On the dramatic impact of trauma on the relations in the pair tells Albina Loktionova , psychotherapist, Director of the Institute for Integrative Child Psychotherapy and Applied Psychology “Genesis”, a training psychotherapist Vienna Institute for Child Psychotherapy ÖKids.

When we talk about a couple, we are primarily talking about the relationship between two people. Relationship – is a constant exchange. Exchange in pairs – this is very important: something must constantly flow between people, passed, then the relationship becomes alive. What we share? Someone says that finances, someone – the emotions, one of the partners creates comfort, someone provides an external protection. But studies show that this is not the most important thing in the life of modern couples. The most important thing in the life of modern couples, that provides a stable relationship – an emotional comfort that people have with each other. Emotional sharing, emotional support, emotional warmth are a stabilizing factor in the life of the couple. Hence it becomes clear why it is so devastating injury , why traumatic events associated with the past, so a dramatic impact on family life, depriving a couple of emotional comfort.

Resonance LOVE

Let us remember the first moments of love. We see the other person and feel that we like, that it is something special, something very valuable. I just can not understand it, but it’s there. And I aspire to that person, I want to find out through it. Perhaps this is the peak of human life, its most exciting moments, when we meet and begin to fall in love, close. What we are experiencing? We are going through the same exchange: another is something that I do not have.

Probably the best of what is happening in the moment of encounter, wrote Rilke. He has a wonderful poem about love, which perfectly describes how two souls are tuned to each other and come into resonance.

What to do to continue my soul

with thy I do not touch? how

to other things it over you climb?

Ah, to settle it, I would like to include losses in the darkness, which can happen,

it will calm down and, once trapped,

on your voice will not be revoked.

But that would be apart of any affected us,

we respond to the voice at once –

slaves invisible bow.

In our neck stretched – but whose?

And who is he, violinist violinist?

As the song is sweet.

The two stretched strings, which begin to live in any one invisible resonance – it is also an emotional exchange, is the invisible fabric which is relationship. And very importantly, what it will begin to resonate. In the first stage of the relationship, certainly resonate wonderful sensations: a great man, a wonderful, interesting. Very much in the relationship is on the feelings and sensations. We really like at this stage to share with each other a pleasant sensation of delicious dishes, dance, intimacy. We become closer to these feelings, tune in to the joy, the beautiful and we want to open up and share this beautiful. And this is what we want from the relationship.


Then gradually begin to develop relationships, home life begins in a relationship begins to resonate something else. I am not going to talk about everything and focus only on the subject of injury. One of the systems that resonates in a relationship – it is an injury, which once experienced people.

Before I tell you about the injury, I want to draw your attention to the fact how important it is to enable people to restore relations. In my opinion, the art of love in a pair is that the couple can rebuild the relationship, that is, after they broke down after the people had a fight, maybe even humiliated each other, they can apologize, correct, can the relationship be restored. This can be called “love at second sight.” If you lived with a man 3 years, 5 years, having passed the period when we have small children, I can look at it and at some point – maybe on holiday, maybe some free evening spent together – see all the same interesting, nice person with his values, his amazing world of sensations, with his abilities, then the couple have a future, it can master the art of love.

I was just working with couples, when I realized that the relationship in a pair of starts with the relationship with her mother in the first year of life. I mentioned the feeling of which is woven into the life of the couple. It is very important is the experience lived by the infant in his first year or two of life. When a mother looks at the baby, which seems to be still knows nothing, understands nothing, she sees it as a perfect being who already knows so much that is so delicious that smiling is so wonderful that it speaks so much.

There are studies that show that the child would not speak, if the mother does not start with it with the right intonation agukat, according to all the “foolishness” that could be incomprehensible to men with higher technical education. This is a special music that arises between them – and this is a great intimacy. Infants from this happy, and since we were all babies, then we are very happy people. In this sense, the theme of which should worry the society – a single babies. Studies show that the mother is responsible for expanding the repertoire of baby sensations and pleasures that he can survive. A divided pleasure – it is also one of the bases that stabilize the relationship partners. If a couple have something to laugh if they have a similar sense of humor, if they are well aware of each other’s jokes and laughing at them, it is the key to a long and stable relationship.

That view, which looks at the baby’s mother, we grow up, unconsciously looking for in a partner, but sometimes it is very difficult to return to it. Once beaten so many dishes, it is written so many bad words, caused so much offense, it is very difficult to return to this view of love. If we, as therapists, we can provide a pair of access to it, then this pair will be healthful. These relationships begin when people are still hesitant to take this step – again look at each other through the eyes of love . What do they actually prevent? One of the obstacles is the injury.

