Relationships: Can Childhood Trauma Cause Someone To Lose Themselves In A Relationship?

When someone is in a relationship, the ideal will be for them to be in touch with who they are and to express their true-self. By being this way, being close to another person will have changed them, but it won’t have caused them to abandon themselves.

Therefore, when they are around the people who they are close to, it won’t be as though they have become someone else entirely. These people may notice a few differences if they are perceptive, yet that could be about as far as it will go.

A Healthy Position

As they are in tune with who they are, they will be able to act as an individual as opposed to an extension of their partner. This will mean that they themselves won’t always agree with everything their partner says and that there will be conflict from time to time.

In the eyes of some people, this could be seen as a bad thing. The reason for this is that someone like this could be in a relationship where they never argue and they rarely, if ever, have any disagreements.

A Defence

What this is likely to show is that one or both of them have a fear of conflict, which is why there appears to be harmony in their relationship. Ergo, what is going on is likely to be nothing more than a facade.

Under the image that they present to others and how they see things is likely to be a lot of baggage. There can be a lot of anger and resentment, and before long, some of this material could end up breaking through and causing a lot of problems.

Another Part

When there is conflict, the key will be for one to open up to their partner in a respectful manner. Not to blame or to point the finger at them, but to simply express what is on their mind.

Although this won’t always be comfortable, it will be an important part of what allows one to stay connected to who they are and to maintain their individuality. Expressing themselves will also make it easier for them to stay connected to the relationship and for it to grow and develop.

Two Parts

As they are connected to their needs and feelings and express who they are, it will show that they value and respect themselves. What it will also show is that behaving in this way feels safe.

It is through having these two components in place that they will be able to ‘be themselves’ in a relationship. Maybe, these two components have more or less always been in place.

Another Reality

While being this way can be seen as the ideal as it will allow someone to actually show up in a relationship, there are going to be plenty of people who don’t experience life in this way. When someone is in this position, what can be normal is for them to lose themselves when they are in a relationship.

As a result of this, they will end up disconnecting from their needs and feelings and they won’t express who they are. They will be physically separate from their partner but that will be about as far as it will go.

A Natural Process

This doesn’t mean that they will say to themselves, ‘right, now that I’m with someone, I will lose myself and become someone else.’ No, this is likely to be something that takes place unconsciously and thus, without them even realising what is taking place.

Doing what their partner wants and what they think they want will be their priority, along with going along with whatever they say. Undoubtedly, they will have a well-developed ability to tune into their partner’s reality and to merge with them.

Out of sight

This is something that can take place without their partner even being aware of what is going on. It would be easy to say that this must show that their partner is not very perceptive, but what it can also show is how good one is at deceiving others.

They can do this by making out that they are fine with what is going on and how things are progressing. The information inside them, their true needs and feelings, will be hidden from their partner and themselves.

What’s going on?

If this is indeed how someone behaves at the beginning and during a relationship, it is likely to come down to the fact that this is simply what feels safe. Losing themselves is going to cause them problems but, at a deeper level, it will be seen as what they have to do in order to survive.

This could be hard to believe, especially if it is seen through the eyes of a fully grown adult. What this may illustrate is that their early years were very traumatic and even though many years will have passed, they won’t have truly moved on from that stage of their life.

A Closer Look

Perhaps this was a time in their life when they were abused and neglected on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Due to this, it wouldn’t have been safe enough for them to be in their body and as a consequence, to be connected to their needs and feelings.

Instead, they would have had to disconnect from their body and to live in their head. Not only would being in their body be too painful, but being in their head would have enabled them to be hyper-aware of what was going on around them and to tune into their caregivers needs; both of these things would have been a way for them to minimize the pain that they experienced.


The love, care and nurturance that they needed to be able to develop in the right way wouldn’t have been provided. They would have been traumatised into living in a disembodied state and their energetic boundaries wouldn’t have formed.
If one can relate to this, and they want to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided by the assistance of a therapist or healer.

Author, transformational writer, teacher and consultant, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over two thousand, five hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.

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