6 Types of Emotional Abuse by Narcissistic Parents


Narcissistic Parents or caregivers who display rejecting behavior toward a child will often [purposefully or unconsciously] let a child know, in a variety of ways, that he or she is unwanted. Putting down a child’s worth or belittling their needs is one form these types of emotional abuse may take. Other examples can include telling a child to leave or worse, to get out of your face, calling him names or telling the child that he is worthless, making a child the family scapegoat or blaming him for family/sibling problems. Refusing to talk to or holding a young child as he or she grows can also be considered abuse.

> constant criticism
> name-calling
> telling child he/she is ugly
> yelling or swearing at the child
> frequent belittling and use of labels such as “stupid” or “idiot”
> constant demeaning jokes
> verbal humiliation
> constant teasing about child’s body type and/or weight
> expressing regret the child wasn’t born the opposite sex
> refusing hugs and loving gestures
> physical abandonment
> excluding child from family activities
> treating an adolescent like he is a child
> expelling the child from the family
> not allowing a child to make his own reasonable choices


Adults who have had few of their emotional needs met are often unable to respond to the needs of their children. They may not show attachment to the child or provide positive nurturing. They may show no interest in the child, or withhold affection or even fail to recognize the child’s presence. Many times the parent is physically there but emotionally unavailable. Failing to respond to or interact with your child, consistently, constitutes emotional and psychological abuse.

> no response to infant’s spontaneous social behaviors
> to pay attention to significant events in child’s life
> lack of attention to schooling, peers, etc.
> refusing to discuss your child’s activities and interests
> planning activities/vacations without including your child
> not accepting the child as an offspring
> denying required health care
> denying required dental care
> failure to engage child in day to day activities
> failure to protect child


Parents who use threats, yelling and cursing are doing serious psychological damage to their children. Singling out one child to criticize and punish or ridiculing her for displaying normal emotions is abusive. Threatening a child with harsh words, physical harm, abandonment or in extreme cases death is unacceptable. Even in jest, causing a child to be terrified by the use of threats and/or intimidating behavior is some of the worst emotional abuse. This includes witnessing, hearing or knowing that violence is taking place in the home.

> excessive teasing
> yelling, cursing and scaring
> unpredictable and extreme responses to a child’s behavior
> extreme verbal threats
> raging, alternating with periods of warmth
> threatening abandonment
> berating family members in front of or in ear range of a child
> threatening to destroy a favorite object
> threatening to harm a beloved pet
> forcing child to watch inhumane acts
> inconsistent demands on the child
> displaying inconsistent emotions
> changing the “rules of the game”
> threatening that the child is adopted or doesn’t belong
> ridiculing a child in public
> threatening to reveal intensely embarrassing traits to peers
> threatening to kick an adolescent out of the house

FACT: Children and youth who witness family violence experience all six types of emotional abuse.

4. Isolating

A parent who abuses a child through isolation may not allow the child to engage in appropriate activities with his or her peers; may keep a baby in his or her room, not exposed to stimulation or may prevent teenagers from participating in extracurricular activities. Requiring a child to stay in his or her room from the time school lets out until the next morning, restricting eating, or forcing a child to isolation or seclusion by keeping her away from family and friends can be destructive and considered emotional abuse depending on the circumstances and severity.

> leaving a child unattended for long periods
> keeping a child away from family
> not allowing a child to have friends
> not permitting a child to interact with other children
> rewarding a child for withdrawing from social contact
> ensuring that a child looks and acts differently than peers
> isolating a child from peers or social groups
> insisting on excessive studying and/or chores
> preventing a child from participating in activities outside the home
> punishing a child for engaging in normal social experiences

5. Corrupting

Parents who corrupt may permit children to use drugs or alcohol, watch cruel behavior toward animals, watch or look at inappropriate sexual content or to witness or participate in criminal activities such as stealing, assault, prostitution, gambling, etc.
Encouraging an underage child to do things that are illegal or harmful is abusive and should be reported.

