If you can relate to any of these feelings, you may be dealing with the effects of Relational Trauma.
The truth is, trauma from past relationships is more common than you think. Unfortunately, family of origin issues, such as incidents of a parent or a partner failing to offer connection and emotional attunement, are not uncommon. Betrayal, emotional abuse or neglect, abandonment and feelings of rejection can result in attachment injuries that show up later in life around how we interact in relationships.
Dealing with the after-effects of a traumatic relationship can be challenging and confusing. You may say, “my parent was there” or “I wasn’t abused.” The truth is there doesn’t have to be an obvious sense of abuse. You can have a loving parent or partner who is participating but is still not offering emotional attunement.
You may wonder how anxiety is connected to relationship trauma.
When you look at how highly dependent we are on staying connected, it makes a lot of sense that ongoing emotional absence would trigger deep panic. The panic then stirs up the nervous system (for years to come if not treated!) creating lots of uncomfortable and scary feelings. It can even distort our perception of reality!
The good news is, however, that with the help of a caring, trained relationship trauma therapist you can get back to feeling more self-assured and fulfilled in your life.
Therapy can be highly effective in helping you feel more empowered, in control and connected to others in your life. I understand the self-doubt and emotional pain that can result from relationship trauma. Whatever your experience, whether it was betrayal, emotional abuse or neglect, abandonment, feelings of rejection or a lack of support, I am here to help you heal and move forward.
I want you to know that with the help of a supportive and experienced therapist, it is possible to feel less anxious and more self-assured. You can develop new responses to old relationship challenges, which will help you build confidence and a stronger sense of self.
I provide a safe and nonjudgmental environment where you can speak openly and honestly about your thoughts, feelings and experiences. During therapy, I will pay close attention to your needs, worries and wishes.
In addition to providing a supportive environment, we will discuss your history. What were your relationships like with your parents, siblings and friends? What’s so important about your past that continues to affect you now? Are there old wounds you may not know about that are still affecting you in the present?
Looking at your past can be a reminder that it’s not all just “you.” When we can look at the bigger picture of you in the greater context of the environment you grew up in, this invites the realization that you were working with what you were given.
During a therapy session, you will learn how to recognize and change old fight, flight or freeze tendencies as you develop a healthier relationship to your thoughts, emotions and body. Our bodies store memories and hold a wealth of information. Through our work together, you will begin to learn new ways to listen to your body in an environment of relational safety. As a result, you will begin to be able to look, hear, and feel more accurately in the moment.
As therapy progresses and feelings of distress decrease, you will able be to experiment with new ways of doing things in the context of a safe and secure therapeutic relationship. As you experience a new model for how relationships can work, you will feel more inner security and confidence that you can get through life’s challenges.
You may feel that you should be able to figure out how to feel better on your own. Often times friends offer well-meaning but insufficient advice. You may hear “you will get through it” or “it’s just a phase.” Friends can play an important role, but the therapeutic relationship is more than a friendship. You will receive support and a trained and experienced perspective that invites you to gain valuable insight into yourself.
Therapy, both the time and money spent, is an investment. Even if insurance covers part of the cost, you are investing in yourself. In reality, the cost may not be practical right now. But investing in your emotional well-being now could be the best decision you make toward feeling happy and fulfilled in the future.
If you feel anxiety around choosing a therapist, you are definitely not alone. You may worry that you will invest time and money and not see changes. It’s important to take the time you need to make a good decision. You can start with reading what a therapist has to say on his or her profile and website.Ask yourself, does it speak to you?
Secondly, you can have a chat on the phone. Think about what you might want to ask, or perhaps hear from a potential therapist. When you meet a therapist in person, pay attention to how well the therapist tunes in and listens to you. Does the therapist seem to reflect back in a way that resonates with you? Ask yourself how it feels and go with your gut. Don’t be afraid to move on if you have doubts or concerns.
Healing from a traumatic relationship can be difficult. But, it is never too late to learn how to develop deeper connections in your life—and research backs this up. Call or text me to set up a free 20-min phone consultation to see how relationship trauma counseling may be able to help you.
We all bring a little bit of our history into every single new relationship. Even people who appear the most put-together on the surface have wounds from the past. It’s just part of being human. But many of us don’t realize that our past trauma can contribute to relationship problems in the present. In fact, …