Could Childhood Trauma Affect Adult Relationships?

JUNE 11, 2012 BY RUTH BUCZYNSKI 8 COMMENTS
Romance can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, but for many people it can also be quite a challenge.
Beyond the normal hurdles of developing and sustaining relationships, recent research suggests that childhood abuse and neglect might make people more vulnerable to troubled romantic relationships in adulthood.
Professor Golan Shahar and Dana Lassri, of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel (BGU), conducted two studies with college students to see how early-life trauma and emotional abuse affect romantic relationships later in life.

Participants were asked to complete the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire to determine whether or not the participants had a history of Childhood Emotional Maltreatment (CEM).
Then, participants responded to questionnaires about both the quality of and their satisfaction with their current romantic relationship.
The researchers found a link between childhood emotional abuse and self-criticism, and a further link between childhood maltreatment, self-criticism, and dissatisfaction in romantic relationships.
Participants with a history of CEM tended to have low self-esteem and many also exhibited PTSD symptoms.
While many practitioners have already seen first-hand how unresolved childhood trauma can impact relationships throughout life, the key here is self-criticism.
It seems from this study that there’s a strong tendency to self-criticize in many people who’ve experienced CEM, and this is what leads to problems in intimate relationships.
This new connection between childhood trauma, self-criticism, and relationship problems may be a key factor in helping couples heal their relationship.
Please remember that because this is a non-randomized study with correlative findings, we have to be careful about the conclusions that we draw from it.
For the full story, you can check out the March issue of the Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology.
For practitioners, learning how to help trauma survivors connect with their loved ones is an important part of the healing process.
That’s why we created the Trauma Therapy Webinar Series – to share the wisdom of experts like Sue Johnson, EdD author of Hold Me Tight and Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors.
This week, Sue will explain how we can use intimate relationships to treat trauma, the unique challenges and opportunities of couple therapy – and why the best place to heal from trauma could be in the arms of someone you love.
It’s free to listen to the webinar at the time of broadcast – here’s the link to sign up.
Have you ever met a patient whose trauma affected their romantic life? Please leave a comment below – we would love to hear what you think.

Eckhart Tolle’s Weekly Reminder

So really what it comes down to, it’s God. Wherever you look, it’s God appearing as this, that, that…and what you really love and appreciate in each form is the divine formless out of which each form comes. But to be able to sense that you have to sense it in yourself first. And that is seeing the beauty in everything, that’s really what it means.  Eckhart Tolle

Loving the Being, Forgiving the Behavior

Heart

Image via Wikipedia

Be not afraid to love yourself with an open heart.  Feel how you love the animals of this beautiful Earth. Think how they touch your heart with loving acceptance of who you truly are.   Think how an act of kindness warms your heart and can bring tears to your eyes.  Visualize the sight of a sparkling mist hiding a snowy mountain peak, evaporating from a meadow.  Remember how your breath is sharply drawn in awe at the spectacular beauty of nature.  Be aware of how your heart opens to such beauty.  That is how God loves you….with total acceptance, no strings attached.

Think of something small about yourself you do not like.  Notice how that feels in your body.  Observe how often you separate from it.  Notice how your heart contracts.  It is peace that you are seeking.  Now, breathe into your feminine energy, drawing it in to fill you up in every cell, healing as it moves with a compassionate embrace as you would with a hurting child……….loving the Being and forgiving the behavior.  It matters not what it is or how it happened.  Love melts all.  Keep bathing yourself in love, swim in it, dive deeply into it……..this is where you truly live always.  This is your Home.

“Convention for those wounded in love” by Paul Coelho

Love this writing by Paul Coelho!!!   Enjoy………..

General provisions:

A – Whereas the saying “all is fair in love and war” is absolutely correct;

B – Whereas for war we have the Geneva Convention, approved on 22 August 1864, which provides for those wounded in the battle field, but until now no convention has been signed concerning those wounded in love, who are far greater in number;

It is hereby decreed that:

Article 1 – All lovers, of any sex, are alerted that love, besides being a blessing, is also something extremely dangerous, unpredictable and capable of causing serious damage. Consequently, anyone planning to love should be aware that they are exposing their body and soul to various types of wounds, and that they shall not be able to blame their partner at any moment, since the risk is the same for both.

