How Childhood Trauma Affects Adult Relationships.

Trauma is real. Whether it came as an adult or as a child, it happens and it affects us daily in our everyday lives. From getting up daily, pretending to be normal or dealing with people with less trauma than you, it affects us all differently.

What Is Childhood Trauma?

Childhood trauma has caused a lot of failed relationships because we as a society have learned to mask our pain. We hide it from the public eye, especially in the social media age. We pretend everything is great. We say phrases like “I’m okay” when we are the furthest thing from it. But is that healthy when dealing with someone else?

Some of us come from broken homes. I personally grew up in the foster care system and I learned to say “I’m okay.” Then as a black man, I was taught we must be strong and showing emotions that weren’t happy or angry was a sign of weakness. As of late, I’m learning that’s complete bullshit, but it’s also something I have to unlearn as I continue to grow.

But the things I have been through have kind of made me who I am, but doesn’t mean that that is the person I am supposed to be. Many of us are dealing with childhood trauma whether it’s from broken homes, rapes or being abandoned. But those are just small things, the list is extensive. But we must grow in order to be our best selves.

How Does It Affect Us Today?

Many people have said they have pushed the thoughts they were having to the background. Buried them deep inside, but the triggers bring them back to the forefront.

Then people tend to jump into a relationship with expectations for their partners that are unrealistic. We look to our partners as our healers. We ask them to do extraordinary things when they are just ordinary people like you and me. And that in itself hurts the relationship more than it helps.

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It doesn’t help that we expect them to be there. To understand a trauma they may have never experienced. For some the allure of having someone show empathy to a situation causes us to lean on them. Then we are right back to expecting things from them. Those expectations when not met, breeds disappointment and leads to many failed relationships.

What Can We Do To Avoid These Expectations? How Can We Heal?

Someone close to me tells me all the time to “relax.” Sometimes I just want to block them. Most times I listen. People tend to overthink often and I’m definitely one of them. I tend to lead with with my mind and heart in a full sprint and never take the time to see the situation for what it truly is. I never actually go with the flow of things.

Lately, I have and it’s leading to more fruitful interactions with people in general, not just relationship situations. As I have healed more and more, I have noticed that my conversations flow. I’m not expecting an outcome that is unrealistic anymore. I don’t expect someone to do me the same as others. Everyone has a clean slate nowadays.

I don’t expect people to come into my life and erase the pain I’ve experienced. I have asked them to listen to understand and not to reply when discussing things that I have been through though. Whether it’s with my therapist or friends and family, I have faced my traumas instead of pushing them inside so deep that when they do appear I don’t recognize them.

I have learned to heal by accepting that my past is my past and it’s nothing I can do to change it. But I also understand that my present is the furthest thing from my past and my future has nothing to even do with it. It’s okay to speak on your trauma, but you shouldn’t live in it. That’s one of the biggest mistakes we make as humans dealing with trauma but noticing it is the first way to heal.

What’s Next After The Healing Process?

Well, after you heal, why not live life a little? I mean, you’ve already been through the pain, you’ve already faced it and now your healed, why not enjoy life to the max.

Go on a vacation even if it’s alone. Take yourself to get pampered. Hit the salon. Go shopping. Do something that you enjoy. Do something that defines you. Learn what makes you happy again. You’ve spent so much time focusing on the negatives, now think of all the positives you will encounter now that the healing process is over.

It’s okay to be happy again and because you are healed, it’ll lead to more fruitful and realistic relationships. So, go on that date you’ve been avoiding. Send that message to your crush. But be weary of the triggers that can lead back to your trauma because flare ups are going to happen. But you know that it’s not the end of the world.

It takes time and like they say “Rome wasn’t built in one night.” So stop trying to heal yourself in a day. Sometimes it takes years and you may have to do it alone. Other times you’ll have someone there to push you through the rough patches.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help either. We all need it, but don’t expect it to come from your loved ones or even your partner. Sometimes you need to reach out to outside help and learn from others traumas and how they coped and healed. It’s a process and you can’t miss any steps. But the future is endless once you reach that point in life where it’s not your world. Because then you can actually enjoy the world for what it is and not for what you thought it was supposed to be.

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