I’m honored to welcome back returning guest, Vennie Kocsis, as we continue our conversation on how childhood trauma manifests itself in your life, both physically and emotionally. In particular, we’re discussing the effects on dating and romantic relationships.
In Part I, we discussed the Physiology of Childhood Trauma, and how it affects not only emotional health but physical health as well. Vennie shares from her personal experiences as a survivor, as well as the research she has done to show just how trauma plays a profound part in the development both emotionally and physically. If you haven’t heard that episode already, I encourage you to check out here or on your favorite podcasting app.
We had originally intended to dive into more areas, beyond relationships alone, during this episode but as often happens, there is so much to cover that we thought it best to focus our time on this important part of survivor life. While relationships can be difficult to understand and navigate for anyone, the unique struggles that childhood trauma brings into the equation, add a dimension that not everyone can understand.
Vennie Kocsis is an author, poet, artist, and survivor of Sam Fife’s Move of God cult. My creativity is the therapy by which I have survived the memories of abuse I suffered in my childhood. There are many caves where memories hideout, and I intend to travel them all in this lifetime. I understand the journey through trauma recovery, and I am here to share it with you.
I am a highly-sensitive, embodied Empath and integrated DID carrier. I productively live with the aftermath left over from extreme child abuse. I understand the journey through recovering from the shattering of religious and sexual abuse recovery. I know the work it takes in returning to our original, authentic mind and inner child. It CAN happen for you. It WILL happen for you. You can integrate the dissected pieces of yourself. You can heal. You can tell your story from a place of truth and vulnerability, rejecting critics and owning your own strength. I believe you. I support you. I am cheering you on!
During this episode of the podcast, Vennie and I discuss some of the struggles for survivors and relationships:
- The importance that “no means no” regardless of the tone of voice you use to verbalize it.
- Understanding the fear aspect, and how “the way we say no” to someone, can be based on your past experiences of sexual abuse.
- How dissociation can take over when you are in a romantic situation with someone, even if they are completely safe?
- Understanding why survivors tend to try and justify the actions of others because of the grooming that affected our self-worth.
- Healthy boundaries: not only the importance of having them in the dating and relationship world, but also the struggles of trying to find a way to implement and enforce them.
- Being in a healthy relationship that ends, and the challenge of not going down the road of self-shame and self-blame for the reasons it ended.
- Can a little bit of hypervigilance be healthy in the dating world?
- Even in a seemingly safe social situation, triggers can arise that make us feel unsafe, and why it’s okay to remove yourself and not feel bad about it.
- The trial and error that is part of dating and relationships for everyone, but especially for trauma survivors and knowing that even if you do something that you regret, it’s not the end of the world and you can learn from it and move on without self-shame.
This is such an important topic, and we hope you’ll share this episode with someone who might benefit from it. After all, everyone can use alittle validation and encouragement in this area, right?
-Matthew Pappas, CLC, MPNLP