Barry K. Weinhold
Individuals who in the first year of life suffered relational traumas that wounded their soul, did not experience a securely bonding relationships with their mother. As a result, these people grow up not knowing how to create a securely bonded relationship with another adult. In addition, individuals who in their second and third years of life suffered additional relational traumas that wounded their soul did not experience the nurturing support of parents or other adult to become separate, autonomous persons. As a result, these people wall off their wounded parts in their adult relationships as a protection against further wounding of their soul.
It is impossible for those who are still suffering from unhealed soul wounds to be spontaneous and open enough to sustain intimacy in their adult relationships. They may strongly desire intimacy, but their body memories of the soul wounding they suffered early in life will cause them to be hypervigilant and controlling in intimate situations. They maintain a form of protection against either re-experiencing the pain of the early traumas or hold on to a fear of a repeat of their early traumas that is counter-productive to sustaining intimacy.
These early relational traumas, which we call developmental trauma, and the long-term effects of the soul-wounding process create a distorted perception of the following: 1) who I am, 2) what is safe for me to say and do in my relationships with others, 3) what others persons will say and do to me and 4) what will happen to me when I explore the world around me.
These distortions form a template we call the internal working model of reality and it is analogous to the hard drive in your computer that runs its software programs and determines what actions will occur when you give it certain commands. The only difference is that for the most part when you are operating a computer you are consciously selecting the commands you need to do certain functions, but your internal working model operates and controls your behavior automatically without any conscious commands. Your feelings, thoughts and behaviors are determined by your distorted perceptions that have been programmed to run when your alarm system senses something similar to what you experienced in an early relational trauma situation is happening in your current relationship. These distortions were hard-wired into your biocomputer by the time you were three years old.
Unless you change these hard-wired programs, the process of creating successful, sustaining, satisfying adult relationships will indeed be difficult. If you are experiencing difficulty in sustaining intimacy in your adult relationships, you will need to identify your early relational traumas that connect with the problems in sustaining intimacy you are experiencing. If you are finding yourself reaching out to people who are not available that is an indication that your mother was probably not available in the ways you needed her to be available when you were less then a year old. If you are finding that you have trouble either being intimate or sustaining intimacy because it raises fears of being hurt again, then probably your parents or other adults did and said things that hurt you while you were between one and three years old.
Our two books, Breaking Free of the Co-dependency Trap and the Flight Form Intimacy provide excellent ideas on how to discover the hidden traumas that are the source of the problems you are having in your adult relationships. Not only do they help you connect the dots, but they also provide you with tools for healing the traumas that are causing your relationship problems.