From the shock of betrayal, to control and manipulation. There are many situations that can lead to relationship trauma. 

While the focus tends to be on what’s visible, such as wounds resulting from domestic violence, there are other types of distress that can occur in a relationship, much of which is still considered abuse. Though it leaves no discernable mark, the emotional and psychological damage is deep.


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Before continuing, let’s pause to make one thing clear: If you are being hurt or abused in your relationship, please seek support. Here’s contact info for the National Domestic Violence Hotline – their site includes quick and easy ways to clear your search history. 

Remember, you are not alone, and this is not your fault.

Keep in mind, everyone’s situation is different. Because of the complexity, therapy is the best way to navigate the unique nuances of each situation. Therapy breaks destructive patterns, helps lead to a better choice in partner, and helps reconcile past experiences that draw you to toxic partners in the first place.

At the Relationship Therapy Center, our main focus is helping people navigate relationship issues. If you’re looking for therapy in Fair Oaks, Ca, or Roseville, give us a call. We’re always here to listen and offer support.

One of the biggest reasons relationship trauma is so tricky to work through is because feelings are so complex. You’re not just dealing with your own feelings, either. You’ve instilled your trust in a partner, and if they have their own unresolved issues, or betray your trust over and over – each time promising they will never do it again – it’s confusing.

Plus, there’s often still love there. When things are good, it’s usually out of this world incredible.

Everyone recognizes the horrors of domestic violence; there’s no disputing the trauma there. This piece aims to explore some of the other ways trauma can occur in a relationship, sometimes in conjunction with physical abuse.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Examples of Relationship Trauma

Trauma is defined as, ‘a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.’

While usually a sudden shock – your world and reality shattering before your very eyes – it can also happen slowly, through consistent manipulation.

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Control and Manipulation

Do you find yourself modifying your behavior to prevent your partner from berating you? Perhaps they don’t like the way you’re making eye contact with their friends; are accusing you of having feelings for them, or cheating.

Have you begun to avoid certain things you enjoy because your partner doesn’t like them, and you constantly worry that you’re going to do something “wrong” to set them off?

Living under near-constant stress, walking on eggshells terrified of making them angry, and generally shrinking and suppressing who you are is no way to live. Especially if it reaches the point where you begin losing friends and your life begins to shrink.

Betrayal and Lies

Learning that the love of your life, the co-parent of your children has been unfaithful, is devastating.

This is a huge blow to you, your relationship, and your immediate family. Questions you never even thought about before start to appear:

  • What if this isn’t the first time? 

  • Can I even trust them again? 

  • Was this all a lie? 

  • How will I be able to trust anyone?

There are other types of traumatic betrayal too, such as finding out that your partner is in trouble with the law. Or discovering that the person you trust – your spouse – has been spending money foolishly, and hiding it from you. Now you’re in such deep debt that the life you have is gone, the house is getting foreclosed, and you’re having to make extreme adjustments.

How to Heal

Part of what makes these situations so traumatic is that they are rooted in survival. A big reason why we make the choice of partner is based on our belief in that person’s ability to provide us with safety, love, comfort, and support.

After being hurt, betrayed, manipulated, gaslit, or whatever, we lose the ability to trust.

Having a good support system is key in order to heal. That, in conjunction with therapy, is the best way to move forward and heal from relationship trauma. Therapy gives you both the clarity and space necessary to help work through the tricky decision of what to do next.

Sometimes, the betrayal is so huge or the manipulation so unforgivable there’s no moving forward as a couple. In a situation like this, finding a therapist adds a much-needed solid foundation of support. Offering guidance and wisdom in an otherwise very complicated situation, while also providing a safe space to grow and heal.

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Other times, when you feel your partner is sincerely ready for change and is willing to do whatever it takes, finding a couple’s counselor is ideal. The road ahead is bumpy, and your therapist is there to provide structure and guidance through what can become a very messy emotional place.

If you’re looking for individual therapy or marriage counseling in Fair Oaks or Roseville, Ca, give us a call. We have two locations and offer virtual sessions as well.

We know that healing is possible; we’ve seen it many times. We’d be honored to help support you on your journey, too.

Begin Relationship Therapy for One in Roseville, CA or Fair Oaks, CA:

If you are ready to make lasting changes in your life to strengthen your relationships with others, we can help! Our therapists are trained to provide relationship therapy for one for adults living in the Sacramento Area or online in the state of California. You can begin relationship therapy for one in Fair Oaks, CA, or Roseville, CA by following these easy steps:

Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center:

In addition to relationship therapy for one, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.