Relational Trauma and Shame
Feeling vulnerable can lead to feelings of shame and so we close off as a way to protect ourselves. If one has been traumatized or wounded, this feeling of shame is intensified and can lead to chronic anxiety. It goes right to the heart of our sense of competence and creativity, which often go hand-in-hand.
Trauma can take many forms and although I am open to working with any type of trauma, my main focus is on relational trauma. Relational trauma is caused by abuse, whether it is by a partner, friend, parent or caregiver, or even a boss or supervisor. Abuse is not only physical, but can be emotional, verbal, or financial as well. Sometimes it might be a combination of these. One person might abuse his partner by controlling all the finances and keeping her isolated from friends or family; another might make threats, or constantly criticize and undermine a partner’s sense of self. Basically, any time we are feeling unsafe, disrespected, or not in control of our own lives, abuse could be taking place. If it is continuous, or severe, it can lead to trauma.
The good news is that anyone can work on healing from trauma at any time in their life. It is never too late.
I am passionate about working with clients to allow them to not only heal from trauma and/or violence, but also empower them so that they can see vulnerability not as something to feel ashamed of but the basis for joy and growth. If we tap into our vulnerability and allow our creativity to shine the possibilities are endless.
Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
If you are a victim of abuse, you may have Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome (NAS). However, narcissistic abuse is a very specific form of relational violence where the abuser exhibits the signs of severe or malignant narcissism. Narcissistic abuse may occur in relationships, where the narcissistic person tends to seek out a partner in order to gain admiration of his or her own attributes. This is called narcissistic supply. The narcissist creates a dynamic abuser and victim relationship through a cycle of abuse resulting in traumatic bonding that makes it hard for their partner to leave the increasingly abusive relationship. Narcissistic Abuse can also take place between parent and child. Often if left untreated, the child may become involved in abusive relationships as an adult.
Narcissistic abuse syndrome exhibits many of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) including:
- Intrusive thoughts or memories
- Physical-emotional reactions to reminders of trauma
- Nightmares and flashbacks (feeling as if event is happening again)
- Avoidance of thoughts, people or situations associated with the trauma
- Negative thoughts about self and world
- Distorted sense of blame related to trauma
- Sense of detachment or isolation from other people
- Difficulty concentrating and, or sleeping
- Hyper-vigilance, irritability, easily startled
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