Article 2 – Once struck by a stray arrow fired from Cupid’s bow, they should immediately ask the archer to shoot the same arrow in the opposite direction, so as not to be afflicted by the wound known as “unrequited love”. Should Cupid refuse to perform such a gesture, the Convention now being promulgated demands that the wounded partner remove the arrow from his/her heart and throw it in the garbage. In order to guarantee this, those concerned should avoid telephone calls, messages over the Internet, sending flowers that are always returned, or each and every means of seduction, since these may yield results in the short run but always end up wrong after a while. The Convention decrees that the wounded person should immediately seek the company of other people and try to control the obsessive thought: “this person is worth fighting for”.

Article 3 – If the wound is caused by third parties, in other words if the loved one has become interested in someone not in the script previously drafted, vengeance is expressly forbidden. In this case, it is allowed to use tears until the eyes dry up, to punch walls or pillows, to insult the ex-partner in conversations with friends, to allege his/her complete lack of taste, but without offending their honor. The Convention determines that the rule contained in Article 2 be applied: seek the company of other persons, preferably in places different from those frequented by the other party.

Article 4 – In the case of light wounds, herein classified as small treacheries, fulminating passions that are short-lived, passing sexual disinterest, the medicine called Pardon should be applied generously and quickly. Once this medicine has been applied, one should never reconsider one’s decision, not even once, and the theme must be completely forgotten and never used as an argument in a fight or in a moment of hatred.

Article 5 – In all definitive wounds, also known as “breaking up”, the only medicine capable of having an effect is called Time. It is no use seeking consolation from fortune-tellers (who always say that the lost lover will return), romantic books (which always have a happy ending), soap-operas on the television or other such things. One should suffer intensely, completely avoiding drugs, tranquilizers and praying to saints. Alcohol is only tolerated if kept to a maximum of two glasses of wine a day.

Final determination:
Those wounded in love, unlike those wounded in armed conflict, are neither victims nor torturers. They chose something that is part of life, and so they have to accept both the agony and the ecstasy of their choice.
And those who have never been wounded in love will never be able to say: “I have lived”.   Because they haven’t.

(Free to share. Just mention the author, please!) The author is Paul Coelho.

How to Deal with a Narcissist by Judith Orloff, MD

This is an article written by Judith Orloff, MD which is from a part of her book, “Emotional Freedom”.  This article is from Huffington Post.  I think it is a very helpful writing in dealing with the dynamics of narcissism…..particularly for those of us recovering codependents who sometimes seem to attract this personality type.

As a psychiatrist, I strongly believe that it is important to know about the narcissistic personality so you can have realistic expectations when dealing with coworkers, friends or family members who may have some of these qualities.

In “Emotional Freedom” I describe how to recognize a narcissist. Here are some ways: Their motto is “Me first!” Everything’s all about them. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement, crave admiration and attention. A legend in their own mind, the world is reflected in their image. They’ll corner you at a party, recount their life saga. Some narcissists are unlikable, flagrant egotists. Others can be charming, intelligent, caring — that is, until their guru-status is threatened. When you stop stroking their ego or beg to disagree, they can turn on you and become punishing. Once you catch onto this pattern, a narcissist seems about as charming as a banana peel.

These people are so dangerous because they lack empathy, have a limited capacity for unconditional love. Sadly, their hearts either haven’t developed or have been shut down due to early psychic trauma, such as being raised by narcissistic parents, a crippling handicap both emotionally and spiritually. The damage of narcissistic parenting is outstandingly detailed in Alice Miller’s “Drama of the Gifted Child.” Hard as it may be to comprehend, these people have little insight into their actions, nor do they regret them. Though often highly intuitive, they mainly use intuition for self-interest and manipulation. As the Hassidic proverb cautions, “There is no room for God in him that is full of himself.”

To find out if you’re dealing with a narcissist, ask yourself the following questions from “Emotional Freedom.”

QUIZ: Am I in a Relationship With a Narcissist?

  • Does the person act as if life revolves around him?
  • Do I have to compliment him to get his attention or approval?
  • Does the person constantly steer the conversation back to him or herself?
  • Does he or she downplay my feelings or interests?
  • If I disagree, does he or she become cold or withholding?

