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

In my article I will describe 6 types of abuse that you could have experienced as a child.

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 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 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. Psychotherapy will offer you a secure space to explore those memories you find difficult to talk about. I will support you to get to a place where it no longer affects your life. Here’s more about how I work here. 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 *** types of abuse that could have affected you as a child. There are types of abuse, here are some of them here:

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 to 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, 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.

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 bitting, hitting with instruments such as a belt or stick, scalding, stabbing, squeezing, chinese burn, suffocating, pushing, grabbing, choking, poisoning, force feeding, pulling hair etc.

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 dismissing 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

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


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

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.

Thank you for reading. I hope you got something from it. 

If you wish to book a Therapy Session, do get in touch. I offer a free 15 minute consultation where we will discuss how I work and answer any questions.

I am a Therapist based in Sutton Coldfield, UK also available online.

Call for a free 15 minute no obligation consultation to talk about your next steps.

Also, don’t forget to follow me for daily content: 


Similar Posts