.

Let it go to voicemail.

Is your partner calling over and over? Let it go to voicemail once and save the voicemail.

Save digital evidence.

Do you have a smartphone? Most have the “take a screenshot” option. Thirty missed calls from your abusive partner? Take a screenshot of that. Threatening texts? Instead of responding to them, take a screenshot of them. These screen shots get saved in your images folder, so remember to send them on to a friend and delete them. If your partner sends threatening emails, don’t respond to them, but consider saving them in a folder in your inbox.

If you’re not sure if documenting your abuse would be safe, always go with your gut. It’s very important to keep in mind that you are the expert on your situation, and what works for one person may not be a safe idea for another person.

We are not legal advocates at the Hotline, but we are able to offer support and refer you to the local or state resources that might be helpful to you.

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Verbally Abusive Mothers and Their Daughters

The effects of verbal abuse from a girl's mother may not only have detrimental effects on her self-esteem and self-awareness but may also change her perception of how she should act as a grown woman. Without a healthy example of a mothering role, girls can grow up thinking abusive behavior is normal and expected.  

I have two girls and have found myself saying, more times than I would like to admit, things that were said to me as a child, spewing forth the verbal abuse that has bounced around in my head for over 45 years. Each day, I try to be more conscious of the words that leave my mouth and enter my girls' ears. Even though I still make mistakes and am far from perfect, when I use questionable words or actions, I aim to apologize and move towards providing a healthier environment for them. 

Some Telltale Signs of Verbal Abuse from Moms to Daughters

Sometimes, typical argumentative behaviors become confused with verbal abuse. It is natural to be angry and not agree with everything your mother does, but how she handles these situations will indicate if your mother is verbally abusive. Some telltale signs of a mother who uses verbal abuse can be: 

  • She uses guilt to get you to do what she wants
  • She gives you the silent treatment
  • She belittles you or calls you names 
  • She is extremely critical of you or your choices 
  • She blames you for ruining her life 
  • She responds irrationally or unpredictably 
  • Nothing is good enough for her 
  • She uses passive-aggressive tactics 

Of course, this is not a complete list of things verbal abusers say and do, and there may be other ways your mother is acting verbally abusive.  

Why Verbal Abuse? 

Surprisingly, there may be many more women who verbally abuse their children than you might believe. Someone outside the home cannot see verbal abuse unless they are present at that time.

Some women may feel inferior to their partners, making up for it by establishing dominance over their children. Other mothers may suffer from mental health issues, altering what they think is acceptable behavior. In my case, I fell victim to repeat abusive comments I received as a child. 

There is no excuse for verbally abusing a child. But, no matter the reason, this type of behavior should stop before it creates more damage or continues the cycle of abuse for future generations. 

How to Heal

Healing the effects of verbal abuse from your mother can be challenging. You may have questions that even she cannot answer for you. Even with all the reasons why a woman may abuse her children, there also may be no reason at all, making it even more difficult to understand why it happened to you.  

One way that I manage to heal my broken self-esteem and avoid repeating the same behaviors with my children is through therapy. I spent countless hours over many years rebuilding the image of what I believe a mother should be and how she should act.

Consequently, when a situation with my girls arises in my life now, I take the time to stop and really think about how to proceed. I do not want to make the same mistakes in the past or fall into the same habits I learned as a child. 

It can be a hard road to heal and move forward from verbal abuse, but it is worth the effort. It is critical for you and your girls. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2021, November 4). Verbally Abusive Mothers and Their Daughters, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, February 7 from

Psychological child abuse | State Institution "Lyakhovichi Territorial Center for Social Services to the Population"

People express negative emotions in relation to others in different ways. Someone simply speaks badly about some person behind his back, and someone chooses a harsher and more unpleasant method of influence - psychological violence. Statistics show that the victim most often is not an adult, but a child. Minors are subjected to psychological violence in schools, on the street, at home. This is a very serious problem, because because of it, children's emotional behavior and development are disturbed. They have fears.

What is psychological abuse?

