• jess

My Traumatized Relationship Timeline

Whatup whatup. Just an old post that I found sitting in my drafts folder.

It's nothing deep or prolific, but I think it sounds like a lot of us... Might as well put this shit out there.

Here's something I wrote in 2019, as I started to see my relationships clearly for the first time.

Uh, I have a lot more to say these days. And I will be soon.


I just finished writing about the recent unexpected butterflies and accompanying anxiety I've found myself involved with (here!) and wanted to take things one integration step further.

Years ago I noticed that there weren't many resources for trauma in relationships (at least - not many that weren't reductive, insulting, and villainizing). I'm definitely not an expert (lawl, have you read about my recent shitshow?) but I want to take a stab at understanding the intricacies of traumatized relationships.

Seems like I'm starting down some sort of romantic path - so I might as well talk about my observations and realizations as we go.

Here's what I know about my trauma in romantic relationships:


I’m usually a lone wolfer, happily alone and working on my own projects. When someone else becomes involved, my thoughts almost immediately become strictly focused and obsessive on the new dynamic. I uselessly ruminate over what’s happening in the other person’s head. I stop pushing for the things I want and need to do. I lose all sense of self and interest in the things that make me me. My life gets put on pause; I can’t gather my thoughts enough to pursue my own goals. Every spare second is spent fantasizing about the near future. Longing for some imagined sense of security and fulfillment that a new partner will bring.

Is it fun? Yeah, sure. At first it’s usually a lot of fun to get lost in romantic thinking.

Unfortunately, the romantic premonitions don’t inspire reality (lawl).The nervous energy is more likely to last than my flowery fantasies. I’m left with a new sense of insecurity and insuperiority, unequally balanced by an unfulfilling shell of a relationship. Clearly, letting my mind run away with the situation and following the subsequent emotional/behavioral pattern has never worked out well for me.

Early Relationship:

Soon, I get so immersed in the continuation of the new partnership that I find myself feeling anxious and out of control. I start wondering if I can exist on my own, as if this person is my one lifeline. I just want the other party to be happy, and feel as though I’m entirely responsible. I think back to the fickle men who have started walking the relationship path with me and then disappear into the bushes - I start reeling and feeling out of control. The ambiguity pushes me to deep insecurity. The fear of being “wrong” as a human makes me far more agreeable and moldable than my usual “get fucked” indignance.

Settled Relationship:

Before I know it, I’m wrapped up in someone else’s life. We aren’t equal partners. My interests and desires for the relationship aren’t the focus, or aren’t even acknowledged. I’m pushed to the back of the bus, expected to come along for the ride. I’m not allowed to shout out directions.

And my fucked up head agrees with all of this.

Traumatized Relationship:

Those familiar voices start telling me that this is how it has to be. You have to play by this person’s rules. You aren’t worthy of making your own demands. You haven’t done anything with your life, anyways. You need this person. You shouldn’t be difficult. You should just be grateful that anyone will put up with you at all.

Boom - with those maladaptive thoughts, I’m immediately sucked into another toxic, codependent, one-sided relationship. (Deep, self-accepting, sigh)

Traumatized Romantic, anyone?


Finding Acceptance:

Did I have insecure relationships growing up? Hell yeah.

Did I grow up in an environment where relationship abuse was the norm? Mmhmmm.

Was my environment chaotic, toxic, and dominated by mentally ill folks who couldn’t identify or exemplify real love? You know it.

Even with a solid understanding of how things came to be this way and the ability to see my shit pretty fucking clearly from an outside perspective, I’m embarrassed of how backwards my thinking becomes when other humans are involved. My go-to strategy of keeping people far, far away takes a rapid 180 degree turn once in a while, and it’s hard for me to comprehend the thought patterns that dominate.

In the aftermath of climbing out on a limb and falling hard, it’s unendingly difficult to forgive myself for getting overly attached, abused, and dependent. It’s easy to beat myself up. It’s hard to comprehend taking another plunge.

But I’m going to do it anyways; I’m not dead yet.

I’ll keep you motherfuckers updated.