Happy happy day!
I love getting your questions and providing the answers if I am able. This one is a gem.
How do you make a romantic relationship work with another childhood sexual abuse survivor?
Such a fantastic question! I’m so glad you asked it. You know why? Because that means you’re trying to work it out with someone, or you’re ready to meet someone. Both of which show me that you are moving on and want to reclaim all aspects of your life – yay! This question applies to so many and I love it. Thank you for asking.
Issues With Intimacy and Sex:
Many survivors of childhood sexual abuse have issues in the bedroom. That does NOT mean it has to be like that forever. Things can change but you need patience.
There can be flashbacks, anger outbursts, tear fests, freak outs, numbness and general all around – get the hell away from me moments with survivors. That can lead to fights when one survivor is ready to move forward and the other is having a flashback. Feelings can be hurt. Rage, anger, and depression can surface.
Fun times, right?
Sometimes people are not at the same point on the healing path and will go their separate ways to heal. Sometimes you’re in a total co-dependent relationship and are feeding off of each other’s pain, and sometimes you can help each other with your healing and create an awesome relationship.
You have to be honest with yourself about where you’re at and what your goals are.
It can get better! IF both parties are interested in getting better – it can get better and it will.
The number one thing you as one element of the romantic partnership must do is work on your own healing. If you’re putting all the requirements on your partner and urging them to heal without working on your own stuff, you may cause even more problems in the relationship.
This is not a time to point fingers at your love, telling them all the things they need to work on. This is a time for YOU to work on YOU!
It goes back to the analogy of Removing the Sword of Trauma (you can scroll through the workbook for a recap on this).
If you are wounded with the sword (aka a whole long list of abuse and trauma- pick one!), when you react to someone because of your own pain, you can easily hurt them with your stuff, which makes them mad, which makes you mad, which makes them madder and a whole new cycle of yuk begins.
Two things need to happen ->
- YOU need to see that your love is wounded with the sword and not take their pain personally.
- YOU need to be sure your own sword is removed so you’re not rewounding your love with your snap reactions.
Practicing Patience and Kindness
Healing from abuse can be really difficult. Add in a partner going through the same thing – and it can be double difficult. BUT – guess what? Boy oh boy do you have a solid strong love when you work on becoming two whole healthy humans – together.
When you stand alone as two separate people working on your stuff and then come together (that’s good too!) to work on your stuff and support each other’s healing – WOW do you have a partnership. If you can keep the end goal in focus instead of all the yukky painful stuff that comes with removing the sword, you can be amazing together.
Two people who are working on their healing or have healed from a yukky past have a strong wonderful bond.
Then you can together use your swords to play. Wow, you could read that in all sorts of ways and you know what – have at it with your sword play!
The sword is an analogy of the trauma. Once you remove it and heal the wound, you have your life experiences that do not define you – that you can use to make a difference in the world.
Your sword can become your microphone, your pen, your camera, etc. If you have a partner who is also healing and ready to move on – what fun that can be.
Stay focused on the end goal instead of the yuk. That’s why the sword analogy works so well because it has an end point. You do not have to be in pain forever. You can heal from whatever you’ve been through and move on to happily ever after.
I did it. So can you!