In caring relationships, we are open to the influence of each other. We look to each other for confirmation of how we see the world & even how we see ourselves. We trust the responses & opinions of those we love, and we take them into our hearts and minds. Experiences of joy & delight are amplified when we share them. Experiences of sadness & fear are less painful and lonely when we share them.
Children with relational trauma fear being open to the influence of others. They avoid connection because it has led to so much hurt in the past. These children tell us – sometimes in words & often in their actions – that they do not want to be connected emotionally with us. They seek control rather than relationship because this is the way they have learned to keep themselves safe.
We must work hard to help these children to feel safe enough to trust again. We must gently reawaken their desire for connection. Relational trauma leads to loneliness & shame. When we communicate our understanding of their need for control, whilst staying open & engaged ourselves, over time we can help our children move from loneliness to hope & healing. In relationship with us.