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No One Has The Right To Hurt You

 

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“I guess I could be open to doing so since it is a step to some kind of getting better, thank you very much for all the resources you’ve been helping me realize are around. I probably would have never found them on my own. Alright, thank you a lot, I really mean it. I’ll go ahead and take the leap to get started on this all, couldn’t have done it without your help today, truly.”

– 15 year old Non-Binary teen

“You were so helpful today I wish you the best. You really deserve the world just know your actually making a change in the world.”

– Teen girl facing emotional abuse amid domestic violence

“Thank you so much honestly you might be the first person that’s EVER been so helpful and nice. You’re an angel!!!”

– 14 year old girl with history of physical, emotional, sexual abuse in family

“Thank you, I was crying for a bit during this but I feel better now. thank you for being here for me, I really needed your help and I’m so glad that you were here for me.” 

– 15 year old genderfluid with emotional abuse and family instability

How Do I Handle All Of This?

This will be information on what will be below. A collapsible resource list for all of our resources built with teens in mind. We will need to figure out the topic list as we compile more resources

Featured Topics

What is Coping?

A simple fact of life is that we are going to experience uncomfortable emotions at some point. Unexpected life events, difficult relationships or unmet expectations can cause us emotional stress such as anxiety, frustration, or sadness. While certain factors may be outside of our control, how we handle emotional stress is something we CAN control. Coping skills and strategies are the actions and behaviors that help someone deal with difficult situations and the distress they feel as a consequence of difficulties faced.

 

{{Insert Problem vs. Emotion graphic}}

 

{{Insert Problem vs. Emotion graphic}}

 

Everyone is unique in how they handle stress or painful emotions—what works for you may not work for your best friend. This is why it is important to figure out which strategies work best for you so that you can build resiliency in the face of challenges. The goal is to find healthy outlets that can help with overwhelming emotions and avoid unhealthy activities that end up being negative (harmful) in the long run.

 

There are a wide variety of coping strategies – here are a few examples:

  • Distractions: allowing you to escape from current stressors/emotions
  • Write, draw, paint, take pictures
  • Read a book
  • Do a puzzle, board game, card game
  • Listen to music, sing, dance
  • Play with a pet
  • Clean or organize your environment
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Watch a movie or play video game
  • Use sensory tools-fidget cube, putty, slime, etc.

Cognitive: changing toxic thoughts to positive ones:

  • Journal (hopes, dreams, ideas, feelings)
  • Write out a list of goals (1 week, 1 year, 5 years, 10…)
  • Make a pros/cons list for decisions
  • Memorize a quote that inspires you
  • Pray or meditate
  • Write out the things you can control (and those you cannot)
  • Use a mental health app

Physical: releasing tension in the body/building positive hormones:

  • Exercise
  • Get out in nature
  • Relaxation (bath, facial, etc.)
  • Grounding techniques
  • Catharsis-rip paper into pieces, punch a pillow, cry
  • Do a ‘try not to laugh’ challenge
  • Get enough sleep or rest
  • Deep breathing

Social: connecting to another human being/loved one:

  • Reach out to a friend
  • Write a letter to someone you care about
  • Play with a pet
  • Establish healthy boundaries
  • Look into volunteer opportunities
  • Reach out to a support hotline

What are Grounding Techniques?

Grounding techniques are strategies that can help a person manage their traumatic memories or strong emotions. The goal is to decrease the intensity of a body’s stress response and to allow a person to reduce negative thoughts or flashbacks. By focusing on the present moment, a person can detach from the pain of the past and lessen the anxiety of the unknown future. These techniques are often used by counselors or health providers to guide someone that has experienced trauma, but the exercises can be used by anyone that is interested in reaching a calmer state of mind.

 

Why do they work?

Let’s talk a little bit about the science behind how grounding works. Our brains are fundamentally designed to help us survive. You have probably heard about the body’s response to stress being fight-flight-or freeze, right? There are certain emergency response sections of our brain that automatically prompt our bodies to react to danger; that may include a pounding heartbeat, tensed muscles, or faster breathing. These reactions can be incredibly useful when we need the burst of adrenaline to help us handle stress! The difficulty is that for some people that have experienced trauma, even thoughts about stressful situations can initiate the stress response in our body (even if the actual danger is no longer real). This may include flashbacks, nightmares, painful memories of the past or intense anxiety about the future. Grounding techniques help your body to be more relaxed and help re-focus your thoughts into the present moment.

