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  • Natalie Garcia
    Natalie Garcia

    The Unhealed Wound: Dealing With Trauma, Rejection, and the Hardship of Healthy Relationships

    It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say that for many people, dealing with unhealed trauma can be a lonely path. There is a sense of isolation in the discovery of one’s hurtful past, and it can feel unbearable to accept that the vibrant present full of hope and growth was preceded by such anguish. For those who have endured childhood abuse, violence, neglect, or degradation, embarking on the journey of healing requires one immense act of bravery, courage, and perseverance: allowing oneself to trust and build healthy relationships with people again.

    But it’s easier said than done. Trying to love again after the pain of unhealed trauma is about as daunting as climbing a mountain without ropes and feeling your way in the dark. It’s the heartbreaking risk of finally surrendering to the longing for connection, only to end up being rejected. Dysfunctional patterns of relating will keep things familiar in one sense, but ultimately, they will leave one feeling empty, abandoned, and alone.

    Though it’s not always easy to identify how trauma affects us in our daily life, it’s very common to approach potential new relationships with fear, insecurity, and even self-loathing. The process of accepting that our painful past doesn’t have to define us can be complex and difficult. But what’s the point of agonizing over the hurt if we won’t give ourselves permission to move forward and engage with people who might have our back?

    Trusting someone again requires confronting the fear that our trauma will hold us back. This means letting go of the irrational fears clouding our judgement and seeking out support when it’s needed. It also means being willing to forgive yourself and open your heart up to feeling joy and gratitude for what life has to offer. It’s easy to tell ourselves that pursuing anything outside our comfort zone is a doomed effort, but having faith in our own resilience, strength, and ability to take care of ourselves is worth it.

    Sometimes it takes beginning the journey of healing before we start to recognize which relationships are really capable of carrying us through the hardest moments. Emotional connection is like fog lifting: suddenly, every nuance of joy and sorrow that we once suppressed comes into view. We can now make choices with clear intention—choosing relationships with individuals who embody safety, trust, loyalty, compassion, and mutual respect.

    Unhealed trauma can make connecting with people challenging, but the rewards of receptive, loving relationships with those who have our best interests at heart are worth all the insecurity, doubt, and fear along the way. Building a strong foundation of trust is key to healthy relationships, both with ourselves and others.

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