Psychological violence is also called emotional. This term refers to the periodic or constant insult of the child with some unpleasant words, the humiliation of his human dignity, the utterance of threats. Often, parents have formed the desired image of children. To achieve it, mothers and fathers present their children with such requirements that they are not able to fulfill due to age opportunities. This also applies to psychological abuse.

Negative attitude towards a child has very serious consequences. He ceases to be happy. He begins to suffer from his own feelings. The child withdraws into himself, loses confidence in the people around him. In the future, all this leads to problems in building relationships. Another negative consequence is low self-esteem. For example, peers at school may call a child scary, stupid. With such thoughts about himself, he grows in the future.

Problem classification into forms

What can be considered psychological abuse of a child? Experts identify several forms of this problem. Here are the main ones:

  1. Degradation. With this form, children or adults influence a particular child with rude words, curses, name-calling, ridicule in front of other people.
  2. Ignore. This form of violence is most often observed on the part of adults - parents. They do not pay attention to their child, they are not interested in his successes and achievements. He does not feel affection, care, love. Naturally, such an attitude depresses the child.
  3. Repulsion. This feature of behavior is manifested by the fact that parents push their child away, constantly drive him away, that is, they make it clear that they do not need him.
  4. Terrorization. In this form of abuse, the child is constantly threatened by something. They threaten him, make demands that are impossible at this age stage.

In various books on education, articles on psychological abuse of children, special attention is paid to isolation. This is another form of the problem. Its essence lies in various prohibitions (for example, you can’t communicate with peers, go for a walk with them). Sometimes, during isolation, parents resort to additional physical violence - they lock the child alone in an apartment, room, and sometimes even in a closet, beat him if he violates the prohibitions.

Signs of psychological abuse

When a child becomes a victim of psychological abuse, this can be guessed from certain behavioral patterns. The following signs are observed:

the child develops anxiety, excessive anxiety;

appetite is disturbed;

feeling depressed;

self-esteem decreases;

minor avoids peers, adults,

seeks to retire; sometimes, due to psychological abuse, a child develops such a character trait as aggressiveness;

sleep is disturbed due to negative emotions;

the child begins to pay less attention to studies, gets poor grades at school;

constant threats, insults, bullying by peers or adults lead to suicide attempts.

As early as childhood, psychological abuse causes health problems. Physical and mental development is delayed, enuresis, nervous tics, and obesity occur. Emotional abuse affects the brain. This ultimately causes a predisposition to various diseases:

coronary heart disease;

chronic fatigue syndrome;

oncological diseases, etc.

Domestic violence and advice to parents

Psychological violence in the family against a child occurs for various reasons.

First, parents may simply not love their child. It's terrifying. This reason simply does not fit in the head. How can you not love your own child, because he is the future of parents. Abusive moms and dads need to be talked to. Relatives also need help. If the parents do not come to their senses, then it is best for the child to live, for example, with his grandmother.

Another common reason is demands on the child. It is important to remember that you cannot force another person to do something. Requirements that are impossible to fulfill or that the child does not like can suppress the will and cause a depressed state.

Commandments of wise parents

There are 4 commandments of wise parents. They can help avoid psychological abuse of a child, because mothers and fathers do not always realize that their upbringing is wrong and leads to negative consequences.

First, never try to make the best out of your child. Not all people are the same. Each person is endowed with certain abilities and capabilities.

Secondly, do not compare your child with other children, do not reproach him for not achieving something, like some of his classmates.

Thirdly, do not threaten the child, do not blackmail him. Otherwise, you will cause him only fear, shame. Your child may think that you just do not love him.

Fourth, do not sort things out with a child in front of witnesses, even if he has done something. It is better to discuss the problem at home, find out the reason. When misbehaving, shame the child, but remember that there should be a measure in everything.

A problem at school Absolutely any child can become a victim of school bullying. The likelihood of this is greatly increased if he is calm, not too active and sociable. His offenders can be class leaders, aggressive children who have found a victim for self-affirmation or who always strive to be in the spotlight.

