13 Things To Know About Someone Who Grew Up Emotionally Abused

Our past looks like nothing less than a battlefield. We grew up in an environment riddled with anger and harsh words. There was no escaping. There was no ignoring it all. And even after growing up and moving out, whoever was behind it all is almost always still in our lives. 

Unlike romantic relationships, this isn’t just a situation that ends. It gets better, it gets worse, or you just learn to live with it. You create strong relationships that help you through the blows. You learn to live with the scars. And you hope you find someone who will understand all of the things that go along with your past.

1. We have triggers. Those words that will send us crawling back into the deepest/darkest parts of our shell. You will see the light in our eyes recoil faster than your next heartbeat. Don’t leave when this happens. But don’t pry either. Just be there.

2. There will be days when we are borderline depressed for no reason. Our sad mood will have most likely been triggered by an event or thought or something that has brought up our past. We may want to talk about it, but we also may not want to. Know that having you near will make us feel worlds better, even if it isn’t written on our face.

3. There will also be days when the one who treated us terribly will come back full throttle and we go numb to the world. We will cry and then our heart and mind will shut everything out like it’s used to doing. Our defense mechanism is to forget what emotions are all together. We know true pain, and we know it’s in our best interest to block this sort of pain out. But know that we still care deeply for you. We will just have a hard time showing it.

4. We have a hard time believing we could ever love you the way you deserve to be loved. Sometimes we don’t know if we have the capacity to love because so much of it was taken away growing up.

5. We often get other feelings confused with love or attraction. But we’ve also created our own ways of distinguishing them. Our feelings of love have been muddled with anger and confusion. It creates a weird clash in our mind.

6. Sometimes we are over affectionate. That’s because we have a hard time finding a middle ground. We move too fast or at a sloth’s pace. A middle ground isn’t a thing for us. So we need you to help us there.

7. We aren’t weak or submissive. But we may need you take control every once in a while.  Sometimes having someone in control in a way that won’t harm us, brings us comfort.

8. We are drawn to those who are protective and know how to take charge, because we don’t really know how to on our own. Growing up we had control over nothing and feeling safe, especially emotionally, was a rarity.

9. Our shyness is protecting a very battered heart. Prepare for us to be closed off. It’s not your fault if we often give off a closed up vibe. We don’t mean too. Just keep us talking about anything other than our past. Keep it light.

10. No matter what, we will love you hard and be fiercely loyal. We know what it’s like to feel deprived of love and abandoned. Because of this we will never hurt you on purpose.

11. If you leave us without a reason, we will automatically assume the worst. We have a hard time letting go when there are questions that have gone unanswered. We will end up believing that you saw our scarred heart and bolted because of it.

12. We are stronger than you think. And while we may be shy and battered, we won’t let you treat us poorly. While the one who hurt us still knows how to get under our skin. We’ve grown to learn how to protect our hearts. Try to walk all over us or treat us submissively because of our past, and watch us walk away.

13. Growing up was difficult, to say the least. But we don’t let it define us. We’ve let it grow into strength and perspective. We understand people go through hard times. We get it. And we often want people to tell us their stories so we can try to help them in ways no one helped us over the years. We hate seeing people hurting and will try everything to make it all better. Which also makes us feel less alone.

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