Throughout early childhood to the present, the relationships we foster can have a positive and/or negative effect on our self-image and relationships.
Supportive, loving, and caring relationships will help cultivate a sense of trust in others and self; and they will nurture the development of healthy boundaries, which is vital for healthy, emotional growth.
In contrast, relationships that are or were emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive, neglectful, or where abandonment is present all create psychologically damaging effects that may cause one to have a poor self-image, a lack of trust in oneself and often result in repeating negative behavior patterns.
Due to the relational trauma that occurred in the early years of growing up; or if it is in our current day relationships, the relational trauma it causes us results in the inability to form productive, satisfying relationships that eventually lead to emotional pain and loneliness.
Emotional and Behavioral Signs of Relational Trauma
Fear of abandonment, being alone
Fear of failure, low trust in self
Life and/or relationships that feel out of control, imbalanced
A tendency to justify, minimize, prioritize the feelings of others over self
Repeating the same relational behavior patterns over and over
Consequences of Relational Trauma
The impact of relational trauma can be immense, whether the traumatic incidents occur in childhood or later.
People with deep emotional wounds may suffer from:
An inability to initiate or sustain relationships
Mental and behavioral health difficulties with conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, personality disorders, and eating disorders
Self-harming behavior, up to and including attempts at suicide
Substance use disorders
Dissociation and dissociative disorders
Anxiety-related physical health problems (i.e., headaches, chronic neck pain, fatigue, chest pain, digestive issues, etc.)
Unresolved emotional issues are the related hidden factors of poor mental and physical health in many cases, and until those issues are dealt with, wellness will remain elusive.
Healing through Mindfulness: Another Tool, Another Resource
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction,“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”
Mindfulness along with other treatments allow you to develop a new relationship with yourself, redefine past events, and provide tools that allow oneself to live in action vs. reaction. Mindfulness fosters non-judgmental insight, and helps one grow and learn self-compassion. Integrating mindfulness into healing trauma allows one the option and practice to observe their experiences with curiosity and intentionality; thus, it offers other options vs. continuing to struggle in reaction to the past trauma.
In addition to mindfulness there are many other successful treatments to treat issues of relational trauma including the following:
Pia Mellody, The Developmental Immaturity Model
Mariana Caplan, Yoga & Psyche: Integrating the Paths of Yoga and Psychology
Francine Shapiro, the developer of the evidenced based practice--Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR)
At Discovery & Wellness Counseling, addressing traumatic experiences that happened in the past and/or in the present (i.e. loss of relationships, loved ones, etc.) is our specialty. Using an eclectic approach in relieving the symptoms as well as addressing the root causes of the unhelpful current behaviors; Discovery & Wellness works to address the whole person, equipping each patient with tools and resources that they can use any time and anywhere. Click below to get help now.