Just like coping skills, grounding exercises are highly personal. It may take a little time and some practice to find the techniques that work best for you. Here are a few strategies to try:

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where a person or group makes someone question their sanity, perception of reality, or memories. Gaslighting can take many different forms and can happen within various types of relationships. Victims of gaslighting may feel exhausted or simply confused after talking with the abuser. That is the goal of the abuser, as it is a form of control. This can be harmful to the victim, as it may impact their functioning, self-esteem, and mental health. Gaslighting should be taken seriously, as it is never ok to be pushed to the point of questioning your own perceptions and memories.

 

Is this happening to me?

After learning about what gaslighting is, you may be wondering if it is happening yourself? Individuals who are victims of gaslighting may start to feel as though they have lost control of their feelings and their confidence levels may be lower. You may start to wonder if something is wrong with you or think that others are not pleased with you. You may not feel capable of doing things that you typically would because you do not want to do something wrong. Heightening your awareness of these symptoms may help you identify things that your abuser does not want you to discover.

Remember, the goal of the abuser is to make you feel like you are not sure of yourself and your thoughts. Depending on the person and your relationship, they may be very good at twisting things around, making you feel like the bad person, or lead you to question your worth.

 

What isn’t Gaslighting?

So far, we have reviewed what gaslighting is and how to identify if it is happening to you. It is also important to be able to identify when situations do not necessarily involve gaslighting. It can be easy to think that someone disagreeing with you or giving you feedback that you do not agree with is gaslighting.

It may require you to deeply think about a situation that you had with a person you suspect is your abuser. What did this person say to you that made you feel the way that you did? Does this person provide only negative and confusing feedback to you? What happens when you challenge what they say (what is their response)? Does this person validate you in any way? Most importantly, do you have any of the symptoms that we discussed prior?

If you are still unsure if you are being gaslighted, speak up! Tell someone that you trust what is happening and get their perspective on the situation. It is ok to ask for help when you do not know the answer!

 

Some of the approaches an abuser may take include:

  • Telling others dishonest things about you
  • Making you feel like you are over-reacting
  • Lying to you directly
  • Twisting your words
  • Making you feel your thoughts are unimportant or unnecessary
  • Making you feel guilty about your own opinion
  • Avoiding taking any type of blame

Ways to handle Gaslighting:

You may be thinking, how do I handle an abuser who is gaslighting me? It will be important for you to maintain a grasp on reality and question things that do not seem right.

There are a few approaches that you can take, which include:

  • Keeping a journal to keep track of things that happened. Remember to keep this in a safe place that cannot be found. Text or email a friend if you cannot keep a physical journal.
  • Take photographs of things that you do. That way you can avoid being tricked into thinking something else happened.
  • Remain focused on collecting evidence and do not argue with your abuser to avoid further manipulation.
  • Talk with others and share your experiences! This can be done with someone you trust (Family member, close friend, therapist). If you do not have those types of support, it is ok. There are supportive hotline and chatlines that can talk with you about what you are experiencing.

Additional Gaslighting Resources:

Below you will find different resources with links to articles and videos to help you continue to navigate this topic. Taking steps to educate yourself on gaslighting can help you better identify warning signs and increase your ability to take action.

  • What is Gaslighting
  • 10 warning signs of Gaslighting
  • Ways to tell if someone is gaslighting you
  • How to deal with Gaslighting
  • Healthy Coping Skills for Uncomfortable Emotions
  • A – Z Coping skills

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Additional Resources Available

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Maybe You Have Questions

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on the interactions we have with teenagers just like you.

Who do I report child abuse to?

Every state has an agency that investigates child abuse and neglect that occurs within the home. Sometimes, they are called Child Protective Services or Department of Child Safety but their main job is to provide help to families and keep children safe. You can find the reporting number for your state HERE or contact the Childhelp hotline to talk through a situation.

How do I know if I am being emotionally abused?

Emotional abuse can be complicated. Typically, it is a pattern of behavior or verbal actions that impair a child’s emotional development and sense of safety. Examples of emotional abuse can include harsh criticism or degradation, threats, rejection, or withholding love/support. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove emotional abuse, and each state has different policies for how to investigate or intervene. But that does not mean someone cannot get help for the pain that emotional abuse can cause, so do not hesitate to reach out for help from a trusted adult or contact the hotline and speak to a counselor.

