I’ve experienced some traumatic events in my 16 year dating life. I’ve dealt with everything from a man cheating and getting a girl pregnant on me; to being the one that was pregnant and finding out that my man was cheating on me MINUTES before having an abortion; to verbal abuse to the point that I suffered from temporary body dysmorphia and a lot of other craziness that falls somewhere in between.
It wasn’t until last year, 6 years into my life with Christ, that I realized that the trauma I’ve experienced in the past still had a hold on me. Every time I tried to open myself up to a guy, habits and reminders of what I dealt with in previous relationships popped up through my actions.
For example, I was objectified in most of my past relationships, so now I’m easily trigged and pop off when I receive too many compliments. No matter how good his intentions may be, the superficial compliments take me right back to those relationships where my body was valued more than my personality.
After getting saved, I thought that by honoring God with my body and the company (men) I keep, I was automatically positioned for the man Christ created for me. And while true, obedience will take you right to where God needs you, I’ve been learning that it’s not enough.
Celibacy and not dating doesn’t heal you from the painstakingly bad (or not so bad but didn’t work) relationships you’ve experienced. Because the reality is that most of us have been in relationships, whether it be exclusive or a situationship that have hurt us so bad that its changed the way we approach relationships.
And as much as you may want to ignore the pain and move on, you can’t just sweep the heartbreak under the rug and continue on with your life as if you didn’t just go through that BS.
I mean technically, the trauma can lie dormant. But when a man tries to love you or get to know you, all of that dirt will quickly resurface. I’ve learned the hard way that even the power of the right man’s love can’t heal your trauma.
You’ve got to do your due diligence and work towards healing. Because if you don’t, you’ll likely harden your heart and won’t be able to accept the good that God has planned for you.
I always bring up Romans 8:28 because it’s so true. All things (bad and good) work together for good, therefore don’t ignore it but heal from it and turn it into something that can God can use.
Healing is a word that’s often tossed around nowadays. But what does it actually look like to get that healing?
Love, I got you.
It’s time we unpack and release the trauma in a healthy way. I’ve enlisted my girl Seanita from Ceaseless Pursuit Coaching to share some great, actionable tips for healing from the trauma from past relationships.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
If we’re honest girl, relationship trauma & drama can shut us down emotionally. Chances are, when we experience a heart break, we try to put on our strong woman capes and thug it out as much as possible. This makes it easy to disconnect from our feelings so that we can keep managing the responsibilities in our life. But, by not acknowledging our feelings (what we want & need) we start to teach ourselves that what we want and need don’t matter. And well, that’s just not true sis. Here’s a good practice to include in your daily routine: acknowledging your feelings. Acknowledge your feelings daily so that you can recognize your triggers (things that can have a negative impact on your thinking, feeling, and overall well-being). Knowing your triggers is key because you’ll learn what kinds of people and things to stay away from or guard your heart around.
Action Steps to help you acknowledge your feelings- Keep a journal, track your mood with a digital or printable mood tracker, talk to a therapist or life coach to process your feelings more in depth.
Recognize your patterns
This one might require some wine girl because you have to get all the way real with yourself. Sit down with your favorite notebook and pen and take the time to think about the men you’ve dated, messed around with, or have been attracted to. Do you can recognize any patterns or similarities between them? Maybe they were super attentive and made you feel cared for in ways you didn’t have from your parents or other significant people in your life. Maybe they were very charming and said loving things to you that you’ve never heard before. Now think about this, what needs did they meet in your life? What drew you to them initially? Why did you end things?By recognizing these patterns you can make different choices in the future when it comes to dating and relationships. Knowing your typical relationship mistakes and weak spots will help you make your future choices from a clear place instead of a place of lack, desperation, or disappointment.
Action Steps to help you recognize your patterns- Write down your 3 most significant relationships, “situationships”, or “flirtationships” and think about how they made you feel, think, and behave. Write down what attracted you to them and what their personality traits were. What makes them similar? What are the patterns? THEN, think about the circumstances in your life that brought them to you. Were there any similarities in your state of mind or well-being when you met or were dealing with them?
Continue to learn about yourself
Experiencing trauma and drama in past relationships can cause us to question our choices and our worth. That’s why it’s important to really do self-inventory in between relationships. Because let’s be honest, there’s nothing worst than getting in a new relationship only to find that your bad habits and insecurities haven’t changed. It’s so important to ask yourself the following questions: What do I like? What do I want? What do I need? Resources such as the enneagram, learning your attachment style, and learning your love language can help you with identifying these things.
Action Steps to learn more about yourself: Take enneagram, love language, and attachment style quizzes. Then, read your results with an open mind and heart. Somethings might be harder to read. But girl, listen. Understanding your types will help you identify your strengths, areas for growth, and needs. You’ll need to really understand these things in order to heal forreal (this time).
Have come to Jesus meetings with your friends
Whether you want to admit it or not, your friends are a great reflection of you. You love and connect with them because you likely have a lot of qualities in common. Think about this, what traps do your friends typically fall into? Chances are, you’re falling into similar traps. What are your friends trying to change about them about themselves? Chances are, you could change those things about yourself too. That’s why is sooo important to have real accountability with your friends. Check-in on each other and check each other in love. Talk about how you’re struggling. Support one another through love and relationship troubles. Talk about how you could have and can still do things differently. This will help you grow tremendously.
Action Steps to snatch your life: Have monthly meet ups with your friends to discuss your successes and areas for growth.
We’ll be entering the new year before you know it, so what better way to embrace what’s to come than by completely freeing yourself from the past? I pray that these tips help you with letting go, growing and moving forward.
Seanita, is a life coach and CEO of Ceaseless Pursuit Coaching where she helps black Christian millennial women get unstuck and stop self-sabotaging. You can connect with her on Instagram at @ceaselesspursuitcoaching. To learn more about her services and what she offers as a life coach go to her site ceaselesspursuitcoaching.com.
If you want to further discuss leave a comment below, I’d love to chat with you!