Emotional abuse is so damaging because it outlives its own life span. Not only does it damage a person’s self-esteem at the time it is done, it also sets up a life pattern that daily assaults the inner being. Present events and relationships are filtered through the negative messages and events of the past. Behavior is unknowingly modified to produce results consistent with the established life pattern. Through continued emotional assault, even a healthy life pattern can be subverted by an abusive one.
Damaging Effects of Emotional Abuse
- When you view life as unstable, anxiety, tension, and fear result.
- When you are constantly vigilant to the behavior of others, hypersensitivity and hostility result.
- When you learn to second-guess yourself, confusion and feelings of disconnection result.
- When nothing you do ever seems to be right, insecurity, guilt, and shame result.
- When others tell you that you are always wrong, indecision and inaction result.
- When you stop having the energy to fight it all, apathy and depression result.
- When you have finally had it, rage results.
- When you never seem to receive fairness, justice is all you think about.
- When you have been hurt by those you love, love is viewed as a risk.
- When living is painful, addictions are acceptable because they numb the pain.
- When the mind is a jumble of emotional chaos, the body and its systems break down.
- When your inner turmoil produces outer stress, your current relationships are endangered.
- When you can’t control your negative emotions, you become the very person you hate.
So don’t ever let anyone tell you that emotional abuse isn’t damaging.
Affirmation Statement: My victory comes by building my self-esteem higher than the effects of emotional abuse. I confirm that each day I will rise above the abuse and choose actions that show I am able to love myself.
The above is excerpted from Chapter 3 in Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse by Dr. Gregory Jantz.