Hey Optimist Minds!
Are you or someone you know a survivor of manipulation and emotional abuse? Were you ever in close relation with someone who tried to control you using your negative feelings?
Maybe this person made you feel guilty for everything that upset them. Perhaps they only gave you affection if you obeyed them. They might have even criticised, mocked, or threatened you to make you feel small.
Enduring this kind of manipulation for a considerable duration can have long-term consequences. In this video, we will describe five such effects so that you can recognise the aftermath of abuse if you’re experiencing it.
If you find that you display any of the five, we recommend consulting a mental health professional. Counselling and therapy can help you understand what happened and how to recover.
So, let’s begin!
You have deep-seated trust issues.
Is it hard for you to accept compliments or favours from others? Do you assume that they might have some hidden motives?
Being excessively wary about people’s intentions and feeling protective all the time are natural consequences of chronic manipulation. More often than not, the people who emotionally abuse you are the ones you expect love and care from.
When these people breach your trust and take advantage of you, it’s scary to be vulnerable again. It becomes hard to accept affection later, even if it’s coming from a genuine source. The hesitance holds you back in life as trust is a prerequisite to meaningful relationships.
You struggle with boundaries.
Would you call yourself a people pleaser? Do you find it hard to say no when you don’t want something?
Emotional abuse and manipulation can warp a person’s sense of boundaries. As a result, your personal boundaries may be porous, where they’re not very clear, or rigid, where they’re inflexible.
In some cases, you cannot speak up when someone says or does things that hurt or inconvenience you.
At other times you might have your guard up at all times, not willing to make any exceptions, even if it will be good for you.
Healthy boundaries allow us to be assertive or flexible when needed to stay at peace and not hold ourselves back. But, unfortunately, we lose our ability to establish them when the trust issues from manipulation clash with our natural need for love and care.
It impacts how your brain works.
Are you prone to emotional outbursts? Do you find it hard to process your feelings and express them in healthy ways?
Manipulation can lead to long-term emotional scars that affect neural networks in your brain. Research has shown that the highly stressful nature of emotional abuse causes sensitive parts of the brain to be underdeveloped or reduced in volume.
Parts of the medial temporal lobe involved in learning, memory, and emotional expression are affected. The severity of the damage depends on the severity of the maltreatment. If you were raised by toxic parents, both biological and psychological reasons are causing your challenges.
You’re susceptible to poor mental health.
Depression and anxiety are common occurrences in survivors of emotional manipulation. These adverse life situations cause us to develop negative ways to look at the world. Our thoughts become biased and unrealistic, making us think of all the possible bad outcomes.
Are you usually worried about things that can go wrong? Do your thoughts generally make you feel negative feelings?
Since thoughts too are a behaviour, our thinking patterns can become habits. Certain ways of thinking are unhelpful as they deteriorate our mental health. They impact how we see ourselves, others, places, and situations. Depression and anxiety are thought disorders that are caused by such unhelpful thinking patterns.
You indulge in substance abuse.
Do you smoke, drink, or take drugs to cope with your difficulties? Is it hard for you to quit them in spite of facing negative consequences?
Severe manipulation leaves people feeling isolated and numb. Studies have shown that the lack of social interaction leads to choices that form addictions. The high probably feels like a welcome change from the constant numbness.
Alternatively, substances also help suppress painful memories and feelings. If you feel any resentment, anger, loneliness, or hopelessness, the substances serve as a quick and familiar coping mechanism. Sadly, addiction further deteriorates mental health and makes it harder for you to overcome your issues.
Did the scenarios we discussed describe what you go through? Were you able to relate to most of these issues? Let us know in the comments if you think you’ve been facing the long-term effects of manipulation.
A link for further reading and the studies & references used in the making of this video are mentioned in the description below.
Thanks for visiting optimist minds, take care. Until next time.
- https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/[email protected]/(ISSN)1360-0443.addiction_classics_virtual_issue