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Session Seven - Childhood Emotional Abuse

Hello everyone and welcome to our Trauma support session. Today we will be discussing Childhood  Emotional Abuse. Trauma sessions will run at the same times each week and they are an opportunity for us to learn from and share with one another. Let’s remember to show kindness and support to others in the group at all times. If you need more support during this time, please connect 1-1 with a listener.


See this resource thread ( for coping if being triggered.


Everyone is welcome to share and participate as they would like, but we respectfully ask you to let everyone participate in the discussion as they are comfortable to do so.   Due to the nature of trauma discussion, please do not provide graphic details of your trauma to help prevent triggering others.


Reminder:  If you feel yourselves being triggered, remember it's okay to take a breather from the room and come back when you are feeling ready to.  Remember to use the link on grounding and if necessary, reach out for support to a listener. You come first and it's important to look after your needs!


Reminder if needed in discussion by leaders - To show respect to one another let’s keep this a safe, supportive space, remembering not to be too graphic to avoid triggering others, and focus on the current question so everyone feels included and involved.


Icebreaker.  If your life were a vehicle, what type would it be, i.e. A racing car, monster truck, aeroplane?


  1. How would you define what childhood emotional abuse is?  


Emotional abuse is the emotional maltreatment of a child.  It’s sometimes called psychological abuse and can damage a child’s emotional health and development


  1. What examples of emotional abuse are you able to come up with that a child may experience and if you feel comfortable sharing, what are some of the things you experienced yourself as a child?


Examples of emotional abuse; mocking and ridicule, name calling, put downs, scaring and humiliating a child, isolating, ignoring or silence, rejecting a child, aggressive and threatening behaviour. humiliating or constantly criticising a child; threatening, shouting at a child or calling them names, making the child the subject of jokes, or using sarcasm to hurt a child, blaming, scapegoating; making a child perform degrading acts; not recognising a child's own individuality, trying to control their lives; pushing a child too hard or not recognising their limitations’ exposing a child to distressing events or interactions such as domestic abuse or drug taking, failing to promote a child's social development, persistently ignoring them etc


  1. What signs could indicate a child is being emotionally abused and what signs do you feel others could have picked up that indicated that you were being emotionally abused as a child?


Being overly-affectionate towards strangers or people they haven’t known for very long, lacking confidence or become wary or anxious, not appearing to have a close relationship with their parent, e.g. when being taken to or collected from nursery etc. being aggressive or nasty towards other children and animals, use language or act in a way or know about things that you wouldn’t expect them to know for their age, struggle to control strong emotions or have extreme outbursts, withdrawn, lack social skills or have few, if any, friends.  Anxiety, depression, low self esteem, PTSD, Social Anxiety, anger. Also emotional abuse can restrict a child’s emotional development including their ability to express a full range of emotions appropriately and to control their emotions.


  1. What impact did the emotional abuse you suffered have on you as you as you grew up? How did it make you feel towards yourself, others and the world around you?


  1. Emotional abuse has been described as a “hidden form of abuse.  ” Would you say society has less understanding and empathy for victims of emotional abuse than those that have suffered sexual or physical abuse and if so, what do you feel contributes to that being a factor?


  1. When the abuse was occurring for you as a child,  how did you cope with what was happening to you?


  1. As a child, were you able to tell anyone about the abuse you were suffering?  If not what barriers prevented you from being able to do so? If yes, what support did you receive and was this a positive or negative experience for you?


  1. What steps towards prevention of children suffering emotional abuse, do you feel could be taken to help children suffering abuse in today’s world?  What is the one thing you would want to say to a child suffering today that you wished someone had said to you?


  1. To heal from emotional abuse, once we understand how we feel, we’re more able to understand our emotional needs in our present day. Sometimes we may feel that our needs are too much or that we’re needy. Think about a need that you might have and imagine a good friend who felt the same way. What would you say to them?


  1. After having our feelings and needs ignored it can be really hard to reconnect and give those things to ourselves.  What are ways you have neglected yourself? How might you begin to meet these needs so that you feel nurtured and cared for?


  1. Setting healthy boundaries is a key component of trust and meaningful relationships. What type of boundaries might child emotional abuse survivors use to feel safer in their relationships?


Thank you everyone for participating in this group support discussion.  If you would spend a minute filling in this feedback form, it would be most appreciated.  Thank you for being here and take care of yourselves.


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If you would like to take part in the Traumatic Experiences Community forum discussions, please see this link:


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