May also be called: Emotional Abuse

    Psychological abuse happens when yelling and anger go too far or when people caring for kids constantly criticize, threaten, or dismiss them until their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth are damaged.  

    More to Know

    Psychological abuse doesn't leave visible scars, but it does emotional harm. That can hurt people just as much as physical abuse. 

    Bullying is an example of psychological abuse. Intimidating or humiliating someone can be just as harmful as beating them up. 

    Adults who abuse the kids in their care might have emotional problems of their own. They may need help from a therapist or counselor to learn new behaviors. 

    Keep in Mind

    People who are abused as kids can have emotional scars as adults. They are more likely to have trouble with relationships, low self-esteem, depression, thoughts of suicide, and other mental health issues. Therapy can help people heal from these experiences.  

    All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2023 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and