Perhaps you had an unstable upbringing. Now you’re trying to untangle the effects as an adult. Maybe you grew up in a home where you suffered abuse, or you were exposed to abusive relationships. You may have also been subjected to ongoing emotional abuse as a child.
Family trauma can take many forms. But no matter what sort of trauma you faced within your family unit, it can affect you well into adulthood. Without recognizing and addressing this trauma, you might struggle to form fulfilling relationships, establish a stable career, heal from conditions like anxiety or depression, or simply feel comfortable in your own skin.
Here’s how to begin your healing journey to recover from family trauma and build a brighter future.
Work with a Supportive Therapist
First, it’s important to connect with a therapist who understands your unique needs and problems. Many people find that trying to figure out the roots of their family trauma and commit to healing is much easier with the support of a compassionate therapist. This can be a difficult journey. You do not have to embark on it by yourself.
You may want to seek out a therapist who specializes in family trauma along with other mental health issues that you’ve been dealing with. Remember, it’s okay if you don’t “click” with the first therapist you meet. You can always book a session with other therapists until you find a better fit.
Recognize Physical and Emotional Triggers
Certain events can trigger responses from you based on your past trauma. You might jump when you hear a loud noise, or when someone touches you unexpectedly. If a friend doesn’t text you back, or a date cancels their plans with you, it might cause your fear of abandonment to flare up.
Being on the receiving end of gentle criticism can cause you to worry if the other person can’t stand you. When you hone in on these triggers, you can practice healthy coping skills to ground yourself afterward.
Take Care of Your Inner Child
It’s true that taking good care of yourself as an individual does not explicitly recreate the caretaking that a child receives from a loving parent. But your mind and body have been through a lot, and you need to care for yourself emotionally and physically as you heal. This includes sticking to a consistent sleep schedule, eating well, moving your body, and giving yourself time for rest and relaxation.
Identify Where Trauma Shows Up in Your Current Relationships
You may have noticed that your relationships with friends and romantic partners have mirrored your relationships with your family members. This is because we instinctually repeat patterns that we learned from the relationships we grew up around. If you’ve noticed that you’re acting out harmful behaviors you learned from your family in other relationships, you may need to set stronger boundaries or step away from some of these relationships altogether.
Set Boundaries within Your Family
Establishing healthier boundaries in your relationships with your immediate and extended family is much easier said than done. However, if you’re trying to overcome family trauma, this challenging task is often necessary. You may want to reconcile with certain family members.
Alternatively, you may feel that limiting the time you spend with them is a better course of action. On the other hand, you may need to cut ties with some relatives entirely for the sake of your mental health.
Are you trying to overcome the impact of family trauma? A therapist can help you heal and move forward. Get in touch with us to learn more about scheduling your first session.