I want to go live with my friend’s parents/other family, can I do that?

Parents have a right to the care and custody of their children so they would have to give their consent for this to happen. However, in situations of abuse, Child Protective Services may work with a family to determine arrangements that keep everyone safe.

What will happen if I run away?

Running away can be dangerous. If you are under 18, the police will most likely require you to go back home unless there is clear evidence that there is a risk of immediate harm or serious injury to a child. If you are being abused, it is important to notify the police/CPS of the abuse so that an investigation can take place. Another great resource that provides confidential advice and referrals to local support is the National Runaway Safeline: call 1-800-786-2929 or text 66008.

Can my parents take away my devices?

Yes, parents do have a right to take away devices or determine privileges.

When can I be emancipated?

Emancipation is a legal process that releases both the rights and the responsibilities of the care and custody of a child from their parents. Each state has a process for a minor to apply for emancipation from their parents . Generally there are certain requirements that must be met so that a judge can determine if it is appropriate to terminate a parent’s rights and responsibilities; the minor may be required to show that they can care for themselves and handle the responsibility of secure housing and financial stability. The application process can take awhile so keep that in mind if you are close to the age of 18. You can search online for the details of the emancipation process for the state you live in .

I have a friend online and I think they are being abused, but I do not know where they live. How can I help them?

If you gather more information like the state they live in, the school they attend, or their address then we can help you find the appropriate agency to make a report to. You could also try to encourage your friend to talk to a safe adult (relative, teacher, coach) or encourage them to contact the hotline so that a counselor can help them explore their options in a safe and confidential way.

Will my parents go to jail?

Situations of extreme physical abuse and sexual abuse may involve criminal charges. For the majority of child abuse reports, Child Protective Services will work with a family to offer support and resources to reduce incidents of abuse and neglect.

Will I be put in foster care if I make a report?

Child Protective Services uses removal from a home as a last resort and it is considered when there is evidence of serious danger to the life and health of a child. Typically, they will try to keep families together by providing services in the home and monitoring the situation. It is dependent on state laws and regulations but their primary goal is to keep children safe.

Do I have to give my name when I call CPS?

Many states will take an anonymous report, but it would be important to ask that question when you call to confirm.

I’m a minor and an adult online just sent me some pornographic pictures, what do I do?

This is illegal and there are a few things that you can do. Depending on the platform you are on, you should report the person/profile directly to the site you are on. If you know who they are you can contact the local authorities. If you do not know their identity, you can contact The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or fill out an online form at cybertip.org.

This can be a scary situation to handle so reaching out to an adult that you trust is also recommended.

I sent someone private pictures of myself but now they are threatening to post them on the internet/tell my parents unless I send more, what do I do?

This is illegal and the person making the threats should be reported to the authorities. We strongly encourage you to talk to your parents/guardian and have them help you contact law enforcement. If you know the person’s identity you can contact the authorities. Whether you know their identity or not, you can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or fill out an online form at cybertip.org.

Will CPS do anything if my parents are on drugs?

Parental substance abuse is included in the definition of child abuse or neglect in many states, especially when it is related to the following circumstances: lack of supervision or adequate care of the child, exposing a child to dangerous substances or items, and manufacturing drugs in the presence of a child. Contact your local CPS for additional details if you are concerned about a child.

I think a neighbor is abusing their kids, do I call the police or CPS?

Police are the correct option if you think a child is in immediate danger since they are the quickest emergency response. You can also contact Child Protective Services to discuss the situation and see if they can conduct an investigation with the family.

I am over the age of 18 but I still live in a home with my parents and they are abusive, what can I do?

Typically, Child Protective Services can only intervene with youth under the age of 18. If you are being physically harmed the police would be an appropriate option to address safety. Each state also has programs that can help young adults find housing, job placement, or other support services. Contact the hotline to talk with a counselor about finding those support programs.

Maybe You Have Questions

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions based on the interactions we have with teenagers just like you.

Who do I report child abuse to?

Every state has an agency that investigates child abuse and neglect that occurs within the home. Sometimes, they are called Child Protective Services or Department of Child Safety but their main job is to provide help to families and keep children safe. You can find the reporting number for your state HERE or contact the Childhelp hotline to talk through a situation.

How do I know if I am being emotionally abused?

