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It feels like they hate me

Does it feel like your family or someone you know hates you? Do they constantly put you down just to make you feel bad? This is emotional abuse.

Sad teenager talks to a youth worker in cafe

Emotional abuse can include name calling, being left out or ignored, being treated differently to others like your brothers or sisters, and being controlled.


It’s important to remember that emotional abuse is never your fault and it’s not ok.


How can this happen?

The person abusing you could be your parent, carer, brother, sister, other family member, friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or another adult or young person. They may not realise they are doing it, or they may be doing it to hurt you. You may love the person who is upsetting you, but it is never ok and it needs to stop.

You may also have other types of abuse happen to you alongside emotional abuse, such as:

  • physical abuse – when someone hurts you on purpose, such as hitting, slapping, kicking
  • relationship abuse – when your girlfriend or boyfriend puts you down or makes you feel bad
  • neglect – you may feel ‘they don’t care about me’ – your parents/carers may not be looking after you properly and not keeping you safe

What can I do?

Emotional abuse can make you feel worried, sad, scared or angry, especially if you feel like you’re trying to deal with this all on your own. However, lots of young people find that it can help if they talk to someone. Some things you can do are:

  • Tell an adult you trust – this could include a teacher, a family member, your youth worker, social worker or support worker. It can be difficult to know how to have this conversation; we have some tips on asking for help.
  • Think about reporting it to the police. If you are at immediate risk of getting hurt, call 999. 
  • If it is safe, and the person who is abusing you cannot find it - you might think about writing down what has happened, including times and dates, like a diary. You can show this to your trusted adult or the police if you report this.
  • With an adult you trust you could develop a safety plan that would help you choose how best to keep yourself safe.
  • Talk to your friends. A good friend will listen to you and may help you speak to an adult. 

If you are worried about a friend, we have some tips on how you can start the conversation and get them the right help

Is it my fault?

It is really important to remember that emotional abuse is never your fault, even though the person who is emotionally abusing you may be telling you that it is. It is not ok for someone to make you feel like you are useless. It may not feel like it but there are other people who will treat you with the respect you deserve, and who you can trust if you want to talk about what is happening. We have some tips on asking for help.

Nobody will believe me as I can’t prove it is happening

It might feel like no one will believe you if you choose to tell someone about what is happening to you, but there are people you can trust to tell who won’t laugh or disbelieve or you. It can help writing down what has happened to you so that you can show this to the person you trust, and they can help you to keep yourself safe or report it to the police if you choose to do so.

Who can help me?

You&Co – you can talk to one of our support workers on a one-to-one basis, and we can offer you help and support. We can give you advice on how abuse can affect you and how to cope with it, what to do and what to expect if you decide to report a crime to police, and how to move on from being a victim of crime. You can find out about the support available nearest to you on this website.

ChildLine – ChildLine offer 24-hour support for young people, both on the phone and through online chats and message boards, on physical, sexual and emotional abuse and a range of other issues; call 0800 1111.

The Mix – this website provides information and support for 16-25 year olds on a whole range of issues, including rape and sexual assault as well as safe sexual relationships. Get confidential help by telephone, email, text or webchat, for young people under 25; call 0808 808 4994.

Young Minds – this site can give you more information and advice on dealing with abuse. 

Asking for help

Are you thinking about reporting?