Scars of Emotional Abuse In Your Childhood Home

Depressed young woman.

A whole generation of victims of parental emotional abuse speaks out in more than 2154 responses…

I’m fascinated by the huge response to a posting on, asking this question:

 When terrible, abusive parents come crawling back, what do their grown children owe them?

Is a gut-wrenching exercise to go through the (now) 2154 responses…
with the still raw emotions shared there.

Some use their own names, and others use fake names, to tell basically the same story:

The permanent hurt that was inflicted on them as children, by the same parents supposed to raise, educate and love them.

This is an extraordinary window into child-raising practices of the 50, 60, and 70 in the USA…a couple of generations share their victimization at their parent’s hands.
Reading the comments is like being seated in a humongous therapy group, and hearing the multiple versions of a unique brutal fact: how many ways to humiliate, emotionally abuse, and destroy your child’s identity and self-esteem can parents have? You can list the different causes as immaturity, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, all kind of psychiatric causes, but what is prevalent is the heavy toll they took in their lives.

And, after detailing the abuse and hurt inflicted, and the multiple ways people tried to grow up, escape from hell, and survive, then they are confronted with the question:

Can you now forgive the living hell and help your now-aged parent?

“Stories of children growing up with repeated abuse, neglect, cruelty, verbal assault and intentional self-esteem destroying elements in their lives–not just one event, or one day but time after time, day after day–as adults, we then feel an obligation to help the monsters who treated us this way, we feel guilt when we cut them off, we feel pressure when others belittle us for not being in contact with them and we feel unsure about our memories of how bad it really was. yet if someone not related walked up to you at work and boxed you in the head, you wouldn’t feel any of these conflicting emotions. “

How can you reconnect with brutally abusive parents, who orphaned you emotionally/mentally/spiritually/financially?

Can you rehabilitate the abusive parent’s image?

Commenters have to face a basic childhood hope: what if the parent repents, recognizes the harm done, and apologizes?
Isn’t exactly that what you have hoped for all those years?

The hope that parents would mature with age and then get to a point where they could understand the damage done to their own children, and even apologize for that abuse is what keeps people asking about the power of forgiveness to heal. But, there is a big gap between children that now would like to go back and reconnect as adults and the hope that parents would apologize.

The question going around about forgiving parents is addressed thousands of times, with a sober conclusion….

You cannot rehabilitate an abusive parent.,
nor will they ever [only rarely] give you validation for the abuse you suffered at their hands,
and almost never will you enjoy the healthy parent-child dynamics you long for.

This is a terrible, sad conclusion, that only leads to the solution most of the respondents answered: Shield yourself, using time, distance, and silence.

Returning to an abusive parent is worse because you will always be at risk, you will be open to re-abuse, and the pathways the parent has carved in you as a child can be easily accessed by them again because those are your weak aspects.

Probably people could apply here the concept of brain plasticity, which explains why so many years after the cruel abuse and rejection, and violence people will still have PTSD symptoms,  making people weaker in front of new abuse.

According to one post:

“So much of the article struck home, especially the post-traumatic stress that I experienced with my father.
I had a hard time understanding WHY I would experience it at this point in my life,
and then I suspected it was post-traumatic stress.”

Sometimes you can think they will grow up and become ‘healthy enough’ to hang with their parent and not be hurt by the same behavior received in the past. But the inner child knows best.

After visiting those very personal stories, you are left with the question: how can we have a national conversation about healthy family life; how can we raise children with love and respect, with those same parents who perhaps are just now mentally ill, or suffering from addictions,  or incapable of empathy for babies and younger children’s needs, and spare whole chunks of the population the agony of being raised in a living hell?

There is a deeper issue of inter-generational transmission of violence here, from generation to generation…what really steals your heart reading this article is the desperate plea of so many ex battered children-grown-up people now to spare their own children from this living hell.




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