3. You repress emotions
Do you think that expressing your emotions is a sign of weakness? If your abusive parents prevented you from expressing your emotions, then you probably learned to ignore your feelings and move on. This is a coping mechanism used by many abused children who face abuse & painful emotions. Repressing emotional pain is how a child’s brain protects itself. If you still bottle up your emotions as an adult, then it can be a warning sign of experiencing childhood emotional abuse.
4. You seek validation & attention
As emotional abuse leads to low self-esteem, receiving negative attention as a child can make you constantly seek external validation and attention from others. As you did not receive acknowledgment, acceptance, or praise during your childhood, you feel starved for love, affection, and approval.
Excessive attention-seeking behavior is a way of making yourself feel better and getting the attention they didn’t like children – if only temporarily. This can manifest itself in either personal relationships or in the professional field. Regardless, this is a desperate attempt to seek validation as you felt neglected and unworthy as a child.
5. You think you’re not good enough
If you feel guilt and shame every time something goes wrong even if it wasn’t your fault, then you may have emotionally abusive parents. Psychological abuse is often focused on performance and achievement. Toxic parents tend to project their own dreams and aspirations on their children and have unrealistic expectations from their children. So despite your best efforts, your parents were probably never satisfied with your performance or accomplishments. No matter what you did, it was never good enough for them and so they withheld their love & affection no matter how well you did.
As an adult, you still tend to believe you are not good enough despite being successful in academics, career, or even personal relationships. You always feel self-critical and believe you can do more or perform better. If you constantly doubt your abilities or performance, then it’s a good sign that you were abused as a child.
6. You have poor social skills
Emotional abuse during childhood can impair social learning abilities leading to introversion, social withdrawal or isolation in adulthood. Childhood abuse can affect the development of interpersonal relatedness skills and can cause difficulty with social functioning when you’re an adult. If you have little to no friends, feel shy or uncomfortable in social situations, tend to be introverted, and gravitate towards toxic relationships, then you’ve experienced emotional abuse as a child.
7. You have a pessimistic outlook on life
Toxic and abusive parents tend to be pessimistic in life and have a negative personality. They believe nothing can go right in their life which adds to their manipulative and abusive behavior. When a child is raised by a pessimistic parent in an emotionally abusive environment, they can often develop the same negative outlook on life. Being surrounded by negativity during your developing years can make you internalize it.
And this can make you a pessimistic and negative person. Unfortunately, this can even turn you into an abuser as an adult. Thankfully, therapy can help you reframe your thinking and attitude.
8. You have difficulty regulating emotions
Are you prone to emotional or angry outbursts? Then it is likely that you were abused as a child by your caregiver. As you were neglected or rejected during your developing years, you have a hard time accepting rejection as an adult. This can cause disruptive behaviors and emotional outbursts. Childhood emotional abuse can affect your ability to feel, express, and control your emotions, causing anger issues and unhealthy attachment styles in adult relationships. It can also lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and an inability to relax.