Audio & Video

Thoughts, Ideas & Meditations

This part is a way for me to share with you some of my understanding, what has helped me, and how I still help myself. I hope it helps you or is a way for you to know me better if you are thinking of working together.

Below we have a few Meditations I hope you’ll enjoy.

Transcript ~ Relational Trauma and Injuries

Understanding Worthlessness, Abandonment or Shame

Sometimes, we feel worthless, stuck, or don’t know what to do. At those moments, talking to a therapist may make a difference.

The sense of worthlessness or shame may infuse the rest of our lives and ultimately provoke us to feel more alone and more stuck as if we don’t know the next steps. This sense of worthlessness may coincide with a relational injury or trauma.

Relational injuries and trauma happen more often than we may think. It was thought that trauma only happened with big events, like a war or a death. An ongoing abusive situation like emotional, physical, or sexual abuse may create trauma. Neglect also. For a young child, neglect can take place when, on a consistent basis, a child is not seen, embraced, cared for, or fed on time. A child going through the loss of one or both of their caretakers may develop a relational injury or a relational trauma, depending on the situation. A child not welcomed at birth may develop a birth trauma that will be carried throughout their life.

An important thing to remember is that trauma develops when a caretaker is not present to help the child regulate. At that moment, the biology of trauma may take over, or the child may develop strategies to regulate away from the pain. This regulation away from pain or through trauma biology can interfere with the child’s sense of worth and create a profound sense of shame, abandonment, or worthlessness.


Why is it so important to open the door and talk about relational trauma and relational injuries?

by Claire Fradin

Transcript ~ Why is it so important to ...

Why is it so important to open the door and talk about relational trauma and relational injuries?

It’s really important because it is one reason individuals feel worthless, alone, abandoned, crazy, panicky, or angry at times.

When actually, this is not their fault, and it is not their craziness.

And there is a way out of that sense of constant rollercoaster feeling that trauma survivors feel.

How do we know trauma has happened & how do we see relational trauma and injuries play in real life?

by Claire Fradin

Transcript ~ How do we know trauma has happened...

How do we know trauma has happened, and how do we see relational trauma and injuries play in real life:

In the old days, we thought there was an event, it was a traumatic event, and we talked about the event.

Nowadays, we know that trauma has happened because we see the signs of trauma. One of the signs of trauma for a trauma survivor is to find themselves routinely in a sense of anger or rage, in a need to distance themselves, they will experience a sense of terror or panic, or a sense of worthlessness and shame or a constant need of reassurance, validation by someone else.

On a routine basis, those feelings will roll in the form of thoughts, sensations, feelings, and highjack the trauma survivor. Those feelings and needs are often intense and seem to become a default.

Individuals will often find themselves triggered by loneliness, relationships, conflict, or situations where they have to be seen or speak up. Those situations will hijack a trauma survivor. Very soon, the trauma survivor will find themselves on a rollercoaster with their trauma parts.

It is as if they can’t find the way out.

Transcript ~ How to understand what happens to relational trauma survivors?

How to understand what happens to relational trauma survivors?

The way we understand the pain that comes from relational injuries or trauma is that we see that the individual is being hooked back to the old and past memories. For a trauma survivor, the trauma file becomes more important than the present. The biology of trauma creates more sensitivity to triggers, so an individual avoids situations that have been so hurtful in the past. So, for example, trauma parts will be very sensitive to situations of conflict, speaking up, or being seen. Those were extremely dangerous in the past. Often a trauma survivor had to be tiny or hide.

As soon as the trauma survivor has to do something that wasn’t allowed in their family of origin or in the past, trauma parts will come up and hijack, pushing the individual out of their ability to regulate themselves. When it happens, the ability to see the present situation – clearly – is gone. At this point, only the biology of trauma is kicking in, and that biology is set as a default on the memories of the past. It is like being frozen in the past.

Transcript ~ What do relational trauma survivors often do?

In conflict, in situations where they have to be seen, or stand up for themselves, in situations where they are triggered by injustice or a sense of feeling shamed or attacked, they may fight and argue, leave and distance themselves, may continue to take care of the person who is abusing them without a sense of having a choice. They may have an incredible difficulty containing themselves by themselves, and they will often seek validation and support from someone else. And if there is nobody, they may use drugs or food to feel contained or to distance themselves from feeling hurt. Trauma survivors may want to kill themselves or hurt themselves as one of the trauma parts tries to regain a sense of control over what seems an impossible situation.

All of this makes sense when we know how relational injuries and relational trauma happen. There is a way to be helped through this rollercoaster. There is a way to make sense and regain understanding about one self and others in relationships. There is a way to build relationships that feel good and true to the present and not stuck in old beliefs of the past.

How do I work with relational injuries and relational trauma survivors?

by Claire Fradin

Transcript ~ How do I work with relational injuries and ...

How do I work with relational injuries and relational trauma survivors?

One of the most important for me is to help a survivor of relational injuries or trauma understand what happened and what is happening. It is twofold. We will name the situations of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or the situations of neglect that occurred in the past and we will also make sense of the aftermath of those situations in the present. 

There are trauma models that help us make sense of this rollercoaster trauma survivors often find themselves in. Trauma survivors may not know what is happening and mostly don’t know because they are hijacked by the biology of trauma. They don’t realize it’s happening, but they will feel the aftermath and will find themselves alone, feeling stuck, and feeling worthless; they may be addicted to drugs or food, and they may feel both extremely vulnerable and also feel a sense of violence toward themselves or others. Those are possibilities, it doesn’t always happen that way.

As we understand how the present hooks itself to the past and creates extremely painful situations, we will help unhook the present and the past. As we notice how they are hooked, we can help unhook them. Together, we will understand what the triggers are and how trauma parts are hijacking the present.

All of us have the ability to feel a sense of who we are in normal life, but that sense may be easily pushed aside by trauma parts. Together, we will build a way back to that sense until this becomes more and more available. As this becomes more available to you and you feel more regulated, you will feel more safe.

From this sense of safety, we can slowly work on helping you understand old strategies and behaviors that belong to the past and allow you to lead your life from this new sense of self.