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How Do You Get Past Accumulated Trauma?

Graphic Design by Lizabeth Laroche

How do accumulated negative feelings and trauma impact you and your relationship with your loved one? How do you get past them, to a better place? In part, it’s about breaking the contract of the usual interactions and cycles — learn to step back, re-assess, and let our loved ones handle things without so much of our intervening. Kayla and Dominique discuss how that can be done.

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What Is Enmeshment?

Enmeshment is a blurring of the boundaries between people. How the other person feels affects you intensely. Enmeshment is one-way — your thoughts, feelings, and choices are about the other person’s well-being. Countering enmeshment means checking in with ourselves, calming our systems down, taking pauses, and allowing the other person the dignity of their own process. You can learn to listen and make reasonable requests and develop a healthier kind of connection.

How Do You Handle Anger?

What’s the impact of emotions on how we interact with loved ones? Learn to acknowledge, claim, and identify your emotions. Don’t discuss anything when you’re reactive. Instead, pause, check in with your feelings, and don’t take things personally. Have a strategy that’s not confrontational or accusing, but engaging. Calm your system and engage in a way that you can feel good about. Hopefully this will reverberate with your loved one and create change over time.

Ah-Ha Moments

When the noise dissipates and there’s clarity, that’s an “ah-ha moment.” You can move forward in a different way. You might even find new commitment to a way of thinking or behaving that you didn’t have access to before. Allies in Recovery uses CRAFT to give you the tool set for your own ah-ha moments, but also to help create the conditions for your loved one to find their own moments and possibilities for long-term change.

What Are the Three Questions?

When you’re in the middle of crisis, feeling reactive or uncertain about what to do, use the “three questions” to helps create space and time and take the best action. What am I feeling? What can I do about it (think as broadly as possible)? What am I actually gonna do? Kayla likes to consider a fourth: What’s happening that’s making me feel this way?