I get verbally abused everyday by my parents in front of my child and I cannot take it anymore

I'm being verbally abused on a daily basis by my parents in front of my child. I feel like I’m trapped and I have no escape. I feel like I have to listen to the horrible things they say and just take all of it.

I need some way of learning how to cope with listening to it especially since I have nowhere else to go. I feel very emotionally drained How can I deal with this?

Ashton Sullivan
Ashton Sullivan
Dialectical Behavior Therapy and EMDR

Wow, that's tough.  It's understandable to feel trapped when the people you depend on are mistreating you.  While you can't change your parents, fortunately you can work on changing yourself and your situation.

Often, the clients I work with feel trapped when there are actually things they can do to change their situation.  The problem is, our emotions can be so powerful they can distort our perception of reality or prevent us from doing the things necessary to build a better life.  Work through this with a therapist to see if your emotions might be getting in the way and look outside the box for things that you can do to change your situation.  In the meantime, here are some other things you can work on.

1.)  Assume the best and try not to take it personally.  Most likely your parents don't want to cause you harm, but they don't know any other way to cope with their emotions or communicate effectively.  For example, they may feel that they failed as parents somehow but they take their frustrations out on you.  Maybe their disappointment comes off as anger or frustration directed towards you.  Maybe they feel powerless and the abuse gives them an outlet or a sense of control (i.e., an unhealthy way of coping).  This doesn't excuse them for treating you that way but can help in understanding that this may be all they know and the abuse is the problem- not you.

2.)  Communicate.  Relationships are transactional, meaning that what you do and say affects me, and what I do and say affects you.  One way we influence people is with the way we communicate (our words, body language, actions, tone of voice, etc.).  If you don't say or do anything, you are essentially communicating that it is acceptable.

Instead, tell them clearly and respectfully every time their words or actions hurt you.  Sometimes people don't realize how their words and actions affect us (or they don't know how else to say things), but it is our responsibility to let them know and to set the boundaries.  Remember that while it is your parents' responsibilities to manage their own emotions and communication, it is your responsibility to take care of your own.

You could say something like, "when I hear you say that it really hurts," "please don't say things like that to me," or even more clearly, "it's not okay to talk to me that way.  Please find a more respectful way to say you need."  Each time you are correcting them and teaching them how to treat you.  I realize that this doesn't always work because ultimately people are gonna do do what they want, but these are ways that you can practice standing up for yourself.  You may have to say these things over and over again, but it's better than not saying anything at all.  Not only will it help your self esteem, but you will be modeling healthy boundaries and communication for your child.

None of this is easy work and since people are so complex, there isn't a quick and easy fix.  I definitely recommend working with a therapist to explore what's keeping you stuck and how you can work through it.  It would be awesome if your parents would be on board with learning some healthier ways to communicate as well.  I hope this helps and things work out!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Audrey ONeal
Audrey ONeal
Bi-lingual Psychotherapist and HeartMath Certified Practitioner

That is unfortunate that you are being verbally abused and that the experience not only impacts you, but also your children.It is understandable that you would be overwhelmed as the stress you experience may trigger depleting emotions. Author, Victor Frankel advised others that in difficult situations that one cannot control, it is best to focus on controlling one's reactions to the situation. One way to approach this may be to think about the good that may emerge from the situation regardless of how tough it is.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Dr. Melissa Valentina
Dr. Melissa Valentina
Honor Yourself and Live Your Truth

All you can do/control is work on yourself. When you have enough sense of self, you will know how to deal with your family. Therapy is an investment in yourself, which affects your family. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Amelia Mora Mars
Amelia Mora Mars
Hi, I'm Amelia. I help overwhelmed, stressed out teen girls and women find peace again.

Hello, I am sorry to hear about you feeling verbally abused, trapped without an escape, and emotionally drained. Sounds to me like you are being treated more like a child than an adult.  It's time to learn about healthy boundaries and being treated like an adult. This process will take time, but beyond elevating your self-esteem and worth, you will be modeling to your children a healthy adult. Model to them an empowered, confident, and person that is worthy of respect. 

Please invest in yourself. Find yourself a therapist that encourages and empowers you to have a voice and not feel invisible. You'll be so glad you did!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry
Gwendolyn Nelson-Terry
www.GwendolynNelsonTerry.com

I am so sorry this is happening to you.  One thought I have is for you to create a mantra or a soothing statement to say over and over to yourself as you are being bombarded with this negativity and abuse.  For example you could say "Living here is temporarily, one day I will have my own place".  Or you could say something like "I am a good person, I am a good parent, and I always try to do the best I can".  Saying this over and over to yourself as you are listening to your parents will help you to tune out some of their words but it will also start to build more positive neural connections and start to wire your brain to build and/or strengthen your self esteem.  

