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How to Heal from Trauma While in a Relationship

Crystal Fuller

Traumatic experiences affect the heart and soul of our bodies. That hurt can extrapolate into our relationships with loved ones and affect our connections with them. While it is natural to avoid human interaction after a trauma, it is the very thing that we need, and our loved ones are one of our best resources.

Trauma survivors tend to go through a thought process that is not helpful to their situation. Robyn E. Brickel suggests asking yourself the following questions to see if you may be in a downward spiral.

  • “Do you have the temptation to hunker down and handle it yourself?

  • Do you feel like nobody will get it?

  • Do you feel ashamed or weak—like you don’t deserve support or compassion?

  • Is there a self-protector part inside you who says: “I’m going to withdraw and stay safe so you don’t hurt me”?

  • Do you feel like you are supposed to just deal with it yourself?”

If these questions resonate with you, please know that none of them are true. There are people who will understand you and help you as you heal, starting with those close to us.

Trauma survivors have good days and bad days. On the bad days, you may not feel like doing normal tasks and find yourself feeling a little short-fused. You also deal with triggers that can set your emotions into a whirl. Perhaps you are having a good day and you see something that reminds you of your experience and it sends you into a fog. These reactions can make you worry that your partner will not want to deal with your irritability and unstable emotions.

Let's talk about some things that can help you in your relationships after trauma. Understanding and accepting that bad days will happen is key. When those days crop up, communicate with your partner that you are having a bad day so they are aware and may show more empathy.

Try soothing techniques to calm yourself. Focus on your senses instead of the irrational thoughts that are going through your head. Go for a walk and try to notice small details, like the colors of a bird or how the wind feels on your face.

Some have found the 5-4-3-2-1 method to be helpful. This is where you recognize 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.

Next is knowing your triggers. As you learn what they are it becomes easier to jump out in front of them and prevent yourself from succumbing to them. Also sharing your triggers with your partner can be helpful so they can help you avoid them.

Healthy relationships are key to our healing journey. Take the leap and be open with your partner about your experience. Help them to understand what you are going through so they are more equipped to support you. Have compassion for yourself as you would have for others that might experience what you have been through. Take a deep breath and know that you are loved.


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