By: Hailey DavisUpdated July 29, 2021If you have ever dated someone emotionally damaged or emotionally unavailable, you know it is very challenging. At times, it can feel lonely, as many emotionally damaged people use distance as a defense mechanism. Other times, it can feel like they aren’t interested in you, which is always hurtful. The truth is, emotionally damaged people are usually not being hurtful intentionally. At times, they are unaware that they are hurtful in the first place. There are many moments where emotionally damaged people reveal their true selves. This is how so many people catch themselves falling for someone who is emotionally damaged. Although it can feel impossible sometimes, you can help an emotionally damaged partner, even at the beginning of your relationship.Why Are People Emotionally Damaged?Source: topqa.infoEmotional damage can translate into a few different factors. It is difficult to generalize as emotional damage can be quite literally anything. For some, it comes from psychological or emotional abuse from a family member or past partner. For others, it comes from an invisible illness or mental health condition that causes them to process emotions differently-causing gaps in emotional literacy. In the world today, the latter is becoming more common than anyone could have projected.According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), the studies they have compiled show that 19.1% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2018 (47.6 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults. Depression is the most common condition that is recorded among different demographics. This number is considerably higher than in past years, partially due to a societal shift that allows those with conditions to feel more comfortable expressing what they are dealing with. Though this is not unilateral across the board, and these numbers only show us a fraction of how many people are struggling, it is important to keep in mind that everyone goes through life differently. Still, something we all have in common is something from our past that can trigger or cause a tear in our hearts, making it difficult to let others in.Past HeartbreakExperiencing a severe amount of pain from a past relationship can be a prominent contributing factor to emotional damage. Whether this is from cheating, lying, or randomly breaking up with them, the emotionally damaged person may face trust issues or fears around relationships. This is typically why emotionally damaged people will disappear for a while or pull back from the relationship at seemingly random times.Trying to create something with someone who suffers from emotional damage from having their heartbroken can prove incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Everything will seem like you are trying to prove them wrong about something because of how someone else treated them. Or you will find yourself trying to live up to unrealistic expectations that not even the most perfect of people could become. Something that is a trend with people suffering from emotional damage is that they will test potential partners without really knowing why they are doing it. Unconsciously, their minds are trying to keep themselves safe by either proving or disproving the worthiness of the potential partner.Childhood TraumaChildhood has a large impact on the way people act in their relationships in adulthood. If someone grew up in a stable household with loving parents and experienced no emotional turmoil, they are more likely to be emotionally stable people. On the other hand, if someone grew up in a household watching their parents argue or never had any stability, they are more likely to struggle with their emotions later on. Many people have a perfect childhood but still have difficulty with their emotions. At the same time, some people had very difficult childhoods who are excellent with emotional expression and are amazing romantic partners.Childhood trauma has a large impact on emotions during adulthood because neural pathways are being developed throughout childhood. When someone experiences trauma during their childhood, they will likely repeat behaviors they saw as a child. This does not mean everyone who faced trauma as a child is doomed; it just means the emotionally damaged person needs to be aware of their behaviors. If they cannot manage their reactions and emotions by themselves, they recommend seeking help from a licensed counselor.Depression Or AnxietyAs previously mentioned, depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health conditions found in women and men in the United States. Depression and anxiety also have many different offshoots, as these conditions are different for everyone’s unique brain. These two mental health conditions can make developing and supporting romantic relationships very difficult. Being with or connected to someone who goes through life living with one or both of these conditions may meet with difficulty maintaining relationships or even starting them at all.According to another figure from the NIMH (the National Institute for Mental Health), depression is most common in adults, and current research suggests that it is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. So often, the two issues discussed above can be factors that contribute to someone becoming depressed. This condition can, however, also be something someone is predisposed to. Anxiety often goes hand in hand with depression similarly. It can cause a person to feel trapped, afraid, paranoid, and lacking the importance of being with other people as all they are is a disappointment.How To Help Your Emotionally Damaged PartnerSource: topqa.infoAfter examining