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Abuse is devastating and something that NO ONE deserves to go through. At times, because of circumstances, it can be hard to decipher whether or not you have been abused.

If you were a child, and your parents abused you, you may have grown accustomed to the abuse, believing it was normal. Or, in a relationship, your partner may have covertly and emotionally abused you, which can also be difficult to pinpoint because abusers are master manipulators. Regardless of what the circumstances are of the actual abuse, oftentimes, the mental outcome is much the same.

So, if you have any inkling you were once abused, you likely have the following signs.

1. You have attachment problems.

Attachment is how we show a connection with others. For those that have been abused, insecure attachment problems often develop. Insecure attachments can cause us to feel clingy and fear losing others or being abandoned. Conversely, avoidance attachment issues can cause us to push people away because of the fear of being abandoned. Either way, attachment issues are prominent among the abused.

2. You struggle with substance abuse.

Another symptom of abuse is substance abuse. Oftentimes, those who have been abused seek to escape the pain of the abuse through substances and other addictions. Or, it may simply be their way of trying to connect with something to fill the void of abuse or neglect.

3. You have a difficult time trusting others.

Being abused can change the way you view others for the rest of your life. Once someone has betrayed your trust, you may fear what others could do as well. And it can take time and therapy to move forward from these fears.

4. You have emotional instability.

Abuse affects our nervous system, which can cause us to feel immense pressure. Oftentimes, this pressure can build in abuse victims, causing them to lose control of their emotions very easily.

5. You are hypervigalent.

Hypervigilance happens when people become traumatized. Put simply, it means that the abuse makes them fixate on the behaviors, and body language of others, as a means to pre-empt negative action. The train of thought here is, that if I can watch everyone’s every move, maybe I can predict if they will hurt me, so I can stop them. But, this can become exhausting.

6. You have chronic anxiety and depression.

Those who have endured abuse often struggle with some type of mood disorder, whether it’s anxiety, depression, or even PTSD. Signs of this may be panic attacks, feeling afraid of going around others, or simply being depressed constantly.

7. You struggle with your self-esteem.

When abuse happens, our first thought is, “Why me?” Deep down, we fear that we did something to cause the abuse. And due to that, our self-esteem can suffer.

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