Monday, August 17, 2009

Characteristics of Emotionally Abused People

  • Can only guess at what healthy behavior is.
  • Have trouble completing things
  • Lie when they don't need to. Lying might have been a survival tactic in the home. (She explains that perhaps the child learned from parents who lied to cover up problems or avoid conflict. Or simply to avoid harsh punishment, or to get needed attention. But as an adult, that tactic is no longer appropriate.)
  • Judge themselves without mercy.
  • Have trouble accepting compliments.
  • Often take responsibility for problems, but not successes.
    Or they go to the other extreme and refuse to take any responsibility for mistakes while trying to take credit for the work of others.
  • Have trouble having fun since their childhoods were lost, stolen, repressed.
  • Take themselves very seriously or not seriously at all.
  • Have difficulty with intimate relationships.
  • Expect others to just "know what they want." (They can't express it because they were so often disappointed as children that they learned to stop asking for things.)
  • Over-react to things beyond their control.
  • Constantly seek approval & affirmation.
  • Feel different from others.
  • Are extremely loyal, even when facing overwhelming evidence that their loyalty is undeserved.
  • Are either super responsible or super irresponsible.
  • Tend to lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternative behaviors or possible consequences. (This impulsiveness leads to confusion, self-loathing, and loss of control over their environment. The result is they spend much energy blaming others, feeling victimized and cleaning up messes.)
  • Intelligent people, through their ability to analyze, often realize things which are disconcerting, which others would not see. They also are often capable of feeling more deeply, both pain and joy.
  • Feelings of low self- esteem (they say as a result of being criticized.)
  • We perpetuate these parental messages by judging ourselves and others harshly. We try to cover up our poor opinions of ourselves by being perfectionistic, controlling, contemptuous and gossipy.
  • We tend to isolate ourselves out of fear and we feel often uneasy around other people, especially authority figures.
  • We are desperate for love and approval and will do anything to make people like us. Not wanting to hurt others, we remain "loyal" in situations and relationships even when evidence indicates our loyalty is undeserved. (I would say not wanting to lose them, having an extremely hard time "letting go.")
  • We are intimidated by angry people and personal criticism. This causes us to feel inadequate and insecure. (I would say it further adds to our feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.)
  • We continue to attract emotionally unavailable people with addictive personalities.
  • We live life as victims, blaming others for our circumstances, and are attracted to other victims (and people with power) as friends and lovers.
  • We confuse love with pity and tend to "love" people we can pity and rescue. (And we confuse love with need)
  • We are either super-responsible or super-irresponsible. We take responsibility for solving others' problems or expect others to be responsible for solving ours. This enables us to avoid being responsible for our own lives and choices.
  • We feel guilty when we stand up for ourselves or act in our own best interests. We give in to others' needs and opinions instead of taking care of ourselves.
  • We deny, minimize or repress our feelings as a result of our traumatic childhoods. We are unaware of the impact that our inability to identify and express our feelings has had on our adult lives.
  • We are dependent personalities who are so terrified of rejection or abandonment that we tend to stay in situations or relationships that are harmful to us. Our fears and dependency stop us form ending unfulfilling relationships and prevent us from entering into fulfilling ones. (I would add because we feel so unlovable it is difficult or impossible to believe anyone can really love us, and won't eventually leave us once they see how "bad" we are.)
  • Denial, isolation, control, shame, and inappropriate guilt are legacies from our family of origin. As a result of these symptoms, we feel hopeless and helpless.
  • We have difficulty with intimacy, security, trust, and commitment in our relationships. Lacking clearly defined personal limits and boundaries, we become enmeshed in our partner's needs and emotions. (ie become codependent)
  • We tend to procrastinate and have difficulty following project through from beginning to end.
  • We have a strong need to be in control. We overreact to change things over which we have no control.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reading this the first thing that popped into my head was-- none of this true. but then i read it again and realised nearly half of what was written here pretty much described my personality. Ive been beatean up and emotionally abused since i was child but here in my country no one gives damn.

Anonymous said...

I grew up an only child. Mother and father had a bad marriage since I was 7 or 8, my dad worked long hours my mam slowly but surely strayed and I was left alone a lot. I felt different. Not worthy. Always acting strong but broken hearted. I was wild. No boundaries nothing. I grew into an adult not trusting any man, picking bad men. Smoking weed for 14 years heavily. My mother left me when I was so young. Never coming home but ringing me all the time. Lying to my dad to cover up. I felt like the responsible one. And those lost feelings have never left me and I'm now 29. That little girl inside still craves security and true commitment. I cling to men and am convinced they aren't loyal. I trust nobody

being said...

there are a lot of self help books you may find in amazon or public libraries...as a human being, you do have free will based on which you can choose a kind of life you truly want.... trust is earned by others, not granted by yo (without any cost), based on the quality of interpersonal contact, you can decide whether to trust someone or not...people do make mistakes...this is ok...and continue to live a happy life..

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a family of five children. I was the youngest and I never felt safe. Their were moments that were okay, but it was like a feeling of impending doom alway hung over my life. I suffered from panic attacks and depression when I was in elementary school. I did feel different and alone. I am 55 years old and I have been struggling with the hell of depression and anxiety all my life. I don't believe any human being can really be trusted. Sometimes they can be okay, but they can turn on you any second. The only time I can give and receive love and friendship is with my dogs...my fur-angels.

Anonymous said...

That's me!

Anonymous said...

This explains so much. You're right: I do have free will, and just because the first 41 years of my life have been the product of a seriously messed up childhood it doesn't mean that I am powerless in ending the cycle.

Anonymous said...

Good list, I see a lot of one side or the other extremes listed but not one for the lying. Many abused individuals I would believe can definitely lead to compulsive lying to avoid conflict but the other end of that isnt mentioned which is full honesty. In my situation and maybe others, it is a defense mechanism to become so fully readable and honest in every aspect to hope to gain the abusers trust. I believe this is due to the abuser always blaming the victim even when they arent wrong. The victim can become so transparent, making sure to never do anything wrong that would get them into trouble.