The scars are internal.

When it comes to abusive relationships, it isn’t always just physical abuse. While this isn’t meant to detract from the issue of domestic abuse that far too many women have suffered (and still suffer), it’s to address the fact that emotional abuse can be just as damaging, but in completely different ways.

When you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, it’s not always noticeable right away. You don’t bear the bruises of a physical attack, but you’re still scarred in many ways, and that scarring leaves an imprint that can affect every future relationship.

It’s hard to love again after you’ve been manipulated, put down, controlled, belittled, and made to feel worthless by someone who was supposed to love you and care about you.

As someone who’s been emotionally abused in the past and can now clearly see it, I’m also able to see how it changed my idea of relationships and my approach to love. Here are seven ways those of us who have been emotionally abused love differently:

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