Asking for help or reaching out in a time of need does not come easily to those who have experienced trauma. Accepting a compliment (as simple as that) may be painfully hard. But overcoming these fears and hesitations is crucial on the road to living a complete and balanced life.
Do you ever sense like you need a family or friend's support? But then stop yourself from reaching out?
Generally, healthy relationships matter. Deep connections are essential to being a healthy human being. For trauma survivors—or those experiencing or have experienced mood disorders (which is also trauma) or postpartum depression —the act of deepening relationships can be tricky.
On the other hand, relationship trauma results from abusive behavior between intimate spouses or partners. The trauma can stem from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse endured during the relationship and produce long-lasting psychological and physical effects.
Defining Relationship Trauma
Post-traumatic relationship syndrome is a proposed problem that would fit under the umbrella of post-traumatic stress disorder, a.k.a. PTSD. The concept of relationship trauma emerged as studies show that after the end of abusive relationships, individuals are found with symptoms similar to those observed in PTSD. A variation between avoidance and intrusion characterizes PTSD.
There is still so much to learn about the effects of relationship trauma. However, what is known is that relationship trauma differs from PTSD in the individual's ability to avoid trauma-related triggers or stimuli.
This article may open your eyes to what might keep you from intensifying your relationships and how to go about it. Primarily, take time to answer these questions below:
If these questions feel true and doubts or voices creep up, here are tips to help you move forward into deeper or closer relationships. Read on.
3 Tips To Move Forward
Tip #1. Know that having healthy relationships can fix old emotional wounds. Healthy relationships can heal old attachment wounds. Remember Kelly Clarkson's song, Piece by Piece? That is a heartwarming and current example. If you grew up not being nurtured or without secure attachment, it can develop into what you expect in your relationships or others as you journey through life. As one spoke, healthy relationships can be therapeutic in loving a trauma survivor. A Heartwarming and inspiring memoir on W. Veronica Lisare's book is a must-read. The author's testimony and the spiritual tools she learned along the journey will inspire all who read it to move through their challenges to God's perfect love and the other side of fear.
Tip #2. Consider the unrealistic levels you are holding yourself to. Would you expect a friend or a child to be as self-sufficient as you desire from yourself? Yes, you must own up and be accountable and, at the same time, responsible. However, it would help if you also recognized that you are human. Bring the compassion to yourself as you have for those you love.
Tip #3. Allow yourself to see the extent of your current relationships. Often, trauma survivors are givers who expect and accept nothing in return. It might be tough to know the depth of the love, support, and compassion those close to you can (and want to) provide. Try to see your relationships objectively and consider this potential.
Ending an abusive relationship is just one way to heal from an unhealthy situation.
Relationship trauma can include feelings of rage and anger toward the abusive partner. In the aftermath, a person may experience distressing thoughts or feelings, cognitive difficulties, and re-experiencing trauma. Some studies even suggest lingering psychological, physiological, and relational challenges.
Further, relationship trauma does not develop overnight, so it is vital to remember that healing may take some time. Do not forget that you deserve support, compassion, and deep relationships. Asking for help can be challenging for everyone. It can be complicated for those who have survived trauma. Through therapy, it is possible to realize that you deserve deep relationships as you grow and evolve through life. May it be in the good times and the hard times.