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11 Things You Do As An Adult When You’ve Experienced Childhood Emotional Injustice

abuse, neglect, emotional injustice
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1. You Have An Addictive Personality

Whether it’s drinking, doing drugs, eating too much, stealing, gambling, shopping… whatever the chosen vice, you might find you’re coping with the emotional injustice you were dealt as a child through addiction. According to a Yale study, chronic abuse, trauma, and stress are linked to psychiatric disorders such as addiction.

2. You Have A Poor Memory

You’re constantly forgetting little things that people tell you. Perhaps you’ve forgotten a doctor’s appointment, or to pick something up from the store? According to a different Yale study, people abused as children show reduced brain volume in regions governing emotion, learning, and memory. It’s annoying to forget things all the time, but it could quite possibly not be your fault.

3. You Messed Around In School

Even though you were smart at school, chances are you didn’t take it as seriously as you think you should have. You may have played the fool or gotten into trouble. Hilary Blumberg, associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Diagnostic Radiology who works in the Yale Child Study Center authored a study that demonstrated that adolescents who were abused and neglected have less gray matter in some areas of the brain than young people who were not maltreated. ‘This could help to explain their trouble with school performance or increase their vulnerability […] behavioral difficulties’ Blumberg said of the results.

4. You’re Angry, A Lot Of The Time

The American Psychological Association suggests that abuse may be linked to an anger fixation. The long-term physical effects of uncontrolled anger include increased anxiety, high blood pressure, and headache, so it’s important to get your anger under control. Children who have suffered emotional injustice have trouble controlling and expressing emotions, and may react violently or inappropriately to situations. It can also cause issues in the ‘real world’ if you react inappropriately to something or someone.

5. You Self Harm

Self-harm is related to trauma. Those who self-harm are likely to have been abused in childhood, according to the Veteran’s Affairs PTSD website. If you’ve been consistently told you’re not worth anything, you may start to believe it. Once that happens it’s easy to believe you deserve the pain you’re causing yourself even though you don’t.

6. You Say Sorry, Too Often

If you’ve always been blamed for things, even when they weren’t your fault, you may have gotten into the habit of apologizing, just in case. You may find it keeps the peace if you accept blame, but it can come across as a bit disingenuous to people that don’t know why you’re apologizing for everything. Psychologist Paige Carambio calls it ‘apologizing for existing’ and says ‘Survivors may have used this as a protective behavior to avoid negative responses from a partner [or parent] in the past. It can be an automatic thing, to try and avoid triggering a harmful response.’

7. Trust Issues

If someone close to you, someone who was supposed to care for you and look after you, subjects you to emotional abuse, you may develop trust issues. You may expect lies, deceit, or inconsistency when building new relationships. It feels like you’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.

8. Low Self Esteem

Shame, guilt, low self-esteem, and poor self-image are common among children with complex trauma histories. These feelings and emotions can be carried through to adulthood. If you’re subject to emotional injustice, it may be that you blame yourself rather than recognize the parent as unreliable and dangerous.

9. Attachment Issues

In adulthood, children who were subject to emotional injustice often have difficulty forming close relationships, demonstrate a lack of resilience, and frequently display severe antisocial behavior. This can manifest by either being unable to form attachments with others or by forming inappropriate attachments. That boyfriend or girlfriend you knew was wrong for you but you just couldn’t bring yourself to leave? This could be why.

10. You Second Guess Yourself

You may find you ask a lot of questions, just to be sure about something, even if you’re confident you know the answer. This doubting yourself can be due to the emotional abuse you suffered as a child and can lead to you second guessing everything, from small decisions to big ones. You may suffer decision fatigue and end up not making any decisions at all. This can stem from being undermined as a child.

11. You Are Thankful

Despite having been through a lot, you find gratitude for the little things in life. Gratitude helps people entangled with depression, anxiety, substance abuse disorders, and other problems to heal and find closure. It may take you some time to trust people, but when you do, you go hard! Your friends mean the world to you and you’d do almost anything for them.

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