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19 Signs of Emotional Damage and Ways to Get Past Them

Everyone is emotionally damaged to some degree, but if this list describes most of your life, then you may have a bigger problem on your hands.

emotional damage

I think we’ve all been through tough times in our lives that leave us feeling scorned. Whether it was a breakup, just a generally bad experience, or maybe an event you didn’t even realize was traumatic in the moment, our everyday lives can leave us emotionally drained and damaged.

While everyone has something that keeps them from living their life exactly the way they want, some of us might have a harder time than others. The consistent nagging of something in our past lives can put a damper on the good things happening right in front of us.

I know how it feels. Getting lost in a tub of ice cream while mascara stains your face, and not always knowing the reason why you seem to fail at every relationship—or even friendship—that has found its way into your life.

How to tell if you’re emotionally damaged

If you’re wondering why you can never be fully at ease or happy in any of your relationships, it could have something to do with the fact you’ve been hurt, scarring you in a way that has affected those aspects of your life.

You may be clueless as to how you’re emotionally damaged. But these are the best ways you can tell if you’re emotionally damaged and how you can try and move forward from the pain.

#1 Someone lost your trust in a big way. Somewhere along the way, whether it was your boyfriend/girlfriend, a close friend, or even a family member, someone took your trust and crushed it like your finished beer can. This makes it even harder for you to let people in and trust them—resulting in your emotional damage.

#2 You find yourself comparing your new love interest to the person who wronged you. A sign you’re emotionally damaged is comparing someone new you’re seeing with an ex that may have done you wrong. Their actions left a pit in you, translating to new potential lovers.

#3 You keep people at arm’s length. Much like you don’t trust people, you also don’t let people get to know you. This sign of emotional damage stems from someone using personal habits, quirks, or bits of your personality and hurting you with it. AKA: bullying.

#4 You constantly compare yourself to others. Having a low self-esteem and comparing yourself to other people is a surefire way to tell if you’re emotionally damaged. Someone once made you feel inadequate and now you can’t stop the reoccurring thought you’re not good enough, and you just don’t measure up. [Read: Build your self esteem – 35 funny questions to ask yourself]

#5 Anger creeps into you over almost nothing. One of the side effects of being emotionally damaged is you’re always on edge; meaning you get angered very quickly over the littlest things. This is because, subconsciously, you feel so defensive and feel the need to protect yourself from further damage.

#6 Anxiety is often present when meeting new people. If meeting new people—whether they would be just friends, acquaintances, or a potential lover—puts you in full-on panic mode, you can tell. You just don’t know if you can go through with meeting new people and risk being put through any kind of pain again.

#7 You had a traumatic breakup. Chances are if you’ve had a traumatic breakup of any kind ever, you’re going to be emotionally damaged. Breakups hurt and that pain has a way of leaving scars. No matter how the breakup happened, if it was a bad one then you’re definitely emotionally damaged in some form or another. [Read: How your self respect affects you and the relationships you have]

#8 You were hurt horribly for a very long time. Speaking of breakups, if you were hurt after that or any other life event that left you in pieces under your bed’s comforter for weeks on end, there is emotional damage. No matter where the pain came from, the fact it was there for so long will leave an imprint.

#9 Your friends tell you that you have issues. Other people can see the problems more than you can. If your friends are telling you that you have problems when it comes to getting close to people or in social situations, chances are that you really do.

#10 You’re depressed. Depression can sometimes be genetic, but it can also be caused by other issues in your life. If you’ve never been depressed before and are suddenly feeling that way, it’s a sign of emotional damage.

#11 You feel better off alone. Nobody is better off alone. The great thing about being a human is we crave other human interaction. If you’re feeling like you don’t need anybody or that you’re better off not being involved with anyone for your own good, it’s a subtle sign of being emotionally damaged. [Read: Abandonment issues and how it affects your relationships]

#12 You’ve abused substances. Substance abuse of any kind is always an indicator of something wrong psychologically. If you find yourself looking to alcohol or other substances to numb some pain or make things easier for you, you are emotionally damaged.

Getting past emotional damage

Much like it’s nearly impossible to remove scarring after a physically traumatic event, it’s almost the same for emotional damage. You’re left with scars that are more than just skin deep, and it takes time and effort to mend them—notice I didn’t say *heal* because they will never be 100% improved.

Here are a few ways you can work past the emotional damage and have a fresh start.

#1 Spend time working on yourself. Go to the gym, get your hair done, buy yourself some new sneakers, do SOMETHING that will give your mood and self-esteem a boost. Spending time focusing on bettering yourself will help you get over that pain. [Read: 12 powerful steps to change your life and find your happiness overnight]

#2 Talk to someone. One way to heal those emotional scars is to talk to someone about it. Letting out those feelings and some of the pain by talking to someone you trust is a good way to start moving beyond your heartache.

#3 Know you’re not alone. When someone is emotionally damaged, it can seem like they’re the only person going through that pain. The truth is many people have problems with certain aspects of their emotions, and you’re not the only one feeling the pain. That thought can help ease some anxiety.

#4 Try to keep the past where it should be—in the past. I know it’s not exactly your fault when you start getting angry at new people for past people’s wrongdoings. However, try to keep what happened in the past in the past.

#5 Avoid drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and drug use seems to accompany emotional damage with some people. If you’re feeling any of the above signs of emotional damage, stay away from these until you’re feeling well enough to handle it.

#6 Don’t play the blame game. Sometimes you’ll want to stick blame on someone for your pain. And while it may be their fault, blaming them for so long will only prolong the damage and make it harder to heal. Forgive.

#7 Realize it takes time. You won’t feel better overnight. That’s a fact. It will take months, and even years, to feel back to normal, and even then, the pain doesn’t go away completely. But that emotional damage is what makes you who you are and that’s something you should never want to change completely.

[Read: 13 happy things you need for a perfectly happy life]

Being emotionally damaged is NOT a bad thing. It just means you’ve been through a little more than other people in your life and can still come out strong. This is how to know if you fall under that category.

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Bella Pope LovePanky
Annabel Rodgers
Annabel is a lifestyle writer, cheese enthusiast (Wisconsin native over here) and fantasy adventure author-in-progress who enjoys all things love, dog,...