In this article I will teach you how to heal from past relationships. I will present the signs of unhealed trauma and explain how to heal from your past traumatic relationships and early childhood experiences.
Unhealed past relationships can be extremely damaging for your mental and physical health. It is important to recognize the symptoms of unhealed relationship trauma in order to move on and be able to be your best self.
Trauma is deeper than just being stuck in the past. By understanding the symptoms of relationship trauma and identifying your personal triggers, you can start the healing process.
7 Signs of unhealed relationship trauma
1. You feel physically drained. Research show that unhealed trauma can make physical pain more intense. This is a result of putting your body constantly under pressure. When you are stressed or anxious, you activate the flight or fight response in your body. To get back to normality after the perceived threat, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for your body to return to its pre-arousal level. Being in a relationship that often raises your stress hormones, can weaken the immune system, worsen the physical pain and leave you physically drained.
2. You feel disconnected. After relationship trauma, you might feel disconnected and detached from reality. Research has shown that dissociation is a self-defense mechanism against pain and suffering. Your mind unconsciously detaches from your reality, from your feelings and emotions in order to protect itself from more trauma. As a result, you feel emotionally disconnected from yourself and unable to feel intense emotions, both positive or negative.
3. Your mind works differently. After a traumatic relationship, you might notice you forget things, you cannot focus on completing simple tasks and you feel your mind is out of control. Also, you feel frustrated and angry for minor issues. You might feel restfulness and unable to calm and relax.
4. You develop trust issues even with people you know. After a traumatic relationship, you might find it harder to trust people, even friends and family. Your ability to feel safe and connected with other people is changed. Your mind will look for triggers and reinforce them in order to protect you from suffering.
5. You feel on edge. After unhealed relationship trauma, you always feel on edge. You might seek different sensations by engaging in dangerous activities. This is in order to feel a sense of relief and to get a break from your feelings and emotions.
6. You blame yourself. When the relationship trauma is not healed, you tend to blame yourself or look for reasons to blame yourself. You constantly think of what you might have done differently to avoid getting to this point.
7. You have unjustified anxiety. The triggers from anxiety when it comes to past trauma are sometimes unknown. You might encounter unjustified anxiety in moments when everything is going smoothly. The emotional triggers build by your subconscious might reveal themselves in inappropriate moments that have no apparent correlation with the trauma.
6 Steps to heal from past relationships
“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”- Eckhart Tolle
The first step to healing is awareness. Recognize the signs of past relationships trauma above and be aware of what you need to heal. Think about past relationships and what trauma sticks out in your memory, what is the reason you were most hurt by. Also, go back to your early childhood experiences and think what unhealed trauma you might re-enforce in your present relationship. This is one of the biggest healing challenges as most of your childhood trauma might be repressed. Take small steps and think of memories where you felt abused, sad or rejected.
”You don’t need strength to let go of something. What you really need is understanding.”- Guy Finley
Look at your past relationships from a more logical, rational and objective point of view. Discover a new perspective for your past relationships. Analyze the things that were real and look for the ones that might have been created by your mind. Now that you are not in the relationship, try to understand your ex-partner point of view more objectively. Think of what have hurt you the most and try to understand why it had a negative impact on you. Find your triggers and work on overcoming them.
“That is what compassion does. It challenges our assumptions, our sense of self-limitation, worthlessness, of not having a place in the world. As we develop compassion, our hearts open.”- Sharon Salzberg
Compassion, especially self-compassion is essential for the healing process. Go back to your childhood memories and look at your experiences with self-love and self-compassion. Look at your past relationships and past mistakes with compassion and understanding, forgive yourself and move on towards becoming a better self. Moreover, offer compassion and empathy to everyone else involved by trying to put yourself in their situation and asking yourself why they might have hurt you. Being able to empathize with the person that hurt you, will help diminish your anger and frustration towards them.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”- Louis B. Smedes
Learning how to forgive people that hurt you is the hardest and most important step in the healing process. Resentment is a punishment you bring to yourself, not to the person that hurt you. Holding on to anger and frustration stops you for living happy and healthy. By forgiving your ex-partners for the pain they caused you, you are offering yourself the gift of freedom. And once you are free from the past, you can live in the present. Learning to forgive is an act of self-love.
”Whatever worked in the past, build on it; whatever didn’t work in the past, break the chain that binds you to it.”- Marianne Williamson
After you have forgiven the people that have hurt you in the past, it is time to reflect on the lessons that you have learned from your childhood and past-relationships and think of how you are going to take these lessons in your life and future relationships. Think of what they have taught you, how they have made you stronger and better and what you need to avoid in the future. At the end of a traumatic relationship or painful experience you can choose if it will change you for the worst or for the best. Learning and taking the lessons with you will stop you repeating the same mistakes.
“Embrace each challenge in your life as an opportunity for self-transformation.” Bernie S. Siegel
The completion of the 5 first steps will bring another perspective towards your situation, a perspective of love. You can re-write your story in a way that will benefit your life, free of guilt, blame and resentment. Ask yourself what limiting beliefs have stopped you from healing from your past relationships. . Be kind to yourself and transform the story that has kept you from being your amazing self. Take control of your life, heal and let go of the past and focus on the present moment and on how you would like to live your life from this moment.
I hope this article taught you how to heal from past relationships, what are the signs of past relationships trauma and what steps to take in order to heal yourself and transform your life. Focus on the present, learn from the past and be excited about the future!
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer them.
All the best,
(Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)
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