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Simply put, emotional damage refers to how a person feels after having their emotions hurt as a result of traumatic experiences or distressing situations.
Here is everything you need to know about emotional damage, from its signs and causes, to how to overcome emotional damage in a healthy way.
Signs You Are Emotionally Damaged.
Signs of emotional damage can vary greatly between individuals. However, the following common signs could indicate that you are emotionally damaged:
- You find it difficult to manage and express your emotions.
- You suffer from chronic anxiety, anger, or depression.
- You have difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships.
- You don’t easily trust others and you often feel paranoid.
- You struggle with low self-esteem.
- You often feel helpless and hopeless.
- You have recurrent nightmares.
- You struggle with fear of rejection and abandonment.
- You engage in self-destructive behaviour to cope such as self-harm and substance abuse.
- You avoid situations that can trigger negative emotions.
- You struggle to sleep and eat well.
What Causes Emotional Damage?
Although it can be hard to pinpoint the specific cause of emotional damage, here are some of the circumstances that can cause emotional damage.
1. Traumatic Event.
Surviving a traumatic event like an accident, war, S.e.xual assault or physical and emotional abuse can have a severe and long-term effect on one’s mental health and result in emotional damage.
Losing a loved one or going through a major life change, such as losing a job, going through a divorce or a breakup can have a significant negative impact on a person’s emotional health.
3. Mental Health Issues.
Emotional damage can also be caused by mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
4. Childhood Trauma.
Experiencing neglect, abuse, or other forms of trauma as a child can lead to emotional damage that persists even in adulthood.
5. Substance Abuse.
The side effects of substance abuse and addiction often affect a person’s behaviour and brain which can ultimately cause emotional damage.
6. Relationship Problems.
Conflict, betrayal or abandonment in romantic relationships, friendships and family can also cause emotional damage.
How To Overcome Emotional Damage.
Dealing with emotional damage can be a challenging journey but with time and effort, it’s possible to heal and make a recovery.
Here are a few ways that can help you deal with and overcome emotional damage.
Acknowledge And Accept Your Emotions.
The first step in the journey of recovery from emotional damage is acknowledging that you have experienced emotional damage and allowing yourself to feel your emotions. This will help you to express your emotions in a more positive way.
Immersing yourself in activities that bring you joy and promote your general well-being such as eating healthy meals, reading, meditation or physical exercises can boost your mental and physical health and help you manage your emotions better.
Develop Healthy Coping Skills.
In addition to practising self-care, you should also identify healthy outlets to manage your stress and negative emotions.
You could journal, practice gardening, engage in creative activities like art or music, or vent to a trusted loved one whenever you feel stressed to blow off steam.
Seek Professional Help.
Talking to a trained therapist or counselling psychologist can help you address the root cause of your emotional damage and help you to overcome it.
Set And Observe Boundaries.
Another healthy way to deal with emotional damage is to learn and avoid circumstances or people that might trigger negative emotions. This will protect you from further emotional damage.
Be Patient With Yourself.
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that recovering and healing from emotional damage takes a lot of time and effort. It’s, therefore, important to be patient and kind to yourself. You will have good days but also expect to have difficult days; on both days, be kind to yourself and love yourself.
By: Mercy Kipchilat