Scenario: You look back on life post your last, specifically toxic breakup with a newfound sense of contentment and peace. You were in a relationship with someone who hardly ever valued your time and was never emotionally present. Then started the gaslighting: denying your feelings, not acknowledging at all the very real issues plaguing your relationship, always looking for an easier way out. Sounds familiar? Perhaps for many.
Your relationship always hurts you and you are still trying to come to terms with reality. You are not thinking about falling in love again, since it is out of the question for you now. You are now terrified of love. Fearing if you fall in love again, someone may again take the part of you and turn their back
Shivani says individuals who have had traumatic breakups show physical and emotional signs of distress. In several cases, intrusive thoughts occur. The abandonment issues simply got worse while a few lose the ability to care about others and keep a distance. In certain scenarios, trauma is not mandatorily a by-product of a bad romantic relationship but has deeper roots during childhood.
India’s eminent Couples Therapist Shivani Misri Sadhoo shares some ways to come out of trauma and fall in love again.
Unmask and counter the traumatic experiences
People are mostly unaware of the patterns that are an outcome of traumatic experiences. If you are fearful of falling in love again, it could be because you are holding on to a pattern of mistrust. Actively acknowledging, addressing, and countering your trauma with a therapist is the first healthy measure in the process. Find a qualified counselor who can navigate how many levels of trauma can impact you. It is a journey you should take in a safe environment. Do not lose patience. Unmask your traumas in a systematic and gradual method rather than startling yourself into it.
Understand trauma is just a part, not your complete self
A parts approach to navigate through traumas. Trauma never completely goes away and anyone telling you the same otherwise is only deluding you. But you can regulate it. You start by acknowledging that your traumas do not form the whole of you but just a part of you. Otherwise, you will end up giving your traumas plenty of power.
Re-develop your self-esteem
Once you acknowledge and understand your trauma plenty of healing can begin happening. Coming out of a traumatic relationship not just means the ostensible loss of the relationship itself, but also a loss of your sense of future. It is essential to keep the two separate in order to re-cultivate a healthy relationship with yourself. Your identity gets attached to them and you cannot imagine your life without them. This is why, it is vital to stay away from any casual sex and hookups. Everyone wants to heal quickly and move on swiftly but there is a shortcut. Take your time to heal. A break-up is a good time to reset. Search inward and begin with trusting yourself again.
Form a healthy support mechanism
People mostly become victims of confirmation bias—seeking and concentrating just on those experiences around them that confirm their fears. Let’s say you had a break-up and you constantly surround yourself with people who also faced a break-up and they are constantly feeding your mind with something. This is in spite of the fact that your circumstances are completely different from theirs. After all, all break-ups are not the same. This is an outcome of confirmation bias and you need to avoid validating your fears. It is important that you do not surround yourself with people who will belittle your experiences or gaslight you. Surround yourself with positive people or at best seek a therapist.
Be rational with evaluating the threat
Probably the sole bright thing about coming out of traumas, specifically in romantic relationships, is that you end up being truly aware of any red flags. That is if you are not repeating the same pattern again. But mostly, in the process of avoiding any red flags, people end up being overly cautious with potential partners. It is vital to not be hyperactive. You need to distinguish between red flags and the normal imperfections in any relationship.
Probe yourself, and how it serves you
When you end up isolating yourself because of bad past experiences, that way you simply end up further hurting yourself in that process. You need to interrogate yourself: What are you safeguarding yourself from? By living in an illusion, that no one will have the ability to hurt you if you do not go out, you are anyway still going to hurt because of the loneliness that comes with that mindset.