A child will always tell about psychological abuse if he trusts his parents. With a secretive nature, lack of trust in the family, the opposite situation is observed. The child does not share his experiences and problems with anyone. It is possible to guess that he became a victim of psychological violence at school. The presence of this problem is indicated by the following nuances:

the child does not want to go to school;

he doesn't talk about his classmates;

his things are sometimes torn or soiled;

The child returns home after school in a depressed state.

What to do if a child is abused during school

Psychological abuse of children at school is a problem that should be solved by parents together with the class teacher. The teacher, as a rule, is aware of everything that happens in the classroom. You can also talk to the mothers and fathers of the offenders. If a minor has been a victim of abuse for a long time, then the best way out is to change schools or temporarily transfer to home schooling.

If a child does not want to transfer to another school, then parents should give him some advice on how to deal with ridicule, insults:

who does this;

an effective way to deal with offenders is to show them that their unpleasant words do not hurt or upset at all;

in response to the insults of the offenders, you can simply laugh (if you demonstrate such behavior every time, then after a while, peers will simply become uninteresting in “poisoning” their victim).

Liability for child abuse in the Republic of Belarus

The legislation of the Republic of Belarus establishes several types of liability for persons who abuse a child.

Administrative responsibility. The Code of Administrative Offenses of the Republic of Belarus provides for liability for failure to perform or improper performance of duties for the maintenance, upbringing, education, protection of the rights and interests of minors - in the form of a warning or the imposition of an administrative fine.

Criminal liability. Belarusian criminal legislation provides for liability for all types of physical and sexual abuse of children, as well as for a number of articles - for mental abuse and for neglecting the basic needs of children, lack of care for them.

Civil liability. Abuse of a child may serve as a basis for bringing parents (persons replacing them) to liability in accordance with family law.

6 types of toxic parents and how to deal with them correctly

February 27, 2021 Relationship

If someone is destroying your life, you can't sit back. Even if those people are your parents.

You can not only read this article, but also listen to it. If it's more convenient for you, turn on the podcast.

Susan Forward

PhD, psychotherapist, author of Toxic Parents, Men Who Hate Women and Women Who Love Them, Emotional Blackmail.

Toxic parents hurt, abuse, humiliate, harm their children. And not only physical, but also emotional. They continue to do this even when the child becomes an adult.

1. Infallible parents

Such parents perceive children's disobedience, the slightest manifestations of individuality as an attack on themselves, and therefore they defend themselves. They insult and humiliate the child, destroy his self-esteem, hiding behind the good goal of "tempering character."

How the effect manifests itself

Usually the children of infallible parents consider them perfect. They have psychological protection.

  • Negative. The child invents another reality in which his parents love him. Denial provides temporary relief, which is costly: sooner or later it results in an emotional crisis.
    Example: "Actually, my mother does not insult me, but she does better: she opens her eyes to the unpleasant truth."
  • Desperate hope. Children cling with all their might to the myth of perfect parents and blame themselves for all misfortunes.
    Example: "I am not worthy of a good relationship, mom and dad want the best for me, but I don't appreciate it."
  • Rationalization. This is a search for good reasons that explain what is happening in order to make it less painful for the child.
    Example: "My father beat me not to hurt me, but to teach me a lesson."

What to do

Realize that it is not your fault that your parents constantly turn to insults and humiliation. Therefore, it makes no sense to try to prove something to toxic parents.

A good way to understand the situation is to look at what happened through the eyes of an outside observer. This will allow you to realize that parents are not so infallible, and rethink their actions.

2. Inadequate parents

Determining the toxicity and inadequacy of parents who do not beat or bully a child is more difficult. Indeed, in this case, harm is caused not by action, but by inaction. Often such parents themselves behave like powerless and irresponsible children. They make the child grow up faster and meet their needs.

How the impact manifests itself

  • The child becomes a parent to himself, younger brothers and sisters, his own mother or father. He loses his childhood.
    Example: "How can you ask to go out when your mother doesn't have time to wash everything and cook dinner?"
  • Victims of toxic parents experience feelings of guilt and despair when they cannot do something for the good of the family.
    Example: “I can't put my little sister to bed, she cries all the time. I'm a bad son."
  • The child may lose emotions due to lack of emotional support from parents. As an adult, he experiences problems with self-identification: who he is, what he wants from life and love relationships.
    Example: “I entered a university, but it seems to me that this is not the specialty that I like. I don't even know who I want to be."