Emotional abuse can be complicated. Typically, it is a pattern of behavior or verbal actions that impair a child’s emotional development and sense of safety. Examples of emotional abuse can include harsh criticism or degradation, threats, rejection, or withholding love/support. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove emotional abuse, and each state has different policies for how to investigate or intervene. But that does not mean someone cannot get help for the pain that emotional abuse can cause, so do not hesitate to reach out for help from a trusted adult or contact the hotline and speak to a counselor.

I want to go live with my friend’s parents/other family, can I do that?

Parents have a right to the care and custody of their children so they would have to give their consent for this to happen. However, in situations of abuse, Child Protective Services may work with a family to determine arrangements that keep everyone safe.

What will happen if I run away?

Running away can be dangerous. If you are under 18, the police will most likely require you to go back home unless there is clear evidence that there is a risk of immediate harm or serious injury to a child. If you are being abused, it is important to notify the police/CPS of the abuse so that an investigation can take place. Another great resource that provides confidential advice and referrals to local support is the National Runaway Safeline: call 1-800-786-2929 or text 66008.

Can my parents take away my devices?

Yes, parents do have a right to take away devices or determine privileges.

When can I be emancipated?

Emancipation is a legal process that releases both the rights and the responsibilities of the care and custody of a child from their parents. Each state has a process for a minor to apply for emancipation from their parents. Generally there are certain requirements that must be met so that a judge can determine if it is appropriate to terminate a parent’s rights and responsibilities; the minor may be required to show that they can care for themselves and handle the responsibility of secure housing and financial stability. The application process can take awhile so keep that in mind if you are close to the age of 18. You can search online for the details of the emancipation process for the state you live in.

I have a friend online and I think they are being abused, but I do not know where they live. How can I help them?

If you gather more information like the state they live in, the school they attend, or their address then we can help you find the appropriate agency to make a report to. You could also try to encourage your friend to talk to a safe adult (relative, teacher, coach) or encourage them to contact the hotline so that a counselor can help them explore their options in a safe and confidential way.

Will my parents go to jail?

Situations of extreme physical abuse and sexual abuse may involve criminal charges. For the majority of child abuse reports, Child Protective Services will work with a family to offer support and resources to reduce incidents of abuse and neglect.

Will I be put in foster care if I make a report?

Child Protective Services uses removal from a home as a last resort and it is considered when there is evidence of serious danger to the life and health of a child. Typically, they will try to keep families together by providing services in the home and monitoring the situation. It is dependent on state laws and regulations but their primary goal is to keep children safe.

Do I have to give my name when I call CPS?

Many states will take an anonymous report, but it would be important to ask that question when you call to confirm.

I’m a minor and an adult online just sent me some pornographic pictures, what do I do?

This is illegal and there are a few things that you can do. Depending on the platform you are on, you should report the person/profile directly to the site you are on. If you know who they are you can contact the local authorities. If you do not know their identity, you can contact The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or fill out an online form at cybertip.org.

This can be a scary situation to handle so reaching out to an adult that you trust is also recommended.

I sent someone private pictures of myself but now they are threatening to post them on the internet/tell my parents unless I send more, what do I do?

This is illegal and the person making the threats should be reported to the authorities. We strongly encourage you to talk to your parents/guardian and have them help you contact law enforcement. If you know the person’s identity you can contact the authorities. Whether you know their identity or not, you can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or fill out an online form at cybertip.org.

Will CPS do anything if my parents are on drugs?

Parental substance abuse is included in the definition of child abuse or neglect in many states, especially when it is related to the following circumstances: lack of supervision or adequate care of the child, exposing a child to dangerous substances or items, and manufacturing drugs in the presence of a child. Contact your local CPS for additional details if you are concerned about a child.

I think a neighbor is abusing their kids, do I call the police or CPS?

Police are the correct option if you think a child is in immediate danger since they are the quickest emergency response. You can also contact Child Protective Services to discuss the situation and see if they can conduct an investigation with the family.

I am over the age of 18 but I still live in a home with my parents and they are abusive, what can I do?

Typically, Child Protective Services can only intervene with youth under the age of 18. If you are being physically harmed the police would be an appropriate option to address safety. Each state also has programs that can help young adults find housing, job placement, or other support services. Contact the hotline to talk with a counselor about finding those support programs.

Closing remark about how teens don’t have to continue, perhaps what they can do, and a banner that provides the childhelp text lines?

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is provided by Childhelp. You can visit the Childhelp National Website by clicking logo below.