Up, down, high, low, good, bad, black, white, push, pull. Emotional abuse takes a heavy toll on our hearts and minds, planting lies in our psyche that, left untended, can last long after the roller coaster is over. It’s hard to dig deep and identify these wounds, especially when we may not even be aware that we’re still wounded. But months or years later, our ongoing behavior and character transformations can help to shed some light on what really needs our attention.
With most forms of emotional abuse, the victim is left feeling powerless, worthless, and broken inside. These wounds don’t leave visible scars, although they’re just as painful as any physical injury. We pick up the pieces and put our lives back together as best we can. And sometimes, the best we can do is patchwork. We go back to our daily existence thinking everything is fine — but something still seems different. Many survivors describe two different selves: “before abuse” and “after abuse.”
The simple truth that you are a real, suffering human being can break open even the tightest heart and bring you to a place of self-compassion that you’ve never felt before.
The truth lives in our body and behaviors, and the truth will keep manifesting in increasingly strange ways until we find our way home. Here are five signs that suggest you might still be suffering from the lingering effects of emotional abuse: