Trauma in Relationships can be helped with Resilience

Relationships and trauma

Trauma in Relationships can be helped with resilience. Many experience the effects of trauma in their relationships.  It can dictate how we behave in a relationship and can also contribute to relationship anxiety. We all have experiences and habits that we bring to romance. If we don’t pay attention to them, they can wreak havoc on our partnerships. When these things include trauma from our past, they can be particularly problematic. Adverse Childhood Experiences (abbreviated as ACEs) are events we were exposed to as children. These can include divorce, physical, sexual or emotional abuse. If not reconciled in a healthy way, these issues can become a barrier to sustaining a healthy relationship.

Trauma in Relationships

It is estimated that only about half the population has secure attachment.See our post on trauma Secure attachment is the result of being raised by caregivers that are attentive and supportive. People with secure attachment do not have the challenges people with at least one ACE may bring. People with a trauma background can and likely will have things come up. Some of the behaviors, thought or feelings can be linked to their upbringing and might impede a healthy relationship. For example, if your fear of abandonment based upon an insecure childhood comes up, you might cling more to a partner.  This behavior can become overwhelming to your partner over time.

What We Can Do

The good news is we know this does not mean you are destined to be stuck like this forever. We know that with self-awareness and shifts in our perception, anyone can learn how to overcome these barriers. Despite what an ACE score may bring up, it is possible for anyone to become resilient and move towards becoming their more authentic selves. It may not be easy, and may require guidance, but as therapists, we are witness to these transformations all the time in our practices. We know it happens. When it does, there is a freedom that people experience that is joyful to behold. Once you can master some of the skills of recognizing and working on the issues, you may still experience unhealthy behavior but develop a different approach and  become more confident in your management skills. The individual is better and the partnership is, as well.

Where do we start?

So many people don’t know where to start to address the problem of our backgrounds and our current relationship. This is only one of many issues that can come up for us when we are dealing with adversity, relationship building, anxiety or depression.

When Myriam and I were discussing what we really wanted to share via the internet with regard to our experiences with mental health, after so many years as therapists, it made us both really look at the question with a depth that surprised us. We wanted to contribute to people’s well being, even if we did not have a chance to meet them in our office.

We Know Utilizing Resilience Works

Ironically, we are both in transition periods in our own lives. Of course, this is another one of many transitions we all have to engage in throughout our lifetimes. Often, however, we fail to recognize that these periods can enrich us. So, it seemed our own need to be resilient at this particular stage was profound for both of us and made us realize how important it is to recognize and build skills that see us through transitions.

Over the years, our clients have taught us extraordinary lessons on how to be resilient in the most difficult times and circumstances. We also saw themes emerge that suggested we could all learn to cultivate these skills with some guidance and perseverance. We asked ourselves, “What would be the best way to reach out to those in need, to help them access the resources that could serve them for a lifetime?”


When we started our project, we knew that going to therapy and simply finding a therapist who is competent and with whom you can build rapport ( compatibility with your therapist is the essential factor for better outcomes according to research) can be difficult. Costs also vary based upon insurance coverage and for some this is a barrier. There are other barriers, as well.  Could we open up a place on line for information? Sharing information and classes that might be enough for some to move forward. Others might want to use it as a starting place for determining if they should go the next step and find a therapist. That is the motive for designing our website and classes. With your help, that is the place we hope can be.

We don’t pretend to have all the answers or believe our approach is the best for you, but we’ve done the homework and the training and practiced years of therapy to bring what we feel is a simple, yet profound approach, to building resilience to address specific and general challenges we all inevitably encounter in life.  The most exciting prospect is that the internet has given us the ability to reach people that may not have other resources or support.

Please let us know if you have suggestions or questions.

All the best, Jim

Jim McErath, LCSW-R is a licensed mental health therapist in the state of New York

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