Links: Trauma & Heartbreak Articles and Posts

Relational Trauma

The Real Reason Why We Love Bad Boys, Toxic Partners and Emotionally Unavailable Men
Shaida Arabi, MA
Our brains can be rewired to fixate on people who aren’t good for us….We can become addicted to the highs and lows of dangerous romantic relationships in a way that makes a break-up from a toxic person similar to rehab from a destructive drug addiction.

Healing After a Heartbreak
Dr Nerdlove (Harris O’Malley)
Especially for men…”heartbreak sucks, but men aren’t taught how to heal from it.”

The Spellbinding Bond to Narcissists and Psychopaths – Neurobiological and Psychological Contributors
Rhonda Freeman, PHD
Leaving an abuser is not solely a cognitive decision (based on thinking), but rather one that is tied to a myriad of neurochemical, psychological, and emotional anchors. There are factors that are much stronger than thoughts that usually win out.

Death of a Relationship
Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC
An index of sites devoted to the loss of a relationship

Feeling Betrayed: Emotions, Archetypes and Recovery, 1
Brian Collinson
“We humans are social animals. Our evolutionary past centers around life in small, close groups. It is in our nature to form close bonds of crucial importance, which psychotherapists call attachment bonds, with those people who are closest to us. When those bonds are most crucial to us, when we trust them, and that trust is flagrantly broken, our reaction is most often intense grief and despair.”

The Ultimate Pain: Recovering from Trauma
Elisabeth Corey
“But the shame is worse for the perpetrators. They took their own victim shame and tried to place it with someone else. They unconsciously thought that would be easier than feeling it. But the shame multiplied. And now the pain is worse.”

Trauma Survivors and Thrivers: Life After the Veil Has Lifted
Deanna Doss Shrodes
“…once you encounter trauma, it’s like a veil is lifted from your eyes whereby you see the world differently…”

Sex and Relationship Infidelity: A Betrayed Partner’s Need to Know the Truth
Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S
“Infidelity is the breakdown of trust caused by keeping secrets in an intimate partnership.”

Rethinking Infidelity—a TED talk for anyone who has ever loved
Esther Perel
Relationship therapist Esther Perel examines why people cheat, and unpacks why affairs are so traumatic. (21 minutes)

How do you pick up the pieces of a broken heart? 
Advice from someone in the midst of the worst of it.

Understanding psychological trauma
Rubert de Cesaris
“But the most destructive traumas are interpersonal (i/p), as opposed to accidents or acts of nature, precisely because the victim has been dehumanised, used and abused.”

The Trauma of Being Alive
Mark Epstein
“Trauma never goes away completely…It changes perhaps, softens some with time, but never completely goes away.”

10 Surprising Facts About Rejection
Guy Winch Ph.D.
We know that rejection really hurts, but it can also inflict damage to our psychological well-being that goes well beyond mere emotional pain.”

The 5 Stages of Emotional Triage for the Divorced, Betrayed, Broken-Hearted, and Discarded
Dr. Andra Brosh
“When it comes to abrupt endings related to love, the experience is very similar to being the victim of a blunt force trauma. The symptoms are the same, and your functioning drops to the level of someone who needs to be hospitalized and treated for injuries.”

Is it possible to die from a broken heart?
Hope Gillette
“…is it possible to sink so far into despair after a relationship ends that we actually forfeit our health? Can you really die from a broken heart?”

Why the Pain of a Broken Heart Mimics a Heart Attack
Rita Watson MPH
“The research shows that heart break registers in the same areas of the brain as physical pain.”

The Science of Heartbreak on The Science of Heartbreak website:


The Worst Kind Of Betrayal
Lissa Rankin M.D
“If I had to choose the form of betrayal that emerged most frequently from my research and that was the most dangerous in terms of corroding the trust connection, I would say disengagement….”

Understanding Relationship, Sexual, and Intimate Betrayal as Trauma (PTSD)
Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S
“…their trust and belief in the person closest to them has been shattered. For a healthy, attached, primary partner, the experience of profound and/or unexpected betrayal can be incredibly traumatic.”

Why the Pain of Romantic Rejection Feels Like a Punch in the Gut
Alice Park
“Researchers have recently found that emotional pain—feeling either rejected or sad, or grieving over a lost loved one—can tap into the same nerve networks that give pain its negative tinge.

Betrayal – The Wound that Will Not Heal for Women
Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A.
“When as cared about and safe as you thought you were is as uncared about and unsafe as you turn out to be you can never completely forgive or forget.”

A Medea or A Saint?
Cheryl Fuller, PhD
A Jungian analyst looks at Elizabeth Edwards’ situation in light of Medea.

The Pain of Lost Love
Jim Thornton
“As mysterious as love may be, the agony of its loss is an even more baffling experience, driving many men to depths of despair they never knew existed.”

He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
Laura Munson
A heartening tale from this wife threatened with abandonment: “My husband tried to strike a deal. Blame me for his pain. Unload his feelings of personal disgrace onto me. But I ducked. And I waited. And it worked.”

