top of page

Unraveling Complexity

Navigating Relational Trauma

Relational Trauma

Relational trauma is characterized by intricate layers of emotions, dynamics, and interactions that defy simple categorization.

 

The wounds from relational trauma can alter the way you perceive yourself and others, leading to challenges in forming or maintaining healthy, trusting relationships. It often triggers deep-seated feelings of unworthiness, insecurity, and anxiety, which can persist for years, influencing behaviors and thought patterns throughout your life.

Common Symptoms of Relational Trauma

It's important to recognize the signs of relational trauma so you can get the right help and support.  

Symptoms may include:

  • Feeling on edge

  • Low Self-Esteem

  • Heightened anxiety 

  • Relying too much on other's opinions

  • Feeling angry, hostile, or sad

  • Emotional responses

  • A negative or bleak view of yourself or the world

  • Being overly alert or on guard

  • Intrusive Thoughts

Once you acknowledge your symptoms,  you're giving yourself the power to take action. And hey, you don't have to do this all by yourself.

"Healthy boundaries are the foundation of respect, allowing us to honor both ourselves and others without compromise." - Michelle Langley

 Navigating Emotional Turbulence

Relational trauma often perpetuates a vicious cycle that can be challenging to break. This cycle usually includes four key stages: the trigger, the emotional response, the coping mechanism, and the aftermath.

  1. The Trigger: This is an event or situation that brings back memories of past trauma. It can be anything from a particular word or action to a sensory experience that provokes a strong emotional reaction.

  2. The Emotional Response: When triggered, the individual experiences intense emotions linked to their past trauma, such as fear, anger, or sadness. These feelings can be overwhelming and may result in a fight, flight, or freeze response.

  3. The Coping Mechanism: To handle these powerful emotions, individuals might turn to unhealthy coping strategies. These can include substance abuse, self-harm, dissociation, or entering into unhealthy relationships.

  4. The Aftermath: Once the emotional surge diminishes, feelings of guilt, shame, or regret about the coping methods often follow. This can lead to self-blame and reinforce negative self-perceptions.

Breaking free from this cycle requires therapeutic intervention and healing.

Relational Trauma Therapy

When it comes to working through relational trauma in therapy, there are a bunch of techniques that can really make a difference.

 

Imagine therapy as a safe, cozy space where you can unpack all those heavy feelings and experiences without worrying about being judged. I am here to listen and support you, and help you feel understood and validated.

One of the first things we will do is help you become more aware of your emotions and patterns. It’s like shining a light on those moments when you react automatically. By talking things through and reflecting, you start to see these patterns more clearly and understand where they come from. This awareness is the first step to break free from old habits.

We will challenge those negative beliefs you might have about yourself and others. Relational trauma can really mess with your self-esteem, so you will learn to challenge those negative thoughts and replace them with more positive and balanced ones.

A big part of the healing process is diving into past experiences. Techniques like talk therapy let you tell your story in a safe and structured way. This can be incredibly freeing, helping you make sense of your past and how it affects your present. Plus, it allows you to highlight your strengths and resilience.

Recognizing the mind-body connection and the importance of addressing trauma on a physical level, integrative exercises such as deep breathing, grounding techniques, and body awareness help you release tension, regulate your nervous system, and reconnect with your body.

Then there’s EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but it’s a fantastic tool for processing traumatic memories. By using bilateral stimulation, like moving your eyes from side to side, EMDR helps reduce the emotional charge of those memories, making them less distressing.

In the end, all these techniques aim to help you heal from your past and build satisfying relationships. Everyone’s journey is unique, so my approach is tailored to fit your specific needs.

It’s all about guiding you toward greater self-awareness, emotional balance, and stronger connections with the people around you.

Healing from relational trauma begins with reclaiming your self-worth and embracing your journey towards inner peace.
bottom of page