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My PTSD From Emotional Abuse

Updated on March 2, 2020

What is Emotional Abuse?

Domestic violence is very prevalent in the United States. If you watch the news and read the paper regularly, you will encounter several cases of women or men having been emotionally or physically abused by their spouses or romantic partners. Emotional abuse, unlike physical abuse, is sometimes hard to recognize. Emotional abuse is where your spouse (or significant other) uses words and actions to isolate and control you in your relationship. These can be both direct and subtle. Direct forms of emotional abuse are things such as constantly arguing with whatever you say, discounting your feelings or belittling you, sudden angry outbursts, talking degradingly about your family and friends, forcing you to have sex whenever he or she wants it, threatening you, and the silent treatment. Subtle emotional abuse can take any or all of these forms: changing plans in order to “surprise” you, he or she withholds intimacy to punish you, he or she is loving one moment and distant the next, you find yourself apologizing when you’ve done nothing wrong, you are restricted from seeing certain kinds of people, you can only see your family or friends on your spouse’s terms, and you feel like you “walk on eggshells” to avoid all of these behaviors.

Effects of Emotional Abuse on the Brain

Emotional abuse can be just as hard on you as physical abuse. Emotional abuse leaves deep, unseen wounds that stay with the mind and body for life. They leave permanent scars that change your personality and your perspective on life. The learning and memory aspects of your brain are affected by the chronic stress of emotional abuse because of the constant overproduction of the stress hormone, cortisol. Your brain then tries to get rid of the overload. This can lead to emotional and mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It also explains why you may have reactions such as anger, frustration, crying, emotional breakdowns, and isolating yourself to an innocent word or action from another person. Suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. You may feel disinterested in things you used to enjoy or become over compliant. You may experience anxiety, exaggerated startle response, and/or hypervigilance. You may have constant or sudden intrusive memories of the abuse. You may feel guilty about what has happened to you. Let me tell you this. You are not guilty. You did not cause your spouse or partner to act in this manner. You may feel like you are what your spouse or partner has accused you of. This is not true either!

Effects of Emotional Abuse on the Body

Emotional abuse affects the body as well as the brain. You may experience symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches and migraines, insomnia, stammering, ulcers, diarrhea, indigestion, constipation, stress-related heart conditions, self-harm, alcohol or drug abuse, suicide attempts, muscle tension, exhaustion, and difficulty breathing.

My Experience with Emotional Abuse

I got married in June last year. That marriage only lasted five weeks with us together and ended in divorce after only five and a half months. I was emotionally abused by my ex-husband. He belittled my family and isolated me from them. He went through cycles of loving me, ignoring me, threatening me, and scolding me mercilessly. He forced me to eat things that I was allergic to. He also accused me of things he did himself, though he refused to acknowledge that he did them. I have undiagnosed PTSD from the abuse I suffered. I have both brain and body effects that I deal with every day. Strangers may see me and think I’m a happy woman. They don’t see the tears, the fear, the insomnia, the heart condition, the overreactions, the panic attacks, and the pain I suffer from daily at home. I’m telling you all this because there is Light. And His Name is Jesus Christ. When I feel alone, angry, afraid, and emotional, I turn to my Savior in prayer and reading His words to me in Scripture. He is the Ultimate Comforter Who will never leave me. He knows my pain and suffering. He came to Earth to live a perfect life. He was mocked and abused. He was ignored and insulted. He was rejected. Yet He loves us so much, he was willing to be put to death to take the penalty for our sins. If you are suffering from abuse and don’t know where to turn, I suggest reading the book of John in the Bible. Christ offers forgiveness and healing. You only need accept it. I also suggest finding a good Christian counselor who can help you work through the suffering to find the Light in the darkness. Christ can be the Ultimate Comforter for you too.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Tori Leumas

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    • renee21 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tori Leumas 

      15 months ago

      Thank you, Bill.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      15 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I don't know how you fell about it, but I think it took great courage and compassion to write this. My prayers are with you.

    • renee21 profile imageAUTHOR

      Tori Leumas 

      15 months ago

      Thank you, Lorna. Yes, he definitely displayed behaviors of both Narcissism and Bipolar Disorder.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      15 months ago

      I was sorry to hear of your suffering Tori and I am glad that you have found help and healing within your Christian faith. Unfortunately this form of abuse is on the increase and I treat clients with PTSD due to emotional abuse. From reading your article it seems to me as if your ex-husband has a narcissistic personality. Thank you for sharing your experiences as it will help other people in the same situation.

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