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March 1, 2024


And we are so convinced that we are in the right, because it feels like it comes from the gut. But very often, it instead represents a coping method that has been created because of a trauma bond. 

Trauma is not always large and obvious. ‘Little T’ trauma can be subtle and can be altering how you show up every day so that a parent or caregiver doesn’t aggressively shout at you or punish you in some way. It can be transforming yourself into the ‘shock absorber’ in the family who mediates, and repackages and softens the impact of incidents and words for other people in order to limit conflict, upset, anger or aggression.

Now in adulthood it looks like resentment for your partner when you feel like they don’t see your needs. But they don’t, because you’ve learned to alter yourself and suppress your needs because of your fear of conflict or genuine repercussions.

It can be pulling back from intimacy in adulthood because of a past experience of chronic intrusiveness so that intimacy now feels threatening. Now it looks like a resistance and a denigration perhaps of the partner’s attempt to connect.

It can be over-reacting to a partner’s quiet mood because it represents a past experience of being ‘cut off’ from a parent or caregiver, which in childhood, feels like shaming. Now it looks like berating the quiet partner for the perception that they are somehow silently punishing you.

If you find yourself in repeated relationship patterns of difficulty, put what you think you know aside, and be prepared to question what you see as ‘warranted’ behaviour. How you show up is part of the relationship pattern, and with a little support and reminding and guidance, this is something you have complete control over.