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What Is Relationship Trauma?

What Is Relationship Trauma?
What Is Relationship Trauma?

One minute, you were sleeping peacefully, the next minute your eyelids were flying open and you were practically jumping out of bed. Nightmares have become a common occurrence for you. No matter how hard you try to push aside and bury these thoughts and feelings, you can’t seem to escape them.

On top of the nightmares and difficulty sleeping, you now have to conduct some house checks to help ease your mind and ensure it was just a nightmare and they’re not really there. You thought that when you ended things with your previous partner you’d no longer feel this pain, anxiety, or stress. You were able to get away, to escape, to start fresh and new. But here you are again thinking about the past despite trying everything you can to not think about it. Let’s learn more about relationship trauma.

What is Relationship Trauma?

Relationship trauma is a type of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD that forms after experiencing a type of abusive relationship. This type of trauma can create long-lasting negative physical and emotional issues, especially if left untreated. Relationship trauma can be caused by a number of different negative or traumatic events in a romantic relationship.

These are some of the most common types of relationship trauma:

  • Emotional abuse

  • Financial abuse

  • Physical abuse

  • Sexual abuse

  • Spiritual abuse

  • Technological abuse

The Causes of Relationship Trauma

When people think or hear about relationship abuse, they may instantly assume it’s a type of physical or sexual form of abuse. In reality, there are many other causes and types of abuse that can occur in a relationship.

These are some of the most common causes of relationship trauma:

  • Altering religious beliefs

  • Belittling

  • Controlling

  • Damaging personal property

  • Gaslighting

  • Hitting

  • Monitoring devices or social media platforms

  • Punching

  • Rape

  • Self-harm

  • Sexual assault

  • Substance abuse

The Signs and Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms associated with relationship trauma. That being said, relationship trauma can often be difficult to diagnose. This is mostly due to the fact that relationship trauma occurs over a period of time instead of a specific traumatic event.

These are some of the most common signs and symptoms of relationship trauma:

  • Anger issues

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Fear

  • Flashbacks

  • Guilt

  • Hypervigilant

  • Insomnia

  • Irritability

  • Isolation

  • Nightmares

  • Self-blame

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Shame

  • Trust issues

Treatment Options for Relationship Trauma

Healing from relationship trauma isn’t something that’s going to happen overnight. It took some time for your trauma to form, so it’s going to take just as long, if not longer, in order to heal from it. Healing from trauma takes time. The sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you’ll be able to start the healing process.

There are a few different strategies you can implement on your own to start the healing process. Make sure that you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally safe in your home or other places you may go to. Create a comfortable environment that supports that, especially within your own space. Learn how to express yourself and communicate your wants and needs. Establish boundaries to protect your overall mental health and wellness. Do the things you love. Make sure you’re fueling your body properly by eating enough meals throughout your day and drinking enough water. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night. And rest and relax even more by practicing self-care.

Next Steps

Despite how your trauma may be making you feel, you’re not alone. Help is available to you. The first step is admitting to yourself that you need help and asking for it. Reaching out for help doesn’t mean you’re weak. In fact, it actually shows how strong you really are.

If you’re interested in learning more about therapy for relationship trauma, reach out to us today to set up a consultation for trauma therapy.


Through Therapy Collective

Our team of culturally competent therapists is here to offer a warm and safe space to help you navigate life’s hardships with a sense of encouragement and empathy. Find out more >

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