Q: Hi Kathryn! I love your Q & A’s and have one of my own

Ugh! I’ve had another couple of days up all night fretting, and I’m finally reaching out to you for help

I had a rough time as a child with abusive, alcoholic parents and felt like an outcast growing up

After years of therapy, I’m much better, but . . . . I still have a reaction I just hate and I truly think it’s affecting my ability to find love

It’s bad enough that over and over again, I attract guys who don’t live up, who treat me badly, insult me and hurt me

But what is worse is my reaction. After two dates with a guy, if I feel rejected, you would think that someone died from how this makes me feel

I just had this happen again. A guy I have casually dated for a very short time did something pretty hurtful, and I’m traumatized

No matter how short the relationship was or how casual, every time it ends, I pretty much curl up into a fetal ball for sometimes weeks or months

I’m depressed, I don’t want to date ever again, and I’m just miserable. This is where I find myself right now

The trauma is way out of proportion to what happened, and my friends are calling me out on that. But I can’t seem to help it. I find myself shutting down more and more just to avoid any more dating hurt

At this moment, I never want to date again and just live my life alone for fear of being hurt yet again

It’s frustrating because I do want love! Am I hopeless? Is there anything I can do to change the way I react, what I’m attracting and quit repeating this pattern over and over? Please help!

A: I’m glad you wrote me. Your case is far from hopeless

I suspect you just haven’t yet gotten the help you need

Because I ran a crisis clinic for many years, part of my process specifically deals with trauma that continues to inform what is happening now

I recently worked with a woman who had a crazy childhood with a mentally ill mom who abused her. She married a man who also abused her horribly both physically and mentally

When she came to me, she had finally left the abusive marriage but was still quite traumatized. And we got busy treating the still-present wounds and the resulting patterns

Here are the basic steps I used to help her heal and create something new:

1. We gave her the time to heal properly, to lick her wounds and create a sanctuary around her. In the past she always chose situations and people who would hurt her, so taking care of herself was new to her

2. We began using a multi-pronged approach to create a new security and higher self-regard as well as creating within her in a new template of what healthy love would be like to pull her beyond the past patterns. This ensured she would never again create such a destructive situation

3. Finally, we put in new behaviors for her in regards to dating. She would only date sensitive, kind men and at any red flag, she learned to pull out and not tolerate things she accepted before

The result? She found love late in life that made her heart sing with a kind, sensitive and handsome man. To this day, she cannot believe the happiness she is having in a soulmate relationship that honors her

She finally bucked her past trauma once and for all!

You can do this, too. When the pain is in your face like it is right now – that is the PERFECT time to dealwith it and transcend it

So I hope you take this opportunity to do some serious work to heal your trauma

You will be so busy in love, you’ll forget you were ever traumatized