People who have been mistreated by others may have a very hard time healing, because they may feel triggered by the main thing that can help their trauma: social relationships. Luckily, relational healing can help you out of this painful position.
Relational healing involves consciously using your bond with a chosen, healthy person, to build both a safe space and a healthier template for future relationships.
Relational healing allows you to reclaim the feel-good power of social connection, which often feels inaccessible to those who have been socially injured.
This reference sheet is good for people who have experienced:
Effects of our earliest attachments can be seen everyday, in our current relationships with others. When these effects cause us trouble in relationships, we may refer to them as “attachment issues.”
Attachment and complex trauma therapist Pete Walker, MA explains that if we experience early relationships as dangerous (“dangerous by contemptuous voice or heavy hand, or more insidiously, dangerous by remoteness and indifference”), we become much more easily to experience later attachment issues:
“Recurring abuse and neglect habituate children to living in fear and sympathetic nervous system arousal, which over time creates in them an easily triggerable abandonment melange of overwhelming fear, shame and depression.”
The solution to this unhelpful “habituation” or conditioning is to create a new process that will condition you to safer social conditions. This involves finding one person with whom you share common values, goals, and emotional experiences, and helping each other heal through mutual, safe support. Walker calls this “relational healing,” and its goal is “earned secure attachment.”
Relational healing can help cement new, healthier relationship patterns, to heal from social trauma.
Walker shares: “Many of the clients who come through my door have never had a safe enough relationship. Repetition compulsion has compelled them to unconsciously seek out relationships in adulthood that traumatically reenact the abusive and/or abandoning dynamics of their childhood caretakers.”