What do we do when relationships fail us? Our first stop in the road, in order to understand such things (of course) is to blame ourselves. We're not well, after all. We've learned how difficult it is to live with our troubled emotions, and for the others to accept the issues we struggle with. Our emotional issues, become their issues. Should they choose to leave, it's we who shoulder all the blame-for a time.
Try as we might to eradicate our suffering, healing trauma is a slow process with an agenda and timeline of it's own. This is the most difficult aspect of the condition for the others in our lives to understand. All they know is we somehow continue to hurt them, and with time they give up on us, as the rest of the world seems to need to do. This is often the outcome, when trauma remains unresolved in our sacred place.
It need not go this way. However the stories of survivors are cast with losses of the other individual players in our lives (who too, have lives and needs, sacred as their own).
Sometimes, the others in our lives, need to walk away.
This isn't the fault of the others. How could they know how to adapt to a life with trauma-eyes often staring out into the world, disconnected emotionally from all that life is meant to be for them? Our symptoms are difficult to wrap heads around. Because those with us are so frightened away from any willingness (often) to fully understand., they take our emotional life, personally.
We know the truth, of what the others go through in our lives. We know, they aren't responsible for any emotional disconnect in our lives. It's the nature of the condition-the mark of the beast.
We accept more responsibility for ourselves than the others are willing to give us credit. It's our illness. We've needed to learn what to do, now that our old patterns of living have failed us completely. Our significant others, do hurt the most and find themselves often settling into a life they didn't sign up for, and as it is with negative human issues (as it is for us) they don't know how to even begin to adapt.
Do they want to adapt? No. They don't want to accept such an illness as PTSD in their personal space. They will try, until all trial runs out. Some will make it through.
Are we to blame? No. Nor are the others to blame. To quote my own significant other, "It is, what it is." She's said that often, never once with any real sincerity of belief. What is real, proves too much for the others in our lives, sometimes. It's easier for some, to insist on living in a dream.
This is, the nature of the illness we live with. The symptoms go beyond ourselves, and include social dysfunction and relationship symptoms. Are these symptoms of social challenge treatable? Of course they are.
However in order to treat the symptoms of social dysfunction, we need all involved to be willing to face the truth of the illness, to abandon all fear. We need family therapy, with both parties willing to accept a need to perhaps learn (with objective help) how to communicate through the symptoms, if any relationship is to survive.
We who live with trauma as our excuse, forget that all significant relationships go through this (psychological injury in the home or otherwise). With the illness as the reason, it's easier to give up, and simply walk away.
For relationships to survive, we need objective professionals to explain what it all really means. Otherwise, the others in our life (those who truly want to remain in our life) will continually misinterpret our symptoms, and our symptoms will activate their own. When this happens, through very troubled emotions (emotions not trustworthy in the least to act as any sort of trusted guide) we will follow the lead of our thinking into making decisions of self-defense-fear driving us to take hold of a life that we feel we've somehow lost.
If honest, truthful, and if we are willing to look deeply enough, we discover a heart-wrenching truth. We haven't ever in our lives, lived a life that belonged only to ourselves.
We've all in this generation of adult, bought into a game of life as it was dictated to us. Up until injury entered our space, the old ways we'd learned to relate to a partner (taught to us through often dysfunctional childhoods) sufficed. What we learned, growing up, is totally inadequate to aid us through the ups-and-downs of a life with the injury of trauma in relationships.
This injury and resulting PTSD doesn't have room for dysfunctional ways. It forces us to fully grow-up, because we realize that only 'we' can work this through. Life, belongs only to us, individually and with each other. If we've learned that our partner is responsible for how we feel? We'll find ourselves disappointed, over and over again, as the symptoms in our partner continue to make us 'feel bad'. We suffer, often, so unnecessarily.
The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It houses every bite of information we've ever sensed through every experience in our lives. Fear rests heavily in damaged hearts and minds, and that fear will drive the human brain in only one direction-towards finding answers for the suffering.
What we fail to accept, when relationships go wrong, is that it is the human brain itself spilling into our physical being all the chemistry of the emotional pain we feel. The brain seeks answers, and with trauma in the home and symptoms of disconnect, the injured party can so easily become the target of our own suffering, the reason we find for why it is we feel so bad.
It's very easy for a family to fall into a pattern of blaming the person with PTSD for any emotional upset in the home. We forget, through our joint struggle, that some of what we are living through is really quite normal in human life. Forgetting this, we can all fall victim to pathologizing any typical relationship issues inappropriately. The condition can't be the scapegoat for all of our relationship woes.
This is the drama of trauma in relationship, acting out it's own part in each and every act of the play.
We tell ourselves, "If I can get out of this relationship, get 'that' out of my space, I'll be whole again." We forget, however, we've never been whole and we don't understand that the story the brain is granting us as the answer for our pain, is a false-myth we're creating, an absolute lie.
