6. Weather the Storms (in an appropriate manner)

The reality of being married to a survivor of complex childhood trauma is that it will often feel like storms are constantly rolling in to shore. These storms can be costly, exhausting, and overwhelming. They can accost every area of your life in ways that are difficult to quantify.

Because survivors of complex childhood trauma can function with the appearance of normalcy in everyday life, especially if they are very talented, there can be such ambiguity in your experience. On one hand, your life can have  the appearance of, or potential for, what others would call success. On the other hand, you are often simultaneously recovering from a storm, experiencing a storm, and watching new storm clouds gather. It can be a steady, unrelenting cascade. This makes it seemingly impossible to gain stability and traction in your life.

Feelings of discouragement are common here. It is disheartening to feel like your life takes two to ten steps back maritally, relationally, financially, and/or professionally every time you try to take one step forward. Much of what you gain, you perhaps feel like you lose. There is a high cost to living with the effects of unhealed complex trauma. If you have children, it is even more complicated. You are likely doing your best to create as normal a life as possible for them, while being regularly confronted with the reality that you cannot shield them from all of the implications of living a life that is affected by trauma.

If you decide to work toward your marriage surviving, there will be storms to weather. (Please note, if there is abuse, weathering the storms does not mean staying and enduring it. You need to seek professional help and intervention immediately for the safety of yourself and your children.) Weathering the storms will require tenacity, but please understand that it is not your responsibility to “fix” the trauma. Weathering the storms will also likely require the help of a knowledgeable trauma counselor who can help you identify what storms to weather and how to weather them. The journey is not in vain if you walk it constructively and with intentionality.

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