What to do

Household chores should not take the child more time than studying, playing, walking, talking with friends. It is difficult to prove this to toxic parents, but it is possible. Operate with facts: “I will not study well if cleaning and cooking are only on me”, “The doctor advised me to spend more time outdoors and play sports.”

3. Controlling parents

Excessive control can look like caution, discretion, care. But toxic parents in this case only care about themselves. They are afraid of becoming unnecessary, and therefore they make sure that the child depends on them as much as possible, feels helpless.

Favorite phrases of toxic controlling parents:

  • "I'm doing this solely for you and your benefit."
  • "I did this because I love you very much."
  • "Do this or I won't talk to you anymore."
  • "If you don't do this, I'll have a heart attack."
  • "If you don't do it, you will cease to be a member of our family."

All this means one thing: "I am doing this because the fear of losing you is so great that I am ready to make you miserable. "

Parents-manipulators who prefer hidden control do not get their way with direct requests and orders, but on the sly, forming a sense of guilt. They provide "disinterested" help, which forms a sense of duty in the child.

How the impact manifests itself

  • Children controlled by toxic parents become overly anxious. They lose the desire to be active, to explore the world, to overcome difficulties.
    Example: "I'm very afraid of traveling by car because my mother always said it was very dangerous."
  • If a child tries to argue with his parents, to disobey them, this threatens him with a sense of guilt, his own betrayal.
    Example: “I stayed overnight with a friend without permission, the next morning my mother fell ill with a heart condition. I will never forgive myself if something happens to her."
  • Some parents love to compare their children to each other, to create an atmosphere of anger and jealousy in the family.
    Example: "Your sister is much smarter than you, what are you born into?".
  • The child constantly feels that he is not good enough, he strives to prove his worth.
    Example: "I always aspired to become like my older brother, and even went to medical school like him, although I wanted to become a programmer."

What to do

Get out of control without fear of consequences. As a rule, this is a simple blackmail. When you realize that you are not part of your parents, you will no longer depend on them.

4. Alcoholic parents

Alcoholic parents usually deny that there is a problem at all. A mother, suffering from her husband's drunkenness, shields him, justifies the frequent use of alcohol by the need to relieve stress or problems with the boss.

The child is usually taught that dirty linen should not be taken out of the hut. Because of this, he is constantly tense, lives in fear of accidentally betraying his family, revealing a secret.

How the impact manifests itself

  • Children of alcoholics often become lonely. They do not know how to build friendships or love relationships, they suffer from jealousy and suspicion.
    Example: "I'm always afraid that the person I love will hurt me, so I don't start a serious relationship."
  • In such a family, a child can grow up hyper-responsible and insecure.
    Example: “I used to help my mother put my drunk father to bed. I was scared that he would die, I was worried that there was nothing I could do about it.”
  • Another toxic effect of such parents is the transformation of the child into "invisibility".
    Example: “Mom tried to wean my father from drinking, coded him, constantly looking for new medicines. We were left to ourselves, no one asked if we ate, how we study, what we are fond of.
  • Children suffer from feelings of guilt.
    Example: “As a child, I was constantly told: “If you behaved well, dad would not drink.

According to statistics, every fourth child from a family of alcoholics becomes an alcoholic himself.

What to do

Don't take responsibility for your parents drinking. If you can convince them that there is a problem, chances are they will consider coding. Communicate with prosperous families, do not let us convince ourselves that all adults are the same.

5. Humiliating parents

Such parents constantly insult and criticize the child, often unreasonably, or make fun of him. It can be sarcasm, ridicule, offensive nicknames, humiliation that is passed off as caring: “I want to help you get better”, “We need to prepare you for a cruel life.” Parents can make the child an "accomplice" in the process: "He understands that this is just a joke."

