26 Things Adults Do Who Have Experienced Childhood Emotional Abuse

A lot of research has pointed out the many deteriorating effects that are caused as a result of emotional trauma that has affected us during our childhood. They all lead to serious consequences on our behavior and our everyday lives. Studies have linked childhood trauma, for example, to increased levels of alcoholism and depression in adults.

The American Psychological Association confirm the long-lasting effects of emotional abuse by saying,“Given the prevalence of childhood psychological abuse and the severity of harm to young victims, it should be at the forefront of mental health.”

A child can go up to their parent to show them their drawing and the parent can tell them, “Don’t bother me now, I have work.” This eventually accumulates and will have psychological effects on the child. A parent may also praise one child by saying, “Look at Nancy, she’s so smart she got an A+ in Math!” and constantly degrade the other child by saying, “You’re a failure. You’ll never be like Nancy.”

The American Psychology Association states that emotional abuse has a very long shelf-life and explain:

“Children who are emotionally abused and neglected face similar and sometimes worse mental health problems as children who are physically or sexually abused, yet psychological abuse is rarely addressed in prevention programs or in treating victims.”

Adults who have experienced any form of emotional abuse during their childhood have certain ways of showing the effects in their adulthood. It’s difficult to notice emotional changes linked specifically to emotional abuse in children, mainly because changes of emotions are a normal part of growing up.

Here are 26 ways you can tell if an adult may have been emotionally abused as a child:

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. Mood swings which seem to come at random times are often the norm for them. This is often because they had to deal with this as a kid, so the only response they knew was to model the behavior.

4. They may commit acts of self-harm. This often follows from doing this in childhood.

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 startle easily.

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.

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 especially, in general, like people.

12. They may beat themselves up mentally and emotionally, since they were beaten emotionally for so many years.

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.

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.

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.

22. The world of emotional abuse leaves them second-guessing everything.

23. They constantly say that they’re sorry.

24. They will often ask questions to which they already know the answer, due to self-doubt.

25. They have addiction issues.

26. They are actually remarkably humble. They sincerely appreciate the good things in their life. They are a strong, grateful survivor of their past.

Do any of these apply to you or anyone you know? Let us know what you think of this list in the comments. If you want to learn more about emotional abuse, please visit the NSPCC website.

source: Awareness Act

One comment

  1. My mother was called bi polar, here she was a narcissist. I have most of those issues, but I don’t self harm, but it can cause even more problem. I show extreme self confidence & people think I’m really am. I feel I have to work twice as hard to be half as good. I feel no matter how much I do for others people won’t believe my stories. I caught the elderly being abused in a hospital & the health care will stick up for the hospital & not the abused patients. Jumpy. Live in a big apt. complex, caught a lot of lying & I hate it. Thinking of moving & going as small as possible. I isolate myself & still get harassed in the mail, by phone & n ow, the internet. Seldom on FB, because of all the BS that I don’t need.

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