Many of us who have experienced emotional abuse as children don’t recognize it as abuse. We may feel we were treated normally. We may feel like we need to protect our family, so we minimize how extreme it was. We may even feel like we are to blame for not being more understanding, or caring, or whatever guilt is thrust upon us so we completely wash over what happened to us (without processing it) and rush to forgiveness.
Yet the key to healing is to recognize and accept the truth. When we allow ourselves that space, then we can release the healing balm that is contained within our own hearts and souls.
Emotional Abuse Checklist : Behaviors of Emotionally Abusive Parents
Sometimes when we are abused, we don’t realize it, so it can help to have it laid out in front of us. Here are some signs:
- Frequent personal attacks, character assassination, or being overly critical. Your parents might have tried to embarrass you in front of others with these attacks and criticisms.
- Withholding compliments or praise. You may have only received negative attention or criticism. Any accomplishments were met with comments that “you did what you were supposed to do”.
- Mood swings that had you walking on eggshells. If you didn’t know whether to expect Mr./Mrs. Nice or Mr./Mrs. Monster.
- Invalidating emotions. Your emotions were not recognized or respected. You may have been told that you were too sensitive or too emotional.
- A lack of personal boundaries and space. If your parents were over-involved in your life and did not allow any privacy- that is abusive. This may have taken the form of snooping through your journal and punishing you for what was written in it, eavesdropping on all of your conversations, and not allowing you to have mental, physical, or emotional space. There may be enmeshment, or the child being responsible for fulfilling the parent’s emotional needs.
- Dumping emotions and guilt. If your parents dumped their emotional stress, marriage problems or other issues on you, that was abusive. They may have made you feel this sense of guilt or obligation that you can’t quite explain.
- Looming threats of violence and a lack of feeling safe. Intimidation tactics are used as a parenting strategy.
Effects of Emotional Abuse
If you were emotionally abused as a child, you may find that you exhibit some of these behaviors:
- Making excuses for others poor behaviors, or blaming yourself for others behavior.
- You have anxiety about how your parents feel about the decisions you make. It’s hard to make choices because you are afraid of criticism.
- You try to calm, soothe, or manage other peoples emotions. You feel responsible for managing peoples angry outbursts with no regards for your own feelings.
- You are in or have been in abusive or toxic relationships.
- You have deep hostility towards your parents for how you were treated. You may or may not recognize this.
- You may have digestive issues, migraines, vision problems, back problems, chronic fatigue. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/long_term_consequences.pdf
- You may have difficulty trusting others or having healthy relationships.
- You may experience doubt, depression, or self-esteem issues. You may not value self-care.
- You may have a fear of conflict and extreme tolerance towards abuse. You may be overly apologetic.
- You may be very defensive.
- You may be a people-pleaser and unable to recognize or address your own wants or needs.
- You may startle easily or be sensitive to lights or loud noises.
The Healing Balm
The healing balm is found within your own heart. Forgiving yourself and committing to practicing unconditional love and kindness towards yourself is the first step. Once you take that step, then you can take the next steps on your healing journey.
These affirmations may or may not resonate with you. Take what applies, discard the rest, and let your inner wisdom guide your path.
- I forgive myself for any times that I abandoned myself for others.
- I have the right to have feelings and emotions.
- I have the right to own my sanity and to choose wholeness.
- I have the right to take care of myself, and protect myself from being threatened physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. https://ascensionglossary.com/index.php/Law_of_One
- I am fully deserving of unconditional self-love and worth.
You might also wish to explore the various healing methods that are available.
I understand how difficult this is, and I wish you the best on your path to reclamation.
Created on January 6, 2022 – Last Updated on January 7, 2022 by Jennifer Nelson