Sometimes humiliation is associated with a sense of competition. Parents feel that the child gives them unpleasant emotions, and turn on the pressure: “You can’t do better than me.

How impact manifests itself

  • This attitude kills self-esteem and leaves deep emotional scars.
    Example: “For a long time I couldn't believe I could do anything more than take out the trash, as my father used to say. And I hated myself for it."
  • Children of rival parents pay for their peace of mind by sabotaging their success. They prefer to underestimate their real abilities.
    Example: “I wanted to participate in the street dance competition, I prepared well for it, but I didn't dare to try it. Mom always said I couldn't dance like her."
  • Violent verbal attacks can be driven by the unrealistic expectations adults place on the child. And it is he who suffers when the illusions collapse.
    Example: “Dad was sure that I would become a great hockey player. When I was once again expelled from the section (I did not like and did not know how to skate), he called me worthless and incapable of anything for a long time.
  • The failures of children in toxic parents usually lead to the apocalypse.
    Example: “I kept hearing: ‘I wish you hadn’t been born. And this is due to the fact that I did not take first place at the Mathematics Olympiad.”

Children who grow up in such families often have suicidal tendencies.

What to do

Find a way to block insults and humiliation so they don't hurt you. Don't let us seize the initiative in the conversation. If you answer in monosyllables, do not succumb to manipulation, insults and humiliation, toxic parents will not achieve their goal. Remember: you don't have to prove anything to them.

End communication when you want it. And preferably before you begin to feel unpleasant emotions.

6. Abusers

Parents who consider violence to be the norm were most likely brought up in the same way. For them, this is the only opportunity to throw out anger, cope with problems and negative emotions.

Physical abuse

Proponents of corporal punishment usually take out their fears and complexes on children or sincerely believe that spanking will benefit education, make the child courageous and strong. In reality, the opposite is true: physical punishment inflicts the strongest mental, emotional and bodily harm.

Sexual abuse

Susan Forward characterizes incest as "an emotionally destructive betrayal of the basic trust between child and parent, an act of total perversion." The little victims are at the mercy of the aggressor, they have nowhere to go and no one to ask for help.

90% of child survivors of sexual abuse do not tell anyone about it.

How the impact manifests itself

  • The child experiences a feeling of helplessness and despair, because asking for help can be fraught with new outbursts of anger and punishment.
    Example: “I didn't tell anyone about my mother's beating until I was almost an adult. Because I knew no one would believe me. She explained the bruises on my legs and arms by the fact that I like to run and jump.”
  • Children begin to hate themselves, their emotions are constant anger and revenge fantasies.
    Example: “I couldn't admit it to myself for a long time, but as a child I wanted to strangle my father while he was sleeping. He beat my mother, younger sister. I'm glad they got him."
  • Sexual abuse does not always involve contact with a child's body, but it is no less destructive. Children feel guilty about what happened. They are ashamed, they are afraid to tell someone about what happened.
    Example: “I was the quietest student in the class, I was afraid that my father would be called to school, the secret would be revealed. He intimidated me: he constantly said that if this happens, everyone will think that I have lost my mind, they will send me to a psychiatric hospital.
  • Children keep the pain in themselves so as not to break up the family.
    Example: “I saw that my mother loves my stepfather very much. Once I tried to hint to her that he treats me “in an adult way”. But she burst into tears so much that I didn’t dare to talk about it anymore.
  • A child abuse survivor often leads a double life. He feels disgusting, but pretends to be a successful, self-sufficient person. He cannot build normal relationships, considers himself unworthy of love. This is a wound that takes a very long time to heal.
    Example: “I always considered myself 'dirty' because of what my father did to me as a child. I decided to go on a first date after 30 years, when I went through several courses of psychotherapy.

What to do

The only way to escape from a rapist is to distance yourself, to run away. Do not close in on yourself, but seek help from relatives and friends who you can trust, seek help from psychologists and the police.

How to deal with toxic parents

1. Accept this fact. And understand that you are unlikely to be able to change your parents. But myself and my attitude to life - yes.

2. Remember that their toxicity is not your fault.

Learn more