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Six Signs Of People Who Have Been Abused

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

Hi Loves! 💕It's Shannon of Ana Olivette and welcome back to my blog! You’ve given me so much love and that means a lot to me. Your ongoing support helps me to make psychology and mental health accessible for everyone. As a quick disclaimer, this blog is meant for informative purposes only. This blog should not be used as any kind of diagnostic criteria. If you’re dealing with something like abuse I encourage you to seek help. With that said, let’s begin. 🌷

Relationships with your family and friends define your life and also shape how you experience and engage with others. Attached to every relationship you create are experiences and memories. However sometimes what you experience in relationships can hurt and scar you. These mental scars influence any new relationships you may be trying to build. So here are six signs of people who might have suffered abuse.

You have feelings of insufficiency. Feeling insufficient is a sign of abuse. There’s probably a sense of unworthiness that follows you around. Such feelings come from an unstable sense of self. Stemming from emotionally, verbally or physically abusive relationships. In an abusive relationship an abuser plants false ideas in your mind. The power of these ideas is not in the words being used but rather in who said them and how. Signs of low self esteem are pessimism, hostility, lack of motivation or being a bad communicator. You might be depressed or have other mental health conditions. Fortunately, self esteem can improve. Working out, changing the negative narrative in your head and practicing mindfulness can help boost yourself self esteem.

You have flashbacks. Flashbacks to previous trauma can come in the form of PTSD. PTSD can affect anyone and is not limited to war veterans, refugees or victims of assault. If you’ve ever been in an abusive relationship you may have complex PTSD or C-PTSD. C-PTSD develops when you suffer repetitive abuse over an extended period of time. The stressful event or situation you were exposed to was exceptionally threatening or of a catastrophic nature which caused you pervasive distress. Do you relive traumatic events through intrusive flashbacks, dreams or vivid memories? Actively avoid circumstances that are similar or associated with the event? Some physical symptoms of PTSD include include difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, increased psychological sensitivity, irritability, difficulty regulating your emotions and difficulty concentrating. C-PTSD may also exist alongside depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder. It can cause cognitive distortions such as catastrophizing all or nothing thinking or labeling. If you or someone you know is dealing with C-PTSD, please reach out to a therapist or a license professional for treatment. The therapies provided will help to replace negative thought patterns, deal with stress and suicidal urges.

You struggle with Cognitive Dissonance. Cognitive Dissonance also known as CD can be another sign of past trauma. CD is when you hold on to two contradictory beliefs at the same time. In a past abusive relationship you felt as though you could not trust your own perception and have now developed a desire to avoid similar situations in the future. For example the abuser may profess their love for you but verbally abuse you this creates a sense of internal confusion that can make you wary of trusting others in the future. There are validating journal exercises that can help you heal and create positive thought patterns. Talking to a licensed therapist can also help.

You feel numb to your emotions. It can be very difficult to explain how it feels to feel empty or numb. Depression and anxiety also cause emotional numbness. It’s the mind's response to increase levels of emotional or physical stress and a desire to disengage from negative experiences. Officially it’s classified as depersonalization disorder. Symptoms include disassociation, feeling like a stranger in someone else’s life and distress. Abuse creates emotional stress which leads to the development of depersonalization disorder. In 2016, a study looked at continual exposure to violence in children and its relationship to depersonalization disorder. They found that over a course of six years most of the participants became increasingly desensitized regardless of their age or gender, but there is help. Treatment for emotional numbness is possible through coping strategies such as identifying your triggers, exercising and reaching out to support group when necessary.

You struggle with emotional detachment. Paired with emotional numbness is emotional detachment. In an abusive relationship, it’s common for you to feel detached from yourself, be it physically or emotionally. Detachment is a defense mechanism used to cope with the stressing and overwhelming emotions. It's the minds way of disengaging from traumatic experiences. It’s also a tool that develops in order for you to gain resilience against the abuse and to keep your sense of self. However, the effects of emotional detachment can linger after the relationship has ended and it can prevent you from opening up and being emotionally vulnerable. Yoga can help you ground your body and your emotions. Getting a pet, connecting with new friends, or picking up a new hobby can also help you to broaden your horizons emotionally and physically.

You have a habit of over apologizing. A result of low self esteem caused by abuse or trauma is to constantly apologize. Those who have endured abuse in the past often apologize for things that are not there fault. This habit originates from feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness or blame. A good thing to keep in mind is that your needs matter and are important . You can help to replace self defeating thought patterns with positive ones. Did you relate to any of these signs? Past hurts do not have to determine future outcomes. If you recognize any of the signs of abuse in your own life or off someone you know please reach out to a professional for treatment.

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Until next time! 🌷 Shannon of Ana Olivette

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