Heartbreak

12 Signs You're Suffering From Emotional Trauma Caused By An Abusive Ex

Photo: Tamara Schipchinskaya | Unsplash
Woman staring off in derealization

You can’t stop loving him. You broke it off with your abusive, emotionally detached partner. You’re overwhelmed by a rollercoaster of intense emotions — denial, fear, anger, guilt, and sorrow. Your mental state is worse than what you think because you are experiencing emotional trauma.

Every day, it takes a monumental effort for you to get out of bed due to the deep emotional pain you feel every morning when you wake up. You go to work and you go through the motions of a being a breathing, functional human being. You avoid phone calls and you turn down invitations from your friends. 

You try to care for your young children, but you have no love to give because you're numb inside. You turn to a bottle of wine, meds, or food to momentarily sedate your insufferable emotional pain. At the end of the day, you crawl under the covers into a place of dark despair. 

You know, in your core, that his deceit, infidelity, and battering were destroying you and you’re trying to move on with your life. Nevertheless, weeks, months, or even a year pass, and despite his horrific abuse, you long and ache to be with him. Your misplaced feelings of love, loyalty, and commitment compound your traumatic experience.

If you want to learn how to get over a breakup so you can move forward in life, it's important to identify the 12 signs you have been traumatized and are suffering from emotional trauma.

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Here are 12 signs you're suffering from emotional trauma from an abusive ex:

1. You have emotional outbursts

You succumb to frequent meltdowns and you cry at the drop of a pin. You direct your unwarranted anger onto your family and friends. It’s a sign of distress and pent-up anger. 

Photo: Liza Summer/Pexels

2. You’re lethargic

You can barely stay awake in the daytime. You sleep around the clock or you have insomnia and you need medication to fall asleep at night. You have reoccurring nightmares about him and the events of his abuse.

3. You have flashbacks

Sights, sounds, and smells (for example: a telephone ring, the scent of his cologne, or seeing the model of his car drive down the road) abruptlytrigger your fear of him and intensify your separation grief.

4. You isolate yourself

You’re fatigued. You mope around the house in your pajamas and you let your appearance go. Except for going to work, you hole up in your home and you avoid interaction with your family and friends.

   

   

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5. You’re in shock

You have panic attacks, a racing heartbeat, and severe anxiety. Your appetite is decimated, your weight may drop drastically, your hair may fall out, and you may even contract shingles. You may also have thoughts of suicide.

6. You can't concentrate

Depression overtakes you and your mind shuts down. You’re unable to focus on your work, small tasks, or your daily life in general. Your mind is protecting you by going somewhere else in your head.

7. You feel rage

You’re enraged at the unjust and cruel way he treated you. One minute, you’re so mad at him you want to beat his head in with your high heel — and the next minute a sickening, tidal wave of grief and tears engulf you.

8. You unjustly blame yourself

You intensify your trauma by blaming yourself for the failure of your dysfunctional relationship. Your thinking is irrational. He berates and abuses you and you wrongly believe that you did something to trigger his hurtful behavior and you’re consumed by guilt, regret, and sorrow.

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9. You’re fearful

The thought of being alone paralyzes you. You’re afraid of what is going to happen to you without him in your life. You’re afraid you won’t be able to take care of yourself.

   

   

10. You’re in denial

You can't believe that your relationship is over. You keep hoping, praying, and dreaming that he will call you, he will ask for your forgiveness, you will reconcile with him, and things will go back to the way they were in the beginning when he was loving, affectionate, and caring.

11. You relive hurtful memories

You rehash the hurtful conversations and the abusive events of your relationship. It's a never-ending horror movie that plays over and over in your head.  You can’t begin the healing process, because you're stuck in the past.

12. You sedate your emotional pain

You drink, smoke pot, or you take recreational drugs excessively. The more you drink and dope up, the more depressed you become. You're on a path of self-destruction.

Acceptance is the hardest part of grieving. Giving up the hope of reconciliation with your loved one feels like death. Accepting the brutal fact that you will never again see him, talk to him, or touch him feels incomprehensible.

But, the man you grieve for is an illusion. You fell in love with a wonderful man. In the beginning, he was loving and lovable, charming, supportive, and attentive, but soon, his true nature reared its ugly head.

He lied to you. He cheated on you. He mentally battered you and he physically assaulted you. 

Realizing that you were in an abusive relationship is the first step to healing. The sooner your trauma is addressed, the better chance you have of fully recovering.

You have experienced a serious harmful event that has damaged your self-esteem, personal security, and core spirit. Don't try to white-knuckle your recovery. You need professional help to restore your mental, spiritual, and physical well-being.

You may be suffering from situational depression and need antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs. You need psychological guidance to address the post-traumatic effects of an abusive relationship and start the grieving process.

Your recovery won't happen overnight, but hopefully, a year from now, when you are enjoying happy hour margaritas with your friends, you will ask, who was that ugly, horrid man?

If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of ongoing emotional abuse, you are not alone.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are or anything you've done wrong.

If you feel as though you may be in danger, there is support available 24/7/365 through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.

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Nancy Nichols is a best-selling self-help, dating, and relationship author, empowerment speaker, notorious blogger, and TV and radio talk show personality. She's a woman's advocate who uses her self-help books to impart self-esteem building, the power of positive thought, relationship understanding, and personal healing.