If you answer “yes” to one or two questions, it’s likely you’re dealing with a narcissist. Responding “yes” to three or more questions suggests that a narcissist is violating your emotional freedom.

Narcissists are hard nuts to crack. With these patients, the best I can do is align with their positive aspects and focus on behaviors that they agree aren’t working. Still, even if one wants to change, progress is limited, with meager gains. My professional advice: Don’t fall in love with a narcissist or entertain illusions they’re capable of the give and take necessary for intimacy. In such relationships you’ll always be emotionally alone to some degree. If you have a withholding narcissist spouse, beware of trying to win the nurturing you never got from your parents; it’s not going to happen. Also, don’t expect to have your sensitivity honored. These people sour love with all the hoops you must jump through to please them.

If a narcissist is draining you emotionally, use these methods to get your power back.

Lower Your Expectations and Strategize Your Needs

  • Keep your expectations realistic.
    Enjoy their good qualities, but understand they’re emotionally limited, even if they’re sophisticated in other ways. Accepting this, you won’t continue asking something of friends, family, or coworkers they can’t give. Consider this definition of insanity: when you repeat the same actions but expect a different response.
  • Never make your self-worth dependent on them.
    Don’t get caught in the trap of always trying to please a narcissist. Also protect your sensitivity. Refrain from confiding your deepest feelings to someone who won’t cherish them.
  • Show how something will be to their benefit.
  • To successfully communicate with narcissists, frame things this way. Stating your needs clearly rarely works, nor does getting angry, or demanding. Alternatively, speak to what means something to them. Instead of saying to your spouse, “I’d really enjoy going to a family dinner,” reframe it as, “Everyone really likes you. They’d be delighted to have you there.” Or instead of saying to your employer, “I’d prefer to work fewer nights,” say, “I can bring in more revenue for your company during these hours.” Naturally, it’s better not to have to contend with the tedious ego-stroking of a narcissist. But if the relationship is unavoidable, use this technique to achieve your desired outcome.
  • The video is here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/how-to-deal-with-a-narcis_b_676193.html
  • Are We Afraid of Our Shadows?

    I have been wondering  how awakening and reality can connect in a healthy way.   I hear from some people that they do not want to read the newspapers or listen to the happenings of the day.  They seem to feel that being in contact with the shadow side of life will contaminate their affirmative perspective of life.  Their focus appears to be on connecting with that which they consider to be higher realms of consciousness.  They want to live in the light, as many of us do, as well.   I guess they think that by associating with the reality of life with the corruption, war, poverty, racism,  deception, illness, sadness, powerlessless and all the rest of it, that their lights will be dimmed.   Perhaps they think that if they are busy awakening then……..everyone will be served…….eventually.

    I am wondering if that thinking pattern is based in fear?  If God flows through everything, then why is part of everything excluded?  Why is the part that would realistically cause us to cry out in injustice not recognized?  Why would we want to hide from it?  Remember ‘The Secret’?  And The Law of Attraction?  What is it that draws people to focusing on creating what they want….like cars and houses?  Are we being deluded by creating at the level of the ego?

    Because we all have inner work to do in varying degrees, isn’t that part which creates houses and cars (me stuff) more likely to be of ego vibration than Higher Self?   Asking the Divine Intelligence (or whatever you want to call it) to flow through us as we work to dissipate our emotional and mental blocks seems to me to be more effective than creating from our ego.   If I want peace in the world, my work is creating it in myself on all levels.  I can hold that thought for periods of time, but if I am embracing and clearing my shadows…..then my light shines more brightly in the world.  And the world reflects each and every light brightening.

    So why is it that some people are not able to embrace the shadow of the world?  Is it because they don’t want to embrace their own shadow and do their work?  Is their fear of their own deep inner work projected onto their connection of being in the world?  Didn’t Jesus say something like  ‘be of the world not in it’?   To me, that seems to mean be in the place of observer and not to be attached to it.  Being close to the fire we can get burned but only if we are attached.  If we are attached we will feel it as though it was our own process.  That is scary to some people.  But if we are clearing our own blocks,  then we do not attach to the suffering.  We can be an observer and release the attachment energy into concrete action.  We see it as it is…..in its teaching role for all us to become more Love.

