Supporting Someone Who’s Experienced Trauma

To support someone who’s experienced trauma …

1. You don’t need to have any answers.

2. You don’t need to have gone through the same thing yourself.

3. You need to be able to listen. Really listen. Through the deep concern expressed in your eyes.

4. Silence is good. Often words don’t help. What really matters is the fact that you are there.

5. Find a way to convey that you absolutely ‘get’ how terrible this is, and how it’s shocked them to the core.

7. Often questions make things worse. If used at all, they should be used sparingly, and with sensitivity.

8. Do not offer your opinions or give advice. Never comment on the person who has caused them so much harm. Keep your focus on the victim, and what they are going through.

9. Keep emphasizing strongly that the person isn’t crazy. Their feelings and reaction – no matter how intense they are – are actually a normal response to what has happened.

10. Communicate the fact that you believe in them, that you know that they can cope, and you believe they will survive.

30 thoughts on “Supporting Someone Who’s Experienced Trauma

  1. I love this. I think I saved it everywhere I could lol.
    I recently went back to work since my oldest passed in Sept….Only 2 days a week for only a few hours. I’m seriously thinking about printing this out and leaving it by our calendar because my boss does almost the opposite of everything on here. I’ve tried a million times, different ways…just to explain everything you’ve shared on here. I know she means well but, no one truly understands and I don’t except anyone to either. Sometimes I just need a supportive ear or shoulder to blurt out unnecessary shit that goes on in my head so I can….ugh…let more unnecessary shit go on in my head lol. I don’t know…
    Btw, you’ve been so awesome since I started my page. Not just by things you’ve written on my page to show support…by your posts that seem to take the words right out of my mouth (or head). Believe me, this is a huge step by doing everything from starting my page, sharing and reaching out with the few wonderful people on here. I have major trust issues and keep an extremely small circle outside of my family. So, I just wanted to thank you…💛

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow … you are so kind. I’m glad that I’ve been of some small help. We all need to feel we are not alone, and there are others out there who know something of what it is like to have your whole world turned upside down by trauma. The loneliness of trauma can feel unbearable.
      I’m so glad the post made sense to / resonated with you, and I hope you have people in your life who provide those qualities. It can be tough when those around us say and do the wrong things, even though we know their heart is in the right place. I hope you have a peaceful day 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      • I really do have a wonderful support circle. I know I must sound a little over the top or overly appreciative sometimes. Trust issues is probably nowhere close to explain how hard it is for me…what I’ve experienced throughout my life that makes something as simple as expressing how I feel so incredibly hard for me to share with anyone outside of the very, extreme few I (I think anyway….😬) I trust. Maybe somewhere down this road by following in the steps of my Jace and journaling that part of my story will be told. First, I just have to find my way so I can tell my baby’s story first.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “Trust issues is probably nowhere close to explain how hard it is for me”. Sometimes just giving ourselves the respect of saying ‘this is so huge I can’t even begin to put it into words’ helps. It is showing ourselves self compassion. It is showing empathy to ourselves for the absolute torment we have experienced.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. For me, I found myself improving from my childhood trauma and all the time I spent ruminating left an open space a void in my day

    Idle time Alone with our mind is not ideal for ptsd sufferers

    I found myself running a mindfulness group inside lane county mental health building to replace my ruminating life style

    Your list is accurate for those unfamiliar with ptsd

    Advice from someone who knows nothing about trauma is not recommended

    They are clueless

    Sharing our trauma with others is not recommended

    When we are waiting in the therapists office

    He/she does not recommend we share our trauma with others

    We share trauma when someone with skill,or we have the ability to integrate the trauma

    Otherwise trauma grows when we think about it or share it with others

    I have found to help someone heal, you have to get them out of the ruminating phase into taking positive action

    For me I taught them how to focus and how to face their triggers

    Trauma loses lots of power when we can shut the dumping of cortisol and adrenaline

    For me having someone get triggered in the group was the best opportunity for me to help all of the

    If I can hold your hand or be beside you while taking ten slow focused breaths

    You will see your breath cam calm what we fear most

    The chemicals are real adrenaline and cortisol. The storyline is pure trauma stored under imminent danger, cloudy confusing and it’s like the scariest thing you can imaging

    Liked by 2 people

    • There is so much wisdom here Marty, Thanks for sharing. Trauma is a very different beast from heartache and suffering in general. It has a massive impact on our brain so we react in ways/ feel and believe things that are unique to the experience of trauma. Just being there and taking your hand is the best thing I can do when I want to be supportive but have not been trained in trauma management. That gesture is powerful in itself, and often makes a huge difference. At least I feel someone cares, and I am not abandonned and alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had to learn to not fear my fight or flight mechanism firing

        Avoiding denying running makes trauma the unknown

        The unknown is far scarier

        I learned early in in life to use my stringiest traits when facing a crisis or a challenge

        After my triple rollover wreck in the freeway

        I was as much a victim as the other 14 sufferers in a real chronic pain group

        My strength was not to sit in that group building pain up as insurmountable

        I walked away from that victim space threw my opioids away and used my strength

        Willpower and ability to take action under duress actually under danger

        My childhood abuse built an incredible willpower in that little boy

        So I went out and brought my chronic pain to compete

        I would hike until I cried then turn my music up and walk fir another 15 minutes

        Unbeknownst to me I was going st me pain, not avoiding and fearing it as the rest of the group

        My chronic pain became familiar to me

        It three weeks it started to compress

        My attitude and daily battle plus the secretion if my own endorphins

        Did not cure me but made my chronic pain manageable

        I could have a good life in spite of pain

        Sitting in the middle of ptsd firing, focused on my breath was a similar journey

        It takes daily action and repetition to heal

        I meditated five hours a day fir five years

        Doubt and worry were met with increased effort

        I had determined to outwork ptsd

        I do not always win that battle

        But I fight

        And the fight is more important than healing

        Not many understand that last sentence

        You have to be there and lived it

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have shared this post with a friend whose child was recently traumatized. I didn’t have the words necessary to explain. I am so glad that you did. Thank you for sharing in such a succint, useful format. ✨💕✨

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is such great advice. There have been times in my life I vented to someone all for them to give their opinion on the situation and what I should do. All this did was add stress to the situation. One time it was a friend that pretty much put me down for how I was handling a situation. I’ve always remembered that and naturally learned to not do this to others, knowing that only they can figure out how to get through things, but being there to listen and have empathy for what they are going through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, and thanks for adding from your experience as well. You’re right, when you need to vent and express how you feel, and the person starts giving advice it just multiplies the stress we are already experiencing. It sounds like it something you avoid at all costs!!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s