Addressing Emotional Abuse in Addiction Recovery

Addressing Emotional Abuse in Addiction Recovery

Emotional abuse is the use of words and actions to harm a person emotionally, mentally, and to gain control over that person. It’s abusing a person’s emotions and is a big issue with enormous consequences.

 When an addict has successfully transitioned into the addiction recovery phase and has sought (or is seeking) help at a drug rehabor an alcohol rehabit is time to reflect on his/her past. This reflection is crucial as it helps the recovering addict realize where the problem began. The patterns could have started as far back as childhood, usually typical in cases of traumatic abuse.

How to Know You Are/Were Being Emotionally Abused

The following are ways to tell that you are or were being emotionally abused:

  •  You endured constant criticism.
  • Insult and name-calling that is degrading and hurtful.
  • Humiliation on purpose and often in public.
  • Exclusion, confinement or isolation.
  • You’re sometimes treated like a child.
  • Expression of disapproval or dissatisfaction of every of your action.
  • You’re always made to doubt yourself and your sanity.

Behaviors That Often Result From Emotional Abuse

Certain behaviors stem from emotional abuse. So if you notice any of these behaviors or you have a loved one who displays any of these, then chances are, they are because of emotional abuse. They include:

  • An inability to express emotions as needed. Sometimes, emotions may be expressed aggressively or not at all.
  • Fear of love, romantic relationships, or just general healthy relationships.
  • Depression, eating disorders, self-harm, and other mental health problems.
  • Withdrawal from parents mostly because of the lack of love and adequate care.
  • Inability to handle strong emotions like anger, leading to violent behavior and anger problems.
  • Substance abuse and addiction.
  • Lack of self-confidence, self-esteem or self-worth, typical of people who are constantly criticized.
  • Lack of interest in social activities/self-isolation.

Path to Healing from Emotional Abuse in Addiction Recovery

1. Be Conscious of the Cause

It’s always better to know where the problem stemmed from. Why are you afraid? Why are you unhappy? How have you been reacting to these feelings? Does your reaction help express how you feel well enough? Are you hurting yourself and the people around you?

Paying attention to these will improve how you deal with the emotional baggage.

2. Seek Emotional Support

Isolation does more harm than good; it’s best to find a community that you can feel safe in. This is the essence of the NA and AA groups. If you would rather not identify with an AA or NA group, find support from your family and friends who genuinely care about you.

3. Therapy

Before getting help for emotional abuse, it’s crucial that you handle your drug addiction or alcohol addiction first. If you begin your journey to emotional healing with a therapist while still using psychoactive substances, you will struggle with recovery.

After you get stable with addiction recovery at a drug and alcohol treatment centerthen you are ready to let a professional help walk you through your emotions till you heal completely.

If you have no idea where to begin, you can always reach us; we’re ever ready to help.


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