Many people have had traumatic experiences growing up. Sometimes when childhood trauma is unresolved, it needs to be dealt with later in life.
“Unresolved trauma” is an active and usually disruptive emotional response to a terrible event or experience. Trauma that is “unresolved” can be characterized by mental, physical, emotional, and/or behavioral symptoms or distress. Unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, relationship problems, and physical symptoms like headaches or nausea are some of the ways that unresolved trauma can manifest, according to the American Psychological Association.
Effect of unresolved trauma on relationship
Emotional injuries result from any experience in which one feels that his or her life or well-being is endangered. These experiences might include the shaming of a young person by a parent or teacher, the molestation or beating of a child, the loss of a job or a divorce, sudden death or life-changing accident, or being sent to war. Whether the trauma occurred in childhood or adulthood, it changes your experience of yourself and your world. If you were young when the trauma occurred, you will likely have more scars, because you were more vulnerable and had fewer coping skills.
Our human instinct is to protect ourselves and we do that, often, by finding ways to cut ourselves off, through denial that we have been hurt, dissociation from the painful event, or repression of the memory of the trauma. The symptoms of unresolved trauma may include, among many others, addictive behaviors, and inability to deal with conflict, anxiety, confusion, depression, or an innate belief that we have no value. When the trauma remains unresolved, there will likely be frequent triggers that cause an emotional response—behaviors on the part of others that unintentionally act as cues or reminders of the original trauma. For example, if you had parents who were emotionally distant or physically absent when you were a child and you felt abandoned when your spouse comes home late from work you may feel powerless and rejected.
Your spouse (or your friend, relative, partner or colleague) may have only your highest good in mind, but when you see life through your scars, you experience attacks where none are intended. Likewise, when you see yourself as unworthy, you may not effectively express and preserve your worth in relationships.
The unresolved trauma is the filter through which you see the world and all your relationships.