Trauma, forces each partner in the family to grow up, to become a functioning adult. We run away, over and over again, from the threat that is really chasing after our being. The real and present danger is the threat to childhood, the threat of accepting life as a fully functioning, and in charge of ourselves adult.
The threat we perceive in the symptoms of trauma, that the brain has accused as the cause of all our pain, is simply asking us to abandon completely all our old and dysfunctional patterns and ways. Once we've run, after some time feeling the false emotions of a false resolution? We find ourselves alone, without another around us to hold accountable for the way we continue to still feel.
Unless, of course, we find the next relationship in line-the one true love that fairy-tales taught us about through all of their empty promises and outright lies.
Could it be different than this? Can family therapy assist us through a transition of acceptance? Can objective education help the significant others in our lives choose to continue to be a family?
Absolutely. But as it is in all relationships, the closest relationships in life, it takes everyone involved to be willing to make any sort of change. The one with the trauma inside, can't ever be expected to do all the work of change, solo.
Before moving on, I'd like to share a response to my previous post on Darwin and the confounding struggle we have as humans to reconcile positions of evolution with any sense of faith. The comment shared, was this:
"I was following your well written (piece) and agreeing strongly until you called atheism a religion. An atheist is a person, like myself, who is a non-believer in the existence of gods or other supernatural beings or forces. I don.t believe in her because there is no evidence for her existence. To refuse to have faith in something because there is no empirical data is not a religion, but science. As an atheist, I must admit that the evidence against her existence is not conclusive, however it can be shown that the probability is minuscule. To believe in a religion you must have faith (be certain) that some things are true without or against evidence. It.s true that some non-believers try to convince others of the need to base decisions, especially those that affect others empirically. If this could be done, we might be able to reduce unnecessary consumption. war, inequality, and possibly preserve this planet, which empirically is necessary for our existence. Regardless of its gender, this imaginary being will not save us. The beliefs of others are critically important to our well being and survival. This dialog is not trivial, but essential."
"What then, is Atheism, if not a faith? A better choice of words is 'movement'. Both sides in the debate, wish to validate belief in the position each side takes. And, yes, there remains no empirical evidence to support the existence of God, unless of course history one day (one day) delivers solid evidence that the words written and included in texts we refer to as scriptures, prove to hold water. Experience for me is the highest authority, as shared into my own life by Carl Rodgers. I won't try to explain or to defend what I've experienced. I have no proof to offer that God exists. I have experience of relationship (inner-relationship) with a power greater than myself-and it matters not to me, any longer in life, that this relationship has proof. What I've learned of God, can't be explained, because it belongs only to me. I'll only share this one sliver. I've suffered tremendous loss in life. Once a care-giver and paramedic, I witnessed far too much human suffering. My psyche, completely shattered. All I thought was 'truth' fractured under the tyranny that became my own mind. I no longer have faith, at all, in humans. Though hard-wired for both survival, and for compassion-our world is constructed by the powerful-and the information available to the tired, lazy masses, now void of ability to think for ourselves, is so contrived and controlled. I've lost all trusted friendships. All once trusted family. All faith in the system we live under. Even our history in North America, is written with little truth. Ask our Indigenous Peoples how much pride we should feel for our countries (Canada and the U.S.A.) knowing that the truth is one of genocide, theft, lies, cheats and (yes) a Christian Church, bent on beating the Indigenous out of human beings-and sanctifying every effort and every murder of every soul, with a bible in hand. I no longer hold any reverence for Government, or for Religion (in any form). With all the loss, with all the change of face of so many in my life towards me over now ten years, finding my way back to the world: the only face that did not change (my belief of a face) was God's. I've not found any reason to abandon knowing that I am a spirit, and fully understand, I am biological meat. Personally, just for me, no other man need seek this, find this, or care to support or argue against this position: Like another virtual mentor I've found along the way, Carl Jung shared with me in his left behind work-when asked if he believed in God-"I know God. Belief, is for children. I know God. I know." (paraphrased). Religion is a monster, like all human institutions have shown themselves to be, to me, through my suffering and healing. Thanks for chiming in on the article. I respect your position. I agree, no proof of God exists. For me, now in life-without the face and presence of God in my own being, there really wouldn't be anything left to live for. Be Well."
For the other in my life, I need to add this. It takes, objective, professional help to guide a family (or an individual) towards a new place, once trauma invades the sacred space. Of this, today I'm certain-there is no other way.
I love my other.
More than any empty words can say.
A love like this, comes only once in a lifetime.
Only once-at least in the fairy-tale I too longed to believe.
May your journey be filled with growth.
Be well and God bless.
A final quote, from Joseph Campbell:
“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world."
~ Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Certified: Community & Workplace Trauma Educator Traumatology Institute.
Associate Member American Academy Of Experts In Traumatic Stress.