Why We don’t Talk about our Trauma

“Own everything that has happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamont

There are so many reasons why we keep it to ourselves. Why we choose not to talk about the things that we’ve been through. These include self-protection, feeling it is pointless, and because of messages we’ve picked up from our family.

Let’s break this down further ….

1. Self-Protection

Because it isn’t a safe thing to do.

Because we’re afraid of being judged, shamed, or attacked further.

Because we haven’t got the emotional reserves to deal with being judged, shamed, or attacked further.

Because we haven’t got the energy, or mental head space, to carefully explain our side of the story (and, if necessary, ‘argue our case’).

Because we don’t think people will believe us (or even want to believe us)

Because we don’t think people will empathize with either our perspective, or experience.

Because we think other people will spread gossip about us, or will derive great satisfaction from thinking we’re in pain.

2. It’s Pointless

Because we don’t think it would help (and it may even leave us feeling worse).

Because we know other people aren’t good at handling pain and suffering. They can’t deal with it in their own lives, and they certainly can’t deal with it in other peoples’ lives. So, they don’t want to know about our heartache or trauma.  

Because what we are going through is bigger than anything our friends have gone through (as far as we know). It’s beyond their experience and comprehension. They wouldn’t be able to put themselves in our shoes. Even if they wanted to, they couldn’t really help.

Because we have picked up the message that: ‘What we go through is irrelevant to others’. Sadly, it’s a fact that many people are narcissistic, and are completed focused on themselves. So they don’t really care about what’s happened to you.  

(Related to this) … Because we think there’s a reasonable chance that what we are sharing (which is huge to us) will be trivialized, downplayed, brushed aside – or ignored, by other people.    

3. It’s in our Script/ Messages we’ve Picked up from our Family

Because we grew up with the message that you don’t share your dirty laundry in public.

Because we’ve picked up the message that we must never talk about (or betray) our family in any way at all – even if they’ve treated us badly, or have seriously harmed and damaged us. The family’s reputation comes before our own – and is more important than our pain.  

Because we’ve picked up the message that our needs have been placed at the bottom of the heap; that we’re not the kind of people who are taken seriously, and so we can’t expect understanding and justice.

Because we’ve picked up the message that no-one wants to hear negative things or complaints. They only want to hear happy, positive things. (“When you laugh the world laughs with you; when you cry you cry alone.”)

Because we’ve learned that society expects us to bear our burdens alone. So, it’s weak or pathetic to need, or ask, for help.    

These are some of the most common reasons for keeping our heartache and trauma to ourselves. Perhaps there are reasons you can add to these – based on your personal experiences …

18 thoughts on “Why We don’t Talk about our Trauma

  1. Thank you for you post! I will be sharing this post on my blog this morning, it is perfect addition to what I was going to write about today.

    Everything in this post is what I have experienced. I was quiet too, as I gave in and tried to ignore what they do online, in my personal name. I have been shocked to hear some of the things I did from others over this situation, with them trying to stop me from speaking up for myself. When my site came online? Even though it wasn’t about my family, some still got upset over it, said it could reflect back on them. I don’t care, my comfort and safety is more important to me these days.

    I have felt all of the above but something else became more important to me, ME. It got to the point where I now no longer care what anyone thinks, my personal safety is paramount, and I have the fortitude to take anything someone might want to say to me, even my family. I have a right to be me and look after me.

    I just don’t care about the comfort of other people, over my personal needs anymore. I am another human being, who deserves to share my story of how I was bullied by tenants. I don’t really care anymore if it is read, or even believed, I do i for my own peace of mind.

    I should not have to accept the anonymous writings on a domain in my own personal name, where the contents are there to gaslight, insult, humiliate, and shame me into silence. I have the right to expose these bullies who write about me anonymously online, hoping to get others to hate me with them and make my personal life hell.

    I did nothing wrong and am allowed to share my story of how tenants stole my personal name to use for a domain where they bully me so badly, all for doing my job.I deserve to speak up, it is my name after all being dragged thru the mud, not anyone else’s!

    I have a right to do what I feel I need to do for my own mental health, full stop.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m so very sorry you have gone through this, Stella. It sounds like a total nightmare. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful this has been for you.
      I’m glad you have had the courage to speak up and share the truth about what has been going on. As you say here: “I have a right to be me and look after me.” I’m glad you’re doing that! Yes, your own mental health comes first.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good responses and post

    I hid my abuse until I started blogging

    In fact it took years of blogging before I shared

    People do not understand what we went thru or how hard it is to heal

    You will lose friends if you share

    Liked by 3 people

    • Unfortunately, that is often true. When we are honest about the really awful things people turn their backs on us and we are abandoned again. I’m glad you found a safe place to share your story in Word Press.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for this article. I do tell my story whenever the opportunity arises. I wait until they ask, as far as my adult daughters, and then I tell the truth as to what happened. I am very open about my experience. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for adding this, Kathie. I think when it’s family, waiting until we are asked, and measuring how much they are able to hear, is very wise. And thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. One can only imagine the massive amount of work, counseling, prayer-answering, and loving the Lord does on a daily basis to deal with the corresponding massive amount of pain and suffering caused by man’s inhumanity to man. Thank you for your work assisting Him. He is ever-faithful. Blessings

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Great post Ann. Sharing trauma is difficult. Finding a safe person to trust with this is difficult. A friend and I recently had a bad accident while skiing. We had a great debrief right after the accident (when it was safe), but then I encouraged her to have as many conversations about the traumatic incident as possible. However, I also warned her that most people would only want to hear the story ONCE, so she’d have to move on. Luckily, she had a good circle of friends and co-workers who were open to listening. We then had several follow-up conversations between us, and were able to clear most of the trauma. There is still healing to be done for sure, but talking about the incident helped both us immensely. If you can find someone to talk to? Do it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m really sorry to hear about your accident Alisen. That sounds really scary. It was very wise of you to suggest debriefing, and then to encourage the other person to talk about her experience. You are absolutely right – and it is also a shame – that people will only willingly listen to us once. I’m glad you have each other so that you can talk about the trauma as often as you need to and, in this way, effectively support each other. You don’t recover from a trauma like this quickly and easily. Thanks for sharing the experience here. Much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you Ann. I appreciate you insight. I was thinking about you when we were going through this.

        I did write about it, but haven’t published it yet. I want to get my friend’s perspective and maybe do a joint post. Despite her getting hurt, there were a lot of things that went ‘right’ so I think it’s a good idea to share that experience.

        Like

  6. The human experience sometimes pushes the narrative of burying our past, the deeper the better. However, just like ancient, glacial rocks pushing up into a farmer’s field, our past has the ability to do the same.

    Like

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