Emotional/Domestic Abuse

What Abuse Survivors Don’t Know: Ten Life-Changing Truths to Embrace on the Healing Journey
Shahida Arabi
“I was a victim. I am a survivor.”

Why Women Stay: The Paradox of Abusive Relationships
Eliana Dockterman
“…the first step in any abusive relationship is to seduce the victim and make them feel like they are the ones in control…Predators build up the victim’s self…”

5 Signs You’re Being Manipulated
Sara Staggs, LICSW, MPH
“’Manipulative’ is a dirty label assigned to clients. I’ve heard it from bosses and colleagues, read it on charts. However it’s also a very real thing many of us have experienced in our workplaces, classrooms, friendships and dating lives.”

Will an emotional abuse offence ruling help vulnerable women?
“Control, dominance, bullying and manipulation are the driving forces behind countless “romantic” narratives…. How do you know someone is hurting you? How can you be sure this isn’t just an expression of his pain?”

Why Do People Stay in Abusive Relationships?
Dr. Craig Malkin
“The reality is the abused, like my client, aren’t always fragile or powerless. They come from all walks of life—rich, poor, strong, weak—and from both genders, female and male.”

TED Talk: Why domestic violence victims don’t leave
Leslie Morgan Steiner
Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

Are You Emotionally Abusive?
Steven Stosny
It can happen to anyone!—That’s right; anyone can become emotionally abusive in an intimate relationship. The path to emotional abuse begins at the point where resentment starts to outweigh compassion.

Post-Traumatic Stress

A Revolutionary Approach to Treating PTSD
Jeneen Interlandi
“Acknowledging and reflecting the protagonist’s emotions like this—what van der Kolk calls “witnessing” them—is a central part of the exercise, meant to instill a sense of validation and security in the patient.”

How Survivors Define PTSD
by Michele Rosenthal
“How survivors define PTSD is different from anyone else who’s only read but not experienced what PTSD feels like.”

PTSD. Discussing the mental & spiritual causes and solutions.
“PTSD is a spiritual problem, and those who experience it require a spiritual rebirth. To have it they must let go of their ego and give themselves completely to God. He will reward them with a new mind, a new spirit, and a better life.”

3 Lessons PTSD Treatment Teaches About Stress Management
Julian Ford Ph.D.
“Chronic stress, like PTSD, can make anyone feel like they’re going crazy,..”

What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted? Soul Loss and Recovery
Ishtar Dingir
“What are the symptoms of soul loss? “On a visceral level, we all know how soul loss comes about. We suffer pain or trauma or abuse, we are overwhelmed by grief or guilt or shame, and part of us goes away because it doesn’t want to stay in a world that seems so harsh and cruel.”

How to Approach Reclaiming Control Over How You Feel
Michele Rosenthal
“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a normal reaction to an abnormal experience…. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder symptoms include nightmares, insomnia, flashbacks, rage, emotional numbing, hypervigiliance, hyperarousal, depression, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and avoidance.”

Confronting Good and Evil

Bearing Witness to Suffering and Recovery
Sandra L. Brown, MA
If I have learned anything from thousands of hours of this work and a God that is my wing-Man, it is that I am not only bearing witness to suffering but to the dawn that breaks afterwards. Suffering is not the end of the story. It’s the introduction, it’s the fore word, it’s the prelude, it’s the chapter titles, but it is not the conclusion. Holiness trumps pathology. Light makes darkness recede.

Great Betrayals
Anna Fels, MD
“…it is the betrayal of relationship trust caused by consistent lying, rather than any specific sexual act, that both defines infidelity and causes the deepest pain to the betrayed partner.”

Deliver Us: thoughts on evil and psychotherapy
Martha Crawford, LCSW
“Love is a lovely and powerful thing, but it’s easy, pleasant for most of us to think about. Evil we push from our minds, ignore, repress, avoid, minimize, deny and rationalize. We see it as unfathomable, inhuman, repugnant. We don’t want to understand it at all. We don’t even want to be able to understand it.”

Masks of Sanity: Detecting Disguised Personality Disorders
Stephen Diamond, PhD
“I would argue that antisocial personality disorder represents pathological narcissism in its most extreme and destructive form…. deceitful, manipulative, destructive and aggressive behavior serves the subconscious purpose of causing others to experience the same feelings of fear, rejection, victimization, hurt, terror, abandonment and betrayal as did the perpetrator during his or her own childhood.”

Healing and Transformation

Joy vs. Happiness, Part 1
Sandra Brown, MA
Joy has to do with the quality of US, not them. It’s a ME factor, not a him or them factor. Happiness may be external but joy is internal, and, in many ways, eternal. It emanates from within us and can exist even when the external circumstances of our lives ‘suck.'”

The Gift of Suffering
Dr. Sue Mehrtens
“Suffering that is consciously accepted can be very liberating. It does this by bringing us to the truth. We come to see what is really going on in our lives, and this releases us from the pack of lies we have been telling ourselves for years….We find our truth in the midst of our suffering.”

