Thursday, April 18, 2024

Can You Get Ptsd From Mental Abuse

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Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD), Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

EMDR is a highly effective therapeutic option recommended by many mental health specialists for treating individuals struggling with PTSD. During an EMDR session, a therapist asks you to reflect on and think about the traumatic experience.

While the patient does this, the therapist simultaneously asks them to focus on a flickering light, a finger moving back and forth, or other outside stimuli. EMDR is a unique treatment because it helps patients develop new and more positive connections to a traumatic memory.

Other Terms For Complex Ptsd

Complex PTSD is a fairly new term. Professionals have recognised for a while that some types of trauma can have additional effects to PTSD, but have disagreed about whether this is a form of PTSD or an entirely separate condition, and what it should be called.

For example, you may find some doctors or therapists still use one of the following terms:

  • enduring personality change after catastrophic experience
  • disorders of extreme stress not otherwise specified this term is more common in America than the UK.

“At times I felt nothing was going to end the distress, experiencing more than 10 flashbacks a day… It was a long process of recovery, with lots of bumps along the road, but the right medication and long-term therapy with someone I came to trust, has changed my life.”

Although I Initially Thought Ptsd Was A Bit Extreme It’s Been Almost Three Years And Certain Noises Or Situations Still Trigger Difficult Memories For Me

RELATED: 4 Essential Ways To Take Care Of Yourself When Healing From A Destructive Relationship

When my male boss was angry and yelling at the staff one day, I became physically sick. I felt like I was right back where I was years ago in the same traumatic events, sitting and cowering on the garage floor, trying to placate the anger of a man towering over me.

Frequently Asked Questions About Emotional Abuse

What is the definition of mental abuse?

Mental abuse and emotional abuse are usually synonymous in terms of diagnosis. With that being said, emotional abuse is an act of verbal assault, isolation, and other acts that diminish the self-worth of a partner, according to a medically reviewed article from Healthy Place. If your partner repeatedly degrades you and makes you feel unworthy of love, they are likely mentally abusing you, whether you know it or not. Domestic violence can also be a form of mental abuse, as abusive people can use physical violence to mentally control others.

How does mental abuse affect a person?

Mental abuse, for one, can degrade the self-esteem of the victim. It can make them feel as though they are unworthy of love. It can make them feel as though they will never find another romantic partner if they leave their abusive one. It can also create feelings of depression and make it difficult to find happiness ever again. Not to mention, it can cause anxiety disorders, in which you feel anxious around people who are the same gender as your old partner, or who look like them. Seeing someone who resembles your old partner can set off an anxiety attack at any given moment. It can sometimes take years of therapy to push through these negative feelings.

Can you mentally abuse yourself?

What are the 4 signs of abuse?

What type of abuse is the hardest to detect?

What does narcissistic abuse mean?

Can verbal abuse cause trauma?

#2 Flashbacks Of The Traumatic Situation

This one ties in with the first point. Having flashbacks of the same trauma makes you more likely to self isolate out of fear.

Moreover, people asking can you have PTSD from a relationship often become aware only after they recognize this pattern. 

While unsavory, its difficult to control your thoughts at the moment. 

It might even make you react or lash out in a way thats unlikely of you. 

What Is Mental Abuse And How Can You Protect Yourself

Medically Reviewed By: Whitney White, MS. CMHC, NCC., LPC

When most people think about abuse they think about physical violence and abuse, because it’s something they can see. They think about bruises, ‘accidents’, and trips to the emergency room. However, this is not the only method of abuse. There are several forms of abuse that someone could be suffering from without even knowing it. One of these types of abuse is emotional abuse. It’s extremely easy to fall into the trap of being mentally abused and not realize what is happening. These effects of emotional abuse are severe, especially if it occurs long term. It is important that you identify if you are with an abusive partner, to avoid suffering from the impact of emotional abuse.

