Trigger Tuesday: Emotional Abuse

How do you know if you have been emotionally abused and how do you handle the triggers that follow you?

It took me a while to realize that I had been a victim of emotional abuse, but it was clear whenever I looked back on my relationship with my father. Throughout my late childhood and adolescence, I remember constantly being called names, yelled at, threatened, sworn at, gaslighted, ridiculed and various other things. When I started to learn about different types of abuse in highschool and college (since I majored in Counseling Psychology) I started to realize that that type of relationship is not normal.

Thankfully, my father and I are in a much better, healthier place now. However, the feelings from the abuse and the triggers still exist and are quite bothersome. First, let me tell you that it is not YOUR fault that someone felt it was acceptable to treat you that way. Their words are a reflection of them as individuals, not of you. Also, it is normal to feel whatever you are feeling. Especially when it is someone that we love and thought we could trust who is treating us this way, it is a very complex feeling to process.

If you are struggling with emotional abuse currently, or have experienced it in the past, do not undermine the importance of getting help and allowing yourself to heal.

Some of the feelings/physical effects that you may experience during or after being emotionally abused:

- denial or confusion

- fear

- hopelessness

- shame

- trouble concentrating

- moodiness

- muscle tension

- nightmares

- racing heartbeat

Some of the triggers that you may experience due to emotional abuse are:

- angry outbursts

- being easily startled

- negative thoughts

- insomnia

- flashbacks

- rapid heartbeat

After experiencing emotional trauma or abuse, you may find it difficult to enter relationships, handle confrontation or struggle with self-esteem.

In order to combat some of these triggers or effects, it is recommended to get help from a professional, stay active, maintain a healthy diet, reach out for social support and be mindful of your triggers and coping mechanisms.