Do you find yourself attracting the same kind of partners? Do you feel always taken advantage of, taken for granted or exploited? Trauma feeds trauma, and the urge to repeat familiar patterns leads us to relive relationships that are known to us. How do we know if we are in a healthy relationship, and what should we do if we are indeed in a trauma-bond?
This video by the Holistic Psychologist (like all our content) has been really insightful.
We are likely to enter unhealthy relationships when we had a traumatic relationship with our caregivers: with conflicted, unpredictable and withdrawn parents. For instance, children with alcoholic parents are much more likely to enter relationships with other addicts, workaholics or emotionally unavailable people.
A trauma coupling is an emotional addiction to behaviour that we are accustomed to. This can be either a push and pull dynamic, codependency or the lack of boundaries in the relationship. Our relationships are reflections of our inner world, and thus an opportunity to view our trauma in a different perspective. I still struggle with standing up for myself, so for a long time I would hang around with very outspoken people: therefore I was spared from having to leave my comfort zone.
A loving bond grows over time and gets deeper with time. There is space for vulnerability and emotional depth, which allows for trust and healthy boundaries. We are able to enter true relationships and escape the cycle of suffering from unfulfilling relationships by continuously working on ourselves as part of our daily routine. We no longer see ourselves as victims or unworthy of genuine love.
It is possible to grow together when in a trauma bond. It is crucial to have open conversations about family, possible neglect and loving anecdotes, in order to avoid blank spaces in our history. Shame and guilt keeps us in silence, and I often felt unworthy of truly opening up in fear of being judged. We also need to be able to verbalise all facets of our ego, be willing to be selfish, angry or hurt in order to feel fully seen in a relationship. Finally, by practicing keeping promises to ourselves and not bending to the will of our partners we learn to be committed to our own well-being first.