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Being raised in a healthy and happy environment is something everyone deserves. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

Parents are supposed to love and care for their children, not only in the physical sense by making sure all of their needs are physically met, but also emotionally. Emotional abuse comes in many forms, and sadly, it can be hard to see that your parents are abusing you or neglecting you emotionally. If emotional abuse and neglect are all you know- it can be hard to accept that what happened to you wasn’t normal or correct.

What’s worse is emotional abuse can be so damaging because it leaves you hurt and damaged on the inside, but from the outside looking in, you may seem fine. Until you start to break it all down and see your raising for what it truly is (abusive) it can be a roller-coaster trying to understand what is beneath the surface of it all.

Studies have shown that emotional abuse can ultimately leave you with mental health issues, interpersonal problems, and even addictive personality traits. In many ways, it will damage you, and realizing what has caused it can truly help. If you are starting to believe that you may have experienced childhood emotional abuse, here are 13 signs you can use as a reference.

1. You constantly apologize.

Experiencing childhood abuse will leave you with lingering feelings of guilt and self-doubt. You may feel like nothing you do can ever be right, and in turn, you apologize constantly and for no reason.

2. You have abandonment issues.

Being abused as a child can lead you to constantly fear being left or not being enough. You may worry that you are internally flawed or that people will ultimately get sick of you. Due to this, you may have a hard time managing relationships.

3. You have a substance abuse problem.

Studies have found that dealing with adverse childhood experiences, emotional neglect, and emotional abuse during childhood can ultimately lead to substance @buse disorder. This can be alcohol @buse, $exual @ddictions, dr*g @ddictions, or any @ddiction that prevents you from living a full and happy adult life.

4. You have a difficult time making decisions.

Being abused as a child has been shown to lead to disrupted brain development. In turn, you may find it hard to make difficult decisions or think critically. It can even make it hard to maintain control over yourself.

5. You are socially awkward.

During our formative years, we learn and develop the skills necessary to socialize and connect. Our parents set the stage for how we learn to communicate and connect with others, so it should come as no surprise that emotionally abused children have a hard time with social interaction throughout the rest of their life.

6. You are emotionally unstable.

Childhood maltreatment does a number on your emotional stability and ability to level your moods. Studies show that adults who had adverse childhood experiences were more likely to commit su!cide and to suffer from mood disorders and other mental illnesses.

7. You have trust issues.

Being raised in an unpredictable environment in which you can’t even trust your parents sets the stage for trust issues later on down the road. In turn, you may find it hard to get close to anyone.

8. You are a people pleaser.

Growing up in an environment where you believe you aren’t good enough or feel as though you aren’t can lead to a people-pleasing mentality. Because you want so badly to be loved and accepted, you may find that you will do anything to get a positive response from others.

9. You disassociate.

During traumatic experiences, a strange phenomenon happens in which the brain tries to protect you. In turn, you may go into autopilot mode when you feel abuse is near. Unfortunately, this defense skill can be a commonplace event that happens even when you don’t intend for it too. And you may find you disassociate and blackout much of your life.

10. You hold your emotions in.

Being abused as a child puts you in a position in which you have to hide your emotions, especially if they upset your abuser. And the more you had to repress your true emotions as a child, the more you will do this as an adult.

11. You fear conflict.

In the mind of someone who has endured trauma, any conflict could potentially result in a terrible situation. Because of that, people who were abused as children will likely avoid conflict at all costs.

12. You have low self-esteem.

Having a healthy family dynamic helps us to build self-esteem. But, when your parents constantly abuse and belittle you, your self-esteem becomes damaged. In turn, you may have a poor sense of self-worth or believe that you are worthless (you aren’t!).

13. You’re a perfectionist.

To compensate for a low sense of self-worth, abused children often strive for perfection. “If I am perfect- they won’t get mad or dismiss me.” As you get older, you may expect others to be just like your parents and because of that, you may be a perfectionist throughout your life.