    Mother Teresa saw God in all afflictions.  What if we can be in the world and turn the tables of the money-changers over as Jesus did?   What if we can be present and really hear the reality of life and not be overwhelmed?  What does that take?  Working our stuff which creates a higher vibration within ourselves so that we are not emotionally charged by our own past losses, deception, illnesses, poverty, injustices, etc.  Then our activist selves can work at our chosen level to facilitate change as we hold the vision of peace on earth, surrounding our world and everyone with healing luminescence.  Concrete activism can take place when we write our representatives about our visions, give money to assist those we need it, write articles, speak out, and volunteer to help where needed, and all the other beautiful things that people are doing right now.

    Julian Assange modeled that work for us this week.  His website, Wikileaks, released pages of war notes.  They are not pretty.   But they are necessary for us to read to increase our awareness of what is going on around us and what we are choosing to support with our money.   (However, publishing names of individuals who could be hurt by disclosure is not appropriate, IMO).  We can be aware of and send light to all involved in this war in all levels of government and countries, send light to the soldiers on all sides who commit abuses in the name of ‘peace and freedom’, send messages to Congress and others (and we do not focus on the outcome of our messages…..but on the doing of the action itself).  We can experience outrage at the injustices and move into action.  We do not need to be afraid of being stuck or contaminated by the injustice or our anger.  It is a teaching just as incidents and relationships in our own lives are teaching us to heal out of fear and victimization into Love.

    I imagine myself telling an Afghan woman who is struggling with fear for herself, her children, her family…….her dear life……..that I can’t hear because I am busy being awakened.  I will hold the light on for her, though.  I see her blank eyes stare at me.  My vibration expands if I see her in the present moment of her struggling, and I lend my heart and hand as I listen and really hear her pain ….without attachment……but deep compassion………to speak out for her, to seek accountability, to send money, to write……..as I feel her pain but not sink into it…….and to hold her trustingly in connection in my heart as I work.  Just as I hold in my heart with much light the soldier who after shooting and killing unarmed civilians…….as though it was a video game……. summarized the scene by saying one word…….”nice”.    Are we afraid of our own shadows?

    copyrightandreaavaristevens2010

    Give What It Is You Want to Get

    Give what it is you want to get.  Sometimes when we hear that statement, our inner rebel stands with arms folded across our chest and says, “No, I should get it first!  And then I will give it.”   Or perhaps this response:  “If I give it, I expect you to reciprocate immediately or I will be angry!”  Or even….”If I give it and you don’t, I will never give it again!”

    These interactions are some of the games we play in the field of relationships.  The playing comes from the duality of thinking I am separate from you.  The truth is that when we give to each other we are giving to ourselves as well.

    For example, perhaps I would like more space to be myself in a particular relationship .   Perhaps I feel that you don’t hear me.  I want more experience of being heard.  I keep focusing on YOU hearing ME and acknowledging ME.   I notice every time you don’t listen to me.  I get wrapped up in my needing you to be a certain way.  I am controlling the process but I don’t even realize it because I am thinking I am right and you just need to listen to me and you will get it right.  I am so determined for you to hear me that I have forgotten about you.

    Am I giving what I want to get?  How do I hear you?  Am I listening openly and with acceptance?………even if I don’t like what I am hearing?  Is my heart open to you and to your process or am I hell-bent on being heard? What happens if I open the space with my attention to hearing you, accepting you?  When I move into sharing the space, I am amazed.  Something is different.  I am hearing you……it seems strangely like the first time.  I hear your struggles, your hopes and dreams.  There is clearly a change in energy.  I hear you clearly because I have moved out of my contracted self and into the space that connects us.  My heart embraces you as I listen to you.

    Unbelieveably, I am not thinking of myself.  I see you not as the controller of my space but another soul working its process.  I practice this giving what I want to get…….over and over.  I am curiously addicted to this new way of thinking and behaving.  I become aware of how much I have missed in sharing your process of becoming.  I see you blossom in my acceptance of you.  And I see you opening to me in a deeply interested way.  You are asking me questions and listening to my answers.  I feel your presence in our shared space.  I am amazed that I have forgotten the beautiful grace of giving.  I want to live there always.

    The world looks different to us today…….it expanded in ways we didn’t know before.  The sun rises on a dark place of the past and we smile in a new understanding of connection with one another.   We got it today…….as long as we keep giving.

    2010andreaavaristevens

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