Relationships

Rupture to Repair: Healing your Relationship

July 20, 2021

Our hurt leaves us braced. We cannot be vulnerable with walls up. We are not available to offer or receive authentic connection without vulnerability.

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Let me guess:

One partner feels alone and like they don’t matter and the other feels they are always being criticized and can’t get anything right. The more one asks for the other to show up, the more the partner disappears physically and emotionally. You both bicker and fight and the idea of sitting and just hanging out seems elusive, if not impossible.

It looks like this:

Something like this?

He walks into the room. He is on his phone and doesn’t acknowledge her.

Does it even matter if I’m here? Her insecurities answer, I don’t matter to him. She doesn’t feel cherished by him. Her insecurities begin to swirl around her bringing the familiar hurt. She hates feeling hurt and small. She’d rather be strong instead and protect her vulnerable heart, so the walls come up. She gets mean when she’s feeling protective – it keeps her safe.

She snaps at him.

“What did I do this time?” He feels constantly criticized. He believes that she doesn’t respect him. He sees her walls come up and the familiar fangs come out. I can’t do anything right, anyway. He feels worthless. He is protective of his vulnerability, too. When he is feeling small he focuses on self-preservation. He detaches, shuts down, and pulls away.

He snaps back at her.

They are off in a familiar cycle– Growing more angry, and more withdrawn, with each round.

Over time, we develop beliefs about our partner, ourselves, and the relationship that are reinforced through our perceptions of our partner and how we interpret their behavior. We are primed and quick to respond to slights, to hold on to the pain caused by past slights, and live with the anticipation of the next slight. Arguments erupt out of the most benign situations because even they becomes proof of the belief we hold.

In addition, Our trauma plays out—and heals— in relationship. From horrific experiences that undermine our safety in the world and relationships to subtle messages that impede our ability to trust.

Often we crave connection but are blocked by the pain and the history that gets in the way. Small fights about little things become battles that highlight our struggle to have our basic relational needs met.


Finding the Way Back

To heal a relationship, it is essential to get under the bickering to the wounded and guarded parts to allow you to reconnect to the person you fell in love with to cultivate a healthy and life-giving relationship. 

Identify The Cycle: Identify the pattern in typical conflict and disconnect

One partner feels alone and like they don’t matter and the other feels they are always being criticized and can’t get anything right. The more one asks for the other to show up, the more the partner disappears physically and emotionally. You both bicker and fight and the idea of sitting and just hanging out seems elusive, if not impossible.

Identify the Need: Discover the unmet attachment and intimacy needs

Then we discover the attachment and intimacy needs that get lost behind our protective walls. The relationship becomes safe and promotes vulnerability which allows the authentic connection. Intimacy and emotional needs are met. 

Establish the Connection: Use the cycle to create intimacy and connection

After identifying the cycle, the deeper beliefs, and the connection needs discovered in the battles, we are able to stop the cycle that creates disconnection and instead use the cycle to create connection. We find intimacy.


Couples crave intimacy and connection from their partner but feel like there is junk in the way that keeps them separated from that connection. The past hurt leaves us expecting another hurtful encounter. Both members of the couple keep walls up and are self-protective. We cannot be vulnerable with walls up. We are not available to offer or receive authentic connections without vulnerability. We have to let down the guard to connect, and that is terrifying!


The good news is that there are several methods that are backed by Research. At Well Coached Life, our coaches use Emotionally Focused Couples therapy. The ICEEFT site states, “We adhere to the philosophy that relationships are at the core of the human experience. Research indicates that secure attachment and emotionally fulfilling relationships are integral components of mental and physical health and that emotionally focused interventions have the power to establish and re-create supportive bonds among individuals. We are therefore dedicated to the understanding of individual health and dysfunction in the context of relationships with others and the enhancement of couple and family functioning.  We believe that all people can maximize their potential given a nurturing social environment, which we endeavor to foster in our work with clients.”

We are here to walk with you and your partner to a fulfilling relationhip.

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What else?

Trauma may result from a wide variety of stressors such as accidents, invasive medical procedures, sexual or physical assault, emotional abuse, neglect, war, natural disasters, loss, birth trauma, or the corrosive stressors of ongoing fear and conflict. SE facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotion.


