Trauma Therapy Denver, CO
Relational Trauma Counseling
Trauma experienced at the hands of someone that you loved, trusted, and relied on can be the most impactful and difficult to heal from. Relational trauma occurs when you experience neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, betrayal, or manipulation by someone close to you.
These experiences greatly impact your self-image and future ability to love and trust others. You may find yourself repeating unhealthy patterns or engaging in relationships with unhealthy partners. Our brains are wired for connection and trauma rewires them for protection. Your attempt to feel loved and safe may be warped by your desire for protection.
It may feel impossible to heal from your past and move forward. Relational trauma counseling can help rewire your brain so that you can change your relationship with yourself and allow you to create a community of healthy relationships. Our team of skilled therapists here at Lone Wolf Psychological Services can help!
Different Types of Relational Trauma Discussed in Trauma Therapy at Lone Wolf Psychological Services
Family is your first experience of relationships. When your family has their own unresolved trauma the example of relationships you see are often unhealthy. Your parents or caregivers are the first people to teach you that you are lovable and can trust others. If there is a lack of love and trust or a mixture of abuse and love it can greatly warp your sense of what healthy relationships are. When your core foundation of relationships is dysfunctional you are more likely to experience depression and anxiety and these scars from childhood can carry well into adulthood even years after you are no longer in contact with the perpetrator of the trauma.
Signs Your Adult Relationships are Being Impacted by Past Family Trauma
Feeling unworthy of love
Repeated unhealthy or abusive relationships
Fear of abandonment
Unpredictable emotions, or feeling out of control when emotional
Difficulty connecting or feeling close with others
Fear that you cannot experience love
Over-dependence on others
Manipulating others to make yourself feel more secure
Testing your partner's love
Feeling like everything is always your fault
Having difficulty setting boundaries or respecting other's boundaries
Wanting unhealthy levels of closeness or distance
Family trauma can be very complex. The mixture of love, family obligation, and dysfunction can cloud your judgment. Often times we are still in contact and even close with family members who have been hurtful in the past or are still hurtful today. Relational trauma therapy can help you understand how your unhealthy family dynamics have impacted your relationships and help you navigate how to maintain relationships with your family while setting boundaries to protect you from further hurt.
Setting boundaries or ending relationships with family members for your own mental health is complex and difficult. You don't need to navigate this on your own! Our therapists at Lone Wolf are trained in complex family dynamics and generational trauma and can help you end the cycle of family trauma for future generations.
Falling in love with a narcissist can feel electrifying. You may feel special, seen, and cared for more deeply than ever before. Then, once you are strongly attached to this person you have a "falling off the pedestal" moment. You go from not being able to do anything wrong, to not being able to do anything right. There becomes an alternating cycle of criticism or neglect and intense passion. Eventually the passion and love fade, and you watch the person you fell in love with becoming a cold, selfish, critical person.
When your partner has this type of personality they are often masters of manipulation. They are able to twist every interaction, so you believe you are the problem and they are the victim. You start to lose your self-confidence and it becomes difficult to feel grounded in reality. If you have experienced past family trauma it can be easy to fall into the trap of a narcissist, but also people with no past trauma can find themselves in this type of relationship. Often people who are very empathetic and caring can be lured by this type of personality.
The After Effects of Being in a Relationship with a Narcissist
Typically you don't realize you have been in a relationship with a narcissist until you are no longer in the relationship. Once the haze of manipulation has dissipated you realize this was not a typical breakup. It often takes much longer to grieve and move past this relationship and you may worry that you will never connect with someone the way you did with this partner. You second guess yourself and have very low self-esteem. You start believing the lie they told you, that you are unloveable.
You may notice yourself feeling more anxious in relationships, regularly worrying about experiencing more abuse or being rejected. You may find it difficult to relax and not overthink your past relationship. Due to how much criticism you endured you may feel more depressed and worthless. It's difficult to challenge your negative beliefs about yourself and believe that you aren't "crazy." Due to the manipulation and feeling like your reality is incorrect you may find it difficult to trust yourself. You feel so turned around and twisted up that it is difficult to know what is healthy or unhealthy.
