Experiencing Verbal Abuse Growing Up

December 31, 2020 Cheryl Wozny

For some individuals like myself, the introduction of verbal abuse begins growing up at home. Many times, parents can be a child's first experience with demeaning comments, insults, or even regular bullying.

Growing up with this example of a family unit can cause many disparaging issues for a child. These may include low self-esteem or self-image and a negative outlook on the world around the child. Sometimes I can still hear the insults when I am feeling down on myself. These are insults like: 

  • What's wrong with you? 
  • Why can't you do anything right? 
  • You're so stupid.

I have learned how to push these voices from my past away and heal. There is nothing wrong with me. I can do things right, even when I get things wrong. Each day I fight that battle in my head, but it gets easier as time goes on with the proper tools and strategies. 

Effects of Verbal Abuse Growing Up

Verbal abuse while you're growing up has lasting effects. Children look to their parents, teachers, and other adults around them for support, understanding, and help when they need it. By receiving insults, put-downs, or other negative words instead of love and encouragement, children suffer mentally.

Not being able to look to your parent as an individual you can count on, is devastating. In my own life, much of my residual abandonment and attachment issues come from my childhood. For many years, I felt that if I could not trust or depend on my own parents, and there was little chance I would find someone else that I could. 

Verbal abuse takes its toll on each child differently. In my experience, a young person may experience one or more of these as a result of continuous verbal abuse in the home: 

As a child matures into a teenager and adulthood, these side effects can result in one or several negative life choices. I've found these can include: 

Healing from Verbal Abuse Takes Time

While some people who have suffered verbal abuse growing up are now healthy and happy as adults, this is not always the norm. Without seeking guidance, it can be difficult to heal and move forward. I realized this as I navigated my adult life. To be an emotionally-balanced and functioning individual, it was essential for me to seek treatment and professional help to break the cycle of verbal abuse. 

Children learn by seeing, hearing, and experiencing. Verbal abuse can manifest itself deep into a child's psyche. It may only surface when that adult becomes overwhelmed or upset and cannot properly regulate their emotions. For those thinking that the harsh words you suffered as a child are irrelevant to your life now, deep down, they could be inadvertently guiding your current life choices. 

Break the Cycle of Verbal Abuse 

The responsibility of breaking out of the cycle of violence is huge, but it is an important one. Even if you do not have children as a recovering adult, living an emotionally balanced life will also help your personal and work relationships. It is up to you to take the necessary steps to heal the child inside of you and move forward to a better emotional state. 

If you find yourself becoming upset at work or with a close friend, dealing with anxiety or depression, seek professional help. This can help to uproot those deep-seated feelings that you faced as a child. You will be glad that you did. 

APA Reference
Wozny, C. (2020, December 31). Experiencing Verbal Abuse Growing Up, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Cheryl Wozny

Cheryl Wozny is a freelance writer and published author of several books, including mental health resources for children titled, Why Is My Mommy So Sad? and Why is My Daddy So Sick? Writing has become her way of healing and helping others. Find Cheryl on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and her blog

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