Lessons from a Troubled Relationship

If you have ever been in a troubled relationship then you have experienced the impact it has on you, your life, and perspective on future events. Whether your troubled relationship happened at work, at home or in the romance department, the sequel remains. However, have you ever pondered on such a relationship being linked to an unhealed wound, be it your own or within your family history? Let me tell you a story to introduce this possibility.

Once upon a time there was a child, a daughter, whose parents argued. The father was unfaithful; the mother suffered and confided her tears in her daughter. As the child’s formative years developed, this child seemed immune to her parents’ dynamic. It was as if she learned to accept disrespect and disappointment as added family values given she still had her parents’ love and they were still a family unit. Conversely and unconsciously this child also learned about abandonment, lust, insecurity, and of the ways of love, emotional abuse, and forgiveness.

As an adult, this child emasculated men. She unconsciously did not want to feel defenseless, subdued or taken advantage of. As an adult she never thought she’d be involved in a troubled relationship given she knew better. She swore she would never allow a man to degrade or abuse her love; abuse her. One day, many, many moons later, she met a man. After a year, their relationship intensified and became emotionally draining, emotionally abusive. It was characterized by lust, toxicity, pain and yes, love, a very dysfunctional, unhealthy love. Childhood abandonment issues made it difficult for her to “abandon” him. Codependency moved in. Their dynamic was unstable. The relationship became disrespectful, yet both remained. “What led to this? Why?” she asked, since all her previous relationships had been, according to her, healthy. Now, the woman cried, she was often embarrassed of her actions, she was appalled, she was in pain. Pain was the connection. Unhealed trauma served as cupid, for both.

Healing is an empowering gift that no one can give you but yourself. But how to go about it when you feel stuck and nothing feels right? How to move on when you’re already covered in dirt and confronting feelings of shame, regret, and disillusionment?

The interplay between trauma, love and failed relationships is a reality. Trauma is any distressing or life threatening event. Distressing events can be the result of recent or childhood/formative events. Considering such a definition, we have all survived a distressing event {or two} during our lifetime. Referring back to our story, the parents’ dynamic produced trauma in themselves and in their child. Abandonment issues within the child blossomed and coincided with the ways she responded to romantic partners as an adult.

Not all trauma is traced back to childhood and not all trauma involves family.  But all trauma impacts our life and our perspective on life. Understanding our power in our story within that traumatic event can yield great light on how we decide to carry on and on how we rise up with our perspective.

I, as many of you, have lived within traumatic relationships. Such experiences have widened my perspective on relationships, on others and on myself. As one who has combated trauma I learned to choose the lesson to understand the pain.  The following allude to the teachings I have obtained.

Lesson #1: Blaming does not assist in healing. If you catch yourself relying on such tool, question what is it really that you blame and who do you really blame? Follow it up with considering the consequences of remaining in such dynamic. What can YOU do to empower yourself now?

Lesson #2: List by name the feelings you are holding on to and how they impact your current state. Is it loneliness, maybe stress, maybe anger? The more you hold on to the past, the more you’ll remain in the past.

Lesson #3: Aggression and disrespect are triggered by a sense of loss. The person acting out the aggression usually feels rejected and a void of love, respect, companionship, sex, authority, etc. It is not for you to understand or excuse that person. Just keep in mind that they too have their own traumas. Healing comes when your focus is no longer on them and their actions but on you and your goals.

Lesson #4: Boundaries. Boundaries. Boundaries. Maintaining clear boundaries can become difficult, specially when in a codependent relationship. The beauty of boundaries is that they can be be built and rebuilt anytime. Just be patient and kind to you.

Lesson #5: Shit gets real when you let it sit and not clean it up. Remember you can only clean up after yourself.

Lesson #6: You can’t “help” unless the person you want to help begins to help him/herself first. You are only responsible for yourself. As much as we love others and others love us, no one can choose a different way unless the person wanting change chooses that for themselves.

Lesson #7: Despite the mistakes, be kind to yourself. You, me, all of us Earthlings are human. Humans grow through education, experiences and MISTAKES. We will never know it all. So, I’m sharing these personal lessons with you in hope you decide to reflect on your own, recently obtained lessons.

Listen with an open heart, but keep it honest. There’s an anonymous quote that reads, “Honesty without compassion is abuse.” So please, don’t abuse others and don’t abuse yourself.

Remember, don’t blame. Blame comes from pain. If possible, forgive, send light. If not possible, focus on you, observe your patterns and goals. Healing will come from within.

With love,




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s