Emotional abuse isn't always recognized as abuse but leaves lasting scars nonetheless. I was called "girl child and an ugly one," and told I was too stupid to have a career. When a husband called me thunder thighs, I didn't eat anything for two years and still thought I was fat. When I weighed 96 pounds I started eating again. Most people who are hurt in this way, however, don't snap out of it and start nourishing themselves. Here's why. When you get other people's ideas and hurtful actions stuck in your head, your reality has been changed.. You get confused about who and what you are and what's happening around you. You may think it's your fault, as I did.
But my story is only tiny example. Children who live in homes with substance using adults and siblings experience many different kinds of abuse including neglect, mood swings, violence to themselves and others, lack of stability, lack of food and basic care. Children listen to the things adults say to them and see the things adults do. And they don't forget it.
People who have experienced emotional abuse are affected in some or all of the following ways.
1. They have commitment issues, probably because they had a hard time trusting anyone as a child.
2. They sometimes go into auto-pilot mode and blank out entire conversations or events. This is due to disassociation, a skill learned in childhood, and it’s often unintentional.
3. They experience mood swings which seem to come at random times and can be the norm for them. This is often because they had to deal with abuse as a kid, and the only response they knew was to model the behavior.
Emotional Abuse Can Lead To Self Harm
5. They are angry underneath it all, and have outbursts of anger seemingly from nowhere.
6. They are nervous all the time. This may make them seem edgy, or brittle, and they startle easily.
Emotional Abuse Breeds Low Self Esteem
7. They don’t feel valid. No matter what they’re doing, they’re unsure if they can do it.
8. They have low self-esteem.
9. They don’t handle compliments well. They doubt their veracity.
Emotional Abuse Makes People Fearful Of Using Their Voice
10. They are quiet. They don’t feel comfortable using their voice after being worn down as small and wrong throughout their childhood.
11. They may have issues getting close to others, because they may not like people.
12. They may beat themselves up mentally and emotionally, since they were beaten emotionally for many years.
Emotional Abuse Makes People Fear Conflict
13. Conflict gives them immense anxiety, so they often run from it instead of facing it.
14. Making eye contact is extremely difficult and speaking makes them anxious, making it even more difficult.
15. They fear others abandoning or leaving them. They have attachment issues.
Emotional Abuse Can Lead To Feeling You Have To Defend Yourself...All The Time
16. They are often defensive, perceiving people as negative or offensive because of their previous abuse.
17. Often afraid of contact with people, they may be introverted and try to distance themselves as much as possible.
18. They may be sensitive to loud noises, as they were raised in an environment of raised voices and yelling.
People Pleasing Is Another Symptom Of Emotional Abuse
19. Many victims of emotional abuse overdo it because they want to please everyone. They become perfectionistic, tidy, clean and organized.
20. Often they will have trouble making decisions, after hearing throughout childhood that they were not good enough.
21. They are tough, but very sensitive. Because of experiencing a plethora of emotions at a young age, you have considerable emotional sensitivity.
Emotional Abuse Makes People Question Themselves
22. The world of emotional abuse leaves them second-guessing everything. For example, they'll often ask questions to which they already know the answer, due to self-doubt.
23. They constantly say that they’re sorry.
24. They are more likely to have addiction issues.
25. They are actually remarkably humble. They sincerely appreciate the good things in their life. They are a strong, grateful survivor of their past.