My life is an open book, at least it will be once my book is available on Amazon. My voice will be heard and my story will be out in the world. I read something earlier today that prompted me to get this out in the open. In all honesty, I have no issue talking about anything with anyone who genuinely wants to listen without passing judgment.
I am fully aware that it may be difficult for some people to relate or understand the trauma I endured as a young girl. There is also a time and place for everything. Asking me to relive my trauma just after it happened, not a good time. I was nowhere near ready to talk about it. I was too young to fully process everything, and I didn’t understand which direction I was being taken. There were too many unknown factors that I simply didn’t have answers for at that time.
As a young adult, I was more open to talking about my experience. Perhaps, not in detail or in a matter where I was ready to pour my heart out. As time goes on, it became easier as long as I felt I could trust who I was sharing that information with. Now 30 years later, it’s no longer an issue for me at all. It’s not to say that there isn’t any emotion shown, that all depends on the person and how they react. If my experience resonates and they get a bit teary-eyed, you can bet that I will react in a similar manner. Not because I’m still traumatized or that I find it difficult to share, but because I am human and sympathetic.
How do you comfort your friend or family member that has endured trauma?
That approach varies from person to person. In some cases, just knowing they have a safe person to confide in is a good place to start. The victim may not be ready to open up fully at the beginning, but may take comfort in knowing that they have someone that will listen. The keyword is “Listen” as they may not want to hear your advice unless they specifically ask for it. Most of us are problem solvers and are all too quick to blurt out our two cents; I’ve been guilty of that, but it’s really important that we actively listen without interrupting.
Ask the victim, how you can be supportive? In what way can you help them? Then follow through and do your best to be there in that manner. Don’t assume they are fragile and will crack if certain topics are brought forward for discussion. If you are unsure, then simply ask, but if the answer is NO, then respect that. Don’t treat them differently, they are not damaged goods.
Everyone processes trauma at a different pace and in various ways. Use your best judgment and give them space to work through things at their own speed without constantly reminding them. Be a listening ear, be a shoulder to cry on, offer to bring over chocolates and ice cream and watch a comedy to help cheer them up or take them out to lunch to offer them a chance to take their mind off of things temporarily.
You’ve got to get through the storm before the rainbow appears. ~ Hannah