Can Years of Emotional and Verbal Abuse Cause Flinching?

Can Years of Emotional and Verbal Abuse Cause Flinching? can years of emotional and verbal abuse cause flinching?
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Today, I’ll be answering the question of whether years of emotional abuse or verbal abuse can cause flinching. Let’s say you’ve been constantly exposed to gaslighting, name calling, harsh criticism, yelling or any other kind of emotionally abusive ways from those close to you. Then once you leave, you do realize that you’re flinching a lot even to small and harmless situations. So, what is flinching? Flinching is the reaction one exhibits in response to fear, pain, or surprise. It manifests as a sudden movement, a glance sideways, a chill running down the spine, or simply a nervous twitch. It’s an involuntary physical reaction, often characterized by a quick, jerky movement or recoiling in response to a perceived danger or harm. Yes, years of abuse can indeed lead to this.

Flinching may manifest as a learned survival response to the prolonged exposure to abuse. The individual’s nervous system becomes sensitized to potential threats, causing them to react defensively even in situations that might not pose an immediate danger.

When you flinch after leaving an abusive relationship, you’re essentially revisiting past traumatic experiences in the present moment. The trigger that causes you to flinch now is reminiscent of the trauma you endured before. Essentially, when triggered, your mind hasn’t properly processed those traumatic memories from the past.

As a result, various factors in the present moment — whether it’s the sight of a passing car, a bird flying by, a friend’s call, or the ringing of your phone — can transport you back to those moments of abuse. Your mind, unable to distinguish between past and present, perceives current events through the lens of past pain.

This perpetual state of hyper-vigilance leaves you feeling constantly under threat, even in seemingly safe environments. Consequently, you may find yourself flinching at the slightest provocation, even when there’s no immediate danger.

Emotional abuse, narcissistic abuse, or physical abuse can all induce flinching because your mind remains in a defensive mode, interpreting harmless situations as potential threats.

However, healing primarily involves processing these buried memories, bringing them into consciousness, and reassuring yourself that you’ve overcome those past experiences and can now take care of yourself. Once these memories are properly processed, the triggers lose their power, and your mind no longer sees the need to induce flinching.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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