The Lasting Effects Emotional Abuse You End Up Living With

Photo: Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock
sad woman crying

By Samantha Proctor

My mother emotionally abused me for most of my life. She denies that because no one wants to admit that they hurt their child, physically or otherwise. But she did and, as a result, I now do things that most people don’t.

For the longest time I couldn’t explain myself or what I was going through, and even today I’m not completely sure.

RELATED: Why Emotional Abuse Makes You Feel Crazy, Even When You're (Pretty Sure You're) Not

But one thing I know for a fact is everything I am and everything I do is somehow tied to my past.

There are the things I do because I experienced emotional abuse.

I was never right. Even when I had done nothing wrong, I was punished anyway. I was always told that I was wrong and I didn’t know anything.

My mother was a toxic part of my life. And because of that, I am afraid of being wrong. I am indecisive because I am too afraid of making the wrong decision.

I don’t want to make a mistake because I fear those around me will react the same way she did.

I wasn’t allowed to be happy, sad, mad, or scared. I wasn’t really allowed to express any emotion. I was told to sit with a blank expression and not show my pain to anyone that might be able to help me. I am afraid to share my feelings because for so long I wasn’t able to.

For a while, my mom wasn’t there. I don’t know where she went or what she was doing, and I probably don’t want to, but she left me, and so did my dad at one point.

There were times there was no one to take care of me, except for my older brother who also had to take care of my younger brother. We were alone.

So I am always terrified because I think everyone will abandon me. Even if they say they won’t, that fear is always in the back of my mind, and I don’t know how to get rid of it.

I know that not everyone will abandon me and some people truly care, but that kind of hurt doesn’t just go away.

One of the worst things about being abused as a child in any way is the feeling you have even when it’s over.

I feel unworthy. Unworthy of life, of love, of any kind of joy or happiness. That light was stolen from me a long time ago and never returned.

I feel rejected. Rejection is another big fear. No one likes being rejected, but it’s on another level when your parent rejects you because that unconditional love is not there and you don’t know how to feel that from anyone else.

RELATED: How To Know If The Abuser In Your Relationship Is You

I always feel rejected because I don’t think anyone could really want me around.

As a child, I never had bad dreams. Sleep was the only real peace I received. It was the reality of the daytime that frightened me. I still have flashbacks.

There are still times when I travel back and still feel those same feelings. Sometimes it happens when I’m awake, and sometimes I’m asleep. But I find myself going back and remembering all of these awful things. This has prevented me from moving on and letting go.

I know what it’s like to never really know how someone feels. I have experienced the mixed signals and the constant change of emotion. It’s not fun. When your parent is constantly hurting you or making you feel worthless and insecure, it causes problems.

I can’t have a healthy relationship with anyone because I have this never-ending fear that something is going to change or they are going to change their mind. I need constant validation, and some people can’t handle that.

Some people really struggle with being in a relationship with someone who has gone through what I have gone through or something similar.

I always feel like my emotions are too real or too much. I get sad really easily. I get mad really easily. I experience strong emotions. I feel like I don’t have the ability to express them appropriately, which damages my relationships.

I struggle with telling people how I feel because I think if I can’t tell them why I feel that way they don’t care and don’t want to know.

Who I am as an adult and who I will become is a direct result of my past experiences. I may have “survived” child abuse, but it doesn’t end when you become an adult.

I thought it would. I thought once I was an adult and away from the situation and environment that it would all magically get better.

But it didn’t. I still struggle. I do things I’m not proud of, and I feel things I wish I didn’t. I want to be carefree and happy, but I’m still trying to recover from my childhood.

If you or someone you know has experienced emotional abuse, support is available 24/7/365 through the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Call 1-800-799-7233 or, if you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474, or visit thehotline.org.

RELATED: 6 Heartbreaking Ways Emotional Abuse Changes You

Samantha Proctor is a writer and creator of Girl On The Go. She blogs about life, beauty, and inspiration for women.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.