Was your childhood more than just difficult?
- Verbal abuse (e.g., screamed at, belittled, insulted)
- Physical abuse (e.g., hit with objects, slapped, intimidated with violence)
- Sexual abuse (e.g., being touched sexually or inappropriately)
- Neglect (e.g., left alone for long periods of time, refusing to take care of injuries, ignoring health and medical problems)
What If Home Wasn’t Safe
When you grow up in a home where you were yelled at, put down, had things thrown at you, or even hit, it can be a scary and terrifying place to be. The place where you’re supposed to feel safest is the place where you feel most vulnerable.
Even when things were calm at home, the possibility of something going wrong is always possible. You’re not being berated or put down but you still feel on guard, tense, and never able to let your guard down. That’s the unpredictability that childhood abuse can cause. You don’t feel safe and you learn to be ready for something to go wrong.
Beyond feeling anxious or vulnerable, you also begin to take all that negativity and start feeling like there’s something wrong with you. Many children even blame themselves thinking something like this: “If this person who’s supposed to take care of me is angry with me, then I must have done something to deserve this.” In the end, your self-esteem is low, your confidence is lacking.
7 Ways Abuse Affects You Today
Many times the struggles we’re having in the present are due to something that happened in the past. Going through abuse can shape the way we see ourselves, the way we relate to others, and our outlook on the world. Each person responds differently to abuse but some of the most common reactions are below:
- Anxiety: “I’m always thinking of problems.” “I’m waiting for things to go wrong.”
- Pessimistic outlook: “I don’t get a lot of enjoyment from life.” “It’s hard for me to see anything positive in the world.”
- Low self-esteem: “I just screw things up.” “I just don’t like myself.”
- Over-control: “When I have to deal with new things.” “I over-think or over-plan everything.”
- Trauma reactions: “I have panic attacks when something makes me feel like when I was being abuse.”
- Feeling vulnerable: “I always feeling like I’m going to break.” “I’m thinking about how others will criticize me or see my faults.”
- Distrust of others, especially in intimate relationships: “I feel like people are going to let me know.” “I don’t feel comfortable letting people get close to me.”
Let’s Work on This Together
One of the hardest things about going through childhood abuse is that it makes you fear of being rejected and distrustful of others. You probably haven’t shared what happened with many others and if you have, they don’t know the whole story. That’s understandable and it’s hard to talk about these things. Maybe you have tried and instead of supporting you, you got advice on how to get over it or suggestions to stop thinking about the past.
It’s not uncommon to struggle with these issues for years and carry around secrets. But you don’t have to do that anymore. Getting therapy can be one of the most powerful steps in dealing with something as difficult as childhood abuse. I’ve helped lots of survivors of childhood abuse of all kinds. You’re not alone, you’re not the only one going through this, and you’re not crazy for feeling how you feel. But you also don’t have to live like this anymore. There are steps that can be done and ways to get better.
If you want to find out more about how I can help you, send me an email using the contract form. I’ll be glad to answer you and you can trust that your privacy and confidence is my top priority.