Is Past Trauma Blocking a Relationship from You?

Psalm 139:23-24

By the term “trauma,” I’m referring to a past experience that was very hurtful and negatively influential on you.

Some people are happy to be single while others wish they could be in a relationship. If you are someone who wants to be in a relationship one day but you’ve also had past trauma, it’s possible this trauma is actually keeping you single.

Therefore, here are 3 signs to consider.

1. If a You Formed a Core Belief During a Very Hurtful Past Experience, Oftentimes This Will Keep You Single

When a core belief was formed during a very negative experience, it is very likely that this core belief is untrue or overblown. I’m certainly not diminishing the power of the pain that occurred through that negative experience. I’m not saying you are exaggerating your experience. I’m simply pointing out that when we are at our lowest, we are not in the best condition to be forming core beliefs.

Imagine you found someone laying on the street. You then find out they were just mugged by some criminals. And then you also find out they are brand new to this city. How do you think they would answer if you asked them right there, “So what do you think of this city?” Obviously they are going to have a very negative belief about this city. But your belief about your hometown will be very different if you’ve lived there all your life and never been mugged.

My point is, try to think back to that traumatic experience and examine if you formed any core beliefs during that time in your life. For example, did you go through a breakup and then say, “Love always brings immense pain and suffering.” Love can sometimes lead to hurt, but obviously it doesn’t always lead to this result.

Ask God to help you with this. As Psalm 139:23-24 states, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

2. If Trauma Caused By One Person Is Now Causing a Lot of Fear About Other People, This Could Keep You Single

If you are someone like me who loves dogs, you know how confusing it can be when you meet people who are deathly afraid of them. We all know some dogs are dangerous. But the vast majority are lovable creatures who just want to make you happy. But we feel this way because we’ve had so many good experiences with dogs. Usually someone who dislikes all dogs has had one very bad experience with one dog. Now they are projecting that fear onto every dog.

People tend to do this type of thing in relationships too. Like a dog bite, the wounds can physically heal quit quickly. But the inner fear caused by that bite can haunt a person for a lifetime.

To truly forgive someone, you have to first rightly place the blame on them. If you don’t, it will be hard to forgive and be free of the hurt because you won’t know exactly what you are forgiving; the pain you feel from the past will then often get projected on people in the present – people who have nothing to do with the negative feelings you now have.

So don’t mistake forgiveness with a free pass. By forgiving someone who hurt you, you are not saying your pain doesn’t matter or that they are getting away with hurting you. No. When we forgive, we are saying their wrongs did matter, that we were hurt, and that we are depending on the cross of Christ to do what we cannot do in our own power (Ephesians 4:31-32).

3. If Your Past Trauma Has Caused You to Become Too Inwardly Focused on Your Own Healing, This Can Actually Keep You Single

Perhaps the worst part about being wounded is that you begin to lose focus of your purpose in life. Yes, the wounds we experience need immediate attention. If your heart is bleeding out, you have to get healed or else you will die.

But in that pain, we can get so used to focusing on ourselves we can actually become rather selfish people who find it easy to ignore the needs of others. Again, we need to practice self-care, especially when we go through trauma. But we need to get better so that we can then look outward again, choosing to love God and others as we were designed to do (Matthew 22:37-40). Notice the model we are given in Epaphroditus. Philippians 2:25-26 states:

I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill.”

In his illness, his focus remained on loving others. Likewise, may we too avoid the temptation to lose focus of love during those seasons where we are emotionally ill. May we seek inward healing so we can love others again in the best way possible.

Do you need healing? Here’s a related article called 4 Things God Will Do When Your Heart Needs Deep Healing.

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Mark Ballenger is the writing ministry of Mark Ballenger. To reach Mark, send him an email anytime:

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