Focus on the temporary nature of your situation, start making plans for leaving the situation.  If you are under 18 and can't leave because you are in school, now is a good time to start planning for when you can leave.  That when when the opportunity is available you know how you will get a job, how you will find an apartment, who will provide daycare.   This will make the transition out of your parents home much easier and it will give you something to look forward to while you are in their home.  Take care!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Kesha Martin
Kesha Martin
Licensed Professional Counselor, NCC, DCC

Your situation is a difficult one, but I would encourage you to start considering how to set boundaries for yourself and your family members. Often, times we believe we have to allow a certain behavior because a person is family. This is not true. It sounds like you could use some help understanding finding your voice and asserting yourself with your family members. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Carmy Howard, LMHC, DCC
Carmy Howard, LMHC, DCC
Change is possible one session at a time

I am so sorry you are experiencing this situation.  Considering that you mentioned not having a place to go, it may be best to address the problem as oppose to “just take all of it”. Confrontation can be done in a healthy and effective way.  Being able to communicate your feelings with the intent of improving the problem can be a great skill needed in multiple settings in life.  The therapy process can help build this skill set and goal plan to remove yourself from the home.  Good luck.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Carole Conner
Carole Conner
Affordable Clinical Counseling with Real Life Answers

The first step is realizing your value and establishing firm boundaries. When your parents cross that boundary and are verbally abusive, you have to have a plan to stand your ground and act upon it. That plan may include a better job to afford a place of your own, a domestic violence shelter if you are unable to provide for your needs, a firm talk with your parents about your parental authority, or other. Whatever you do has to be firm or consistent, a boundary that you allow someone to cross is no boundary. There is always a way, if you have no where to go, ask yourself why is that the case(which I am sure you have considered already) and what can I do about it. If you choose not to take any action then you are enabling your parents to remain abusive. Ask yourself too, why am I not acting on my situation. Am I too dependent on them? Do I not want to change? Is it easier just to let them provide for me? Be honest with yourself. You need to work on your self esteem, and things that empower you. Support groups in person or online, Church groups or organizations, friends, books, music, etc.... but think on things that will empower you. Are you stuck financially because of the need for a job? Do you need to go back to school? Do you need training in a new field? There are a myriad of possibilities and answers. Action, think action and Change, what can I change?

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Valerie  Saisi, NCC, LPC
Valerie Saisi, NCC, LPC
Parenting, Child, and Family Therapist

I can't imagine what you are feeling but I can tell you that you are right to be concerned about your children baring witness to this abuse.  This is a great teachable moment for your kids.  How you handle yourself will be very important for your children to see.  Your "REACTION" is what you should focus on.  

Will you react with rage and name calling? Will you listen to your parents with respect and talk to them in private about how they are speaking to you in front of your kids?  Will you talk your kids about what is going? 

From reading this I am assuming you live with your parents.  If this is the case you have to think about what you can do to change your situation.  Have a plan! Set a goal!  Don't lose hope!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
David Klein
David Klein
Humanistic, LGBT-Affirmative Psychotherapy for Individuals & Couples

I think one of the best things to pass on to our children, or simply one of the best lessons in life, is to learn when to internalize (it's an issue in me) and when to externalize (it's an issue in them), as well as always finding the balance of the two.

In this case, you don't seem to be the issue. Sure, living with your parents with your child probably is not your dream scenario, nor your parents'. But, there are ways to process that without someone feeling abused, and your parents clearly have zero ability or boundaries if they are willing to verbally abuse you in front of your child, and their grandchild. If there is a reason they are doing so, I'm sure they think they have a good one. However, the dynamic that they are willingly setting up is problematic. And it is THEIR problem. 

However, by being strong and not taking in someone's verbal abuse, you are going to role model for your child how it's about what is inside of you, your own drive, that will be what is important, NOT what others say about you. It's important to always come back to yourself inside, and seeing the good that is in you (or even just noticing that it's there, if you can't quite see it in its entirety.)

I would also advise your parents to think about their own role modeling. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

When their verbal abuse starts, tell them you are exiting the conversation because the way they're talking to you is unacceptable.

Explain you are willing to hear their point of view only not when it is expressed as abuse.

They may not agree with your opinion and also may not want to change.

Even if they do not change, you are entitled to be treated as a human being who is worthy of respect.

Explain your reason to exit the conversation and ask them to write down their requests for you to consider.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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