8 Types of Abuse an Adult could have experienced as a Child

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8 types of abuse that you could have experienced as a child from your toxic parents.

Sometimes known as historical abuse, this is when you as an adult were abused as a child or adolescent when you were under 18.

You may still blame yourself or think it was your fault. This is never the case, there is no excuse for what happened to you. You were a child. It also doesn’t matter if it happened just once or if you lost count, a couple of years ago, it really doesn’t matter.

It is never too late to get help as there is help for you. If you had experienced any of these 8 types of abuse as a child and you still feel hurt pain and devastation, you may still find it difficult to confide in the people around you. You may be feeling guilt, shame, anger, and fear because you carry the heavy weight of those emotions and memories. 

You might also have been aware of what was happening to you at the time was wrong or only just recently understood or learned what happened to you or maybe you are still not sure.

This is where this article comes in as I will briefly describe 8 types of abuse that could have affected you as a child. There are types of abuse, here are some of them here:

1. Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse is sometimes called psychological abuse but can still damage your health and well-being as a child or adult. Because there is often an element of emotional abuse in all types of abuse, it can be difficult to spot or separate.

  • Being blamed or scapegoated i.e. being singled out unnecessarily
  • Gaslighting – where you are manipulated to the extent that you question your own sanity. This is done deliberately to maintain control
  • Humiliation
  • Shaming
  • Not supporting your individuality and your need to be in control of your own life. We need this as children as we get older
  • Not recognising that you have limitations and you feel you are pushed beyond what you can cope with
  • Being exposed to distressing interactions or events such as violence, and substance misuse.
  • Being sent to Coventry for example being ignored
  • Constantly being unkind, never having positive feelings expressed, or being congratulated
  • Not showing any emotions either being
  • Never showing any emotions (happy or sad) in interactions with you, also known as emotional neglect. If the person is constantly happy and doesn’t allow you to feel some
  • of those “negative” emotions you could be feeling is also a form of neglect.

2. Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is deliberately hurting someone and causing injuries such as broken bones, burns, bruises, or cuts.

This could be:

Punching, spitting, kicking, strangling biting, hitting with instruments such as a belt or stick, scalding, stabbing, squeezing, Chinese burn, suffocating, pushing, grabbing, choking, poisoning, force-feeding, pulling hair, etc.


3. Verbal Abuse

  • Coincides with emotional abuse in many ways. Also here it is important to try and distinguish between verbal abuse and discipline.
  • Countering is a tendency to be argumentative or dismiss your feelings, thoughts, and experiences on a regular basis.
  • Discounting is an attempt to deny that you had any right to your thoughts or feelings. It may come out as criticism—but criticism of a particular kind. The abuser may tell you that you are too sensitive, too childish, has no sense of humor, or that you are making a big deal out of nothing.
  • Verbal abuse disguised as a joke
  • Trivialising is a form of verbal abuse that makes most things the victim of the abuse does or wants to do seem insignificant. The abuser might undermine his or her work, style of dressing, or choice of food.
  • Making Threats
  • Name-calling
  • Any form of yelling and screaming, particularly out of context

4. Sexual Abuse

A child under 18 is sexually abused when they take part in sexual activities.

This doesn’t have to be physical contact and it can happen online. Sometimes you as the child won’t understand that what’s happening to you is abuse.

It includes:

  • Sexual touching of any part of your body whether or not you are wearing clothes
  • Rape or penetration by putting an object or body inside your body
  • Being forced or encouraged to take part in a sexual activity
  • Showing pornography to a child
  • Being made to touch someone else
  • Being encouraged to watch or hear sexual acts
  • Not protecting a child by being exposed to sexual activities
  • Allowing someone else to make, view or distribute child abuse images

5. Neglect

This is the ongoing failure to meet a child’s needs. This is the most common form of abuse. INCLUDE EMOTIONAL NEGLECT

This could be:

  • Being left hungry or dirty without proper clothing or shelter, medical help
  • Not getting the love or attention they need
  • Failing to ensure a child receives an education.
  • This could also include emotional neglect where in which your affectional needs are consistently disregarded, ignored, invalidated, or unappreciated by your parents

6. Witnessing Domestic Abuse

Children of all genders suffer if they witness domestic abuse is any type of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse between their parents. A child or adolescent could experience:

  • hearing the abuse from another room
  • seeing their parent(s) being injured and/or distressed
  • finding damage to their home environment like broken furniture
  • being hurt from being caught up in or trying to stop the abuse
  • not getting the care and support they need from their parents or carers as a result of the abuse 

7. Discrimination or Prejudices

A child, within their family environment, could be discriminated against in a number of ways:

Gender – If there are preferences within the family for particular genders and you are treated less than others based on your gender

Colourism – As the above is mainly based on how light or dark your skin color is. 

Disability – For example, children with learning disabilities seem to be at greater risk for trauma. One study revealed a strong correlation between dyslexia and physical abuse, with 35 percent of individuals reporting abuse before age 18 (Fuller-Thompson & Hooper, 2014).

Sexual Orientation – treated less favorably due to your sexual orientation. This could be direct where your parents explicitly say they are treating you a certain way due to your orientation or indirect where your family’s whole way of life puts you at a disadvantage.


8. Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual Abuse is a form of psychological, emotional but sometimes physical and sexual abuse. 

It is when a systematic pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour within a religious context is used against you as a child. 

This abuse may include:

  • Being forced to control
  • Not being allowed to ask questions
  • Being forced to be obedient to the abuser
  • Exploitation and manipulation
  • Gaslighting
  • Punishment if you don’t conform
  • Instilling fear if you are not up to the requirement
  • Focussing on just fear and control aspects of religion
  • Forced  into secrecy and silence

What to do next

Feel free to share with someone else that you believe needs therapy. You never know that this may help them to make their minds up!

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Do you have a Toxic, Emotionally Immature, Narcissist, Co-dependent, or Parent with an Addiction? Have you struggled with their behavior for most of your life? Maybe your Childhood wasn’t the best but you want to make sense of why it still affects you now.

You may find yourself struggling in so many ways.

I am an experienced and qualified Online-Therapist based in the United Kingdom helping you on your road to healing from your Toxic Parents. 

Healing is Possible! I’m here to walk with you on your Journey

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