HOW we experience INJURY

Trauma – that’s what keeps us close. It can be associated with very early experiences. Trauma can intervene when people just come together. For example, if a person did not have this wonderful experience of the first two years of life, associated with pleasure, with shared intimacy, that psychotherapy is called intersubjectivity, or this experience is in short supply, the person is very difficult to approach. He does not have the relevant experience and there is no trust to make a step towards the other.

In the next stage of relations trauma can occur when we are inadequate for anything react. For example, the wife makes her husband simple remark, but he feels ashamed at that moment. Or feels its uselessness. This is an inadequate response – but he feels.

The third point, which is manifested injury – when we for some reason it is difficult to correct the attitude, it is difficult to move closer again, catch a glimpse of love again.

Trauma – a situation in which a person experiences as having no exit, which is associated with the threat, or life, or some important values in life. A man in such a situation can neither run nor fight, he is forced to remain in it.

How can I find trauma on their own experience? Usually we try to forget traumatic events or displace. One of the defense mechanisms associated with the trauma, called dissociation , when we do not remember this experience, we exclude it, do not allow him to consciousness. We so it’s easier to live.


I work a lot with children and I want to tell you how I understand the trauma as a child therapist. It is very important that the injury is a subjective experience that I had no choice, I must remain in this situation. I really helpless, I’m worthless, I’m at the mercy of this situation.

In pediatric therapy, we use the metaphor of the elevator. Do you like to ride in the elevator? I really love. Opposite my house there is a 22-story building, and sometimes I go there to ride the elevator. I’ll tell you about their feelings. When around 6 pm start to rise from the ground, at first did not see anything, then one can see some not very nice houses, windows, a lot of cars. The higher you climb, the more you see the future, the roofs of houses, driving directions, you realize that the machines are not really so much. On the 22nd floor you see the sun, sky, beautiful buildings – a very beautiful city. This is a wonderful experience. You can see that everything is close, everything is possible and does not understand why some car stopped and blocked the movement – you do not understand, because it takes place on the first floor.

Suppose you 22 years old, you are on the 22nd floor. A child who is 3-4 years, living on 3-4 floor. He sees no prospects for him and the reality of everyday life – what is happening in the neighboring window. If there all the time screaming, it acts on it, it hurts him.

Actually, it’s a metaphor for our lives. I think some people injury can disrupt even the movement of the elevator. Man can not rise to higher floors to understand that because of its situation, there is a way. A child who has just 3 floors, does not know that you can run on the 5th floor, with 5 floors that would be a very different kind, completely different solution. He knows that you can get away for 2 or 1 floor.

The injury we often behave so. The response to injury is a setback . We do not understand what could be better, it will take place, that the house is still under construction. The child does not know. If the injury is very serious, all personality development may be impaired, develop a psychological disorder. There are local trauma. What adult does not hurt much, or do not hurt the baby can survive a trauma. Children tend to suffer in silence and do not say that they are suffering. They express it as a behavior in symptoms. Their house is still under construction, and in some places it seems no longer built. For example, the wall of a building under construction, but some connections are not being established above the floors 4-5, lived experience is not handled the cerebral cortex. For example, a child has experienced shame in any situation. We have a very strong culture of shame, shame, education, punishment, children are often ashamed of. For some children, it is unbearable. They kept it, trying to adapt, but inside is an irreparable trail, feeling of inferiority, worthlessness, what I bad, unable to. This traumatic kernel. Some have it more, others small.

Resonance INJURY

And so, we begin to approach each other in a relationship. Imagine two 22-storey buildings. On the 22nd floor, everything looks very good. “Do you love French literature?” – “Oh, I love Francoise Sagan!”. We are very well and quickly begin to converge. And here we start something to resonate.

Surprisingly, life observations show that we attract people, on the one hand, unlike us, who have something to give us what we have to fill and enrich, and on the other hand, have experienced similar traumatic experience. As if some kind of compass tells us this man is something also that I have. And we understand each other. We are, perhaps, to treat each other. This is the secret hope of our self: I’m here, in these respects, could something in yourself heal. And in general, probably Rilke poem that we are in a relationship really healed . We can not do not react each other. Perhaps it is the Creator’s plan that all the time we have grown and evolved all, and we always get those partners that we are forced to develop.

There are studies that describe in detail why we resonate. Some injuries helps us come closer, others repel us. There are people whom we see and understand not our man. For example: there is so much pain that I have this pain is not exactly stand. In his family, the culture, the experience so much hard, strict, that I do not exactly fit. We know that in the first moments.

But suppose I realized that this man is safe to approach me, and I make a step forward. And then it begins life as a couple. Living in a couple – this is largely a first fabric sensations, feelings and emotions. This stage takes place very quickly, and comes everyday life. And here, for example, a woman makes a discontented face and says to the man: “Well, I was hoping for you ….” At this point, its partner in its “lift” can get into a state of four year old child, who had once hoped his mother. For example, leaving him a younger brother, but he did not deliver. My mother was very disappointed and strongly shouted at him. Thus the child formed a traumatic kernel: I worthless man, can not be relied on, I did not cope, I faint on me.