Get Help Today With Southern California Sunrise

Have you been a victim of narcissistic abuse or suffer PTSD from narcissistic abuse? If you would like to start the journey towards healing, consider treatment at a nearby therapy center. At Southern California Sunrise Recovery Center, we offer a variety of therapies and mental health treatments.

It helps people who have been the victim of narcissistic abuse take control of their lives once more. We have a variety of therapy options available to suit your circumstances and lifestyle.

Contact us today to learn more and book an initial consultation with a qualified therapist.

Table of Contents

How Emotional Abuse Causes Ptsd

Emotional abuse can happen at any time, but it is always incredibly damaging to the abuse victim. Abuse can come from any direction, whether its from a family member, friends, or romantic partners. Emotional abuse is often cyclical, and those that have experienced and even escaped emotionally abusive situations often find themselves drawn to relationships where they will experience similar abuse patterns. The main examples of this type of abuse include:

  • Physical threats
  • Slander or negative statements about the victim including excessive criticism
  • Forced isolation
  • Unequal power dynamics with the victim being treated like a child

The core of emotional abuse is manipulation. It is a tactical approach to a relationship that is designed to give all of the power in the relationship to the abuser and can be just as negatively impactful as instances of physical abuse. That means abuse victims are exposed to the risks of developing PTSD.

A Pattern Of Behavior Over Time

The Emotional Threshold of C-PTSD/PTSD After Narcissistic Abuse

Emotional abuse is rarely a single event. Instead, it occurs over time as a pattern of behavior thats sustained & repetitive. This particular characteristic of emotional abuse helps explain why its so complicated and so dangerous.

Even if youre the most observant person in the world, emotional abuse can be so gradual that you dont realize whats happening until youre deeply entangled in its web. As a result, the abuse can go unchecked as the relationship progresses, building for months, years, even decades, especially if the abuse is more covert. In such instances, the targets self-esteem is steadily eroded and their self-doubt becomes so paralyzing that they often have only a vague sense that something is wrong.

Why Does This Happen

We spoke to Dr Parsonage about the fight, flight or freeze response:

The neurological systems that process emotions are significantly compromised in individuals who have experienced chronic childhood trauma:

  • Chronic stress reduces the size and functioning in the area of the brain that processes memory
  • The amygdala is overstimulated and is in constant overdrive
  • High levels of cortisol make it harder to learn and block memories forming
  • The brains of people with complex PTSD show an enhanced sensitivity to threat and are usually in a chronic state of red alert

A New Beginning Is Possible

Do not keep recycling the problem. Shift to the solution and what action to take.

If youre having trouble moving on with your life after youve broken up with a narcissist, please contact me. I can help you find hope through recovery from the trauma of that relationship, as I have helped many others.

Any Abusive Behavior That Isnt Physical

Pretty broad, right? Emotional abuse is difficult to comprehend because it encompasses so much. Just take a look at the non-exhaustive list below of behaviors that are potentially emotionally abusive:

  • Intimidation
  • Threatening harm
  • Forced isolation

We specify potentially abusive behaviors because some of the behaviors on this list could occur in a healthy context as well. Lets take sarcasm and infantilizing speech, for example. Many people consider sarcasm a key component of a good sense of humor. Many people would also agree that using infantilizing speech as terms of endearment is harmless, for example referring to a significant other as baby. However, in the context of emotional abuse where the intent is malicious, these behaviors can be extremely cutting, especially when disguised as affection or an innocent remark. For example, someone who repeatedly tells his or her significant other My baby is so smart in a way thats meant to mock their partners intelligence using sarcasm as well as infantilizing speech to make them feel small is a form of emotional abuse.

Ptsd From An Abusive Relationship

Can PTSD Occur After an Abusive Relationship? Absolutely, yes. If youve reached the point of wondering about the answer to that question, its time to ask another couple of questions:

  • Are you or is someone you know engaged in a potentially abusive relationship?
  • Are you or is someone you know experiencing the signs and symptoms of PTSD or another mental illness?
  • If you answered yes to either or both of those questions, this article is for you. Lets get you connected with resources and support to navigate the topics of abuse and mental illness, okay? There are a couple more questions to ask that will help us get a handle on the situation. First, how do you recognize abuse within a relationship? Second, how do you recognize the signs and symptoms of PTSD?

