Trauma affects everyone, whether you’ve been through it, or know someone who has, relationships are just one of the casualties of trauma and abuse. Recognizing where these faults in your relationships lie, is the first step along the road to repairing those connections.
“For me, part of the agony of my developmental trauma and sexual abuse is knowing that, although I did nothing wrong and it wasn’t my fault, I often hurt and neglected others throughout my life. I know it’s in part because of my pain and shame, and this is why the epidemic of trauma absolutely has to stop, to stop this cycle. I know intuitively that our end goal is that we repair as needed and develop strong relationships.” — Theo Fleury from ‘Conversations with a Rattlesnake’
Is it easy for you to identify the relationships that need repairing? Or would it take some deeper reflection on your part to determine which relationships need some work? Make the first step on your journey to repair an easy one, and make a list of the people with whom you’d like to heal your relationship with.
Once it comes time to reach out to those people, go with your gut and take the route that’s most comfortable to you: write a letter, make a phone call, setup a coffee date—whatever the way there, the destination is the same.
However you choose to bring about relationship repairs, know that the power of an apology should never be underestimated. Apologies help us tap into empathy as well.
To forgive, most people need to gain some empathy and compassion for the wrongdoer. This is where apology comes in. When someone apologizes, it is a lot easier to view him or her in a compassionate way. When wrongdoers apologize, we find it easier to forgive them. [Psychology Today]
Remember, it is never too late to repair a relationship.
“With relationships, it’s never too late for repair. And I know this with certainty. If both people want it, it’s never too late for repair, until you stop breathing.” — Kim Barthel from ‘Conversations with a Rattlesnake’