Trauma and Relationships

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Trauma can have a profound impact on our relationship both in childhood and adulthood.

Common signs that untreated early trauma may be impacting on adult relationships can include “rollercoaster” relationships which flip between intense conflict and idealization; extreme fears of being abandoned or rejected; repeated infidelity in monogamous relationships, isolation and withdrawal; sexual difficulties, attempts to control others, repeatedly becoming involved with unavailable people, or beginning new romantic relationships before ending with the current partner. 

Because the physical and emotional symptoms of trauma are often very distressing, survivors are often forced to rely on a range of addictive and compulsive behaviours in attempts to reduce their distress. Although these behaviours sometimes provide short-term relief, they more often cause increased long-term distress, and can be an ongoing source of conflict and disruption in relationships.

Common behavioural problems which may indicate the presence of untreated trauma include addictive or compulsive use of drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, sex, or risk taking (such as shoplifting or dangerous driving), relationship seeking, or chronic people-pleasing.

If you believe you or someone you care about may be affected by the consequences of untreated trauma, talking with a Clinical Psychologist trained in the diagnosis and treatment of trauma can help you, or those you care about, to find a way forward.  Contact us at the Psychology, Trauma & Mindfulness Centre for more information or to make an appointment.