The goal of emotional abuse is to control, belittle, isolate and shame you into subservience.  At first, they entrap you with intense romance. Then they slowly isolate you so you become more and more dependent on them. But, can emotional abuse make you sick?

Your sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and having your own ideas and perceptions erode. Over time, you lose your autonomy and sense of well-being.

When people come to my office, most of the time they don’t even realize that they have been emotionally abused. It might not be something that you think could happen to you. But as you come to understand what it is and how it effects your body, you may be shocked to realize what is actually happening.

Emotional abuse makes you feel like you aren’t worth anything and that you are incapable. Being told you are crazy and making stuff up can cause enormous self doubt. You stop trusting your instincts and taking care of yourself. You lose the ability to move out of harm’s way and the emotional abuse continues.

Keeping all the fear, sadness and pain locked up inside can take a toll on your health. Emotional abuse has the effect of isolating you from your support system, so you feel alone and hopeless. All these feelings effect your nervous system and can cause sickness. So, can emotional abuse make you sick?  The answer is yes.

As a result of all the constant emotional stress adding up over time, you can develop physical ailments. This wears out your immune system, and can lead to getting sick frequently.

Stress And Body Tension: Can Emotional Abuse Make You Sick?

Stress causes lots of tension in the body. Chronic tension leads to a myriad of health problems. Being highly stressed for long periods can be dangerous to your state of mind.

Everyone manifests chronic stress and body tension in different ways. Your stomach lurches with emotion and after a time, you have IBS, stomach ulcers, or some kind of chronic stomach problem. Verbal tirades can feel like you’ve been punched in the chest, possibly leading to heart problems.

Emotional abuse sets off the same fight or flight reactions that effect your body, and after repeated emotional assaults, cause a variety of health problems like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and physical ramifications such as heart trouble, auto-immune disease, headaches, migraines, muscle tension, nightmares, insomnia, racing heartbeat, panic attacks, aches and pains, and even chronic pain.

Those with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia have had a high incidence of emotional or physical abuse. These disorders are often called stress diseases.

Being controlled by a partner might even extend to them purposely weakening you physically. Your partner might make you miss sleep, restrict your access to food and medical care, force you into unwanted pregnancies, or push you into using alcohol or drugs.

The Fight Or Flight Response: Can Emotional Abuse Make You Sick?

You might feel that you can’t even take a full breath when you’re around your partner. This is a sign that your fight or flight response has been activated. You can also feel tightness in your chest, shakiness, on edge, and an increased heart rate. A stressful relationship leaves you feeling like you can’t relax, which can be a symptom of adrenal fatigue.

If you are losing or gaining weight, this is a sign of tension or stress in your relationship. It is also a symptom of depression or anxiety that gets triggered when you feel helpless or hopeless about the lack of intimacy. You might reach for comfort foods to replace love and care in your relationship. When the fight or flight feelings start to dissipate, the cortisol stays in your system. This is a stress hormone that can cause you to feel you need to eat.

When you are under stress, your nervous system gets amped up. Then it returns to a relaxed state. But, in the case of chronic stress and tension, it gets harder and harder for your body to return to that neutral state. Sometimes, you might turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with this inability to relax.

This can be true of sleep, as well. If you are filled with racing thoughts and a hyper-activated mind, it is very difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Sleep helps us regenerate after a difficult day. When you aren’t sleeping well, your body can’t recuperate, and after a time, this can lead to health issues.

The Stress Hormone Cortisol Plays A Role: Can Emotional Abuse Make You Sick?

Studies show that prolonged stress leads to increased levels of the hormone cortisol, and after a while, this can lead to inflammation. Can emotional abuse make you sick? Chronic inflammation can lead to diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.

If your body is experiencing the symptoms of anxiety or depression you may be ready to evaluate your relationship or your job. As you begin to shift your attention inward, and start the healing process, exercise, meditation, yoga and tai chi can really help.

You will need to sift through your feelings and make sense of what has happened. Neurofeedback can help calm your nervous system so that you will be able to think things through and make decisions. It will help you feel resilient and calm your mind.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) can help you work through particularly stressful events. EMDR has been proved to desensitize you to the trauma and stress you’ve been through.

If you think that I might be able to assist you on your journey out of emotional abuse, please call me at 310-314-6933 or email me at mfoxmft@yahoo.com.