The way you are treated as a child can have lasting effects on you even in adulthood. This is why they say when you raise a child, you are raising the person that they will become. The experiences that you form in your childhood become the building blocks of your outlook on life and the perception you have of yourself.
A person who experienced emotional abuse as a child will act in ways different to someone who hadn’t experienced similar abuse. The impact may be so severe as to ruin the individuals’ ability to form meaningful relationships with people who are in their lives.
If you have experienced emotional abuse, it is likely that you will relate to some of the following symptoms or behaviors. Often we suppress painful memories so you may not realize that you are acting out due to childhood trauma until you read some of these behaviors. Here are several signs that you experienced emotional abuse as a child:
1. Bottle up anger: People who have experienced emotional abuse often don’t know how to cope with feelings of anger or sadness. They don’t know how to manage or release their emotions in a healthy way so they bottle them up until they overflow.
2. Don’t stand up for yourself: Those who have been emotionally abused as children have a difficult time standing up for themselves as adults. They are afraid to take action and often avoid conflict at all costs.
3. People pleaser: If you were raised to be terrified that you may anger someone, you may grow up doing everything in your power to please everyone even at the expense of sacrificing your own needs or desires.
4. Suffer from anxiety or depression: Because of all the bottled up emotions, people who have dealt with emotional abuse often suffer from anxiety and depression, sometimes without knowing the source.
5. Overly shy: Because people who’ve experienced this kind of abuse are used to silencing their voice so as to not displease authority, they often grow up finding it difficult to reach out to others and have trouble speaking to new people and forming new relationships.
6. Self-blame: Even when they are not at fault, those who have been through emotional abuse will constantly find themselves at fault and will always be afraid of making mistakes. This may prevent them from taking any risks or going after what they actually want.
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7. Bully yourself: If you have experienced emotional abuse, you may find yourself using the same disparaging language that your abuser used against you. This means that even if they are no longer in your life, you pick up where they left off.
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8. Need for validation: If you have been abused, you constantly need to be told that you’re doing a good job. You can’t provide validation for yourself because you feel as if nothing you do is ever good enough, so you look for validation externally.