Breaking free from an unhealthy, traumatic relationship takes a significant weight off of one’s shoulders. However, many lingering effects can continue to impact an individual long after the relationship has ended. Feelings of anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and a myriad of other emotions can be prevalent, and it is essential to acknowledge and move through this stage of one’s life slowly.
Getting over a traumatic relationship is not easy, especially with the new perceptions about romance that may have developed during the experience. However, recovery is possible, and there are vital steps to take when beginning to rebuild a new identity separate from that of a traumatic relationship.
Take Your Time
There are many complicated feelings following a traumatic relationship, and it is necessary to take time to process one’s experiences. Jumping into another relationship too soon can leave many of these feelings unresolved and can fundamentally alter one’s perception of their new relationship. In order to ensure that an individual can fairly assess any new connections or spot the signs of potentially dangerous behaviors in new partners, it is important to take time to process and educate oneself on their own experiences.
Relationships are complicated. They require compromise and work to create a healthy dynamic. Trauma can change how an individual perceives certain events and can lead to any number of miscommunications or rash decisions, making it difficult to compromise. However, while it may be ill-advised to jump into a new relationship too soon, that does not mean that an individual necessarily has to isolate themselves.
Continuing to develop new friendships, reconnect with old friends or family members, or join new social groups can all be beneficial throughout this time to establish oneself in their new identity, so long as one does not approach any of these situations with romantic intention or expectation.
Creating Your Own Identity
Traumatic relationships are emotionally overwhelming and take their toll on an individual’s identity, whether through fear, abuse, control, gaslighting, or other methods. It is possible that one sacrificed their hobbies or social circles as a result of a demanding and unfair relationship dynamic or was even ridiculed for their interests. Taking the time and recreating one’s identity outside of any romantic relationship is crucial for building a new mindset.
Taking up new hobbies, exploring new interests, and allowing oneself to enjoy themselves otherwise is essential. Not only can this help an individual begin to see the possibilities for themselves beyond romantic relationships, but it can create a new aspect of one’s identity that can inform how they approach the future.
Personal interests can turn into defining character traits. For instance, taking up music, art, or horticulture can become cornerstones of one’s identity and allow opportunities to meet new people. Being able to separate one’s current identity from their past is essential in navigating such a delicate time in one’s life. Putting space between these different periods of one’s life can help an individual look back on their experiences with an honest mindset, helping to see the traumatic elements for the unfortunate realities that they were.
Practicing communication techniques is essential for any kind of relationship — romantic, personal, familial, or professional. Learning effective communication strategies and creating safe conversational spaces is critical to navigate one’s support systems and help begin establishing new relationship norms. Effective communication is crucial in deepening relationships, and experiencing how it feels to be heard and respected is part of any given dynamic of a relationship.
Developing these skills with trusted supports, friends, and family members can scaffold how effective communication can benefit an individual and how it can look and feel in practice. Having dinner together with phones off, setting up family video calls, or even taking a moment to confide and be vulnerable with each other can all create effective communication strategies.
When and if the time comes where an individual is looking to rejoin the dating scene, having these strategies in place can indicate if a prospective partner is receptive to open communication or is unwilling to listen to one’s wants and needs in the relationship, creating an early warning.
Simply thinking about traumatic experiences can bring up a swell of intense, emotional responses. However, addressing and acknowledging these experiences is essential for healing. Having professionals able to help guide an individual through these emotions by way of individual therapy, guided therapeutic experiences, and using breathing and relaxation techniques is all essential for stepping into such an emotional realm. There is no set expected timeframe where an individual has to have overcome these traumatic feelings. Working at one’s own pace is essential to address, process, and cope with the lingering effects of relationship trauma.
Traumatic relationships can continue to affect you long after they have ended. The fundamental change in perspective and the anxieties, depression, and self-doubt can continue to impact every other aspect of your life. At Avalon Malibu, we understand how difficult it is to confront and overcome these traumatic experiences, and our caring professionals are ready to help you take the first step towards reclaiming your identity and agency outside of a traumatic relationship. Your time with us can be fully customized to your needs and goals. We offer individual and group therapy, as well as a myriad of other approaches, such as writing therapy, art, yoga, a seasonal ropes course, and much more. We want to help you address your unique circumstance while providing effective ways to relax, detach, and manage your goals. For more information on how we can help you take the first step towards overcoming your traumatic relationship experiences, call us today at (844) 857-5992.