“Understanding your partner’s childhood traumas & triggers is a love language.” – @RicchRody (twitter)
This quote by twitter user @RicchRody has been floating around as a re-share on different social media networks. This statement is so simple, yet profoundly impactful, and in an effort to keep the message alive in a noisy online space, we’re bringing it to the blog to unpack.
We’ve discussed the 5 Love Languages before, and this simple addition makes so much sense. When we look into a person’s past and find a history of trauma, we also often find a history of disrupted attachment, a sense of low self-worth, mistrust, and a continual management of triggers. When we consider these layers as part of an individual’s experience, so, too, must we consider the impact of these layers on one’s experience of receiving love.
Using @RicchRody’s quote as a basis, here are three ways in which understanding the impact of your partner’s trauma can serve as a language of love.
Make Your Partner Feel Seen
So often, trauma survivors have been minimized, sometimes to the point they feel invisible. To have someone, especially a safe partner, seek to understand how that trauma shows up in adult life and the current relationship can make a survivor feel like someone really sees them. Being truly seen can bring someone from a place of invisibility to a place where their existence matters.
Make Your Partner Feel Safe
When we work to understand what makes our partner tick, so to speak, we can work toward supporting an environment in which they feel safe. For instance, if we know that certain words or actions can bring up a trauma response in our partner, we can work with our partner to find replacement words and actions, or even eliminate the triggers entirely. Moreover, when we understand our partner at this level, we can actively seek to learn what responses from us will help them the most.
Coming from this space, we send a message of, “I care what happened to you, I love you, and it’s important to me that you feel safe.” What a wonderful way to show love.
Make Your Partner Feel Valuable
In the traditional 5 love languages, it’s all about making your partner feel valued, in a way they can receive the expression. While a partner with a trauma history will likely be receptive to any of the 5 love languages, what better way to say I love you than to strive to deeply understand their history and how it impacts them today. In fact, we can expand this beyond trauma survivors to include most humans. Who wouldn’t feel valued and loved if someone sought to understand their personal history and how it has shaped them?
Of course, the points unpacked here may not resonate with everyone who has a history of trauma, and to offer a one-size-fits-all approach could do more harm than good. Likewise, it doesn’t require a history of trauma to appreciate a partner who studies our love language. But if you’re wondering how you can level up in your expressions of love, consider seeking to truly understand the makeup of your partner and then striving to adjust the language of love accordingly.
If you are on a journey to love more deeply, a love coach may be able to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out – you are worthy of deep, authentic love.