The air in my lungs freezes. I can no longer breathe. My heartbeat is beating out of my chest. I can't seem to stop shaking. The thoughts in my mind screech to a halt, slamming into each other.
My hand flies to my chest as the overwhelming feelings of fear and hysterics open up a hole inside me. Static, nervous buzzing energy spreads throughout my entire body. The sensation that goes up my spine causes my knees to knock together. I nearly buckle to the floor.
The restless buzz causes my scrambled brain to pick back up where it left off. Thoughts began to multiply, causing confusion. There is no beginning or end, as everything blurs together. The only thing I can recognize is questions.
Questions that analyze my self-worth. What sort of value do I hold to someone else, if I do not value myself? I feel fake. Am I a fraud? Am I destined to one day be exposed for lies? Impossible... or is it? I have been lied to. I do not lie.
What can you do when you are attacked? Harmed by your own emotions, inhibited by your own mind. Your very being is a prison.
Somewhere inside this deep-seated darkness is a comfort. But that's preposterous! Right?
Guys. I have to be honest.
This attack of panic and anxiety happens to me daily. Every word typed is that of personal experience. And oh, how I wish to be normal. This affects everything! Every aspect of my life is impacted. This thick flow of turbulent emotions has triggers. The moments of insecurity intermingle with the past and the present, leaving me confused and defeated.
I am here writing this now so I may divulge my knowledge in the hopes of extending a helping hand, and to find those who share in my experiences...
Insecurities can stem from many places. Most of the time, it's from a wound that was left to fester. The most common originates from early childhood relationships. When trauma takes place at such a young age, the child develops unhealthy mindsets. Thoughts that are born from this often include self-demeaning and self-deprecating comments.
"Don't trust it. Not safe!"
"I can't reach out, I don't want to be a burden."
"My feelings don't matter. Not to anyone."
"It doesn't matter that I'm hurt. Just move on..."
I know what you're thinking! I do. It's not healthy to think these things about oneself. I agree! These thoughts help at the moment, only to get by one day at a time. A temporary way to cope.
For growing children and young teens emerging as adults, this inner dialogue can be lethal. They carry this inner dialogue with them throughout most of their lives, if not all of it.
Where does it stem from? Many sources. It could be from inconsistent parenting, losing a loved one, abuse, or a divorce. It can also come from one's environment. Unpredictability in daily life can lead to anxiety in any and all ordinary, routine events.
In adulthood, many aspects are still affected, one of them being relationships.
Insecurities vs. Intimacy
Once someone who experienced trauma enters a relationship, I find it's for various reasons. They subconsciously strive to re-live their childhood events in someone who shows an abusive nature. This happens often, as they do not see why they are compelled to seek this type of relationship.
Childhood or teen trauma cannot be mended this way, of course. Unless both partners are willing to work on the problem and break the cycle. If not, they could be stuck forever.
When someone with post-traumatic stress enters any sort of lasting relationship, they experience many things.
Some of them being:
- Compulsive behavior
- Substance dependency (food, drinking, medication, etc)
- Frequent panic attacks or anxiety
- Persistent doubt of oneself
- Suicidal thoughts
- Acting upon the adverse behavior they experienced as a child
Impact on Relationships
Trauma that is not resolved will become a huge dynamic in any relationship, be it intimate or not. It can cause explosive emotions, ineffective communication, and fast escalation of any issues.
- Unresponsive behavior
- Heightened reactions to small events
- Inability to properly communicate through problems
- Convinces themselves that their partner is against them when they are not
- Constant self-doubt about their partner's love and faithfulness
- Disagreements that are fueled by emotion
When these issues arise, it heavily affects the person that it originates from. Not only that, but their partner as well! If both agree, the couple can attend counseling. From there they can unravel the issues and find a resolution.
However, many people do not know they have trauma. If this is the case, therapy would definitely help. In doing this, it helps the person and or couple see how they experienced trauma, how it affects them to this day, and how it impacts current relationships.
This step is important if taken. The information gained from a single visit could provide insight on separating past problems from the present ones. This can be achieved on a deeper level if done individually, apart from a couple.
The Importance of Self Care
When relationships involve any type of trauma, be it one partner or both, support systems tend to be different. How does one partner respond to the other during spikes of depression? How do you de-escalate a situation with overwhelming emotions and negativity?
Being a couple and attending therapy is the most effective way to find the best methods to heal. But here's a problem... Not everyone can afford it! Does that mean you're out of luck? Absolutely not.
There is advice everywhere on the internet as well as other sources!
General tips include:
- A good support system for you and your partner! Make time for family and friends who are positive about your relationship, and who only want you to succeed.
- If it is a viable option, a trauma therapist can guide you individually or as a couple, to better help understand yourselves easier.
- There are many support groups scattered across the interwebs as well.
- Psychoeducation! Take time to learn about healing techniques, trauma, and self-care.
- If you or your partner have any hobbies, encourage them to do what makes them happy!
Communicating with Trauma Survivors
The most important for last! If any healthy connection to a trauma survivor is to be made, communication is key. Being in a relationship and dealing with the issues it causes can cause paranoia, fear, and can possibly trigger flashbacks.
Learning effective communication skills helps bring back the feeling of calmness and comfort. Doing this helps them along the way as they discover and understand more of their trauma.
Examples of good communication include:
- Mindfulness, and awareness. The more aware you are of the situation, the easier it is to recognize triggers.
- Good observation skills will also help each partner recognize when the situation is about to escalate, and when to step back from climbing emotions.
Remember when I mentioned flashbacks? Good, it's important! Flashbacks can be visual or emotional. Emotional flashbacks tend to bring back the same feelings and thoughts from a previous point in time. Visual flashbacks happen in the mind on a vivid level, as if they were physically there! Although, it is not always one or the other.
Many helpful tips are out there to help your partner during one of these flashbacks, or attacks. There is one such technique I use religiously:
Calling attention to the here and now!
This is extremely helpful. Doing this pulls them out of the inner conflict in their mind, and to their immediate surroundings. Asking them the date, where they are, what time of day it is, their name, their favorite color, or what they ate that day refocuses their thoughts.
Healing any kind of trauma can be intricate work, but the payout is huge. Taking baby steps is important. You can lose your footing amongst your progress by trying to charge in head first too fast!
Trauma creates many deep insecurities. But the more we understand how much it impacts everyday life the more we can help those touched by it.
Everyone deserves the feeling of security and healthier relationships with their partners, family, and friends.
On that note, I'd like to thank you guys for taking the time to read through what I know about trauma, insecurities, and the impact it all truly has. Hopefully, extending that helping hand was a success...