Unburdening Yourself: How to Talk about Trauma with a Spouse

The trauma you experience can have a profound impact on your life. Almost 70 percent of American adults claim they’ve experienced at least one traumatic event in their lives. Take a moment to think about it—that’s over 200 million people who are constantly navigating their lives through the lens of their traumatic past.

Trauma can stem from various lifetime experiences; they may be one-time incidents or repetitive events that lasted a long time. Either way, the insidious impact of trauma can hover over you for the rest of life, and you may not even realize it.

How does trauma affect your relationship?

Trauma doesn’t just affect your psychological wellbeing, it can also take a toll on your physical and emotional welfare. The subtle impacts of trauma can continue to cause ripples throughout your life.

Many survivors of trauma live with emotional dysregulation, feelings of numbness, physical distress and ailments, sleep disorders, altered cognitive functioning, and behavioral changes.

As someone whose idea of reality is so inextricably tied to their trauma, you may not even realize the ways you cope with it. However, it can seep into the very fabric of your intimate relationships, causing challenges along the way.

Not opening up to your spouse or partner about your past traumatic experiences can hold you back from receiving the nurturing support of a loved one. Whether it’s difficult to recall those incidents or you’re too embarrassed to talk about them with your spouse, your past can hinder your present and future relationships.

couple having a misunderstanding

Learn to unburden yourself

A healthy, loving relationship built on the foundation of mutual respect and love is beautiful. It allows you to open yourself up to vulnerabilities and forge a fulfilling bond. The sense of companionship stems from trusting your partner or spouse and becoming the best version of yourself.

For someone who’s had traumatic experiences in the past, however, it isn’t so easy to overcome the emotional challenges along the way.

It’s important to remember that your relationship gives you the unique opportunity to break free from the shame spiral. Allowing someone in and letting yourself be vulnerable can create a healthier bond between you two.

Of course, talking to your spouse about your past trauma requires support, trust, and belief from both parties. A partner who assures you that your feelings and concerns are valid, instead of dismissing or minimizing them, will help you work through a recovery process.

Facilitate communication with your spouse

Communication is essential to any relationship’s success, especially one where one partner is living with the lasting wounds of trauma.

Seeking trauma-informed care through the help of a counselor can help you navigate the intricacies of your experiences. If you’ve struggled to communicate your struggles in a healthy way, just remember that you’re not the one to blame.

Trauma can have a tremendous impact on every aspect of your being and a couples counselor can help you and your spouse make sense of it. In the safe space, you’ll be able to voice your feelings and discuss the challenges you face.

When you begin your recovery journey and find the support you need, you can heal from the complex traumas that have held you back. Your partner may not be equipped to help you through the process, but their constant love and support will take a burden off your shoulders.

Develop the tools to improve communication with Dr. Azizeh E. Rezaiyan. As a marriage and relationship counselor in the Bay Area, she can guide you to the potential paths to recovery.

Seeking the help of a counselor is a great start. Get in touch with us at Silicon Valley Marriage Counseling by calling at (650)-206-9973, you can schedule a free 10-minute consultation before you begin.

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