What is Relational Trauma: Relational Trauma is the trauma that one experiences as a result of abuse and neglect. Individuals who experience relational trauma have been hurt and betrayed by people they loved, trusted, and relied on. When caregivers aren’t able to provide a safe and stable home environment, children are only left learning that they have to care for themselves and that they cannot trust others.
Relational trauma can occur both in childhood and in adulthood. Abuse and/or abandonment by partners, family members, peers etc. can be emotionally traumatizing and can have a significant impact on future relationships as they are unable to feel safe and secure in their relationships.
Due to relational trauma, individuals often have a very difficult time in their other interpersonal connections. They may have a difficult time being in healthy friendships and/or romantic relationships. They may also have a difficult engaging in a secure way with their own children. Adults who have experienced relational trauma have a hard time trusting anybody but themselves and this can create a great deal of anxiety and avoidance.
Symptoms of Relational Trauma
- Neediness, feeling needy and clingy
- Manipulation in relationships
- Problems with setting or maintain healthy boundaries
- Difficulty becoming independent
- Inconsistent interpersonal relationships
- Strong emotions that are difficult to control
- Poor self-esteem
- Feelings of helplessness
- Fear and mistrust of intimacy, even though romantic relationships are desperately desired
- Anxiety in social situations
- Learning or discipline problems in school
- Developmental delays
- Constant aches, pains, and illness, but without apparent medical causes
- Reliving past trauma, vividly and frequently
- Avoidant behavior, with respect to people, places, events, or situations that might remind the person of their traumatic experiences
- Inconsistent, neglectful, or abusive parenting styles (the cycle of relational trauma is repeated)
There is Hope
The road to healing from relational trauma is not easy, but it is possible. Contact us to find out how we can best help you navigate relationships in a safe and fulfilling way.