For many of us who have experienced trauma, it has been at the hands of another person.
Their actions towards us be it physical or psychological has affected us to such a degree, being romantically close to someone in the way we used to can seem like a daunting prospect.
So when we do cross paths with a special someone and a relationship starts to form, you’ll feel the butterflies in your stomach, the elation and the sparks flying between you etc.
But unlike the movies, when we find ourselves becoming more vulnerable for the first time in months or even years, our survival instincts start to kick in.
We may know this person wouldn’t hurt a fly but nonetheless we get scared at the thought of history repeating itself. We don’t want the most vulnerable facets of ourselves tarnished and torn to pieces like it was before.
Our minds start to spin with questions: What if they are just being charming? (Insert name here) also said this, will they be the same? Should I get close to this person or should I stop now before I could get hurt again?
It’s a duel to the death between your heart telling you you’re safe with this person and your survival instincts telling you to run in the opposite direction as fast as your legs can carry you.
Finding love again for anyone can feel scary to begin with. But finding love after experiencing abuse in a relationship can be terrifying.
You want to find a special someone to settle with, who supports and loves you for who you are more than anything. But opening up the layers of defence you’ve put around yourself, to share the most vulnerable part of yourself with after experiencing relationship abuse can be one of the scariest things there is.
Heartbreak is one thing. Heartbreak from abuse is in a whole other league of its own.
You feel the crippling self-doubt from the humiliation and rhetoric, the words of your former partner echoing in your ears of how you aren’t enough and how you were made to feel insane for standing up for your boundaries.
Communication is important for any relationship to thrive and be healthy.
Now for some people, talking about their experience is just too painful.
If you are a partner, let them know that you are there for them and ask them what they are comfortable/uncomfortable with. Don’t judge, pressure them or yell at them for not telling you.
For me personally, with my immediate circle I have been open from the start. I didn’t want to get to the point where I just couldn’t talk about it. So from the off, I was open about it.
When I first started dating my boyfriend, I was so happy because I’d met someone who just “got” me, who I could talk with for hours and feel completely myself with and feel like I never had with anyone else.
Nevertheless, when it came to finally letting my guard down, something I had been wanting to do for so long, my insides were shaking.
To my joy, he was absolutely great when I told him and still has been to this day.
A loving partner will do just that. Love you.
Not make you feel bad, not try to isolate you, not put you down. That isn’t love. If you decide to disclose what happened to you to a prospective partner and they do this, they are not worth your time. You deserve better.
A loving partner, be it a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife etc. will support you and be there for you through thick and thin and vice versa. They will love you for who you are and neither want nor try to change you.
This isn’t me saying to rely solely on a partner as a cure for trauma. Definitely not.
Getting professional help such as therapy and medication etc. along with self-care mechanisms will be what will really aid you to recover. If you have a loving and supportive partner, having that support network can really help for many people.
And that’s not to say you need to have a partner. If you prefer to stay single, that’s fine. You do you!
But if you do find love again with someone who is a good, understanding person who loves you for you, I wish you every happiness. You deserve it.
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