You might be dating someone who has already moved on from their ex. And that’s usually a good thing. However, there are some instances wherein a person’s baggage from a previous relationship can actually stick with them even long after a breakup. If you are dating someone who happens to have been emotionally abused by an ex, then there is a slight chance that that can affect the dynamics of your relationship as well.
Patrick Wanis, Ph.D., a human behavior scientist, and relationship expert affirms this belief. He says, “Our past experiences and the way we responded to them determine who we are in the present moment. Thus, emotional abuse in a former relationship results in trauma and will affect the way we interact and the way we express and receive love in a present relationship.”
Wanis also claims that emotional abuse can take various forms and it’s not always going to be so obvious to many. Emotional abuse can be manifested through judgment, dishonesty, isolation, criticism, and condemnation.
“It’s the mistreatment of someone with the intention to gain a benefit such as control or dominance,” says Wanis. If that happens to apply to your partner, then it’s important that you always stay sensitive, patient, and supportive of them. Your partner is having to deal with a lot of suppressed fear and difficulty that is present as a result of past trauma. In some extreme cases, it might even be better for you to encourage your partner to actually seek help from a licensed professional.
Wanis postulates that suffering from emotional abuse in a previous relationship can drastically affect the way that person conducts themselves in a new relationship. That is why you will always want to make yourself aware if your partner has ever been abused by their old partners so that you can gain a more profound understanding of their personalities.
The better you understand your partner, then the stronger your relationship is going to become. You need to make an effort to actually stay vigilant for the following signs in your relationship. If you find that a lot of these apply to your ex, then you might want to talk to them about your observations.
But be sure to do it in a very sensitive and nonconfrontational manner. Remember that this is a very sensitive issue and it needs to be handled with care.
1. They don’t feel completely comfortable with opening up to you.
This is a classic case of someone who is traumatized from opening up and being vulnerable. She has probably opened herself someone to the past and was also abused and manipulated by that person. That is the reason why she finds it difficult to open herself up to anyone ever again.
2. They question any efforts you have to be kind and giving.
She isn’t going to be trusting of any kind behavior that you exhibit because she probably associates it with manipulation. She probably thinks that you’re just being kind to get something from her.
3. They have mentioned to you that you’re too good for them.
Perhaps in her previous relationship, she was always made to believe that she wasn’t good enough. Maybe she was always being reminded of the many weak aspects of her personality and her strengths may have never been recognized. That’s the reason for her current self-esteem issues. That’s the reason she always thinks that she isn’t good enough for you.
4. They have a tendency to blow the little things out of proportion.
She is going to overreact to a lot of little things as a defense mechanism that she might have. It’s because she has been so emotionally traumatized that she is now on the defensive about everything that happens in your relationship.
5. They always apologize for everything.
She is going to say sorry a lot in your relationship even when there really isn’t any need to do so. This is a sign that she has been made to apologize for so many things in the past. And as a result, she thinks that everything she does is wrong. She is made to believe that she is being a constant screw-up.
6. They show discomfort with physical intimacy.
They don’t really feel comfortable with becoming physically intimate with you. That is often a shine of emotional vulnerability issues. They might have allowed themselves to become vulnerable to someone in the past only to be betrayed. And so, they try to stay away from becoming physically intimate.
7. They avoid giving you any direct answers about the serious stuff.
If they stonewall you about the serious stuff, then that might be a sign that they haven’t really come to terms with what they’re feeling. That means that they still show a discomfort with confronting how they really feel. And so, they feel uncomfortable with answering any questions that you might have.