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During any relationship, we will experience some type of conflict. We might step on each other’s toes or unintentionally cross a boundary. When we have suffered trauma, especially in relationships, we might fear any conflict. We might not express when something is bothering us for fear of the response. We might have a deeply ingrained feeling that any conflict will lead to danger. Trauma can alter our expectations and distort what might be normal—and even healthy—conflicts within a relationship. 

Normal conflicts and disagreements occur in any healthy relationship. The way we deal with the conflict can be either healthy or unhealthy. We might internalize the conflict and never speak up. Withholding our thoughts and feelings can lead to resentment or continual boundary-crossing. We need to learn to stick up for ourselves, even in a relationship. Remember that your partner may not have known your perspective and you are responsible for communicating your needs and wants. 

When someone crosses a certain boundary, the relationship may not be able to bounce back from it. Perhaps you have gone through things that no one should endure. These may be things like abuse, manipulation, put-downs, or anything that makes you feel afraid or unworthy of love. Normal conflicts can include asking for more help around the home, wanting some time to ourselves, sharing responsibilities, or being out later than expected without calling. When these things occur in a normal and healthy relationship, we can compromise and learn how to work better together. If you are struggling due to your trauma, be sure to let your partner know your needs and when you need your space. 

Navigating healthy relationships can be difficult. We might steer clear of all conflict for fear of a reprise of our traumatic past. We may associate any type of conflict or disagreement as a beginning of a blow-out or abuse. When we are in a normal, healthy relationship, we will have some conflicts and disputes. What we do in response to conflict determines the health of our relationship. When we hold back from expressing our needs or discussing boundaries, our partner may unintentionally do things that we do not like. Our partners cannot read our minds and some things may not be apparent to them. Of course, there are some things that no one should deal with during a relationship. If you are continuing to struggle with your trauma, which affects your relationship, you may benefit from additional therapeutic support. Call The Guest House at (855) 483-7800 for more information on how we can help you.