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Teen Trauma Due to Physical or Emotional

Abuse by Parents or Caregivers

Sustaining physical or emotional trauma at the hands of someone who is supposed to care for and protect you can be especially hard to deal with. Abusive behaviors from a parent or caregiver do not offer a stable, nourishing environment. If you’re a teen who is being physically or emotionally abused, talk to someone, and get familiar with where you can go when you need help. Being abused is never your fault. There are so many people who can step in and help you and even offer resources to the person who is causing you harm.

Physical and emotional abuse can stem from a number of problems within the home, such as substance abuse, having a parent with emotional problems, and even lack of parenting skills or understanding of what constitutes abuse.

Emotional and Physical Abuse

Physical and emotional abuse resulting to teen trauma

Generally speaking, physical abuse is intentionally causing harm to someone by physically doing something to hurt them.

Some examples of physical abuse would be:

  • Punching or kicking
  • Strangling or choking someone
  • Physical restraint or restraining movements with something like rope
  • Burning the body with hot objects or hot water
  • Shoving
  • Striking someone with an object, such as a stick or shoe.

On the other hand, emotional abuse is not always so obvious. Usually, emotional abuse can come in a few different forms:

  • Lack of Affection or Regard – Not showing love or kindness, ignoring the needs of the child, not providing comfort, and not calling the child by their given name. 
  • Speaking in an Abusive Way – Ridiculing, belittling, name-calling, threatening, and blaming the child for problems are all abusive speak. Some parents may also try to make the child feel unwanted or continuously speak badly about the child to siblings or other people.
  • Creating an Emotionally Unhealthy Environment – An emotionally unhealthy environment may mean isolating the child from others, forcing the child to do illegal or immoral things, or expecting the child to live up to unrealistic expectations.

Is Emotional Abuse Traumatic?

Emotional abuse is as damaging to a child as physical abuse, especially in their formative years. Studies have found that emotional abuse stays with you and can affect brain development. Emotional abuse affects learning, memory and often results in anxiety, depression, anger, and even disassociation, post-traumatic stress disorder, or complex trauma.

Common Challenges for Teens

Who Have Been Abused

Every teen can have a different reaction to being mistreated or abused. Most experience intense emotions for obvious reasons, such as feeling sad about their circumstances or angry at their abuser. The teen may feel isolated with what they are going through, have problems with anxiety, and even feel ashamed or guilty about the abuse. Some teens even grow fiercely protective over the people inflicting abuse. Physical or emotional abuse can have negative effects on multiple areas of a child’s life.

A teen may:

  • Have problems getting along with others
  • Withdraw from normal activities or social situations with friends
  • Lose interest in school, life activities, or making plans for the future
  • Experience sleep disturbances
  • Feel depressed or hopeless
  • Have issues with panic attacks or anxiety disorders


Teens in crisis due to abuse can get involved in riskier behaviors, such as running away from home or using drugs or alcohol. And, the long-term impacts of abuse at home can be everything from health problems to severe psychological trauma that impedes the ability to live a fulfilling life. Some adults who are abused as children develop dissociative disorders, struggle with memory problems, and have issues with attention.

Help Is Available for Teen Trauma

Caused by Physical or Emotional Abuse

Teen trauma caused by physical or emotional abuse can be detrimental to the teen’s life. Seeking therapy to help the victim overcome the trauma is often necessary. Children who have been physically or emotionally abused can have a lot of challenging emotions to work through. And, some may portray behavioral issues that put their health, future, or life at risk. Counseling programs, peer support groups, and intensive therapy in short-term therapeutic programs may be necessary for the teen.

Whether you are a teen who is suffering abuse or someone who suspects a child is being abused, speaking up is important. Every year, child protection services in the United States receive millions of reports of abuse within a home environment, and 30 percent of those claims result in proof of an abusive situation. The Child Welfare Gateway provides contact information for child protection agencies by state. You can also file reports by reaching out to local authorities.

For more information about teen trauma related to physical or emotional abuse at home, contact us so we can help.




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