Natural disasters, armed conflicts, terrorist attacks, mass shootings, life-threatening illnesses, car accidents, workplace accidents, rape, abuse and other incidents that negatively impact our sense of well-being -being are examples of traumatic experiences. When unresolved trauma can affect every aspect of your life. In a relationship, you might even have emotional distance or a communication problem. On World Trauma Day, which falls on October 17, let’s discuss how unresolved trauma can ruin a relationship.
Traumatic experiences are frightening, dangerous or disturbing events that impact our physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or social well-being, explains psychotherapist, life and business coach Dr Chandni Tugnait. Trauma can also cause stress in the body, which manifests physically in symptoms such as rapid heart rate, headaches, nausea, digestive problems, and poor sleep.
How Unresolved Trauma Can Affect the Relationship
When the traumatic events people have faced are not properly processed, integrated, or healed, unresolved trauma exists. The most common cause of unresolved trauma is the attempt to ignore or repress painful incidents by locking them in an internal “black box” that only grows larger over time, the expert explains. This process sometimes occurs consciously and unconsciously. Here are some ways unresolved trauma can affect relationships:
1. Communication breakdown
A person dealing with unresolved trauma may begin to withdraw and stop communicating effectively with those around them.
2. Emotional distance
Trauma survivors often struggle with emotions, feelings, and sensitivity; as a defense mechanism, they usually develop emotional distance from others.
3. Trust Issues
A traumatized person may have difficulty trusting others, making it difficult to open up and trust anyone, says Dr. Tugnait.
4. Anger issues
Unresolved issues and trauma can sometimes manifest as anger and impatience. Relational difficulties could result since the person may have difficulty regulating their emotions.
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5. Attachment Issues
Trauma victims frequently experience attachment issues, which may manifest as a person’s inability to form a relationship or an overly possessive attachment to a person that upsets the dynamics of a relationship.
6. Reconstruction of trauma
Unresolved issues can force a person to create traumatic patterns in their relationships that constantly remind them of the trauma they experienced. They may encounter people who are similar to their abusers or continue to find themselves in the same difficult situations.
7. Low self-esteem
Trauma victims often struggle with their self-esteem and self-esteem. This encourages people to seek recognition in all the wrong places.
8. Lack of emotional support
Trauma survivors may struggle to provide their spouse with the emotional support they need, adding to the challenges of a relationship that may never end.
Due to poor mental health and all the other problems the trauma has created, many trauma survivors avoid social situations. They might withdraw into themselves to deal with their emotional distress, which could eventually lead to loneliness and increased mental distress.
Trauma survivors often dissociate from reality to cope with their distress, making it difficult for them to maintain a committed relationship and interact fully with their partner.
Tips for Resolving Unresolved Trauma
To begin to address trauma, heal from it, and lessen its impact on your life and relationships, consider the following:
1. Recognize the consequences of trauma
Look through books on healing from trauma. Whether or not you remember the facts of the event, discuss your actions with a therapist to see if they might be related to an early traumatic event.
2. Share your story
Keep a journal (how to keep a diary) in which you can write about your recent and old experiences. You can also ask a close friend or therapist to sit next to you while you describe what happened. You might make connections between what is happening in your life now and what you have carried with you from the past by sharing your experience.
3. Emotional mastery
Live your emotions rather than ignoring them; be aware of them and give them a name. It means feeling sorrow and feeling rage. Consider where the sensation is coming from in your body. Your feelings could then act as information guides that will help you move toward healing.
4. Take as much time as you need
We are not all created equal and everyone heals at their own pace and in their own way. Slow down the process if it becomes too intense. Take a break and take your time.
You can also seek help from a professional because they know how it affects a person and what needs to be done to resolve trauma.