the information above, you may be wondering if helping your partner is even possible. But don’t let fear take over. When you strive to build this connection with someone, please don’t take the tests they put you through personally. Sometimes your partner might not even realize that they are doing it. It is simply a defense mechanism to protect themselves from future emotional pain.Build TrustWhen your partner starts to open up to you, even in the smallest way, encourage your partner that you are there to listen. Sometimes they may need someone to be there while they talk, without offering any solutions, and other times they may need a shoulder to cry on. Meeting your partner where they are and not demanding they act or share a certain way will create more walls rather than helping them open up to you as their romantic partner.Show them you want them to trust you by opening up to them as well about your past. Don’t expect them to share as soon as you finish immediately, but prove to them that you aren’t going anywhere by sharing pieces of your life without expecting anything in return. That can mean more than you know to someone who is dealing with emotional damage.Stay Patient With ThemThey aren’t going to get better overnight after telling you why they are emotionally damaged or how they have been feeling. Many of these circumstances come with a lifetime guarantee; while someday they may be able to move on, those circumstances won’t ever be completely removed from their hearts and minds. What they need is space and to know that when they are ready, you will be there. So, treat them with love, and they will return it in their way. It may not be the same as the love others experience, but it will be special because it’s yours to share.This is often where the partners of individuals with emotional damage find their issues. Because they want to help them so badly, they stay in the position of feeling ignored or unloved. If you ever feel that being in a relationship with an emotionally damaged partner is too much to handle or affects your emotional health, don’t feel guilty if you have to leave. While it is very kind to help someone you love, you should never put yourself in a position where you are constantly getting hurt, as well. If your partner cares about you, they will understand and accept that you need to do what is best for your emotional health.Stick To Your BoundariesOnce your partner opens up to you, you may feel the need to be overly considerate of your partner. Whether you want to see a certain movie, you worry about whether it will trigger your partner or when you want to do something, but you worry it will put your partner back in a place they were when they experienced pain. But if you no longer do things you enjoy because you don’t want them to be in more pain, you can cause your relationship more harm than you can realize. Feel free to do things independently without your partner or friend if they would be hurt or triggered by a certain activity. While it can be difficult to do something you wish you could do with your partner, you need to maintain a healthy level of freedom.Encourage Them To Attend Couples Counseling With YouSource: topqa.infoCouples counseling, sometimes referred to as couples’ therapy, is a great suggestion for couples with emotionally damaged partners. However, taking the step to go can be one of the most difficult steps to take as a couple. Often, when one person suggests therapy, the other may become defensive because they may take that as a personal attack that you view them as having a problem. So, when approaching the topic, you need to be careful of your tone and the words you use. Rather than saying that you think it’s a good idea for them to go to therapy with you, suggest that you think you want to try therapy to help strengthen your relationship. When it is presented as something for both of you, not just for one of you, the other may be more likely to consider the option.But if they say no, don’t get angry. Give them space to think about the option, allow them to feel they are making the best decision for themselves, and don’t pressure them. When they are ready, they will let you know. In the meantime, be supportive, treat them with respect, and show them you are invested in your relationship through the little moments you share every day. Waiting for them to come around will be worth it, as couples counseling is highly effective.How To Help An Emotionally Damaged PartnerIf you are in a new relationship with emotionally damaged people, be prepared to help them through their issues. This may be a challenge, but it will be worth it if your partner is good to you. Once your partner is expressing and managing their emotions better, you two will likely have a deep connection after this long process. As mentioned above, if at any time you are struggling with your own emotional or mental health from being with your partner, it is recommended that you prioritize yourself. You don’t want to end up being hurt, making sure you are happy and secure throughout your relationship.Counselor Reviews“Austa has been wonderful thus far. She has helped my partner and I during an unimaginably difficult time… She has also guided us in communicating effectively and setting appropriate boundaries in our relationship. I was hesitant to pursue counseling at the beginning, but I truly believe that it is making a difference for our relationship. Austa is easy to talk to and she is a great listener. I would wholeheartedly recommend her as a counselor.”“Sessions with Natalie are very insightful and give practical advice on implementing new habits and changes. Be prepared to engage and be challenged to think in a different way. I know that my partner and I can already see improvements in our relationship and feel more positive about working through our issues together.”Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):What does it mean to be emotionally damaged?Psychological or emotional traumas damage the psyche after living through an extremely frightening, distressing, or generally challenging event. Feeling broken emotionally is often the description given by those who are emotionally damaged or scarred from experience. This feeling may result in experiencing daily challenges with functioning or coping normally for days, weeks, and even years after the event has occurred, with some even being too broken to love. An emotionally broken man or woman may be living with a broken heart, psychological pain, physical pain, or several other issues stemming from the occurrence of the trigger event. It’s important to note that feeling broken or too broken to love is not a trivial matter that can be brushed off. It is brought on by intense trauma that is best worked through with a licensed professional so that the person feeling broken can stop being too broken to love or so that they can learn to function normally again. How do you know if you’re emotionally damaged?There are several different signs of emotional trauma that can manifest in either a mental or physical form: intrusive thoughts of the event, nightmares, visual images of the event, confusion, mood swings, avoidance of activities similar to the event, being easily startled, chronic muscle patterns or fatigue, insomnia, edginess, and tremendous aches or pains are all examples of signs. People who are broken emotionally have gone through an extremely traumatic event that can manifest in the above ways for years after the event. Those who have been emotionally damaged and their actions in the future are often linked, though they can receive help with assistance from a licensed mental health professional.How do you help someone who is emotionally broken?If you know an emotionally broken man or woman, it’s normal to wish to help them avoid feeling broken. Some people find themselves too broken to love others without the help and guidance of professional therapy, which can also strain beginning relationships. With that said, the best way to support somebody who is feeling broken is to remember that the power of your presence alone can help. Some people who are feeling broken may see the benefit of just having others around them, even if they don’t say anything. It’s also best to avoid giving advice. Remind the person that they are not alone and that you are there for them but staying away from advice is usually the best course of action. If this person is a partner who is too emotionally or physically broken to love, couples counseling may be helpful. What are the signs of a broken relationship?Being in a broken relationship can be challenging, but spotting the signs that the relationship is broken can help you and your partner make decisions moving forward. If resentment, disrespect, dishonesty, or mistrust have developed, a relationship may have devolved into a broken relationship. If you live with a broken heart and feel broken while still in your relationship, it’s usually a sign that the relationship itself may be broken. Those who have experienced emotional trauma in the past and are too broken to love without counseling or therapy may find that launching a new relationship could lead to some issues from the start. It’s best to spot the signs of a broken relationship as soon as possible so that you and your partner can communicate with each other about the next steps. If your partner is too emotionally or physically broken to love, remember that they have gone through something traumatic in their past. Helping them through these thoughts and being there to move past being too emotionally or physically broken to love is the best way to support them. What are the 3 types of trauma?Trauma is typically divided into three categories: acute trauma, chronic trauma, and complex trauma. Acute trauma may result from a single event that is extreme enough to threaten a person’s emotional or physical security. This then creates a lasting in the person’s mind and can affect thoughts and behaviors in the future. Chronic trauma is when a person is exposed to a prolonged distressing or emotional trauma event. The symptoms of chronic trauma, unlike acute trauma, typically show themselves after a long time following the event, sometimes even years. There are emotionally or physically damaged individuals, and their actions may not manifest for years to come. Finally, complex trauma occurs when a person is exposed to various traumatic events or experiences and is generally in people’s context. People often say that broken bones are emotionally damaged, but the damage can also be physical. Whether emotionally or physically, people who are broken could be feeling broken due to one or more of the above types of trauma. This could lead to a person who is feeling broken, too broken to love, or unable to function normally daily. Is trauma a mental illness?Yes, trauma disorders are mental illnesses caused by severely traumatic experiences that put a person’s emotional or physical security at risk. This can lead a person to be feeling broken, to break to love, and some who are broken are emotionally damaged and physically damaged. Trauma can have several causes ranging from abuse, violence, neglect, grief, and several other situations that may lead a person to feel broken. Trauma is a serious mental illness that should be addressed with the help of a trained and licensed mental health professional.
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