Relational Trauma

LaurLee

New Here
Hi Everyone,
I am new to this site. I have been in EMDR therapy for a number of years trying to heal unresolved trauma. It seems to be getting more and more complex. That is my feeling around it. It is no secret that my relationships have been severely impacted, despite being with my partner and father of two kids 16yrs and one or two close friends that is it. No-one can really get close to me. My therapist has seen various sides to me and my deep vulnerabilities. I find it incredibly difficult to be loved and cared for without feeling immense shame and sadness. My first port to call is anger, or disbelief. It can't all be me, is what comes to mind. My therapist says all the time the issue isn't what is happening around you or with others it is you, aka me. I feel so ashamed and alienated when she says things like that to me. I struggle to hear what she says without feeling defensive either consciously or unconsciously. I feel stuck in this relational pattern and I can't bring myself to the reality of what she is saying. I am deeply concerned I won't be able to handle it. OR what even lies within. It has to be bad in that any time someone gets close to it there is a reaction. I am so confused and terribly frustrated. Can anyone relate? How do you know you are healing relational trauma? How did you override the defense mechanisms. And are you able to connect with others on a deeper level without feeling shamed or profound sadness?
 

Friday

Moderator
How do you know you are healing relational trauma?
BIG part is when my reaction from being told by people I trust -or impartial observers- it’s ME (and not the situation, or other person/people)… becomes …flooding relief & renewed energy/determination/curiosity. Oh thank god! Phew! What a relief! …Okay… Where do I go from here? Brainstorm time. Let’s fix what’s f*cked, sort the rest as best as can be, and move on. Learning.

How did you override the defense mechanisms.
By creating better defense mechanisms.

And are you able to connect with others on a deeper level without feeling shamed or profound sadness?
Yes & No.

(No) There are some things I’ve just come to accept as how I relate/deal with people…

…like any time I start to reeeeally care about someone? I get weird for a little while as I process their death. And what their death will mean to me. And how willing/or not I am to lose one more person I care about. And whether or not they -as a person- are potentially worth that pain (they very well may not be, so I have to also get okay with making the wrong decision, and caring for an asshole I’m best rid of // meanwhile the opposite can be true, and they can be the kind of person that even an hour in their company is worth every shred of pain their loss would cause, my life infinitely poorer for not knowing them better/longer). Potentially? Because if I’m at this point in making a decision about whether or not to move past a superficial acquaintance? It’s, by definition, superficial. Even if I’ve known someone causally for years, my knowledge of them is -at best- a mile wide and an inch deep. And if I’ve only known them briefly? I’m working off flickers and fragments, maybes and what if’s.

…If I don’t trust my own judgment, nor my ability to improvise/adapt/overcome (resilience) if I’m wrong? I’m not going to be making friends right now. Except by accident.

(Yes) Meanwhile there are other things I can’t even really recall, because it’s been so long since they were even on my radar. One of those, I’d recognize them if I heard them, but aside from knowing they once existed? Shrug. That’s how little space they occupy in my head/heart/life. It doesn’t even occur to me that shame or sadness would be tied to ABC-XYZ in any way. Because they aren’t. And don’t. And haven’t for a long time.
 
Last edited:

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
…like any time I start to reeeeally care about someone? I get weird for a little while as I process their death. And what their death will mean to me. And how willing/or not I am to lose one more person I care about. And whether or not they -as a person- are potentially worth that pain (they very well may not be, so I have to also get okay with making the wrong decision, and caring for an asshole I’m best rid of // meanwhile the opposite can be true, and they can be the kind of person that even an hour in their company is worth every shred of pain their loss would cause, my life infinitely poorer for not knowing them better/longer). Potentially? Because if I’m at this point in making a decision about whether or not to move past a superficial acquaintance? It’s, by definition, superficial. Even if I’ve known someone causally for years, my knowledge of them is -at best- a mile wide and an inch deep. And if I’ve only known them briefly? I’m working off flickers and fragments, maybes and what if’s.

…If I don’t trust my own judgment, nor my ability to improvise/adapt/overcome (resilience) if I’m wrong? I’m not going to be making friends right now. Except by accident.
I thought I was the only one who does that! 👀
 

grit

Not Active
The weird thing about trauma is you are already sitting at the epicenter of it. there is really no worse situation than this. So the fear you have is valid in the sense, you think where you are at now is comfort but actually you are at the pain point. Accepting the pain as it is, is the problem. When you accept this is it - as good or as bad as it gets, and so far you have been doing the best you can, then a shift may come. The shift cannot come if you are fighting with the reality of being in pain. Own the pain, make friend with the pain...this is it! and then can you graduate to something else!

Confusing the pain with comfort is the defense mechanism you might be dealing with.

It is like a limping man/person (gender neutral), bruised all the way to the hip from limping all his life but saying I do not know what walking is like. I am afraid to walk cause maybe it is worse than the limping but eventually when he stops to focus on the limping and starts to imagine what is walking actually?...he may realize ooh god, shit, I could have done this but did not even know it cause he was busy staring at his limp.

What may keep him limping is the shame of realizing, the walking was always just there but he could not vision. He was busy limping.

You have managed to carry a burden of trauma, bear 2 children, and carried a relationships (many of them), you have been doing all these limping, just imagine...cannot get worse than this and even at the worst level, you have been this good to truly getting by and maybe succeeding in some areas.

Imagine a world without you limping...imagine - go outside of the box, and dream BIG!

Good luck.
 

ruborcoraxxx

Sponsor
Perhaps...

The therapy could be less focused on your trauma and more focused on your relationship itself and how you both address trust and closeness?

It's not because we're working on our trauma that we have to stop working on everything else. And if this person loves you and cares about you, which seems to be the case, why not explore that strength in itself to help? It might not be the right idea for you but just perhaps taking the problem by the other way around, while keeping real about your own issues, might help to get unstuck?
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
Then there are cognitive distortions. For me its a big part. To realize that I see the world through trauma tinted glasses.

Everything that comes is is painted by my anxiety and interpreted by my functional level of cognition. The more active my symptoms are, the more negatively I interpret that interaction. Your PTSD brain filters that input and looks for possible threats and for me it's pretty much sure I can find threats and possible put downs in every situation.

It takes focus and using those tools @Friday talked about to start taking the negative and the perceived put downs and threats out of what you are reading into communications. I know I do the same and realized not that long ago what was happening. I also realized how much of what I saw was what I read into that communication instead of what was said and done. Learn to counter those cognitive distortions and relationships get easier.
 
Top