If you’re like most people, you’ve experienced some form of relationship trauma.

After all, trauma can affect relationships of all sorts: Family, romances, and even friendships.

Though it is possible, you might not even be able to pinpoint what was rocking your relationship boat. The oft-forgotten element of trauma is that it can be stealthy. There is not always a “big bang” sort of event that sets the wheels of trauma in motion, especially when it comes to intimate relationships. Before you know it, you’re acting differently. Your partner is acting differently. And things just feel jagged and sharp rather than smooth and comforting.

Here’s how Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR can help you move past relationship trauma.

Clears the Path for Vulnerability

Intimacy requires you to be vulnerable. When you feel tense or at odds with your partner, it’s difficult to open yourself up to them. Whether it’s in conversation, making plans, or having sex with them.

Rather than a warm embrace, you may feel tempted to tighten up.

You unconsciously learned this from your past. In other words, hurtful situations have reinforced your need to protect yourself.

Past turbulence in a relationship could have both partners wearing proverbial shields across their chests.

EMDR can help you let your guard down by lessening the impact of the past. Of course, you still remember the hurtful moments, but they don’t get to you like they used to.

EMDR serves as a filter on the inside. It clears the pathway of fear and pain so you can commit to vulnerability once again.

EMDR Un-sticks The Repeat Button

Relationship trauma has a way of putting negative behaviors on repeat. Although you probably don’t want to act a certain way or say a string of hurtful words, it just sort of happens.

It’s as if you’re spinning on an emotional hamster wheel that you can’t jump off. You may want to end the negative cycle, but it seems to go deeper than what you are able to control.

Time after time, you and your partner likely get stuck in conflicts that catch you off guard. You may ask yourself, “How did we even get here?”

The answer is that relationship trauma has channeled you into this unwelcome pattern. Your repetitive behavior is happening in the four corners of your mind. And that’s an area of you that is hard to reach.

But EMDR can reach it.

Much like a fallen tree branch interrupts a line of marching ants, EMDR interrupts negative behavioral patterns. It helps you to be the real you, so that you can manage conflict, free from the grip of negative cycles.

Front Line Defense Against Rumination

Being in a relationship means that you think about that person a lot. In the beginning, these thoughts are usually sweet and blissful. And your behavior reflects your thought patterns.

As your relationship progresses and conflicts happen, your thoughts could transform into something more questionable. While you still think of them a lot, you may begin to doubt their motives.

It’s not uncommon to ask yourself things like, “What did he mean by that?” or “How could she have done that?” Even if you’re not the pondering kind, you could easily find yourself consumed by intrusive thoughts.

What these thoughts do is create a false reality. They impact your mood, feelings for your partner, and behavior. These are the thoughts that notoriously begin arguments.

EMDR has the power to reduce the negative impact such thoughts have on you. It gives you the authority not to let them ruin your relationship.

It’s almost like EMDR lets you acknowledge the negative thoughts and earnestly wave goodbye to them in the same heartbeat. Without negative thoughts bothering you, you can focus on establishing a deeper connection with your partner.

Take the first step…

If you are ready to consider EMDR therapy to improve your relationship, I would like to help. I have been a Certified EMDR Therapist since 2004. I have helped many clients benefit from this incredibly useful methodology. Please get in touch with me via voicemail or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda K. Laffey, MFT

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