Rescuing Your Most Important Relationships

Posts tagged ‘Emotional Trauma’

Impact of Trauma – Continued

Resolving the Unresolved

Here are some ways to begin to address and heal the trauma and its effect upon your life:

Understand trauma and its effects. Read books about recovering from trauma. Talk with a therapist to see what behaviors may be related to an early traumatic event, whether you remember the specifics or not.

 Share your story. Journal about your experiences, past and present. Or ask a trusted friend or counselor to listen. You may discover the connections between what’s happening now and what you carry with you from the past.

 Develop witness consciousness. Begin to notice thoughts and feelings as an observer. Start to be aware when “this isn’t that.” This allows you to step outside of the emotional response and talk about what happened without any blame. Sometimes a spouse coming home late from work is just that.

Develop emotional resilience. Experience your feelings, rather than pushing them away. Your emotions then can serve you as information guides moving you towards healing.

Learn new ways of self-soothing. Develop new self-caring behaviors. All this self-loving will spill over into your relationships.

Consider the spiritual dimension. Begin to see your life as part of a bigger picture-as a journey. Find a gift in that experience-are you stronger, more alive, more compassionate as a result?

 Take time. All the time you need. We all heal in our own way, our own time. Honor your way.

The healing of trauma, just like the healing of a broken arm, is essential to a healthy, functional life. Moving towards a healed life brings us more fully into the present, making room for connection, intimacy, and freedom.

AFC 2012

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Unresolved Trauma on Relationships

Physicians use the word “trauma” to de­scribe a serious injury to the physical body resulting from a sudden impact. But we can also suffer emotional trauma, which can cause an equally painful wound to our sense of self as a whole, coherent being. Just like a wound to our physical bodies, emotional injuries also re­quire care and attention so that we may heal.

When this trauma is left unresolved and our expe­rience is one of not being whole-of somehow being broken-we are likely to bring the foot­prints of this to our relationships. To have healthy relationships, we must first have a healthy sense of our own being and place in the world.

Origins & Effects of Emotional Trauma

Emotional injuries result from any experience in which one feels that his or her life or well-being is endangered. These experiences might include the emotional or physical harming of a child, the loss of a job or divorce, a sudden death or life-changing accident, or being sent to war.

Our human instinct is to protect ourselves and we do that, often, by finding ways to cut ourselves off, through denial. dissociation or repression of the memory of the trauma. The symptoms of unresolved trauma may include, among many others, addictive behaviors, an inability to deal with conflict, anxiety, confusion, depression or an innate belief that we have no value.

The Impact on Relationships

Living with unresolved wounds and bringing all the resulting behaviors to our relationships is clearly not conducive to healthy, happy intimacy.

When our emotional health has been compro­mised andwe soldier on through life without resolving the trauma that has occurred, the wounds will continue to fester, primarily in how we perceive and treat ourselves, and then spiling  into our relationships with significant others.

When the trauma remains unresolved, there will likely be frequent triggers that cause an emo­tional response-behaviors on the part of others that unintentionally act as  reminders of the origi­nal trauma. For example, if you had parents who were emotionally distant or physically absent and you felt abandoned, when your spouse comes home late from work you may feel rejected.

Your spouse (or your friend, relative or colleague) may have only your highest good in mind, but when you see life through your scars, you experience attacks where none are intended. The unresolved trauma is the filter through which you see the world and all your relationships.

Please read next week’s post on tips to resolve trauma in your relationship . . .

AFC 2012

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