Whether a spouse has cheated on you, suddenly left you, or has been verbally or physically abusive, you likely are experiencing relationship trauma.
Instead of feeling like you're just crazy or mentally unstable, today's teaching will help you see how the way you're struggling is actually a traumatic response.
What Is Relationship Trauma?
The scenarios I mentioned above (infidelity, abandonment, and abuse) all have something in common that powerfully promotes a traumatic response.
They all three create confusion about what is real in your life and what you can count on as being safe.
The marriage or relationship you thought you had now seems as though it was merely a charade. The person you thought would always cherish and care for you is now your greatest source of anxiety or fear.
And, if he was abusive, you may be totally confused about your own judgment on your motives and the trueness of his love.
All of these elements are so important because it's essential to human well-being to be able to know what to expect in life. We have to know that we have an understanding of what today or tomorrow will bring.
We have to feel as though we can safely predict how someone will treat us -- not surprise us with a slap to the face or the realization that you're not the love of their life.
When an event (or series of events) occur that shake our view of reality, that causes trauma.
This creates an inner sense of life being unstable and dangerous. It, therefore, puts us into a state of fight/flight/freeze.
#1 Symptom -- You Can't Stop Thinking
Because you're stuck in this trauma state, your mind will continually be grasping for safety and stability.
To do this, it will repeatedly review past events. It'll also rehearse future conversations in which you attempt to convey to your spouse your pain.
Your mind will desperately search for ways to get him to understand, to get help, or to show that he cares.
Again, this is a VERY NORMAL response. It does not mean you are crazy.
#2 Symptom -- Can't Manage Anxiety or Stress
While in the fight/flight/freeze zone, your body will be greatly stressed. Your muscles will be tight and your digestive system will fail to function well. You may even become ill.
Trauma causes anxiety to skyrocket so that you're unable to relax. It also keeps you from being able to go to sleep.
Due to the threat of more danger or hurt, your body is keeping you prepared to defend yourself. This is why it remains tense.
#3 Symptom -- Panic Attacks
Despite the common belief that panic attacks happen randomly, they do not.
In fact, they're often associated with overwhelm. And, of course, you're never more overwhelmed than when you're battling the effects of trauma.
When you're already trying to patch together your life, you have no emotional space for the sensory input from driving or from the grocery store. You have no mental room for making one more decision, no matter how small.
When you're struggling to not drown, it's understandable that you wouldn't want to consider how to navigate busy traffic or a chaotic grocery store.
Signs of Relationship Trauma
PTSD-type symptoms can result from relationship ruptures where your view of reality is torn to shreds.
This happens when your trust in the love, security, and future of a relationship with someone is destroyed.
Trauma has the added effect of making you feel as though you're crazy or losing your mind.
However, what's really going on is that your inner self is desperately grasping for safety and reassurance.
As it does this, you'll experience racing thoughts, intense anxiety, and panic attacks.
If you see yourself as crazy, this will further the idea that you are helpless.
If you see what's happening as a direct result of what's been done to you, then you can begin to take charge and obtain healing for the damage.
My Mastering Emotions Program is a possible solution for this. You can check it out HERE.