For the Overwhelmed, Physical Sensations Can Soothe
Betsy Polatin, Alexander Technique Teacher
“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when there is “too much” to handle…. Training yourself to become aware of your body’s sensations during these moments can reduce stress and teach you how your body can lead you back to mental and physical equilibrium. – 

Why Shame Is Triggered Just When You Start To Feel Good
Suzanne Lachmann Psy.D.
“Understanding shameful flashbacks to trauma…part of what evokes shame is that it was an experience that feels unresolved, and is shrouded in secrecy and torment….Do not lose sight of the limited outlets you had at the time to cry for help and express your pain and anger..”

Emotional Healing: Shining a Light on Shame
Dianna Bonny
“There are a lot of wounded humans out there silently bearing the pain of their invisible wounds because of shame.”

New Age Healing Mythology
Judith Prebluda, MA., L.M.H.C.
How locus of control and blaming the victim play into trauma victim’s sense of responsibility for what happened.

How to Heal What Medicine Can’t Fix: A Broken Heart
Michele Wroblewski
“Trauma changes you. When it comes to those who have experienced trauma of any kind versus those who have not, I would describe it as, “life behind the veil.” I just want the pain to go away. I wouldn’t wish any of this on my worst enemy!”

Healing From a Broken Heart
Georgianna Donadio, MSc, Ph.D., D.C.
Quoting Dr. Fisher, she says that romantic love is “really a drive—a powerful, primordial, primitive drive to attain life’s ultimate prize—to win love.”

Why Should We Dance?
Christina Devereaux Ph.D, BC-DMT
“…participation in dance/movement therapy may stabilize the sympathetic nervous system and improve psychological distress. Studies have shown that dance, in particular, can decrease anxiety and boost mood more than other physical outlets…”

The Forgiveness Myth
Terri Strange
“A common myth leveled at survivors of rape and abuse is that we need to “forgive” our rapists in order to begin to heal ourselves.  Rape is always made to be about how the victim responds to it.  How we BUILD CHARACTER from trauma…. “

Can I Get Over an Affair?
Tammy Nelson, PhD
“It is possible to move on and rebuild after infidelity.” Three distinct phases of recovery from an affair: the crisis phase, the understanding (or insight) phase, and the vision phase discussed.

Dumped? 10 Healthy, Non-Masochistic Ways To Heal
Genevieve Lill
“Ice cream, alcohol, meaningless hookups: the go-to antidotes for a bad breakup are often about distraction rather than relief. What’s more, they tend to injure more than assuage, as if the breakup itself didn’t cause enough pain.”

Uncommon Advice to Heal a Broken Heart
Susan Piver
“Heartbreak from lost love is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. The pain takes you by complete surprise and it is simply not possible to move on.”

Why Sex is Sacred?
Deborah Anapol Ph.D.
“In the pre-Christian view, sex is sacred simply because it’s part of life. In the Christian view sex must be shown to be deserving of reverence. No problem!”

What’s so great about great sex?
Bettina Arnd
“What does it take to make sex more than merely functional or even satisfying but truly memorable and extraordinary?”

Meditation to Heal a Broken Heart
This meditation can help you sleep through a difficult night:
“To heal the emotional wounds of the heart we need to bring calm to the nerves that hold the wound.”

Grateful for this Broken Heart
Lawrence Grecco
“At some points during each day I’m grateful for this pain because it’s fast becoming one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.”

Your Broken Heart
Veenaa Saynana, Laughing Dolphin
“Your broken heart is a call for help.” 

Working with Difficulties
Tara Brach
Tara Brach, beloved meditation teacher, offers a simple, powerful method for working with difficult feelings.

Paradox, a Meditation on Powerlessness
Karin L Burke
Admitting sorrow is alchemy.”

Dark Night: The Breakdown of the Mythology of Me
Jeannie Zandi
“Few issues can be brought to psychotherapy that better straddle the worlds of spiritual teachings and psychology than the dark night of the soul.”

Why Lying Broken in a Pile on your Bedroom Floor is a Good Idea
Julie (JC) Peters
“You know that feeling when you have just gone through a breakup, or lost your job, and everything is terrible and terrifying and you don’t know what to do, and you find yourself crying in a pile on your bedroom floor…”

Balancing the Brain Toward Joy
David Kupfer, PhD
“I want people to use both of their hemispheres. And I want them to recognize that they have more power over what’s going on between their ears than they ever had any idea.

The Treasure at the Heart of Pain
Gail Brenner, PhD
Not to wallow in it. Not to feed the drama. But to face what you have been running from—the experience of emotional pain that seems to have taken up residence inside of you.”

Experiencing the Mortificatio: Jung on Grief, Grieving and Mourning
Dr. Sue Mehrtens
” No new life can arise, say the alchemists, without the death of the old. They liken the art (of alchemy) to the work of the sower, who buries the grain in the earth: it dies only to waken to new life.”