Writer’s block is frustrating. So today’s post is an attempt to overcome this block. Let’s talk about the importance of the right response. What is the correct way of responding? What you should do when your loved ones or friends share a traumatic past with you? This seems like a difficult situation and we want to respond in an appropriate way. But we often end up making things worse unknowingly. Here are some tips to help you:
1:It’s Not About You:
Before saying something, remember that what you feel is not important at the moment as compared to what they are feeling. Avoid making this situation about yourself by expressing discomfort over the whole scenario. Or by sharing your own traumas. This moment is theirs, let them have it instead of making it about yourself.
You may try to make them feel better by citing an example of someone who went through a similar situation. You intend well but honestly, this is the worst thing you can do. Giving such an example will make them feel that you are undermining what they went through and others had it worse. They don’t need to hear that how a random person handled it better when they are emotionally vulnerable.
3:Do not Probe:
The curious soul inside you will try to get all the details but try to resist it. Respect their boundaries and don’t question them about it. They trusted you enough to share a part of themselves, appreciate it instead of asking for more.
A simple question can go a long way. Asking “Can I hug you?” will make them feel safe and respected. If they reply in the affirmative then just give them a bear hug but if they refuse then provide emotional support while keeping distance.
Ask what you can do to help or support them right now? Asking them will help them realize that they are in control of the conversation and you want them to feel comfortable in every way possible.
If you are unable to understand what they are going through then research about it afterward. This will help you understand the whole situation in a much better way and respond accordingly.
If the past is affecting them in ways that are damaging for them. Then suggest them to seek professional help. A listening ear is very helpful but you need to recognize your own limits. You can only help to a certain extent and you are not a therapist.
Do remember that they trusted you enough to let you in. Treasure that trust and respect them. Disclosing trauma takes loads of courage and the way you respond means a lot to them. Try to help them in every way you can but remember to take care of yourself as well. Because you are a human being and cannot carry the burdens of others as well. Try to develop healthy boundaries when everything seems too much. After all, you don’t want to resent others for the misery.