How To Let Go Of Past Relationship Trauma So You Can Be Vulnerable & Find New Love

True love requires vulnerability.

How To Let Go Of Past Relationship Trauma So You Can Be Vulnerable & Find New Love by Natalia Barros on Unsplash

Love is complicated, and when you find a relationship you want to be fully emotionally engaged in, learning how to let go of the trauma and painful baggage from the past is important.

If you've ever been hurt and worry that you won't be able to really know how to build trust in a relationship, it's OK. There are ways you can let go of negative emotions and embrace true authentic intimacy.

RELATED: 12 Ways To Let Go And Free Yourself From A Painful Past


But if you want an opportunity to really dig deep and confront your old patterns of pain, unconsciousness, and reactivity, then get into an intimate relationship.

If you want to see where you’ve grown and where you definitely have not grown, and find out how present you are able to be, the way you interact with your partner will let you know where those strengths and weaknesses lie.

You enter intimate relationships for many healthy (and some unhealthy) reasons.

Most people hold a romantic fantasy of joining with your "soul mate" to find pure, lasting love that will save you from the pains of human life.


Real intimacy challenges you on every level to be authentic, present, in alignment and balanced in giving-receiving. Real intimacy, perhaps most importantly, is founded on a willingness to engage and to surrender.

It challenges you to raise your consciousness to take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and reactions. Intimacy also challenges you to deal with those thoughts, feelings, and reactions rather than blaming your partner or the circumstances or wanting them to make you feel better.

Healthy intimacy invites whole beings to meet in a dynamic center to create something different and bigger than individuals.

The paradox is that you also must acknowledge that being human tends to be a messy process with your egos, personalities, emotions, and personal histories.


This brings you back to the opportunity for learning and intense spiritual development in the context of relationships. You get involved with someone and are having a wonderful time.

You enjoy the excitement of learning about someone new, about your commonalities and differences. You may enjoy the intellectual banter, flirting, passion, laughter, and play. One day there is a realization that something has shifted.

You’ve been sharing your thoughts and emotions and letting this person get close to you. Your feelings deepen with tenderness and love. Feelings of vulnerability arise perhaps subtly at first. Perhaps your partner reacts to something that triggers some very old feelings for you.

Suddenly, you're feeling guilty or fearing rejection or those very old feelings of unworthiness or self-criticism or jealousy or neediness or fearing abandonment. Ouch.


Here are 7 ways you can let go of the past and protect your relationship from former trauma:

1. Develop profound self-love

Or as much self-love as possible while always working to deepen it. I believe this is the foundation of all other love and the bedrock of intimacy. Your partner can never love you enough to fill what is lacking.

Their love mirrors your undeniable loveable-ness which can help you if you allow yourself to receive it deeply. Love from another is transformative when you allow yourself to receive it deeply. Love transforms when you recognize it as evidence that you are loveable and worthy.

When you use it as inspiration or catalyst for loving yourself. It's not your partner's job to love you enough, it's your job.


2. Upshift your vibration

Learn about your energetic body systems. See an energy healer. Practice creating love in your mind for everything and everyone. Listen to your "happy music." Read or watch something inspirational. Release any habits of negative thinking, complaining, blaming etc.

Misery does love company and it's sometimes hard not to play when someone near you starts to complain about something. Purposely focus your mind on things that feel good, that you enjoy, that you can like or love.

Anything at all is a great place to start. "I love looking at the water. I love the color of that orchid. I love my cat." And keep going until you feel your mood and energy lift. Feel the light inside you expand. It really makes everything easier.

3. Do mindfulness meditation

Practice being present. Formal meditation practices are great tools for developing the skills of seeing what is happening within you and the myriad games that your mind plays throughout your day.


The practices can help you recognize that you're not what is happening in your mind but rather you are the one observing what is happening. You are the awareness. This will help create some space between You and the incessant voice in your head.

The space helps greatly as you practice pausing rather than reacting. The formal practice is important however, the ultimate goal, if you will, is to bring that same level of presence into every moment of your life.

It's quite another level of challenge to bring that focused mindful non-judgmental awareness to your daily activities and encounters with others, especially in intimate relationships. Being present with whatever you may be experiencing is healing.

RELATED: The Amazing Thing That Happens In Life When You Learn To Let Go


4. Feel what you feel and make room for it

Most of you have little awareness of your feelings throughout the day because we're busy in your minds. We're thinking, planning, rehashing the past, rehearsing the future, complaining, or fantasizing most of the time. Your emotions are your personal GPS.

They give you more information than your brains but you tend to default to the almighty brain. Experiment with tuning into your gut (your second chakra emotional center) several times a day to ask yourself "what am I feeling?" It'll probably take you some practice to get it.

Also, feel your whole body. Notice where the emotions are causing sensations in your body. Use your breath to make room for whatever you're feeling. It's very important to bring curiosity to this discovery process rather than judgment or attempt to control your emotions.

What are you feeling and where? Make room for whatever is there without judgment or argument. Just feel.


5. Teach yourself to let go of your emotional pain

You can practice this by going through a short meditation to get grounded: Connect with the second chakra, expand your energy field, and then tune into the emotions and sensations in the body.

Allowing the ebb and flow of emotions without analysis, judgments, arguments, or pushing. Make room for whatever you're feeling and to let it flow out of your hands, feet, or wherever you perceive it.

Point your awareness to new emotions or reactions to what you're feeling or resistance to what you're feeling so you can simply let go of those, too.

No matter what arises, simply let go over and over and over.


This is a process that leads to healing and freedom.

6. Practice active communication skills on a regular basis with your partner

Healthy, effective, honest communication is arguably the most important skill for couples. Nothing else can really work without having this in place. Deep authentic intimacy requires safe engaged communication.

Couples can work their way through many minefields with strong communication skills. This is worth studying or hiring a couples' therapist who is particularly skilled at facilitating these skills.


You might also benefit from reading and studying the works of David Schnarch, John Gottman, and David Richo.

7. Have a therapist or spiritual advisor skilled in helping process your emotions

This is particularly important if you or your partner have trauma in your history. David Richo's book How to Be an Adult in Relationships is an excellent resource and based on a mindfulness approach.

You cannot avoid having your stuff stirred up even in the best of relationships or circumstances. It's also arguably a good thing for the relationship because the individual work and the couple communications around these things has the potential to greatly enhance the intimacy.

Allowing others in is what deepens the connection and love. It necessarily comes with deepened vulnerability.


Do your inner work as well as you are able. Bring presence to your experience as well as with your partner.

Keep your energy as high as possible and speak with love, respect, and curiosity. Your stuff is going to get stirred up. Hop on that rollercoaster of intimacy with a joyful whoop for the adventure.

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Susan Franklin is a psychologist, wellness coach, and intuitive Reiki master. For more information on how she can help you embrace self-love, visit her website.