> rewarding child for bullying and/or harassing behavior
> teaching racism and ethnic biases or bigotry
> encouraging violence in sporting activities
> inappropriate reinforcement of sexual activity
> rewarding a child for lying and stealing
> rewarding a child for substance abuse or sexual activity
> supplying child with drugs, alcohol and other illegal substances
> promoting illegal activities such as selling drugs

6. Exploiting

Exploitation can be considered manipulation or forced activity without regard for a child’s need for development. For instance, repeatedly asking an eight-year-old to be responsible for the family’s dinner is inappropriate. Giving a child responsibilities that are far greater than a child of that age can handle or using a child for profit is abusive.

> infants and young children expected not to cry
> anger when infant fails to meet a developmental stage
> a child expected to be ‘caregiver’ to the parent
> a child expected to take care of younger siblings
> blaming a child for misbehavior of siblings
> unreasonable responsibilities around the house
> expecting a child to support family financially
> encouraging participation in pornography
> sexually abusing child or youth

Written by Lori Petro
Original Article located here: http://www.teach-through-love.com/types-of-emotional-abuse.htm

Individuals with BPD Make Life Difficult

Imi Lo, Clinical Psychotherapist & Art Therapist

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is also known as Emotional Dysregulation Disorder or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder in Europe. Despite being referred to as a ‘personality disorder’ in the diagnostic manual, many have proposed that the term ‘personality disorder’ is best understood as a disorganisation of the capacity for regulating emotions. This means that a person can sometimes experience emotions as overwhelming, spiralling out of control, and rapidly changing.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, D.S.M.5, defines borderline personality disorder as follow:
“A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and emotions, and marked impulsivity beginning in early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five or more of the following:
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
2. A pattern of intense and unstable relationships
3. Persistently unstable self image (and attempts to control it)
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are self damaging e.g. spending, substance abuse, sex, reckless driving, binge eating
5. Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, threats or self-mutilating behaviour
6. Affective instability, due to a marked reactivity of mood.
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
8. Inappropriate, intense anger, or difficulty controlling anger
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, or severe dissociation

These symptoms may manifest themselves in various ways. For instance, for some people ‘frantic effort to avoid feeling abandoned’ means not being able to be alone and becoming clingy, whilst for others it is about chronically isolating themselves altogether to avoid disappointment or hurt.

Sometimes people with BPD seem to view the world in a black-or-white, ‘all good or all bad’ fashion. This can be confusing and frustrating to the people around , but it may be the only way the person can safely experience the world at a certain point in time.

Verbal and Emotional Abuse

This segment on HuffPost Live describes the methodical way abusers advance in a relationship. Don’t fool yourself into thinking they will change. They are master manipulators, who have you figured out more than you realize. They do not think of themselves as mentally unstable, and the relationship issues will always be your fault. They thrive on one’s weaknesses and know exactly how to push buttons. As far as your strengths go, they will eventually try their best to knock you off the pedestal they propped you up with.

The story below is a typical example of how a pathological abuser operates. He attacks, then minimizes his abuse and flips it back on the victim. An abuser delights in inflicting shame on his victim. A smile, following a verbal attack, is very common.

One of the events that took place in our relationship which not only not only shocked me but came completely out of left field, was when we went out one night and I introduced my ex-boyfriend to a famous guitar player. During the show, my ex-asked me if I had given the guitar player a bj. I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked: “WHAT?!” He smiled and said: “You heard me.” I was appalled, especially by his delight in having shocked me. I got up to leave the venue, to which he reacted by saying: “You always run away! The wind changes and you run.  You’re so unstable! You gotta learn how to let things roll off your back and hang in there!”


Verbal Abuse

Verbal AbuseThe Frog Story

A scientist conducted an experiment. She put frog number one into a pan of very hot water. The frog jumped right out. Then, she placed frog number two in a pan of cool water. This frog didn’t jump out. Very gradually, the scientist raised the temperature of the water. The frog gradually adapted until it boiled to death.


Part of conditioning is adapting. In other words, conditions may change around us and, like frog number two in the little story above, we may adapt very gradually. We are not inclined to notice gradual changes. This is how most partners adapt to verbal abuse. They slowly adapt until, like frog number two, they are living in an environment that is killing their spirit.

Going back to our story, frog number one jumped right out of the hot water because she noticed a contrast between the comfortable air she had been in and the very hot water she was put into. She felt the difference. She was able to discriminate. If she had stayed in the hot water after experiencing that it was not a healthful environment, she would have been “denying” her experience or acting unnaturally.

p. 111 “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” by Patricia Evans