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Navigating trauma in relationships

November has a contest of sorts and it’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The idea is that for the month of November you will write 50,000 words, a novel, straight through with no editing. I’ve participated multiple times over the years with my best effort being a time travel story where I wrote for 17 days straight for 110 pages; but no where near the 50,000 words needed. I wrote again the following year a story of a bookstore owned by a man with the last name Hemingway, (no relation was the joke), but again, about 15 days in I gave up and have yet another half-finished story. This year I decided to do something different, a non-fiction self-help book.

As a man who has been married and divorced a few times and have had more on again off again relationships than any one person should have I decided to write about relationship trauma and how it can carry over from one relationship to another. I used this example, if you are in a relationship where you feel like you’re walking on eggshells to not offend the other person but eventually that toxic relationship fails and then you find yourself in another relationship where you’re walking on eggshells but you’re not with the person throwing eggs. That transfer of trauma, or continuance of trauma that now is going to affect your new relationship, it is what I’ve coined as Relationship PTSD.

In my eBook I cover first, what is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, (PTSD), and how it can be caused by various traumas in our lives from war, physical or sexual abuse, and yes, relationships, specifically toxic ones. The explanation of PTSD is the first chapter, and then chapter two is on domestic violence. The positive chapters are focused on how to be single and how to look for “green flags” verses the red ones we seem to run towards when we should be running away. This book was therapy for me, and it’s not an overwhelming read coming in at about 100 pages but it is one where research is provided and then examples, (not truly personal examples as it’s not a tell-all, sorry), but contributor stories from both men and women on how toxicity in a relationship can follow you from one relationship to the next, over and over again. For me it has provided a window for me to look through to find healing, instead of the mirror I’ve looked in for years wondering what’s wrong with me?

I’m not currently single but I’m in a long-distance relationship that quite honestly is what I needed. I need time to process life, to read, to write, to teach and to learn. By not having a person in my home, (I live alone with a dog, cat, 19 chickens, and three ducks), I’m able to work through the past, acknowledging what I’ve done wrong, (plenty), and knowing too that not everything was my fault, but that I could have done things differently.

If you would like to read the book it is called Relationship PTSD How to not cause it and how to overcome it, available at lulu.com/shop. I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving and I hope to hear from you all with your comments on my book. Take care.

Brian Keith Foreman is an Organizational Psychologist teaching remotely, a supervisor at Teaching Family Homes, and a freelance writer and public speaker living in the north woods of Wisconsin, a stones throw from Gogebic County. His podcast on Swell is located at swellcast.com/bkforeman69 and his website is www.briankeithforeman.com. He is the proud father of three, Hannah, Briana, and Bethany and the grandparent of Olive and Thaddeus. He can be reached at foremanbrian4@gmail.com.


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