    The Effects Of Mental Abuse

    Mental abuse has a destructive impact on mental health. Mental abuse can occur directly, by abusers making victims feel inadequate, insecure, unsafe, and traumatized. Furthermore, mental abuse can also trigger emotional helplessness, dependence on the abuser . In other cases, individuals on the receiving end of mental abuse can develop mental disorders, like anxiety, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    Like all forms of abuse, mental abuse acts control and overpower the victim, often leaving him or her to pick up the pieces. For example, if an abuser neglects, lies, belittles, and insults the victim, he or she can in turn develop negative self-beliefs that impact their mental health. Mental abuse can have devastating effects on the victim and can sometimes lead to emotional and physical abuse. The respect and value for the individual has been diminished and, his or her sense of self and self-worth is minimized. As a result, the individual can believe self-defeating thoughts and have a warped self-perception. Some can feel unworthy of healthy relationships, love, and life itself. Lastly, the victim of mental abuse can become a mental abuser. Oftentimes abusers have been abused and continue the cycle, sometimes unaware of the damage they cause others.

    The Emotional Component Of Ptsd

    PTSD from emotional abuse is not distinguished as C-PTSD because of its emotional rather than physical nature. All PTSD, even from physical forms of trauma, is based on emotional and psychological reactions to trauma, which develop because of fear and distress.

    Also, regular PTSD can happen because of any event the person finds disturbing or distressing, even when the person witnesses it or hears about it rather than experiencing it first-hand. PTSD can come from emotional responses to experiences such as:

    • The sudden death of a loved one
    • Witnessing a murder
    • Hearing about a terrorist attack
    • Going through a hurricane without experiencing any physical harm

    The distinction between PTSD and C-PTSD is not because of a difference between physical and emotional trauma. The difference has to do with the ongoing nature of the trauma involved in C-PTSD.

    Helping A Loved One Deal With Trauma

    When a loved one has suffered trauma, your support can play a crucial role in their recovery.

    Be patient and understanding. Healing from trauma takes time. Be patient with the pace of recovery and remember that everyones response to trauma is different. Dont judge your loved ones reaction against your own response or anyone elses.

    Offer practical support to help your loved one get back into a normal routine. That may mean helping with collecting groceries or doing housework, for example, or simply being available to talk or listen.

    Dont pressure your loved one into talking but be available if they want to talk. Some trauma survivors find it difficult to talk about what happened. Dont force your loved one to open up but let them know you are there to listen if they want to talk, or available to just hang out if they dont.

    Help your loved one to socialize and relax. Encourage them to participate in physical exercise, seek out friends, and pursue hobbies and other activities that bring them pleasure. Take a fitness class together or set a regular lunch date with friends.

    Dont take the trauma symptoms personally. Your loved one may become angry, irritable, withdrawn, or emotionally distant. Remember that this is a result of the trauma and may not have anything to do with you or your relationship.

    How children react to emotional and psychological trauma

    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Emotional Abuse

    PTSD and C-PTSD from Narcissistic Abuse / Domestic Abuse

    According to a medically reviewed article from Healthline, there are many symptoms of mental abuse and many combinations of their occurrences. In fact, they list 64 signs! As you can see, the signs can vary greatly, and are not limited. So, be on the lookout for domestic abuse in your relationship or in the relationships of your loved ones.

    Below are signs that something unhealthy is happening in your relationship and should be addressed. Afterward, this article will cover ways you can protect yourself from these signs of mental abuse.

    What to Do to Protect Yourself

    If you think you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship you should seek professional help immediately. Talking with a counselor may help you understand whether the relationship you’re in is healthy for you or not. It is possible that your relationship isn’t healthy, but it’s not abusive. It’s also a possibility that your relationship doesn’t have all of the signs mentioned above and still is abusive.

