The common signs that you were or are still being emotionally abused are :
Both or one of the parents were or are critical or hyper critical, sometimes to the point of shaming and blaming you.
- Both or one of the parents instill or instilled guilt in you. A common example would be hearing a parent say “After all I did for you or After all the sacrifices I made for you …………………….” and similar even putting the blame on you for their falling ill genuinely or as a pretension.
- Both or one of the parents was emotionally absent. In this case the worst example which is extremely damaging is the silent treatment some parents give their children. This is as traumatic as when an adult goes through a divorce.
- Both or one of your parents was controlling or extremely controlling. On one hand such a parent professes to be extremely loving and on the other they try to control every aspect of your life, including the friendships you’ve built.
- If you’re a woman, you were often made to feel second class compared with your male sibling.
- You are still afraid to talk openly and honestly with your partner or to those who are very close to you. You have trust issues.
- You have been going through a series of unsuccessful relationships.
You have built a protective wall around yourself and are not able to express or take love in a relaxed, enjoyable way.
- You feel guilty when you’re having a good time.
- Say you are working on something and your work is not accepted. You take it personally whereas there may be several other reasons why the work was rejected.
- Even a comment sounds like personal criticism.
- You react out of proportion when you have a disagreement with your partner or someone who is really close to you.
- You emulate your mother and are not willing to address the issue. In fact, you refuse to recognize those very traits in yourself.
- You try keeping busy most of the time and rarely take time off to be with yourself and introspect.
- You do not have much feeling of self worth.
Many of the abusive parents are said to have, what is called Borderline Personality Disorder.
I would rather go straightforward and call uncaring behaviour or even nastiness or selfishness or plain old rotten behavious exactly that.
What can be done
What can you do if you’ve been a victim of a toxic childhood? I am not a psychologist but have found the following works for those who finally decide to take things into their own hands.
- Take a good look at your picture as a child. Do you see any of those things your toxic parent saw in you? Obviously, not. Now see your picture from your perspective. Do you see a nice lovable child deserving of love, protection and empathy? Look at this picture once in a while or frame it and keep it on your table. No, it’s not narcissistic.
- Develop a hobby that relaxes you or do some things each day that you like to do.
- Some good things happen in our lives everyday. Maintain a journal in which you write about one or two good points of the day. Just go on filling up this journal and at random read it once in a while.
- Avoid the habit of saying ‘but’ and ‘no’.
- The major part of healing is being able to accept and love yourself. For this, you must first be able to create stillness within you to be able to switch off the mind to make room for developing a positive subconscious. One effective way of doing this is to stare at a lit candle in a quiet environment on your dining table not only with your eyes but also the middle of the forehead behind which lies the Pineal gland. Located in the centre of the brain the Pineal gland is considered to be the ‘third eye’ by spiritualists. It produces Melatonin and helps regulate the body rhythms. Doing this for 5 to 15 minutes each day helps enormously. Try blocking out all thoughts while you do this and focus on the flame.
- Slowly it becomes a habit that you create stillness and calm within yourself. Sit comfortably while you do this.
- Eat foods rich in Serotonin. There are plenty of them, including salmon, nuts, spinach and many others.
- Be kind to yourself. Empathise with yourself and do not ever berate yourself. Slowly you’ll find that you’ve reduced or stopped berating those close to you, as well. Thus, building a positive atmosphere around you.
- Enjoy doing things that you like to do and not feel guilty. Pamper yourself once in a while.
- As early as possible, become financially independent.
- If your abusive parent has crossed too many boundaries. Cut off completely with that person. Parents are meant to unconditionally love and protect. A parent who does not do that is not a parent but just someone who gave birth to you.
The purpose is to reinvent yourself into the person you were born to be. The word psychology is derived from the Greek words Psyche and Logos which mean Soul and Reason. And the very reason to have been born is to be peaceful and happy. To love and be loved. To enjoy all that life has to offer.