We know that the injury is arranged so that the imprinted and displaced holistic situation. Since it is not recycled consciousness, any element of this situation (eyebrow movement, intonation, the message itself) is a trigger stimulus. It acts as a conditioned reflex and can cause the same reaction. So a person gets into the elevator, and the time is on the 4th floor, in their 4 years. He worries that he had not worried that he once drove, and then all life to avoid situations in our case – the situations in which he lost. And then he suddenly falls into one of them.

What is he doing? Of course, blame the partner. “I held on, strong, confident man, head of the company. No one else I have not heard such words, and did not experience such feelings. So, you’re to blame. ” Then the partner begins to defend himself: he does not consider himself guilty, he believes that behaved rightly, that this is only a slight criticism. If there begins the struggle over who is right and who is wrong, then it is the beginning of the destruction of relationships. This dispute about anything, it is easy to prevent and easy to complete, but it does not know the couple, and they continue fruitless, unconstructive showdown.


My therapist’s experience is that here you can help. You can establish a dialogue where other again see how the whole man. To do this you need to move away from a partner to move to a certain distance , not to listen to his arguments and attacks. Why in these situations, so helping humor? Because humor is contained distancing moment, out of the situation. We need not just move, but also to rise to 20 or 40 floors, and a partner to help climb the same floor. I think that if the pair can lead such conversations, relations have perspective.

The therapist’s task is only to give way to learn to engage in dialogue in pairs. The existential analysis of existing methods of finding personal items, which can be taught not only the individual, but also a couple – to take a position in respect of themselves, examine themselves, to experience yourself. I believe that it is worth investing time and effort, because otherwise traumatic circle very easy to grab a pair and begin to destroy it from within. We need to give ourselves time to stop and dismantle all resulting feelings. How to write the holy Fathers, we must analyze not only the actions and words, and even thoughts. Analyze, understand, and ask for forgiveness.

Thus, it is important to stop and establish a dialogue in which each partner can rise to a higher level, to a more mature and complete picture of himself to a deeper experience, learn a little about his injury, and the feelings about the situation, where those feelings may be, for the first time it appeared. How do I know them? It is not immediately, but come.

It is important to understand that when we experience in childhood trauma, the “record” traumatic event comprises two parts. The first part – impotent , experiencing the futility saluting on arbitrariness; a state of the victim. The victim believes that it is to blame for what happened, because it can not draw boundaries and can not fight back. The second part – the aggressive , it is also written in us and also not understood. The aggressor – is the one who is attacking, accusing, causes pain, injustice, beats. However, there is another part – recorder. Our consciousness contains the seeds of life to cope with the situation, but they are not mindful. However, the resources and the support we have.

In family life, often the reaction of weakness in one launches another aggressive reaction. The stress response is a normal pattern of behavior. This is the reason of domestic violence or humiliation of depreciation, which is present in the vapor. This is because the weakness of partner reminds me of my weakness, and there is the same resonance. But as for me, this experience is unbearable, I answer from the role of the aggressor. I begin more to blame, humiliate. This is a difficult part of the relationship, and here, perhaps, difficult to manage without the help of a therapist. With this, you can work, moving to higher floors of consciousness and understanding of life, reconstructing those first floors, which were for some reason destroyed.

Mergers and Differentiation

Often, we are very far from moving away from the image of a partner as a beautiful and wonderful person in our lives. At some point, are born monsters, soldiers, cold queen and other unattractive characters. Man does not understand what happened to his beautiful partner, and where there was this monster. People often do not realize that they are in this “monster” are beginning to see some of their past experience: someone who teased them, psychologically tormented, who subdued them, not realizing that a different person in front of them. This is called the merger .

In families where people live together for a long time, a high degree of fusion goes to a high degree of differentiation . The man is very well aware of who I am and who the other. The more differentiated the person, the easier it is to ask, so, stop, and what was it? And who I am to you? And who are you to me today? And understand again, restore and feel the relationship. Of course, we all have a job in the first place, in their relations.

To finish on a grim note, I will tell the story. When I went this morning to the conference, the conversation with the taxi driver. Learning theme of the report, he asked if I was married. I went to answer, but asked him a question about how he copes with difficulties in his relationship with his wife. And he said a very wise thing. “First of all, – he said – to pray. As soon as something happens, I immediately begin to pray and to think that I had a bad thought. ” We see that in principle this is some work with an injury. He is trying to understand the situation, to find her embryo where I have erred in their thoughts against another? So what is next? “And then I apologize. Finally, enjoy a good glass of Georgian wine. ” I wish you all a happy life as a couple.