How Trauma Affects Relationships


As a leader, have you ever considered how trauma affects relationships?

Few people reading this will be able to relate to the dramatic and traumatic childhood of Gary De Rodriguez.

His mother was bipolar, an alcoholic and a drug addict who attempted suicide every now and again. Gary would find her, thinking she was dead. He was molested by his mother for the first 11 years of his life, was raped at 15 and an intravenous drug addict from ages 14 to about 18 – methamphetamine, crystal meth and heroin. These series of events left him with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

It was a spiritual experience that got Gary clean and sober in 12 hours.

Through all the trials and tribulations, he began to become very, very in tune with what causes people to lose their emotional balance, become a dumpster fire in relationships and ruin other people’s lives.

Gary knew that his mother had been gang raped by her father and a group of his friends and he began to realise that everything she had become was because of unresolved trauma. Deep-rooted unresolved trauma followed her generationally because what was perpetrated upon her got perpetrated upon him. Unresolved trauma is one of the key factors that impact relationships in a way that makes them unworkable.


Have you read: Leading Yourself from Addiction to Sobriety – Ethan Mulholland


It was in a postage stamp-sized office that Gary launched his career and now, after coaching over 11,700 people worldwide, he is internationally recognized as the go-to person for personal and professional relationship breakthroughs. He has developed a trauma resolution technique that permanently decodes the nervous system in anywhere from 10–20 minutes and won’t ever allow the trauma back in the same way, with the same emotional punch.

His goal and life purpose are to find methodologies that are not laborious and help people make a permanent change. That all collides in this one beautiful thing called a relationship.


How Trauma Affects Relationships

Trauma can have a significant impact on relationships. It can lead to communication breakdowns, emotional distance, and difficulty with trust. Individuals who have experienced trauma may struggle to form healthy relationships or may find themselves attracted to partners who reinforce negative patterns. This can create a sense of distance in relationships, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation. Additionally, unresolved trauma can present as anger, resentment, and other negative emotions, leading to further conflict in relationships.

You bring the relationship with yourself to the relationship with another. If you’re not self-aware of what the deeper emotional drivers are, what your unconscious beliefs are that are running the show underneath your conscious desires, you are not going to get very far. And remember, our conversations are literally everything. The quality of the conversation is the quality of the relationship.


Have you read: The Art of Self-Mastery – RJ Singh


There is a lot to absorb during this episode, from spiritual awakenings to how Gary can bring a team to tears in three minutes – because there can’t be hiding inside a team that is responsible for probably hundreds or thousands of people’s lives!


The position of the company is a reflection of the leader. Their beliefs, commitment, drive, heart and soul are being displayed in front of them. In most leadership positions, there is no sanctuary in the organisation’s four walls. There is responsibility, action and making choices with sometimes not enough data. There is crossing your fingers and hoping that not everybody sees that you don’t know exactly what you are doing..

It is not the standard qualities of leadership that Gary speaks to. His leadership training is aimed at a leader that has a sense of wanting to be massively effective but is not yet getting the buy-in or the respect that they need to be able to influence effectively.

The very first place for leadership development is for leaders to start to notice whether they have their own mental-emotional management skills or not. If they don’t, they absolutely need to get them. “A crack at the top is a tsunami wave at the bottom,” he says.


The complete interview, including the process involved in The Great Unravelling, can be listened to here, on audio platforms, or watched here, on The Culture of Leadership (TCoL) YouTube channel.

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