Although many people don’t take emotional abuse very seriously, it is something that exists everywhere around us. Besides being very painful and humiliating, emotional abuse almost always leaves consequences on the victim’s mental health and here are some of the ways it can impact you.
One of the first things that happens to you when you are going through emotional abuse is self-deception. An emotionally abusive relationship changes the way you define yourself and changes your perception of the entire world, including your partner and yourself. Firstly, you start seeing yourself the way your abuser wants to see you: as less worthy and good for nothing. At the same time, you start perceiving him as the man of your dreams, despite all of his flaws and despite all the facts that prove you wrong. But you simply can’t see the truth clearly because this man has brainwashed you and you keep lying to yourself that this is the way things should be.
#2. Trauma Bond
Toxic and abusive relationships often lead to something called traumatic bonding. It means that an abused person creates a strong attachment with her abuser, as a result of the abuse cycle she has been stuck in. Therefore, if you are being abused in your relationship, it is not uncommon for you to feel connected and bonded with your abuser. You feel like he is the only person who loves you and understands you and that is exactly what he wanted for you to think all along. Although it sounds quite ironic, when you are the victim of any type of abuse, you seek comfort in the person who abused you, thinking this is the only person who could provide you with relief.
#3. Depression and Anxiety
One of the ways emotional abuse affects your mental health is that it turns you into a depressed and anxious person. Depression and anxiety usually go hand in hand with emotional abuse but sadly, that is something the victims of this type of abuse don’t realize right away. And there is nothing strange about this—it is impossible for anyone to be happy while he or she is being abused in any way. You are constantly looked down on, you are being told how worthless you are and how emotionally unstable you are, so with time, you start to perceive yourself in that manner as well. It is obvious—your abuser is a broken man and he wants for you to be the same as him.
#4. Panic Attacks
When you’ve been emotionally abused for a long period of time, fear becomes one of your primary emotions. Even though you refuse to admit it at first, you are actually scared of your abuser and that is one of the reasons you stay with him. But even when you finally find the strength to walk away from him, you can’t seem to walk away from all the damage he has done and all the consequences his abuse left on your mental health. And that feeling of fear is one of the things that remains deep inside of you even after you are done with your abuser. Suddenly, you find yourself having panic attacks and you don’t know where they have come from or why they are happening to you because you are sure that you’ve moved on from everything you’ve been through. But you need to understand that you’ve been through a trauma and that these panic attacks are just a late reaction of your brain to everything that has happened to you.
#5. Sleep Disorders
One of the ways that suffering emotional abuse impacts your mental health is by causing you different kinds of sleep disorders. It is possible for a victim of emotional abuse to have nightmares which remind them of everything they’ve been through. Sometimes, we think we have forgotten all about the pain we’ve been through but actually, we just bury it deep inside. In this situation, the things we try to keep inside of us are actually trapped in our subconscious and are haunting us in our dreams. It is also possible for abuse victims to have trouble falling asleep because everything that has happened to them in the past haunts them. During the day, we are busy and that allows us to think about things other than what is really bothering us. But when we go to bed, that is when we are alone with our thoughts, so this is when everything bad comes to mind.
#6. Substance Addiction
It is not uncommon for victims of emotional abuse to try and find comfort in different substances, which often leads to addictions. Emotional abuse is difficult to process without professional help, so it is perfectly natural if you feel like you can’t handle everything you’ve been through. But you also have to be aware that different substances, including alcohol and drugs, will never help you. Yes, all of this will make you feel better at one point, but that is only temporary. If you continue seeking comfort in substances, you’ll only get yourself in more emotional trouble than you are in right now and that is the last thing you need.
#7. Attachment Problems
Another way in which the emotional abuse you’ve been through affects you and your brain is that you develop different kinds of attachment problems. If you’ve ever been a victim of emotional abuse and you’ve managed to walk away from your abuser, then you know that this is not the end of your battle. On the contrary, you feel like you can’t trust anyone and that every person around you will treat you the same way your abuser did, the moment you let them in. But this is not uncommon—it’s just your brain protecting you from going through all the pain you’ve already experienced.If you’re being emotionally abused it’s time to talk to a counselor at thrivetalk.
Besides being very painful and humiliating, emotional abuse almost always leaves consequences on the victim’s mental health and here are some of the ways it can impact you.