Complex Trauma in Relationships

In this episode, Tim Fletcher discusses how Complex Trauma affects relationships. Two of the devastating consequences are that it erodes the essential elements of a healthy relationship. Trust and respect.

Trust: The child who is subjected to complex trauma begins to realise that they can’t trust the people around them. Then they begin to believe that they can only trust themselves. This results in the development of superficial relationships which lack genuine intimacy. In a healthy relationship, both parties need to be trustworthy. Trust needs to be developed gradually over a period of time. Trust is a result of character.

Respect. Once you lose respect, intimacy in relationships becomes impossible. Complex Trauma is as a result of disrespect of the child. Many people who grow up in complex trauma were mocked, humiliated and bullied or were never heard in a meaningful way.

This resulted in feeling being disrespected, has a profound effect and lasts a long time. In adult life this often results in hypersensitivity to anything that may appear to be disrespectful.

The constant messages of disrespect also result in you not respecting yourself. Also you have difficulty setting boundaries. Thus the development of codependency and people-pleasing. The longer you put up with the disrespect the lower your self-esteem will go.

Emphasised in this episode is also that if one partner in a relationship goes into therapy and starts to get better, the other partner in the relationship should also be in therapy.