Growing up in an abusive household can shape your character in such intricate ways that, after years of sustained abuse, it is not easy to untie those knots. The general symptoms are known today, but even after checking all the known boxes, there could still be some things that could catch you off guard or throw you off. Today, I will be talking about some lesser-known aspects of growing up in an abusive household.
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No case of abuse will look the same, nor the outcome and the marks it leaves on someone’s behavior. When you grow up in an abusive household, the consequences are innumerable. I will try to break it down, but I am not a professional. This is a personal experience and observation. I write this to help myself and others. It serves to show how it can manifest and what can happen.
I grew up with an abusive parent that I still live with (whenever I don’t travel for uni). Not only is my behavior today affected by the abuse my siblings and I sustained in childhood, but some forms of abuse are still very present in our life. That’s why I’ve decided to speak publicly about it because I’m helpless and tired of hiding the truth and pretending that nothing’s going on.
To be specific, the abuse was physical, verbal, emotional, and financial.
How Can Growing Up in an Abusive Household Affect Your Adult Life?
I didn’t choose any specific order for this. Maybe in the future, I will add more things to it. I am, after all, still discovering and recognizing these traits. I find that it helps to identify them because when you grow awareness about something, it’s easier to address it and try to change it.
One of the major things I’ve noticed is identity. When the abuse starts when you are young, what you might notice and struggle with, is separating yourself from the abuse. What I mean by that is that to defend yourself from the abuse, you will develop certain mechanisms or character traits that will later be hard to detach from your personality.
I noticed that most of my habits, which many people think are my qualities and praise me for them, are not my choice. They are not my personality traits, something I simply grew up to be and have. Now back to separating my personality from my coping mechanisms, I myself still don’t know which is which. I’ve never met me before that to know. That is one thing abusive childhood can do.
One of the things that also happens is that shouting lingers. I will catch myself standing completely still, listening to where the shouting is coming from, and bracing myself for what might happen next, even if I’m in a different country, even if there’s no sound at all.
That can be scary at times. It can trigger your fight-or-flight mode, but that’s okay. After years and years of listening to shouts every day and your brain storing them in your sub-conscience, it’s okay if your body doesn’t let go of it immediately.
This next one is a physical reaction. I mean, it’s anxiety, but with physical manifestations.
For me, my anxiety is in my gut and behind my ears. Aside from that, I also have blood-pressure showers (I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s a full-body reaction.) It ends in shaking, and my hands shake constantly. That is not the only way my anxiety manifests. Anxiety is a complex issue, but this one way is immediately and directly triggered by hearing loud voices and sounds. I just wanted to write this down. It’s not something other people notice, but it’s something that I think will be very hard to heal from.
I am also triggered by violence, feeling nauseous whenever I see or hear any form of violence, for example, in the movies. Certain objects also trigger me, and I won’t ever allow them in my house when I get my place one day.
The general ones, like mistrust and the need for reassurance, I won’t specify, just because I feel like these are known. Also, many specifics about it won’t fit into this post. I focused on the internal, so to call them, aspects.
There are many other things I didn’t write down, but at least scratching the surface is a good start. I started this blog for books and fun, but I also wanted to make it a place where I could let go of things and be unapologetic about what I wanted to say. It helps. It helps to let go and let the truth out.
I hope you find this post helpful. If you stayed until the end, thank you! It means so much to me to be able to speak up about this.