Exposure to a series of events or situations that are emotionally disturbing or life threatening is defined as trauma. Multiple distressing traumas can occur over a lifetime including sexual abuse, domestic abuse, accidents, robbery, combat or terrorism. Trauma overwhelms individual’s coping capacity impacting their mental well-being. As researchers are learning, trauma survivors usually have difficulty trusting and connecting in relationships. People who suffered trauma by the hands of others, feel confused about what is safe focusing on past experiences that led to danger and betrayal.
Trauma causes some individual’s to internalize distorted beliefs of old partner encounters and what the new partner should bring to the relationship. Not thinking about that person may have experienced trauma as well. Feeling betrayed or misunderstood is coupled with misconception that your partner lacks insensitivity and compassion to meet your needs. Meanwhile, the mind creates chaos, unrealistic expectations causing relationship derailment. Expecting to lean on your partner for validation, comfort and strength, may become a disappointment as a result of his/her own traumatic history. Being open and honest with your partner about painful feelings derived from past trauma is paramount. Keeping a healthy dialogue, identifying barriers of distrust can help the relationship progress to a renewed level of strength and recovery.