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Mental Health

Relationship And Childhood Trauma Still Surface In My Marriage

My husband and I have been together for over five years.

Throughout our relationship, he has been my biggest supporter, especially regarding my healing journey.

We are in a secure, healthy, happy marriage, yet… the effects from past abusive relationships and a tumultuous childhood still impact my mental health.

However, although trauma affects my relationship daily, it’s nothing as it was initially. I can control/renavigate my thoughts and feelings these days, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t present here and there.

Explaining how trauma resurfaces in my marriage is meant to remind other victims that healing from trauma will never be linear. Specific life events/various factors will determine whether or not trauma surfaces.

For example…

There are moments when I doubt my worth.

My husband and his family are kind, generous, and loving people. In the initial stages of our dating, their dynamics constantly caused me to question myself and whether or not I deserved to be in their orbit.

It has taken over five years for me to accept that his family is my family too.

Those of us who grew up in environments where we were belittled, invalidated, and put down, struggle to accept compliments, validation, and encouragement.

It’s easy to believe we are unworthy of love and security because we grew up with the opposite. However, we are worthy, and I must constantly remind myself to retrain the old thoughts of saying I wasn’t enough.

There is a constant question top of my mind of whether or not I should ever be a mother.

My relationship with my birth mother is tumultuous at best.

We haven’t seen each other in over a decade, and although civil, it feels as if I’m talking to a distant aunt on the rare occasions we communicate. Although I know logically, I am entirely different from her; I still have intrusive thoughts.

What if I have a child and abandon it?

What if I turn my back on my husband?

What if I become shut down and ice out everyone in my life?

Whether or not my husband and I decide to have children is our decision alone, but trauma, fear from abandonment, and family dynamics should not be a factor.

I project my insecurities unto my partner.

There are times when I don’t fully trust myself in my relationship. I don’t fully trust myself not to self-harm again even though it’s been years, or I don’t fully trust myself to self-moderate.

Those insecurities are ugly at times. I’ll find myself upset at my husband for having a beer (after not drinking for months on end) or spiral when he hangs with his best friends, even though I know exactly what is happening because he’s communicating.

When the roles are reversed, my husband never comments on what I do unless it’s genuinely harmful, and he loves when I’m with my friends. I continually have to fight to overcome the urge to project the flurry of my insecurities.

Don’t allow your insecurities to take over your entire being. If you cannot control them and find them spiraling repeatedly, it may be time to seek help, as there are tools you can use to manage these painful feelings.

We both have to work to communicate more frequently.

My husband is a massive advocate of honesty. Throughout our relationship, we have worked through misguided choices and behaviors that have caused us to hurt each other.

However, communication because I struggle with defensiveness and sometimes want to withdraw entirely from him.

Those are the times when communicating as much as possible is critical for both of us, so I’m not distant, and he’s unaware of the chaos inside my head.

It may seem bleak, but to put healing in perspective, a few years ago, the trauma was all I felt. It caused PTSD, self-harm, night terrors, paranoia, and sometimes it felt like I was drowning.

Today, as I wake up, I find breathing easy. I can feel the happiness and love surrounding encompassing my orbit. None of it would be possible without being kind to myself every day and remembering that the thoughts and feelings from trauma may resurface… but we have the power to overcome.

Carrie Wynn



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