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Relationship Trauma for Men

Written By: The Meadows Web Team

By Bobby Shriver

Society today is becoming more familiar with the reality of relationship trauma. With its increasing exposure on TV, podcasts, blogs, and other media, we are better understanding the impact of trauma in relationships. We are also gathering the courage to speak up about it and learning how to heal. But as this awareness has grown more ubiquitous, one aspect is still often overlooked: relationship trauma for men. 

When it comes to trauma in relationships, men can be just as affected as women.

When it comes to trauma in relationships, men can be just as affected as women. Yet the unique challenges of societal expectations can cause relationship trauma for men to go unseen or be ignored by those experiencing it themselves. If left unchecked, this trauma can negatively impact your emotional and mental well-being. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right help, healing for men who’ve experienced relationship trauma is possible. 

The Impact of Relationship Trauma for Men

Relationship trauma, according to, can result from sexually, physically, or emotionally abusive behavior between intimate partners. The lasting effects from this trauma can lead to post-traumatic relationship syndrome (PTRS), which is related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTRS can produce rage or anger toward the victim’s abusive partner, as well as fear, guilt, shame, and sadness after the abusive relationship ends, especially when the trauma gets reimagined by the victim.

But is this relationship trauma truly affecting men? Believe it or not, 25-50% of victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) — abuse that causes relationship trauma — are in fact men, reports the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity. Their research shows strong evidence that PTSD is a major concern for men who’ve sustained trauma in relationships. This trauma can manifest itself in men’s lives in harmful ways. shares the following examples:

  • Flashbacks or nightmares of the specific trauma
  • Anxiety or fear when remembering the abuse
  • Guilt and shame that leads to isolation or detachment
  • Trust issues with yourself and others
  • Suspicion of people in general

Overcoming Trauma in Relationships: The Barriers Men Face 

man burning paper that says "love"

With the difficulties associated with relationship trauma for men, it would make sense for those experiencing trauma to seek help. Yet men today face barriers that often keep them from doing so. Societal expectations are still widely rooted in the outdated image of resilient, “manly” men who don’t cry, don’t have mental health problems, and — perhaps most detrimental — don’t need anyone’s help because they can overcome challenges themselves. This popular view of masculinity has been reinforced by our culture over the decades, from male characters in movies, books, and TV shows to the celebrities, athletes, and self-reliant archetypes we put on a pedestal. 

As a result of societal male expectations, getting help for relationship trauma and your mental health as a man is often stigmatized. This keeps men from talking about their mental health out of fear of being seen as weak or less of a man. Or if they have trauma in relationships, they may not get the help they need, thinking they can endure it on their own. And for those men who do get professional help, they can be ostracized or face judgment from others. 

As a result of societal male expectations, getting help for relationship trauma and your mental health as a man is often stigmatized.

Why Should You Get Help for Relationship Trauma?

Considering the mental health stigmas that men face, if you’ve experienced relationship trauma, you may choose to keep it to yourself and do nothing about it. Yet if you don’t get help to address your trauma, it may only get worse, shares Some long-term ramifications of your relationship trauma can include:

  • Feeling isolated and lonely because you can’t share what happened
  • Experiencing burnout due to persistent fear associated with retraumatization
  • Fearing the world and feeling unsafe with anyone
  • Turning away from healthy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones

So if you’ve dealt with trauma in relationships, what can you do instead? Take steps toward healing by seeking support and getting help from a professional therapist. “Many men don’t realize that therapy could provide the necessary skills and tools for coping with their emotions,” says Boston’s Chief Behavioral Health Officer Kevin Simon in The Harvard Gazette

If you do pursue professional help, you’ll learn how to manage the fear, anxiety, and stress associated with your trauma and process your abuse in a safe environment. You’ll also develop a strong support system that can encourage you along the way. As a result of these experiences, therapy can help foster personal growth and healthier connections in all aspects of your daily life. 

Heal Your Relationship Trauma at Gentle Path at The Meadows

Having the courage to speak up about your struggles and take action through therapy may in fact be the “manliest” thing you can do for your relationship trauma. At Gentle Path at The Meadows, our caring, expert team knows how to help someone with relationship trauma overcome their struggles and find healing. If you’re ready to take that next step towards lasting recovery, contact us today

November 10th, 2023

Categories: relationships trauma

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