How Trauma Affects Relationships (& How to Move Forward)

how trauma affects relationships

Sharing is caring!

Do you have difficulty trusting others and letting them close to you? Maybe you fear intimacy or find yourself caught in a cycle of unhealthy relationship patterns. You might be overly controlling or emotionally distant in your relationships. Or, you struggle with toxic shame and self-limiting beliefs that erode your self-esteem and disrupt your perception of your value.

It is what trauma does to us. Whether it is a single, horrific event or repeated exposure to traumatic circumstances, trauma has a profound impact on the way we think about the world and our place within it. It shatters our assumptions about our lives and deeply disrupts our sense of trust and safety, making it difficult to trust ourselves and others again.

Trauma Can Have a Deep & lasting Impact on Relationships

As humans, we are wired to seek connection with others. We build our relationships on trust: trust that our parents will nurture and provide for our fundamental needs; faith that our partner will treat us with respect, love, and loyalty; and belief that institutions will protect us.

Trauma shatters the implicit beliefs that provide us with a sense of meaning, predictability, and safety. This is tremendously unsettling and can profoundly impact our relationships and well-being in the long run.

Childhood trauma can lead to insecure attachment, impairing our ability to feel secure in relationships. We might end up repeating these insecure attachment patterns in our adult relationships. We may be overly suspicious and find it difficult to trust others.

Also, if you were exposed to childhood trauma, you might struggle with self-esteem issues, self-limiting beliefs, and toxic shame, believing that the mistreatment or abuse was somehow your fault.

Understanding Trauma: The Invisible Wound in Relationships

According to Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, our early interactions shape our ability to trust or mistrust. Developing trust vs. mistrust happens during the first stage of our development. As babies, we are entirely dependent on our caregivers. So, when they consistently meet our fundamental needs, we naturally develop a sense of trust.

A nurturing relationship with caregivers helps to instill a sense of safety and belief in the world. This, in turn, fosters trust in oneself and others, ultimately leading to the development of confident and secure adults capable of forming healthy relationships.

On the other hand, when caregivers who were supposed to provide care and support cause harm, it can result in betrayal trauma and trauma bonds, which can have a profound impact on our lives.

Do you ever feel that you’ll never be good enough? Are you constantly scared of being hurt? Don’t let limiting beliefs hold you back any longer! Gain acess to my free 8 Step Framework to Overcome Limiting Beliefs now.

Betrayal trauma occurs when there are significant violations of boundaries and trust within intimate relationships, including those with parents, romantic partners, or friends. But sometimes we must stay in a relationship with this person because we depend on them to meet our basic needs (like parents), because we need their love and protection, or because they manipulate and control us (a romantic partner).

The trauma betrayal theory says that the victim’s brain may suppress traumatic memories or feelings, making them less aware of betrayal trauma. This is done to keep them from going through the emotional turmoil of realizing that someone who was supposed to protect them broke their trust in the worst way.

The Nature and Different Types of Trauma (& How They Affect Relationships)

how different types of trauma affect relationships

Trauma is an event that surpasses our coping abilities, shaking up our lives in profound ways.

1) Emotional Walls: How Trauma Spurs Emotional Availability 

Developmental trauma, which happens in childhood, usually stems from profound neglect or abuse. This form of emotional trauma severely disrupts attachment bonds, fostering insecure attachment that harms future relationships. Attachment issues typically affect our ability to form stable, healthy adult relationships, making it hard to feel safe with others. So, you may become distant and emotionally unavailable in your relationships for fear of exposing yourself and being hurt.

2) Trust Issues: Doubting Intentions and Fear of Vulnerability

Developing fundamental mistrust in early childhood can become a deep-seated mindset that affects all relationships throughout your life. However, betrayal trauma happens in adult relationships, too, and it usually has roots in infidelity or abuse. When your trusted spouse cheats on you or abuses you, they cease to be a source of comfort and protection and instead become a threat to your safety and identity. This can have long-lasting effects on your sense of self-worth, making it difficult to open up, be vulnerable, and trust yourself and others again.

3) Communication Breakdown: The Struggle to Verbalize Feelings

Betrayal trauma, whether in childhood or our adult relationships, is a deeply distressing and isolating experience that may have a significant impact on one’s self-esteem, emotional well-being, and capacity to trust and feel secure in adult relationships. As a result, you may struggle to acknowledge and express your feelings, fearing vulnerability. This can cause communication breakdown in your relationships, creating resentment, frustration, and withdrawal.

Are you constantly stressed, anxious, & overwhelmed? Start building up your resiliency & strengthen your daily choices when you enroll in this stress management course.

4) Intimacy Barriers: Navigating Physical and Emotional Closeness

Trauma can cause you to experience fear of abandonment, trust issues, or flashbacks during intimate moments. This can make it hard to get close to your romantic partners and let them in, leading to anxiety, communication breakdown, and a sense of isolation.

Tools and Techniques: Moving Beyond “How Trauma Affects Relationships”

Healing trauma wounds requires time and skilled guidance. Still, with the right tools and techniques, recovery is possible.

Coaching: Seeking Professional Guidance

You might need professional guidance to heal inner child wounds and overcome trauma. Coaching and counseling can provide a secure space to process and understand your experiences and their grip on your relationships and well-being. It can also equip you with coping tools and strategies to rebuild trust.

Building Resilience and Strengthening Connection

Coaching can help you reprocess trauma so that memories of it don’t cause emotional turmoil anymore. It helps foster resilience by teaching you how to cope with stress and quickly recover after challenges.

Moreover, coaching and counseling can teach you tools for improving your communication skills, fostering self-compassion, and setting healthy boundaries, which can help strengthen your connections.

Are you ready to unveil the power of boundaries ? Together, we’ll embark on this transformative expedition to a life of clarity, confidence, and connection together.

Learning How to Trust After Trauma

Learning to trust again after trauma takes time. Healing trauma wounds begins with understanding trauma and how it affected you so you may restore your feeling of safety and trust in yourself and others with the help of your therapist or counselor.Contact me to set up a free, empowering conversation If you want to understand how trauma affects relationships and your well-being so that you can start healing and restore trust.

Related Posts:

My Gift To You:

Download my free step-by-step guide
8 Steps to Overcome Limiting Beliefs

Limiting Beliefs Guide
Kamini Wood

Kamini Wood

Kamini Wood is a Certified Life Coach, and best-selling author. Her mission is to empower high-performing adults and teens to become resilient self-leaders by reducing stress and anxiety, overcoming imposter syndrome, working through trauma, and re-discovering their AuthenticMe®.

My Weekly Blogs Straight To Your Inbox!

Kamini wood sitting in her office life coach service

Hi There

I’m Kamini Wood

My name is Kamini Wood, and I’m here to accompany you on your journey toward understanding yourself on a deeper level so can create the life you want personally and professionally. It’s time to embrace your AuthenticMe ™