Living with the Problem

The reenactment of trauma is a baffling adversary because its victims, mostly women and girls, seem to choose self-harmful lifestyles and behaviors. Many people close to traumatized women do not understand their actions as survival strategies and get angry or exasperated by the women’s attempts to ease pain with pain.

Couples struggle with the reenactment of trauma when:

  • a partner can’t understand why the woman reenacting trauma can’t “just say no” to self-harm
  • a partner can’t just go to AA and get sober
  • a partner can’t find her salvation in the relationship

Single Adults report experiencing:

  • isolation
  • shame
  • feeling very undesirable and afraid of intimacy

Parents report experiencing:

  • an inability to enjoy their children due to focus on their own self-harm
  • shame
  • secrecy (see our feature article about Concealing and Revealing a Secret)
  • fear that they will lose their children because of their self-harming activities

Teenagers report:

  • confusion about “cool” stuff like piercing, drinking, dieting and dangerous self-harm
  • fear of being hospitalized
  • isolation
  • shame

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