How Trauma Affects Relationships

How Trauma Affects Relationships

It is important to understand how trauma affects relationships.

Trauma can cause anger to turn inward, and create feelings of bitterness and resentment towards your partner.

Trauma can affect relationships by causing a breakdown in communication. 

This breakdown in communication will inevitably lead to destructive behavior.

Trauma & PTSD Therapists in Colorado

Amber Chambless, LPC

Amber Chambless, LPC

(720) 449-4121
Shannon Hamm, LPC, CCTP

Shannon Hamm, LPC, CCTP

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Joseph Anders, LPCC

Joseph Anders, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Dominique Schweinhardt, MA, LPCC, LPP

Dominique Schweinhardt, MA, LPCC, LPP

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

(719) 345-2424
Randal Thomas, SWC

Randal Thomas, SWC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Katherine Miller, LPCC

Katherine Miller, LPCC

(720) 449-4121
Vanessa Dewitt, LCSW

Vanessa Dewitt, LCSW

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Bethany Cantrell, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Heather Comensky, LPC

Heather Comensky, LPC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121

How Trauma Affects Relationships: Communication

Breakdown in communication is one example of how trauma affects relationships.

Many who suffer from trauma often experience a sudden, explosive feeling of anger. And yet, moments later they refuse to express it, afraid of being judged or dismissed.

Those who suffer from trauma will often feel or say, "No matter how calmly I describe my needs and desires, my partner never seems to listen."

Fear of being criticized is another reason partners keep quiet about their trauma.

Silence in a relationship is dangerous. Silence breeds a breakdown in communication.

Many who suffer from trauma keep quiet out of a feeling of self-preservation. They already suffer and don't want to add additional suffering to their lives. 

How Trauma Affects Relationships: Admission 

Failure to admit trauma is another example of how trauma affects relationships.

A partner may refuse or is unable to admit they are angry. In order to heal from trauma, you must be able to identify it and call it by name.

Why do so many people suffering from trauma fail to admit their anger?

A lot of people have misconceptions about anger because of popular stereotypes. "If I'm not shouting and breaking things," people say, "then I'm not angry."

Traumatic anger is not always blowing up and losing your temper. In fact, more often than not, it is a silent killer of relationships.

Part of admitting that you suffer from trauma is identifying everyday behaviors and attitudes that poison a relationship.

Traumatic anger can be expressed in many subtle ways, such as little actions towards your partner that create a chasm between you.

Do you feel irritated by your partner's imperfections or mistakes?

Do you promise to do something nice for your partner, only to resent them when you're too busy?

Ever procrastinate doing chores or tasks you don't like, knowing it will annoy your partner?

Do you speak in sharp, snarky tones even when saying something nice? Sarcasm?

These are just a few of the little ways those suffering from traumatic anger 'act out' against their partner.

If you or your partner display these harmful behaviors, trauma may be affecting your relationship.

Identify it, admit it, and seek professional counseling. 

How Trauma Affects Relationships: Bottled-Up Emotions

Bottling up your emotions is yet another example of how trauma affects relationships.

You or your partner may become immune to angry or bitter feelings.

Bottled-up emotions in a relationship are like trying to sail a ship with the anchor down. It won't work.

If you don't express your traumatic feelings, or if you deny they even exist, you can slowly become immune to them.

Just because you become immune to traumatic feelings doesn't mean they go away. It simply means you've learned how to ignore them.

And to make matters worse, your partner can learn to ignore them too. Immunity to trauma makes the relationship stale and toxic.

That having been said- Nobody is immune to suffering from trauma, especially in a relationship.

When you're in a relationship, you're supposed to share. You're supposed to be a team, companions, and best friends.

And yet, when you suffer, inevitably your partner suffers too. That's why healing from the ways trauma can affect relationships needs to be a shared venture.

In a relationship, healing must happen together. 

How Trauma Affects Relationships: Frustration

Becoming frustrated is another example of how trauma affects relationships.

You can become frustrated with your own traumatic circumstances, losing hope for personal healing and recovery.

You can also become frustrated with your partner's trauma, afraid they will never be honest and seek help.

Frustration has a way of piling up over the years. It eats away slowly at relationships and poisons the bond between lovers and friends.

Frustration occurs when you 'put a lid' on your emotions. However, this out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach is dangerous to a relationship.

Many couples simply give up on ever achieving true healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

This occurs when bad habits are established in the relationship. It's easy to dismiss the signs and symptoms of trauma by saying, "Well, the honeymoon is over," or "No relationship is perfect."

True, no relationship is perfect. And no two people are perfect.

But part of healing from trauma is realizing and accepting that you and your partner are imperfect.

That's why you need each other. That's the purpose of a relationship.

Frustration is the opposite of hope. In order to heal from trauma, you must both embrace each other in the hope of healing. 

How Trauma Affects Relationships: Lack of Patience

Losing patience is an example of how trauma affects relationships.

Patience is the opposite of anger.

It can be easy to lose patience with your partner when they exhibit the signs and symptoms of suffering from trauma. Why?

When you're not angry, you feel calm and cool-headed. You feel loving, attentive, and caring.

However, when you get angry you react. You become rude, insensitive, and uncaring.

Being in a relationship usually means you spend a great deal of time together. Granted, that is the point of a relationship, and yet, it can also be a challenge.

When a partner is suffering from the trauma it can take a toll on the other partner. Healing requires patience.

Patience means never giving up hope for recovery and healing from trauma.

Patience is the bridge that leads to the other side of anger and eventual healing. In a relationship, you must cross that bridge together. 


There are many examples of how trauma affects relationships.

Traumatic anger can explode or simmer beneath the surface of any relationship. And yet, there is always hope.

And yet, healing and forgiveness are possible. Hope and love, thought to be lost, can be rediscovered.

If you or your partner suffers from trauma, please seek the help of a professional counselor.

Together, you can reclaim your relationship. 


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July 17th, 2024

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