TW: Sexual Assault and Depression
Dating while you’re trying to heal from your unresolved trauma is difficult and something that I didn’t know I’d be doing at 26. A couple of years ago, I jumped into counseling after I found myself depressed, dealing with anxiety attacks, and trying to recover from a sexual assault that I didn’t know was affecting me mentally.
Fast forward to now, I have done the work, I’ve gained the skills — yet I find myself pushing away a man that I think is good for me. Good for my well-being and mental state. He’s understanding, calm when I have outbursts and he helps me overcome anxiety attacks, so why do I keep doubting him and trying to push him away?
I’ve asked my therapist this many times and we’ve narrowed it down to two issues. Number one, I have trust issues that result from unresolved childhood trauma, and number two, my anxiety that came after my sexual assault is worse when I’m trying to open up to someone I care about. These are factors I see daily in this relationship (situationship?) and I’m too afraid to explain it all to him, so let me put it out into the internet.
Again, this man is very understanding and I know he wouldn’t shy away from the challenge that is me, but I’m too scared, too traumatized to run to him for comfort. I’m too scared to run into possible rejection. So how does one deal with unresolved trauma and dating? You work on yourself.
That’s my answer right now. I haven’t fully healed but I’m seeking answers. He might leave at any moment because it’s too much — I’m too much — but if I don’t work on myself, that trauma will still be there when I date another man.
So you’re still wondering, what’s it like dating and dealing (not dealing) with trauma? It’s a roller coaster, a stomach-churning roller coaster. You feel your throat get tight anytime you think about rejection. You cry at the thought of it. You push the person you care about to spare your feelings but you just hurt yourself and them. You might even scare them a little. The good ones will stay and try to be a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and even be a part of your support system. The ones that don’t stick around, those will feed into your trauma and confirm the anxiety you have, further damaging the beauty that is you.
Again, work on yourself. That’s the main objective here. Dealing with it is step one and the priority.