As a child and young adult, I had many unusual symptoms that doctors couldn’t really explain. I had bad psoriasis, I had daily headaches, I had anxiety and panic attacks, I had chronic migraines, I had ulcers and dysphagia, I was frequently depressed, I was painfully shy with no self-esteem, and I was bullied badly because I was so vulnerable. I did not know it then, but these are all common characteristics of abused children. And yes, narcissistic emotional and verbal abuse causes these things. Oddly enough, once I learned this, the unexplained headaches I’d had for nearly thirty years slowly disappeared. Now instead of having them daily, I have maybe one a month. And now, when I get a migraine, it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. I think finally having answers has been the key to relaxing and letting go of a lifetime of frustration.
Adults who were abused as children are also prone to chronic PTSD and entering relationships with abusers much like their original abusers/their parents. They are more likely to drink, live in poverty, suffer from interstitial cystitis, suffer from fibromyalgia and more. The abuse takes its toll on the body thanks to overactive stress reactions and cortisol. Some abused adults even have unusual brain scans, and studies find that severely abused children have underdeveloped portions of their brains. If you have inexplicable pain and chronic health problems, it might be due to having been abused as a child.
Knowledge is a good step towards recovery. Now is the right time to cut any abusers out of your life and remember that your needs and opinions do matter. I take care of myself now, but as a child, I was taught that I didn’t deserve proper care, attention or kindness. It’s time to make things right! If you had an abusive childhood, you can be the “mother” you never had. I truly believe that learning why I had so many health issues helped me to begin recovering and now, I feel better than I have in years. I no longer feel guilty about “wasting” money on my dental care or health needs. These things are now a priority instead of a luxury.
A therapist once told me that I should take care of myself the way I would take care of my child–love myself, eat healthy foods, drink enough water, get outside and exercise, and most importantly…not let anyone abuse me.
Here are some informative resources to learn more about the effects of childhood abuse on adults: