Being in a relationship often means allowing someone close enough to see not just your best moments, but also your vulnerabilities. Among these vulnerabilities are the old wounds we carry with us—past hurts, betrayals, or traumas that, when revisited, can bring forth a profound sense of unease. When such a wound begins to resurface in the context of a romantic relationship, it’s accompanied by a specific kind of dread. This dread arises from the realization that past experiences, which might not have been adequately processed or healed, could adversely impact the present relationship. You might find yourself questioning the triggers, trying to decipher the reasons behind this resurfacing pain, and seeking ways to halt this recurring cycle.
Relationship wounds, much like physical ones, can vary in intensity and complexity. Some are mere scratches, while others penetrate deeper layers of our psyche. For these deeper, more persistent wounds, mere time or distraction is seldom sufficient for healing. They often require intentional effort and introspection to truly process the root cause and the associated emotions. Furthermore, navigating this healing process alone can be daunting, which is why seeking the assistance of a therapist or counselor can be invaluable. These professionals provide guidance, support, and the necessary tools to delve into these wounds, enabling individuals to understand, process, and eventually find closure.
Why Does This Keep Happening To Me?
As humans we seek out emotional connections, attachments, and a place of belonging. If this connection is broken it may lead to a relationship wound. A relationship wound is a combination of an emotional reaction and a new belief forming. This combination could be a reaction of pain and a belief that you are not good enough, or one of betrayal and belief that everyone leaves.
The emotion and belief can settle into your subconscious and raise its head when you engage in a new relationship. When a relationship wound is formed it may need active processing for you to allow the emotion to ease and to reframe the belief. This process can lessen the likelihood of the wound internalizing and returning to plague you.
If you find yourself with a relationship wound that keeps returning, you may benefit from unpacking this wound, understanding where it comes from, and working through the emotions and beliefs that are now attached to it. Bringing the wound to consciousness in a non-judgemental and curious manner usually results in understanding and healing.
What Can I Do To Process This Wound?
Self-awareness is usually a great starting point. Accepting that there is a relationship wound and preparing for involvement in the healing process can be the next step. Holding in mind that this process may require self-reflection, patience, confirmation, the processing of painful thoughts and memories, and active participation in reframing beliefs. Remember that you are capable and you do not have to walk this journey alone.
It may be helpful to create a support system while you process this wound. If you are in a current relationship it may be useful to explain what you are going through to your partner and get their support and understanding. Having a friend or family member that you feel safe talking to can provide comfort. You can also reach out to a therapist to hold a safe space for you to explore this wound and heal from it.
During this journey you may find yourself facing some of the following points:
1. Understanding Your Patterns
As you begin to unpack this wound you may find yourself in the position where you need to understand the patterns that have resulted from it. You may need to find the origin or root of the wound. This could involve traveling back to the past to find where you first experienced this wound.
You may not be able to remember the situation exactly, especially if this wound is rooted in childhood. However, you may be able to gain a better understanding of the circumstances that created the wound.
This understanding gives you knowledge and self-awareness. With this new found awareness you may be able to recognize when you are triggered in your relationship and you can learn how to not respond with your wounded part. Instead you can focus on the current situation.
2. Acknowledge And Validate Your Emotions
At times you may feel that your emotions are ‘over the top’ or irrational. This may be because the emotions you are feeling are ones that attach to the wound and not the current situation. However, there is usually no reason to invalidate your feelings and reactions. With your newfound awareness you can look kindly on your emotional reactions and acknowledge their origin.
A simple validation can be powerful and help you move toward accepting yourself with compassion. There may be feelings of guilt and shame linked to this experience and you may feel inclined to blame yourself for the current situation. It is helpful to remember that treating yourself with compassion rather than blame can move you forward in your healing.
3. Challenge Negative Beliefs
If your wound has created negative beliefs about yourself or relationships then you may have to look at reframing them. When you challenge and reframe a belief you are shifting the way you view the world. This shift can give you a new perspective and this may help you heal the relationship wound.
You can challenge these negative beliefs by becoming aware of them and asking yourself without judgment, ‘Is this helpful to me?’ If you find that the belief is not helpful to you, then you may wish to reframe it into something that would be more helpful to you and your future relationships.
4. One Step At A Time
Healing old wounds takes time and patience. You may find yourself upset that you haven’t fully healed or are still needing to actively work with your thoughts and beliefs. This is not a race, it can be better to take your time and be patient with yourself. If you do this you may find that you heal completely from the wound.
Seeing yourself with compassion can also help you be patient with your journey. You may need to feel the emotions that you have pushed away for so long, get in touch with painful past memories, or challenge yourself to step away from a behavior pattern. This is called active engagement. With active engagement you may feel overwhelmed at times and need to take a break before continuing. Patience can help you temper the pace of your journey.
5. Seek External Support
As much as personal insight and introspection are powerful tools for healing, sometimes the weight of our wounds demands an external perspective. Seeking guidance from a trusted therapist, counselor, or life coach can provide clarity, strategies, and tools tailored for your unique situation. These professionals can act as an anchor during turbulent times, offering consistent and non-judgmental support. They can also introduce coping mechanisms you might not have encountered on your own. Remember, seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a testament to your commitment to personal growth and betterment. It can be an essential part of mending relationship wounds and fostering deeper connections in the future.
Healing from an old relationship wound can be a journey that you decide to take. This journey may take you to your past memories, present behaviors, and possible future reframings. You do not need to go on this journey alone. Reaching out to a support system can be helpful.
Reaching out to a professional to assist you can be a helpful step to take. Contact us and make an appointment to begin your journey.