I posted the other day about clients feeling like they should be over some trauma in their past. The other side of that coin is people that feel like they are over it. The ways in which trauma affect us may not be so obvious. Ever get irrationally angry at a partner for something you knew didn’t warrant that response? Our intimate relationships are often the place where the results of the trauma come out. That irrational response is often a sign that something else was triggered from our past that we are reacting to, instead of the actual current event. Many times people don’t make the connection between what is happening now and what happened in the past. We often replicate our childhood experiences in our adult relationships. Children of alcoholics or children with parents with mental health issues, often find themselves in relationships with people they need to take care of. If children witness abuse they are prone to either be in an abusive relationship or be abusive to the person they love as an adult. All children that abuse do not grow up to be abusive, but most adults that are abusive were abused.
Again people don’t often recognize the patterns. Often times when I am talking to a client it may be the first time that they realize that what happened to them was wrong. If you grow up in a family where things are consistently done in a certain way, why would you think other families are different?
People often come into my office not wanting to talk about the past. They say they are over it. Or they say they understand why the person who abused them did what they did. Perhaps their traumatic experience was by a parent who is now elderly and with whom they feel like there can be no resolve. My feeling is that if people have the same patterns of relationships over and over again, or have long standing depression and anxiety, the only way to get past it is to look at the original causes.
People usually come to therapy because they are at a point in their life when they know they need to make a change. Often times they are in a place of great pain. It is important to recognize that if you find the right therapist, people can find resolve in order to live a fuller life.