The caregiver relationship is so important to a child’s socialization. Experiences of relational trauma at a young age can affect how you relate to other people later in life, leading to difficulties in adult relationships, such as with setting boundaries and experiencing toxic relationships. It can also lead to difficulties in how you relate to and understand yourself, such as problems with self-esteem and sense of self.
“Experiencing trauma during childhood, while the brain is still developing, can have severe and long-lasting effects. If left untreated, they can be carried into adulthood, continuing to cause devastation.” – Allan Schore, PhD
It is not caused by a single event, but rather an ongoing set of events and the nature of the relationship between two people. As a result, the term is often used interchangeably with “relationship trauma”. Events and relationships that take place in your adulthood can also lead to relational trauma, often referred to as “adult relational trauma.” The dependency and vulnerability that is so much a part of intimacy can trigger a person who has been traumatized in their early, intimate relationships into the defensive behaviors that they relied on as children to stay safe and to feel whole rather than splintered.
To heal this form of relational trauma, we need to understand what defensive strategies we used to stay safe and then shift these behaviors to be more engaged and nourishing both within our relationships and ourselves. After all, if we constantly brace for danger and rejection, then we are likely to create it. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Description above Adapted from The National Council and Schore, Allan N., PhD, “Effects of Early Relational Trauma on Right Brain Development, Affect Regulation, & Infant Mental Health,” 2001, www.trauma-pages.com/a/schore-2001b.php
Adult Forms of Relational Trauma
Codependency is an emotional disorder that causes a person to ignore their own needs while constantly fulfilling the needs of others. A person may forfeit his or her own well-being and values in the pursuit of assisting someone else. After experiencing relationship trauma, codependents often form unhealthy relationships due to feelings of low self-worth. Codependents often enter relationships with individuals who are irresponsible, emotionally detached or excessively needy. Such relationships are likely to be emotionally and/ or physically abusive.
What are the effects of Codependency?
Individuals suffering from codependency will repress their emotions and needs to the point that they are subjected to relationship trauma and extremely low self-esteem.
If unaddressed, codependency continues, causing individuals to cope with their emotions by abusing alcohol, drugs, sex or food. Those who seek emotional relief in food can develop eating disorders without realizing the transition.
I help clients look beyond their symptoms and consider the emotional and relational trauma behind codependency in order to better understand their unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Love addiction is described as one person “loving” another person with an obsessive intensity that is not in the best interest of either party. Love addiction is a painful, compulsive and addictive disorder that negatively impacts not only the addict but the object of their obsession. I help clients to overcome root issues and take steps towards experiencing healthy, fulfilling relationships.
What are the effects of love addiction?
Love addicts tend to focus a tremendous amount of energy on romantic relationships—whether they are involved in one, looking for the next one or avoiding one altogether. They tend to become involved in brief, intense romantic relationships. If they are involved in a long-term relationship, it is usually characterized by many highs and lows. In some cases, love addicts completely withdraw from romantic or sexual relationships to avoid feelings of vulnerability.
The causes of love addiction are rooted in childhood trauma. Individuals lacking self-esteem or who had less-than-nurturing childhoods may grow up looking for constant reassurance from others. Love addicts also tend to enjoy the feeling of excitement that being “in love” brings.
I go beyond the symptoms to treat the underlying issues behind the love addiction—childhood trauma, low self-esteem and codependency.
Love avoidance is the refusal to show love for someone out of fear of being hurt. Individuals who turned to love avoidance carefully guard themselves when in relationships. These individuals avoid intimacy in order to protect themselves from rejection, loss and the types of pain that accompany an intimate relationship.
What are the effects of love avoidance?
People who suffer from love avoidance do everything they can to conceal their vulnerability from others, especially loved ones. Love avoidance does not literally mean avoiding love, rather it is an unhealthy way of reacting to relationship trauma. Love avoidants have past experiences of feeling unwanted or unloved, which result in a need for excessive acceptance, praise and compliments from their spouses, partners or loved ones in order to enhance their self-esteem.
Love avoidants act in extremes, such as taking steps to avoid meeting sexual and emotional needs, which can lead to self-destruction. They become afraid of commitments and emotional attachments.
I help you uncover underlying issues in order to begin the healing process at the root of the problem. I dont just address the symptoms; I also addresses the issues and factors that contributed to the condition in the first place.
The ending of a romantic relationship is an extraordinarily painful event. Whether you’ve been dating for a year, or married for thirty, you may be overcome with feelings of sorrow, anger, fear, and guilt. You are mourning the loss of someone significant in your life and saying farewell to your dreams of an eternity together. Recovering from a breakup or divorce is not only possible, it is probable. The first months tend to be very difficult and are likely overwhelmed with numerous thoughts and feelings – many that feel quite foreign.
I will help you to fully recover from your breakup or divorce. She will help you get a better understanding of your feelings, family of origin, how family patterns may have influenced and impacted your relationship, and a clearer narrative about the details of your relationship and breakup.
What is Domestic Violence and Abuse?
When people think of domestic abuse, they often focus on domestic violence. But domestic abuse includes any attempt by one person in a marriage or intimate relationship to dominate and control the other. Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” An abuser uses fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under their thumb.
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone; it does not discriminate. Abuse happens within heterosexual relationships and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more often victimized, men also experience abuse—especially verbal and emotional.
The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether from a man, woman, teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.
Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your relationship is abusive.
Signs of Abuse
- Seems afraid or anxious to please their partner
- Goes along with everything their partner says and does
- Checks in often with their partner to report where they are and what they’re doing
- Receives frequent, harassing phone calls from their partner
- Talks about their partner’s temper, jealousy, or possessiveness
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Has frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents.”
- Frequently misses work, school, or social occasions, without explanation.
- Dresses in clothing designed to hide bruises or scars (for example, wearing long sleeves in the summer or sunglasses indoors).
This is a term used to describe abuse by an individual who suffers from narcissism. Regardless of how the narcissist presents themselves to the world, the theme is the same “my world revolves around me and so should yours.” Often, they are charming, but not always. Since the narcissist is so incredibly self-centered, it is difficult to be in a truly fulfilling relationship with them. Being involved with a narcissist is typically exhausting. Recovery from narcissistic abuse is possible once you learn to identify the patterns and get to the roots of the trauma bonds.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
CALL : 1.800.799.SAFE (7233)
CHAT : Chat live now – https://www.thehotline.org/get-help/#
TEXT : “START” to 88788 – tel:1.800.799.7233
Signs of Narcissistic Abuse :
- verbal or emotional abuse, sexual and physical abuse or violent behavior
- manipulation, lying, judging, criticizing
- emotional blackmail and threats
- gaslighting (intentionally distorting situations to make your think that you are going “nuts”)
- withholding of financial information & money
- character assassination, masking you feel less than, one upping
- retaliation when injured
- isolating you from your friends
- making false accusations about your choices or motives.
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