What is Relationship Trauma?
Relationship trauma is the response to disturbing or distressing behaviors that can occur in a toxic or unhealthy relationship. It can also occur from dealing with a complex personality for a very long time or from emotional neglect in a relationship.
What are the signs of Relationship Trauma?
Some of the signs of relationship trauma include:
- Intrusive thoughts or flashbacks related to a specific event
- Uncontrollable emotions such as rage towards the abusive partner
- Lack of self-respect or self-worth
- Frustration or feelings of helplessness
- Social anxiety
- Cognitive difficulties
What are the Causes of Relationship Trauma?
The main causes for relationship trauma include:
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
- Threatening and belittling behavior
- Isolating a partner from others
- Destruction of one’s personal property
- Controlling the finances of the partner
- Stonewalling behavior (not communicating with the partner)
- Gaslighting behavior (trying to manipulate the partner’s concept of reality)
- Love bombing (influencing a partner by demonstrations of affection)
Treatment for Relationship Trauma
Psychotherapy can help create a safe environment to manage anxiety and fear, process negative feelings, and learn effective coping skills to heal from the trauma.
Some of the types of psychotherapy that may be used to treat relationship trauma are:
- Couples Therapy: This form of psychotherapy helps a couple work through difficulties to improve and rebuild the relationship together. It can address issues such as recurrent conflicts, disconnection, issues related to sex, and external stressors that impact the relationship.
- Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT): This therapy focuses on stopping negative thinking patterns and creating healthy, positive behaviors. This is particularly effective in children and adolescents.
- Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): This is a short-term therapy involving a combination of visualization and hand-and-eye movements to help process painful memories.
What are the Benefits of Relationship Therapy?
Some of the benefits include:
- Encourages you to open up and express your inhibitions
- Helps you make better decisions
- Improves communication skills
- Improves stress management
- Helps build strong relationships