Relationships need to have a strong foundation built on love, loyalty, and respect. It becomes an obligation that you and your partner will share most things with each other. Your happiness becomes their happiness, and your grief becomes their grief. In every healthy relationship, your partner should stand with you through thick and thin, which just further proves their love to you.
They do so much for you, and it is your duty to give them the love and support they deserve, especially on the days when they need it the most. No one is happy every moment of every day throughout their lives. It is impossible to remain positive all the time. However, when your partner finds themselves at the lowest point of their lives, they need you to help lift them back to their feet and encourage them to grow and become the best version of themselves.
You are supposed to do all that without making them feel disappointed in themselves and while still appreciating their worth.
How Does Trauma Affect Their Behavior?
If your partner trusts you and feels comfortable sharing their deepest and darkest experiences with you, you will not necessarily face any difficulty in identifying their trauma. You need to connect the dots and find out how the traumatic experience has changed your partner and what you can do to help.
Something might have happened to your partner that scarred them emotionally, and the fact that they trust you and tell you about the experience should not be taken for granted. Emotional trauma that impacts people deeply include experiences like:
- Neglect as child
- Major injury or illness
- Experiencing or witnessing violence
- Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse
- Natural disasters
- Death of loved ones
- Being a target of discrimination
These traumas can sit inside the mind of your loved one, and the memory can produce some intense emotions in them. To help them overcome their trauma, you need to understand what triggers their intense behavior. The trauma can be so deep-rooted that their behavioral patterns eventually become inseparable from them.
If they are not treated with enough care and love, the trauma can eventually become a defining point of their lives. This can be dangerous, and for that, you need to recognize the attributes that your partner has adopted since the trauma. These attributes might include:
- Aggressive behavior
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Feeling overwhelmed (shaking or sobbing)
- Violent or self-harming behavior
- Showing no interest in things people would normally enjoy
- Difficulty focusing
- Substance use
- Being sexually distant
How to Help Them Overcome Their Trauma
Being a genuine caretaker of your partner, you want to be there during their toughest time. This may be a challenge for you, but at the end of the day, your partner will be appreciative and encouraged by you sticking around and putting in your best to make the relationship work.
Learn About Your Partner’s Trauma
If you are not used to looking up things online or researching, then you should make it a habit. Not only will it benefit you in the long run, but it is much better than educating yourself on your partner’s trauma by asking them. Not only can it be tough for them to understand their trauma and put it into words, but it may also trigger them. Learn to be compassionate towards them and find out your role in their life as they are living with their trauma.
Identify Their Triggers
It is important to identify what triggers your partner. There must be certain habits or things you say that might trigger them. Try recalling these things and find out what exactly triggers them without directly asking them, as that could trigger some unwanted behavior. It is best if you put some effort into recognizing their triggers. By figuring this out, you will be more cautious and aware of the best way to communicate with your partner.
Scaling Their Distress Levels
While they are going through anxiety or panic attacks, it is important that you have a calming spirit about you that your partner can turn to for comfort. You can help them calm down by helping them manage their distress. You can enquire about how distressed they are feeling, and if they have difficulty explaining that to you, offer them a scale from 1-10 and ask them what their distress level is.
You can help them manage their anxiety based on the level they say they are at. For example, if they are at 10, it is obvious that they need professional help. If they are around the 3 to 5 range, your partner can focus on themselves and regulate their distress level.
Understanding Your Boundaries
If the trauma of your partner has enabled them to begin a cycle of abuse towards you or your family, it is important that you set boundaries to prevent that from happening. You are not responsible for their trauma, and if they are not willing to put in their best to bring a change in themselves, you mustn’t be the sacrificial goat of your relationship.
Getting couple’s therapy or therapy for your partner is a healthy sign that your partner wants to work on themselves to bring about change. You are not responsible for their trauma, and there is no reason for you to feel guilty about it. It would be selfish of your partner to expect a lot from you, considering that you are human, too, and you may have even had similar experiences. In that case, it is best to seek professional help, as you are not in a place to help your partner.
Oftentimes, your relationship is met with emotional challenges that can become fairly difficult to work through. Your patience and perseverance towards your partner are crucial to making it through the hard times that you and your partner are going through. You may not officially be their therapist, but they will appreciate it if you are there for them when they need you the most.