As per a World Mental Health Survey by WHO, about one-third of 1,25,000 people surveyed across 26 countries had suffered a trauma. Today, in this article, we will understand about trauma, its impact on us and our relationships and how to come out of it.
What is trauma?
Trauma is defined as a very stressful and deeply disturbing event that we are unable to cope up with. It may be in form of being bullied or abused as a child, experiencing body shaming, sudden loss of a loved one, an accident, facing a war-like situation, natural disaster and likewise.
As we go through a trauma, it results in a range of emotions within us, including reduced self-worth, helplessness, despair, loss of control, betrayal, confusion, etc. The impact is a lasting scar on our soul which shifts our perception and experience of the world. A trauma leaves us broken. We start seeing ourselves and others with a different lens. Resultantly, it changes how we fulfil our relationships, often for worse. Unless we are able to get past this trauma and see ourselves and the world in a better light, nurturing healthy relations would always remain a challenge.
The after effects of trauma on relationships
Despite being so common and widely prevalent, we often do not realise how a past trauma is affecting our present relationships. Having lived through a trauma makes us feel vulnerable and makes the world feel like an unsafe place. This causes difficulty in trusting people and getting intimate in relationships as we instinctively try to protect ourselves from being hurt again. Subsequently, we try to run away from people and situations, become an introvert, and face trouble in sharing our emotions with our close ones. Our ability to react to and resolve a conflict is hampered. Some of us might feel frightened and anxious while others may feel distant and detached. Yet others may be crippled by the fear of rejection and loss of control in a relationship.
Overall, our old traumatic experiences tamper our understanding of the current situation and starts defining how we view and respond to a person; causing a rift in relationships, both existing and new.
Getting past trauma to build beautiful relationships
Solving an unresolved trauma is critical to reviving your old-self and your relationships. Here are a few ways to get to the bottom of it, work out the internal turmoil and start afresh-
· Acknowledge the trauma –We usually try to suppress the trauma and related feelings to save ourselves from the pain inflicted by it. But, to get past it, we need to do just the opposite. Acknowledge it. Feel and experience its overwhelming emotions and live through it. Read about trauma. See a therapist to understand how it is impacting you, your behaviour, your relationships and your life. Once you are able to do this, healing will become easier.
· Notice your feelings – If you have faced betrayal in your past relationship, you may end up doubting your spouse continuously and spoil your relationship with him. It is important that you understand that your current thoughts and feelings are stemming from your past trauma and not from reality. To do this, notice your thoughts from the place of an observer. When your spouse is busy texting someone or comes late from work, notice how you feel and what you tell yourselves from the perspective of an outsider. Doing this will help you to rationalize your emotions and function from the current situation instead of past.
· Share your trauma- Sometimes we fail to realize how our feelings from the trauma is affecting our current relationships. Sharing your story will help you to connect the dots and make you more conscious of your current response. You can write about it or try to share it with a close friend, therapist or counsellor.
· Know your trigger – Noticing your feelings will help you to identify the triggers that remind you of the past and cause you to behave in a certain way. Now, whenever someone pulls the trigger just say ‘I am triggered’. This will help open the doors to a healthy conversation about it and help you to avoid reacting to it undesirably.
· Consider the bigger picture – Everything in life happens for a reason. For once, leave aside the pain and think of the bigger picture. What did the trauma teach you? What was your learning from it? Did it make you a better person, more loving and strong? Embrace the goodness that came along with it to let go of the pain.
We hope that these tips will help you to feel better and heal sooner. For further help on getting past a trauma and creating healthier relationships, contact seasoned Life Coach, Peyush Bhatia at ____________.