Updated: Jun 5
Like physical trauma, emotional trauma can cause long-lasting pain and problems in your life. No matter how long ago it was, the pain can still be very real and raw, especially when something triggers it. Unresolved, unhealed trauma can affect our loved ones too.
Even if you think you have the effects of your trauma under control, that may not always be the case.
Unresolved trauma can manifest itself in a variety of ways, and it can impact your relationship.
Unfortunately, many people who try to repress their trauma don’t make the connection between relationship issues and those unresolved issues.
Recognizing the damage it could be causing might be the spark you need to start healing. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what unresolved trauma could be doing to your relationship, and why deciding to heal is vital.
Causing You to Feel Negative About Yourself
One of the biggest issues unresolved trauma can stir up in a relationship is a lack of self-esteem. Maybe you’re constantly down on yourself, or you feel guilty or ashamed because you feel you don’t “deserve” your partner – no matter how much they reassure you.
Going through a traumatic experience, especially as a child, can damage your sense of self-worth.
Unfortunately, that can contribute to other mental health issues like anxiety or depression. If you don’t feel you’re “good enough” for your relationship, you might also start to worry about your partner leaving you for someone else or cheating on you, even if there’s no reason to believe that’s a possibility.
Creating Dependency Issues
Those who experience trauma at a young age can either be hyper-dependent or overly independent when it comes to adult relationships.
If you’re overly independent, it might be because you had parents who were emotionally distant as you grew up. Maybe you even felt abandoned by them, so now you crave relationships with a strong attachment. But, that can sometimes go too far. If the idea of being away from your partner, even for a short time, makes you feel anxious, it probably stems from childhood trauma.
Some people, however, go the “opposite route” and continue a cycle of distance. Your mind might try to protect itself by shutting people out or keeping up walls that make it hard for you to be vulnerable.
As you might expect, that can be problematic in a relationship when communication is so important.
Heal Your Mind and Your Relationship
If your relationship seems to struggle but the problems aren’t obvious, it’s time to dig a little deeper.
For some, repressing painful and traumatic memories is the norm. But, that doesn’t work forever. Emotions will always demand to be felt. By trying to push them down, even over a number of years, they will continue to “bubble up” like they’re inside of a pressure cooker.
Eventually, the emotional effects of your trauma will come to life.
Making the choice to seek out treatment is the best thing you can do for yourself and your relationship. Peeling back the layers of trauma and going “back to the past” to determine where it started isn’t easy. It can be painful.
But, it’s also necessary if you truly want to overcome unresolved trauma and improve your relationship with someone you love.
Unresolved trauma won’t just disappear on its own. It can also be very difficult to handle on your own. By working with a therapist, you can begin the healing process in a safe and knowledgeable environment. Over time, you’ll learn how to better manage your trauma. The symptoms won’t be as intense, and you’ll be able to openly communicate with your partner about your needs.
If you want to learn more about unresolved trauma or how it could be affecting your relationship, feel free to contact me.