Being abused as a child or being raised in an abusive environment can have a profoundly negative effect on your adult self-esteem. As children we generalize our experiences and assume that the whole world operates the same as our immediate circumstances. If we felt unsafe, unloved, unfairly criticized or hurt as a child by the people who were supposed to take care of us, it can affect our whole perspective on life and be devastating to our self-confidence.
Domestic violence, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse during childhood are insidious because they destroy our natural sense of trust and color our view of the world and the people in it, making it seem like a dangerous and scary place.
We don't necessarily need to be the immediate target of abuse in order for it to affect us. I grew up with a critical, dominant mother who was verbally abusive to my relatively passive and emotionally neutered father. He bottled up his feelings of frustration so they built to the point where he would explode violently.
It was mostly my parents who were on the receiving end of each others abusive treatment, but as a sensitive child I was traumatized by growing up in an environment where I felt unsafe and on edge much of the time.… Continue reading…