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Expressing Your Emotional Needs as A Trauma Survivor

Relationships, Trauma, Therapist Guide
3 min read

How Past Trauma Can Impact Current Relationships

Healing wounds takes careful, hard work. But it is possible to replace old rules bit by bit. Finding a therapist who can recognize and acknowledge the hurt, which the survivor has carried alone for so long, is key to repairing deep wounds.

Partners may decide to work individually with their own trauma-informed therapist, while working with another as a couple, to provide the resources they need.  When a survivor of early trauma can finally find a comforting connection with a therapist, and then with their partner, the relationship between the couple can begin to support deep healing as well.

The more we understand about the impact of trauma, the more we can help those touched by it to go beyond surviving, and find the healing security of healthier loving relationships.

Language to Express Your Needs

If you are the survivor of trauma, here is some language you can share with your partner as well regarding your needs.

  • “I’m having a hard time now, I need _______.”

  • “I’m noticing myself feeling more anxious, dysregulated, and unable to control my emotions, can I please have 10 minutes to myself?”

  • “When __X__ gets triggered, I feel ___Y___. What would help me is (e.g.- a gentle hug, validation, reminder you love me, reminder that you’re here to support me.” 

It’s important for the survivor to know that their feelings matter, that they are physically and emotionally safe, and that you care about them and their needs. 

In a relationship, a history of trauma is not simply one person’s problem to solve. Anything that affects one partner impacts the other and the relationship.

With guidance from therapy, partners begin to see how to untangle the issues.


About the author: Janet Bayramyan is a licensed therapist, licensed in CA, FL and SC. Janet specializes in working with trauma survivors, those with challenges in their relationships and family dynamics utilizing EMDR and Brainspotting therapies. Janet believes in everyone's internal resiliency and innate ability to heal. Read more from Janet, or connect directly, by visiting her Frame profile here.