    Talking with a therapist or someone you trust can help you figure out what’s going on in your relationship. You’ll gain perspective and figure out whether you need to stay or go. If you determine that you’re in an abusive relationship and the abuser believes you might leave, they’re probably going to make promises to change. Having a healthy relationship with someone who has been abusive while they ‘work on things’ isn’t realistic, and it could end up causing you more long-term pain.

    Aims To Diminish Another Persons Sense Of Identity Dignity And Self

    Regardless of how emotional abuse unfolds, experts agree that it has devastating effects on those who are subjected to it.

    Unfortunately, these effects as well as each harmful act of abuse are largely invisible. This makes it difficult for most people to comprehend the very real risks and damage of emotional abuse.

    Lets demonstrate why. For a moment, try to imagine a scene of physical violence, a fight. Even if youve never witnessed or experienced it firsthand, your imagination can probably fill in the picture pretty well. The struggle. The adrenaline and fear. The aftermath of blood, bruises, tears. Its a painful portrait but likely one that you can envision.

    Now, try to picture a scene of emotional abuse, specifically someone whose self-identity has been annihilated. Can you see it?

    Chances are your mind doesnt know where to begin. But if you are able to create a picture of either the acts of abuse or what the damage looks like on the person who experienced it, can you put that image into words?

    While describing physical wounds is pretty straightforward, its much harder to articulate emotional trauma. The parts of a person that sustained emotional abuse destroysidentity, dignity, and self-worthare abstract, almost impossible to picture or measure.

    What Treatments Are There

    The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence   the organisation that produces guidelines on best practice in health care has not yet developed recommendations specifically for complex PTSD. They caution that the existing guidelines for PTSD weren’t developed for this kind of diagnosis.

    You may find standard treatments for PTSD helpful, but many people with complex PTSD need more long-term, intensive support to recover. As part of your treatment you should also be offered support for other problems you experience, such as depression, drug and alcohol use or dissociation. The treatment you are offered may depend on what’s available in your local area.

    See our treatment for PTSD page for more about the treatments available, which may be useful for complex PTSD. Or visit our page on self-care for PTSD for tips on how to look after yourself when you have complex PTSD.

    How To Cope With Emotional Abuse

    Many people feel stuck in emotionally abusive relationships. It’s not easy to be in a relationship with a person who is mistreating you. But there are ways to handle this and get better. As mentioned above, it’s crucial to reach out for help if you can. Tell someone you trust that you don’t feel safe in your relationship. If you’re afraid to tell a friend or loved one, there are many hotlines that you can call that are completely anonymous. There’s the National Domestic Abuse HotlineCrisis Text Line, and Safe Horizon, which both offer anonymous support through hotlines. All of the National Domestic Abuse Hotline, Crisis Text Line, and Safe Horizon resources will give you a great place to discuss a safety plan. The trouble with mental abuse is that you may have difficulty seeing outside of yourself and the relationship. You might not be able to tell that there’s a good life and a possibility for healthy relationships without your abuser. But there is, and if you reach out to a mental health professional, you can get through this and find healing.

    You may read the full study here: A therapist-assisted cognitive behavior therapy internet intervention for posttraumatic stress disorder: Pre-, post- and 3-month follow-up results from an open trial.

    Scenarios of Mental Abuse

    Control Their Partners

    Protect Their Image

    When Physical Abuse Occurs

    Finding Support If You Have Suffered Severe Relationship Trauma

    It is common to feel extremely fragile after any breakup. Separating from a toxic narcissist can be much, much worse.

    Your ability to trust a future relationship may be compromised. You may find yourself wanting to go back to the narcissist. It is not uncommon for one who has suffered severe relationship trauma to have feelings of jealousy and insecurity. They may have convinced you through his or her words and actions that no one else will ever love you because of your short comings and that you were lucky to have them.

