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Physical Abuse

Dear Sam, I am now 14 years old, but when I was younger, about 7 or 8 I think, me and my younger brother got beaten up with a belt by my father if we did not want to eat our food, and a couple times he threatened to beat us up with the buckle of his belt. This has stopped now, but I have had suicidal thiughts recently, and tried to self harm at the memory of it. Is it normal for me to think this years after it happened? I feel so much anger towards him even though the physical abuse has stopped. The memory of it still haunts me.

Thank you.

Ask Sam

Sam

​​

Hi there

Being deliberately hurt or injured by someone is physical abuse and you might feel unsafe, confused or angry if it’s happened to you.  No one should hurt you, no matter what reason they give for doing it.

Memories of abuse can affect you in different ways. Often you might feel confused, especially when the person who abused you is someone who’s meant to take care of you, like a parent, carer or teacher. They might have told you that it’s your fault or that you deserve to be hurt but abuse is never your fault and you deserve to be safe.

Being physically hurt can be frightening and sometimes you’ll remember what happened and how you felt for a long time afterwards. When you’re young you might feel powerless in some situations as adults are much bigger and stronger than you. The younger you are the more you rely on the adults around you to keep you safe. If they try to discipline you or control what you do by hitting you it can leave you feeling unsafe. It can be difficult to ask for help at the time and when you’re older you might feel sad or angry that you and your siblings weren’t protected.

It’s normal to feel angry, sad, or upset when you’ve been hurt or threatened. It can help to talk about your feelings with an adult you trust or a Childline counsellor, a teacher or someone in your family. It’s also important to find ways to express your feelings that don’t hurt you or anyone else. You could try going for a run, punching a pillow, writing a poem, drawing or try distracting yourself by watching a film, talking to a friend or tidying your room.

Sometimes your feelings can be very painful and might be hard to cope with. If you’re finding things difficult or you’re struggling with self-harm or suicidal feelings you can talk to your doctor about getting help and support.

Remember that you have the right to be safe where you live and being hit is wrong and it’s not your fault.

Thank you for your letter.

Take care,

Sam

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