Usually, when you are starting to feel more like yourself and more grounded you will receive a text or call from your narcissistic ex-partner. It may feel like the cycle of healing has to start all over again. You may question if it was really as bad as you thought, worry that you were "too sensitive," or maybe they have changed. Our therapists at Lone Wolf will help you unwind the tangled web of lies you experienced in this relationship and help you feel like yourself again.
Sexual Assault or Intimate Parter Violence
If you have experienced a sexual assault you may feel numb, anxious, disconnected from your old self, or find it difficult to have close relationships. It may feel like the person you were no longer exists, and you are unsure of how to heal and feel "normal" again. It is difficult to not blame yourself or replay the events trying to think about how you could have prevented this from happening. The only person to blame is the perpetrator and you are not alone in navigating how to start the healing process. You can have healthy relationships and feel confident and safe in your own skin. If you feel like this assault is impacting your mental health and your relationships our therapists can help you heal and better understand your relationship triggers. Domestic violence can come in different forms but the underlying theme is control and manipulation.
The Abuse can be as Follows:
Physical (hitting, throwing and breaking things, or other acts that jeopardize your physical safety)
Emotional abuse (insults, criticism, or humiliation)
Psychological abuse (threatening comments, isolating you from friends and family, or other types of manipulation)
Sexual abuse (forced sex acts)
Financial abuse (controlling or restricting your access to finances)
When the person you care about and have built a life with is also the perpetrator of abuse it can be difficult to heal and move forward. Trauma therapy can help heal the PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, and low self-esteem that often results from this type of abuse. Our goal is that you leave therapy feeling confident, empowered, and able to clearly spot partner red flags in the future.
Common Relational Trauma Terms
Generational Trauma: Unhealed trauma that is passed down through the generations. This trauma can be passed down through genetics or through unhealthy family environments.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder: When a person's personality is characterized by over confidence, lack of empathy, need for excessive admiration, and deep insecurities.
Codependency: Often referred to as "addicted to relationships." Someone who is codependent typically loses their sense of self and is consumed by their relationships. These relationship behaviors are often learned in childhood and connect to a fear of abandonment.
Trauma Bonding: When you are in a relationship with someone where there are high, highs and low, lows. Where there is abuse and/or stonewalling (completely shutting down or leaving) paired with electrifying chemistry. This unpredictable hot and cold relationship can become addicting and extremely difficult to leave even when the person knows it is unhealthy.
Love Bombing: A technique typically used by someone with a narcissistic personality disorder to create a strong connection quickly. Typically a person who is "love bombing" will display extreme amounts of love and affection early on. The may keep in constant contact, shower with compliments, talk about creating a future together, or say "I love you's" very early in the relationship. The goal of love bombing is to create an intense connection making it difficult to leave when other unhealthy or abusive behaviors emerge.
Gaslighting: Also referred to as "crazy-making," gaslighting is a form of manipulation where a person causes someone to question the accuracy of their thoughts, perception of reality, or memories. An example of this is lying and refusing to admit the lie even when confronted with the truth. They may then call the person "crazy" or say they have trust issues for not believing their lie.
Trauma Therapy Services in Denver, Colorado
We are here to help you overcome past trauma so you can live your best life in the future! Follow the steps below to begin your journey to healing.
We encourage you to get to know a little bit about our therapists, their specializations, and credentials. Get to know our therapists here.
If you think relational trauma therapy would benefit you, reach out to us! You can use our convenient online therapy scheduling form found on our home page.
Begin the healing journey of understanding your interpersonal trauma triggers to heal and create fulfilling loving relationships!
We hope to hear from you soon.
Other Counseling Services in Denver, CO
Not only does our therapy practice in Denver offer trauma therapy, but we also offer a wide variety of services at any relationship stage. Each relationship is unique in its personal journey and we are here to provide, insightful and productive Relationship Counseling, Divorce and Break-up Recovery Counseling, and Couples Counseling as well. We also offer Self-Help Resources to help supplement your therapy or to better prepare for upcoming therapy sessions!