The relationships we experience in our lives influence the relationships we build for ourselves. Parental, familial, professional, and romantic relationships have an impact on how we approach other relationships. When those relationships become abusive, the trauma and effect of that relationship shapes the next one. It is not always easy to tell if someone has been emotionally abused. Recognizing the signs for ourselves can help us heal. If we are concerned someone we love may have been emotionally abused in the past understanding the signs can help us to be compassionate.
Distance makes the heart grow fonder?
Getting close is problematic for someone who has experienced emotional abuse. Closeness in a relationship indicates a few different things. First, it is a risk in safety. Emotional security for a previously abused individual comes in the form of separation. Trusting someone who was untrustworthy proved to be a complicated decision time and again. Vulnerability is uncomfortable because it doesn’t mean being open, it means risking getting hurt again.
Now You See Me…Now You Don’t
Fear of vulnerability extends beyond general intimacy. Feelings, thoughts, and opinions are vulnerable areas when they are opened up to someone else. In abusive homes, anything expressed was an immediate target for abuse by a parent or family member. Emotional trauma triggers the need to keep private information private. Not only is opening up intimidating, it can be painful due to the past abuse.
Slow Ride, Take it Easy
Emotionally abused people need to take their time developing a relationship. Physically, emotionally, and even mentally, a relationship needs to move on their terms. Trust takes time. They’re learning to trust you as much as they are learning to trust themselves.
You Love Me, You Love Me…Really?
Imagine every day someone you love is telling you, in as many ways as possible, how horrible you are. Your worth, esteem, confidence, and sense of reality vanish. When an emotionally abused person begins falling in love with someone who thinks they’re great, they have a hard time believing it.
Affection, introductions, and fear are other behaviors that can run the heart of someone who has been emotionally abused. They might hold back on physical intimacy or small displays of love. Meeting your family or introducing you to theirs might induce so much fear that they hesitate for years. It might feel like they never trust you or have faith that the relationship will work out.
Refuge Recovery welcomes those seeking to heal from emotional trauma and pain which causes them suffering. Our holistic approach to treatment incorporates evidence based practices in addition to mindfulness practices rooted in Buddhist philosophy. Call us today for more information on our treatment programs for co-occurring disorders (323) 207-0276