Social Diary has collaborated with a medical expert to allow our readers to connect and have their concerns answered over their wellness-mental and physical. This week:
Emotional mistreatment involves behaviours aimed at undermining an individual’s self-worth, eroding their confidence, and causing psychological harm. In Pakistan, emotional mistreatment within the family is often perpetuated through a variety of tactics, such as constant criticism, humiliation, insults, threats, and manipulation. Sometimes parents may belittle their children, degrade their achievements, or use guilt to control their behaviour. Despite its profound impact, emotional abuse is frequently overlooked and trivialized compared to physical abuse, making it a hidden epidemic in Pakistani households.
In Pakistan, several cultural factors contribute to the prevalence of emotional abuse. Traditional hierarchical family structures, where obedience and respect for elders are deeply valued, can be misused by parents as a means to exert control over their children. Furthermore, societal norms often discourage open discussion about family issues, creating a barrier to seeking help or speaking out against emotional abuse. Lack of awareness and the fear of social stigma prevents many victims from seeking support or reporting these abusive behaviours. This is a fact that such typical cultural and societal conditions present a unique style of parenting that needs to be adopted by parents in most cases. Navigating the fine line between tradition and personal freedom can be particularly challenging when it comes to career choices, relationships, and personal expression. The intense emphasis on grades and academic success also leads to excessive competition, stress, and a lack of emphasis on holistic development. Most parents are emotionally stressed and do transfer the same to their children as a cathartic source, without realizing its harmful effects.
To combat emotional abuse by parents, raising awareness about its existence and consequences is crucial. Educational initiatives should be launched to inform parents, teachers, and communities about the harmful effects of emotional abuse on children. Counselling services and helplines must be established to provide a safe space for victims to seek assistance and guidance. Additionally, schools should implement programs that promote emotional well-being and teach healthy coping mechanisms. Using personal statements to label the child, responding in an unpredicted manner, using strong emotional words, showing anger outbursts, repeated statements of inadequacy and cold emotional responses are a few to mention, which can be labelled as a form of emotional maltreatment.
Emotional abuse by parents is a deeply concerning issue affecting countless children and adolescents in Pakistan.