There are things that nobody talks about.
There are things that are absolutely taboo.
So when you experience these things yourself, you feel isolated. Completely alone. Judged. Ostracized. Abandoned in your pain.
And that is a terrible place to be.
Here’s how you feel when this happens to you
– You feel as if you’re tarnished even though you’re innocent. You feel like you’re an outcast, that you’ve been stigmatized.
– You feel extremely vulnerable. Your world has been exposed. There’s nothing that’s a secret. You’ve lost your privacy.
– You feel that you’ve been talked about, and you’ve been judged and blamed. Some people will attack you, and call you hurtful names.
– You feel that other people think you’re worth much less than them. You feel their eyes upon you, and their eyes are harsh and cold.
– You feel you must be silent for no-one wants to hear, and no-one wants to know about the pain you’re going through.
– You feel you can’t say anything for no-one understands. You just get trite advice (which is devoid of empathy).
– You feel you’re going crazy as your life is such a mess. You can’t process the trauma and the feelings you now have.
– You have to wear a mask, and act like everything is fine – regardless of the turmoil and the pain that’s haunting you.
– You act a part in public. You must live a double life. You feel so lost and lonely – but it’s so hard to get help.
Something to think about …
“After traumatic events that threaten to rob us of our dignity and spirit, people typically don’t tell others. In fact, many trauma survivors either never speak to anyone about what happened to them or wait a very long time to do so.
The reasons for this are multi-fold and likely include shame, perceived stigma of being a “victim,” past negative disclosure experiences and fears of being blamed or told that the event was somehow their fault …
For some, talking about their trauma is an initial step toward healing. But for others, sharing an experience and then having the response be negative can harm recovery. It can shut them down and lock the psychological vault, if not for forever, then at least for a long time.” – Joan M. Cook
If this resonates with you, please believe you’re not alone. Take comfort in the fact that you are not the only one.
A few easy tips for those who want to be supportive
To be genuinely supportive when someone takes a risk and shares about a trauma, or something that’s taboo:
– Give that person your full and undivided attention. Do not allow yourself be distracted by anything AT All.
– Pay attention to your body language. You should come across as being still, calm, focused, with an open body posture, and good steady eye contact (but don’t stare!)
– Say very little. Your job is to listen. Not to comment. Not to give advice. Your only job is to listen to this person.
– Don’t ask extraneous questions. Don’t change the topic. Don’t offer platitudes.
– Allow for brief periods of silence. This is a heavy topic. Don’t rush the speaker. Sit with the silence.
– Don’t talk about your, or anyone else’s, experience. The focus right now is the speaker’s experience.
– Notice and point out any strengths in the speaker. This sends the powerful message that they’re going to survive.