SE offers a framework to assess where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states. It provides effective skills appropriate to a variety of healing professions including mental health, medicine, physical and occupational therapies, bodywork, addiction treatment, first response, education, and others— Excerpt taken from SETI.

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders resulting from multidisciplinary study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics, together with over 45 years of successful clinical application. The SE approach releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the end product of cumulative stress. Both types of stress can seriously impair a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease. Excerpt taken from SETI

An Embodied approach to healing

Trauma may result from a wide variety of stressors such as accidents, invasive medical procedures, sexual or physical assault, emotional abuse, neglect, war, natural disasters, loss, birth trauma, or the corrosive stressors of ongoing fear and conflict. SE facilitates the completion of self-protective motor responses and the release of thwarted survival energy bound in the body, thus addressing the root cause of trauma symptoms. This is approached by gently guiding clients to develop increasing tolerance for difficult bodily sensations and suppressed emotion.


SE offers a framework to assess where a person is “stuck” in the fight, flight or freeze responses and provides clinical tools to resolve these fixated physiological states. It provides effective skills appropriate to a variety of healing professions including mental health, medicine, physical and occupational therapies, bodywork, addiction treatment, first response, education, and others— Excerpt taken from SETI.

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a body-oriented approach to the healing of trauma and other stress disorders resulting from multidisciplinary study of stress physiology, psychology, ethology, biology, neuroscience, indigenous healing practices, and medical biophysics, together with over 45 years of successful clinical application. The SE approach releases traumatic shock, which is key to transforming PTSD and the wounds of emotional and early developmental attachment trauma. Trauma may begin as acute stress from a perceived life-threat or as the end product of cumulative stress. Both types of stress can seriously impair a person’s ability to function with resilience and ease. Excerpt taken from SETI

An Embodied approach to healing

Excerpt taken from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute. 

Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP) is a complete treatment modality to heal trauma and attachment issues. SP welcomes the body as an integral source of information for processing past experiences relating to upsetting or traumatic events and developmental wounds. SP incorporates the physical and sensory experience, as well as thoughts and emotions, as part of the person’s complete experience of both the trauma itself and the process of healing. Excerpt taken from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute.  


An Embodied approach to healing

SP seeks to restore a person’s ability to process information without being triggered by past experience. SP uses a three-phase treatment approach to gently guide the client through the therapeutic process – Safety and Stabilization, Processing, and Integration. The therapist must pay close attention to the client to ensure that they are not overwhelmed by the process while simultaneously engaging their own abilities and capacities for healing.

It is thought that SP strengthens instinctual capacities for survival and assists clients to re-instate or develop resources which were unavailable or missing at the time the trauma or wounding occurred. Once resources are developed and in place, the traumatic event can be processed with the aid of resources. SP is a well-developed approach with decades of success in the treatment of trauma and developmental wounds. — Excerpt taken from Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute. 

Excerpt taken from ACBS Association for Contextual Behavioral Science. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a comprehensive multi-diagnostic, modularized behavioral intervention designed to treat individuals with severe mental disorders and out-of-control cognitive, emotional and behavioral patterns. It has been commonly viewed as a treatment for individuals meeting criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) with chronic and high-risk suicidality, substance dependence or other disorders. However, over the years, data has emerged demonstrating that DBT is also effective for a wide range of other disorders and problems, most of which are associated with difficulties regulating emotions and associated cognitive and behavioral patterns. 

radical acceptance and change

As the name implies, dialectical philosophy is a critical underpinning of DBT. Dialectics is a method of logic that identifies the contradictions (antithesis) in a person's position (thesis) and overcomes them by finding the synthesis. Additionally, in DBT a client cannot be understood in isolation from his or her environment and the transactions that occur. Rather, the therapist emphasizes the transaction between the person and their environment both in the development and maintenance of any disorders. It is also assumed that there are multiple causes as opposed to a single factor affecting the client. And, DBT uses a framework that balances the treatment strategies of acceptance and change - the central dialectical tension in DBT. Therapists work to enhance the capability (skills) of their client as well as to develop the motivation to change. Maintaining that balance between acceptance and change with clients is crucial for both keeping a client in treatment and ensuring they are making progress towards their goals of creating a life worth living. — Taken from DBT-Linehan Board of Certification. (click to learn more)

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