    These intrusive thoughts can be extremely detrimental to your emotional health and sense of self-worth. Friends and family will probably remind you of your self-worth and value and that you are lovable, but severe relationship trauma calls for more intensive help.Thats why its crucial to seek professional help from a specialized therapist after a breakup with a narcissist, especially if youre experiencing psychological turmoil.

    But, how would you know if youre suffering from PTSD?

    What Emotional Abuse Really Means

    Did it ever get physical?

    This is often the first question we ask someone we know or suspect is in an unhealthy relationship. While starting a conversation around physical abuse is essential, the issue is when its the only question we ask.

    Stopping short of inquiring about other forms of abuse implies that physical violence is the defining factor of an unhealthy relationship. Even worse, it conveys the message that whatever else might be going on is just not that bad.

    This is a huge issue, because emotional abuse can absolutely be that bad.

    Even if relationship never gets physically abusive, emotional abuse can escalate over time with devastating consequences, even death. And while emotional abuse does not always lead to physical abuse, physical abuse in relationships is nearly always preceded and accompanied by emotional abuse.

    Why dont we hear more about emotional abuse? In addition to the common misconception that its just not that serious, many people simply arent sure what emotional abuse actually entails.

    My aim here is to help you understand what emotional abuse really means and what makes it so dangerous so that youre better equipped to start the conversation. Because if you want to stop it, you first have to know what youre dealing with.

    I Had Ptsd For 17 Years Of My Life

    I went to doctors, therapists, and specialists and all of them told me I had to live with my PTSD forever.

    Sohow do you do it then?

    How can you make a full recovery from PTSD?

    These were the exact questions I used to ask myself

    It took me years of painful trial and error, and tens of thousands of dollars to find the path.

    I went to therapist after therapist and tried everything known to man

    And after years of effort a sense clarity washed over me.

    With information from all these different sources I was able to discover a process.

    A process that I used to make my full recovery

    Later I showed this process to others and I discovered something incredible

    This process doesnt just work on me, its worked on hundreds of others too

    Do you want the exact step-by-step process to heal every single aspect of your PTSD?

    If so

    While others are going in circles trying to cope with 17 new techniques at once, I kept my focus on 3 key things and fully recovered from my PTSD

    While everyone else is stuck experiencing the same nightmares and flashbacks over and over, I focused and recovered.

    Tips For Healing And Recovery

    It is important for a person who is currently experiencing or who has ever experienced emotional abuse to know that the abuse is never their fault.

    In some cases, a partner may even be using emotional abuse to prevent the person from leaving or seeking help.

    Some tips for healing and recovery include:

    • getting adequate rest

    Abuse Doesn’t Always Manifest As A Black Eye Or A Bloody Wound But While The Signs May Be Different The Effects Of Psychological Abuse Are Just As Damaging And Yes Post

    Overcoming Trauma & Abuse | Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

    There was no punch on the very first date with my ex-husband. That’s not normally how abusive marriages start.

    In fact, my first date was probably pretty similar to yours: he was charming, he paid attention to me, and he flattered me.

    Of course, the red flags were there in the beginning of my relationship. But I was young and naïve, probably much like you were in the beginning of your relationship.

    Except my marriage took a different turn than yours.

    Emotional abuse in relationships takes time to build. It’s slow and methodical and incessant, much like a dripping kitchen faucet.

    It begins like a little drip you don’t even notice an off-hand remark that is “just a joke.” I’m told I’m too sensitive and the remark was no big deal. It seems so small and insignificant at the time. I probably am a little too sensitive.


    RELATED: 9 Signs Youre Suffering From Post-Relationship Stress Disorder

    I occasionally notice the drip but it’s no big deal. A public joke made at my expense is just my partner being the usual life of the party. When he asks if I’m wearing this dress out or whom I’m going with, it only means he loves me and cares about me.

    When he tells me he doesn’t like my new friend, I agree. Yes, I can see where she can be bossy. My husband is more important than a friend, so I pull away and don’t continue the friendship.


    The drip is getting annoying, but you don’t sell your house over a leaky faucet.




    I stay.

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