Any past traumatic experience keeps a person in survival mode- a tensing of the physical body and the mind – as the brain has one job, which is to keep you safe. Anything that reminds you of the past trauma is going to trigger you and make you feel super reactive all the time because you’re working in fight/flight mode. Past sexual trauma is no different. In fact, sexual trauma that occurred many years ago (even in your childhood) can affect your marriage and other adult relationships.
So how can you be married and have normal marital intimacy if you’ve experienced sexual trauma maybe even from your spouse himself?
First you need to make sure you are physically safe and that you are not repeatedly being violated. That is priority number one.
If you are physically safe, and you suffered from an infraction by your partner, the second question that we have is, is your spouse remorseful? Do they feel bad about what happened? Are they sorry and have they resolved to change? Are you seeing changes in their behavior that are lasting and resolute?
If we are talking about a situation where the spouse is truly sorry and wants to make amends and you are unsure about whether to forgive, release, and let go, that is something only you can decide.
This may help though.
But this might help. If you really want to make things work again and forgive your partner but you are noticing that you’re having a hard time letting go and feeling safe enough to open up again (mentally and physically) you may want to consider learning to relate to your spouse in a whole new way. Seeing your partner as the wounded child that they are can help you understand that they may repeat what they learned in their own childhood story to get themselves “safe”. Having compassion for their story will allow you to learn methods to create emotionally safe interactions that feel good. As a result, some of the walls naturally start coming down on their own, organically. That’s because of the new, emotionally safe way of interacting that you’re experiencing.
This may sound complex but happens so beautifully in Imago therapy- watch how in the video below.
Every situation is different and no doubt you’ve been through a lot. If it would help to schedule a free relationship clarity session with us, you can do that here using this link or through filling out the form below. There’s nothing like having someone who has seen this before guide you through a very messy situation into one where you can heal and move forward in life on your terms.