“Trauma overwhelms listeners as much as speakers … and talking about painful events doesn’t necessarily establish community – often quite the contrary. Families and organizations may reject members who air their dirty laundry; friends and family can lose patience with people who get stuck in their grief or hurt. This is one reason why trauma victims often withdraw and why their stories become rote narratives, edited in a form least likely to provoke rejection.”
Is this, perhaps, something you relate to as well?
Chelsea had always been a very private person. She was open, warm and friendly in most social situations. But no-one really knew what was happening in her life. To outward appearances, it looked like things were fine.
Then, out of the blue, Chelsea’s world was blown apart – when she learned that her husband had a hidden secret life. Dating apps, pornography, webcams, and so on.
Who do you talk to when you learn something like that?
If truth be told …. It wasn’t easy. But occasionally she tried. She’d introduce the subject in a vague, non-threatening way, and try to share a little of what things had been like.
But on the whole, it was disastrous. It only made things worse. Her close friends shut her down. It made them feel uncomfortable. They didn’t want to hear this. No, they didn’t want to know.
Apart from one young mother she had met at the school gate. Her husband had walked out on her, and left her with two kids. They weren’t really close, but they would always wave and chat. Sometimes they’d grab a coffee. Half an hour. No more than that. And it was comforting to know that someone understood.
She didn’t have to say much. Words can be superfluous. But kindness is a language that communicates so much.
The lies and the betrayal had left Chelsea traumatized. Her life had changed forever. It was ordinary no more. The grief was overwhelming. Way too much to bear alone. She often felt so desperate. How she’d love to be consoled.
Most people cannot handle pain. It feels too threatening. It leaves them feeling vulnerable. They have to look away.
This mother knew what it was like.
That lifeline was enough.
It helped Chelsea to heal. It got her through the toughest times.
The validation she received helped her to face the day.
This woman was a gift. Her presence transformed Chelsea’s life.