We have a lot of fear between genders, and a lot of masquerading. There is a lot of active fear and contraction, yet we pretend that we don’t have it. We want love, and so we attempt to override our fears.
Fear keeps us separate, by the very definition of what it is. In a trauma response, this is a fight, flight, or freeze. We pull away when we don’t feel safe, even if the current situation is safe but reminds us in any way of a time that wasn’t.
Those times that it wasn’t safe to freely love, to freely be ourselves, left a mark. I personally believe that we all have these nicks and kinks in our armor, but that that’s okay. Because if we learn to lean into those places, and to relax the armor altogether, we can actually achieve a deeper connection than we knew possible.
We have to lean into one another, though. It’s vulnerable stuff.
Men, you are in the unique position to help a woman to actually heal her trauma in partnership if you want to, rather than perpetuate it. I believe this to be true, and I’ve experienced it.
As a woman with a trauma history, and trauma to the body, it was only with a trusted man that I was able to actually begin to heal. I was in trauma therapy at the time and I was healing a lot, but the actual intersection of connection with another person was an entirely different challenge.
I work with clients now that are in lasting love relationships, but they have extreme intimacy problems because of one or the other’s trauma. I see this all the time. Many people attempt to override their fear in an effort to be in partnership, but they still suffer their fear. It is possible to move through this and into deeper connection.
Here are a few tips that she might want you to know about her fear and her trauma.
1. She may not know where it came from. She probably doesn’t. You might want to make sense of it, but trauma doesn’t work that way. If she’s in fear, ask her what she needs you to do.
2. Don’t take it personally. Other men came before you. Some of them weren’t awesome to her. She’s taking responsibility for her part (I hope) and she should not be projecting this onto you. If she is, then be the one to suggest coaching or therapy to address the unfair projection. However, tame your reactivity and don’t take it personally.
3. If bad things happened to the one you love, have compassion. She needs compassion rather than any demand to feel better. The safety and ease you provide will help her to heal.
4. Trauma isn’t predictable. It can come up spontaneously and be triggered by intimacy. Again, be steady, try not to take it personally, and be the one to suggest help if you need help healing a trigger pattern in relationship.
5. Be steady and loving. I know that it’s a lot to ask, and you don’t ever have to be on 100% of the time. But, if she is in fear, and you can hold steady in body presence and voice tone, and be loving in your voice, she will be able to see that she can trust you.
6. Fear is a contraction/constriction in the body. Trauma is a fear response lodged somewhere in the body (more than in the mind). Caring for her body, asking her to lead you through what she wants intimately with her body, and letting her lead will give her more self-lead autonomy than perhaps she’s previously had with intimate partners. It will increase the trust she has with you, and increased trust means less fear.
Women LOVE opening to a safe and trusting man. We desire a safe and steady connection. When you can decrease the fear that we carry in our systems as women, we want to open to you. We want to trust and surrender to you – it is the nature of the feminine to surrender to the masculine when she feels safe to do so.
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