How to Tell Your Loved Ones About Your Trauma?
How heavy is a glass of water? Don’t just think about it, you can go and grab one. We want you to pick it up and hold it out in front of you while you read this. Sure the glass of water weighs something but what’s relevant is how heavy it is for you. As you hold the glass out in front of you, notice how much it weighs for you, or to be more accurate how much it weighs down on you.
We’re sure the glass is starting to weigh down on your arm as the seconds go by. If you continue to hold it out, it will become heavier and heavier. Why is it that a glass weighing only a few ounces can end up feeling as heavy as a few pounds? That is because the weight of the glass is relative to how long you hold on to it. The only way to relieve ourselves is to put the glass down.
As you keep holding the glass we want you to see the similarity between the glass in your head and the traumas you carry. Just like the glass, our past traumas might be negligent in weight, However, the more we carry them, the heavier they become, eventually overwhelming us. The only way to relieve ourselves is to put away what’s bothering us.
Putting that glass down is not easy, and carrying its weight isn’t either. That is why it’s important to find someone you can reach out to. Opening up is a key part of the healing process. You might worry if your family or friends will truly understand what you’re experiencing or perhaps you fear judgment. But it’s worth remembering that they may truly care for you. It’s completely okay to take your time but opening up can make a huge difference in your mental well-being.
If you are still uncertain about how to approach these conversations, therapists can support you in sharing your experiences. They’ll help you find the words and approach that fit your unique journey, offering insights on effective communication and helping you build emotional resilience. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone—getting professional support can make a real difference in your healing journey.
The Stigma Attached to Sharing Trauma
Opening up about your trauma is very difficult, and it’s okay to feel scared about it. One common worry is that people won’t get what you’ve been through, and that can make you hesitate. Remember what Maya Angelou said:
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”.
You might think that opening up makes you look weak, but let us tell you, that’s not true at all. Sharing your hard times takes some serious guts. It doesn’t make you weak; it shows how strong you are.
We get it, these fears are real, but you’re even more real and stronger than you know. Your friends might not understand everything, but they care about you. Even if they don’t grasp every detail, their care for you is genuine. Don’t let the fear of how others might react to your trauma keep you from getting the support and understanding you need.
Finding a Confidant
When you’re ready to open up, think about who you’d feel comfortable talking to—maybe a close family member or friend. If you’re not sure, jot down names of family, friends, co-workers, or neighbors – brainstorming your support team, then narrowing it down to those you trust the most.
Building strong connections is key to getting through tough times. Have conversations with family, consider therapy, join a support group, or find someone you look up to. Opening up can break old patterns, help you heal, and bring more joy into your life.
If sharing with family or friends feels a bit much, reaching out to a therapist is a good option. Starting with a professional can be useful, but don’t forget to lean on your loved ones too—they’ll provide more support than just a weekly therapy session. Remember, your journey toward healing is not individual; a combination of professional help and the support of those close to you can make a significant difference.
Try to Stay Calm
Try to stay calm when having this conversation. It’s tough, but don’t go in with a lot of drama, and don’t feel sorry for sharing your story. Your past might make you fear rejection, but keep in mind that the person you’re talking to might like you enough to be your loved one.
No need to stress; what you’re doing is right for you. Doing the right thing can be a bit of a struggle, but it speaks volumes about your strength and commitment to improving both yourself and the situation. It’s a brave step towards making things better in the long run.
Decide What You’re Comfortable Sharing
When opening up about your trauma, remember you’re in control. Choose a comfortable setting, like a home, and make sure it’s distraction-free. Identify your triggers and let your loved ones know about them. Talk about the coping mechanisms that work for you, helping them understand how they can help you.
Additionally, you can discuss the kind of support you might need from them, be it space, a listening ear, or understanding. You don’t have to talk about everything to your loved ones —just what feels right for you.
For instance, specific details about your traumatic event can stay private. You’re in control of what you share. Just provide enough information for them to understand the diagnosis and how they can assist. If faced with uncomfortable questions, it’s okay to say, “I’m not ready to talk about that yet.”
Have some prepared responses. True supporters will respect your boundaries and be there for you, no matter the history behind your symptoms. And you know what? In Vancouver, getting trauma counselling can help you plan out these conversations, making them a bit easier to handle.
Have a Plan in Case They Struggle to Understand
Get ready for the possibility that friends or family might not understand or be supportive of what you’re going through. It can be tough and make you feel embarrassed. Before telling anyone about your trauma, have some ways to handle different responses. Keep in mind, that some people, even those close to you, may not fully get it, and that’s okay.
There’s a group of people out there who do understand, though. You don’t have to forsake those close to you, but you might find support from others who’ve been through similar situations. You don’t have to exclude those in your inner circle, but seeking support from others who have dealt with similar situations might offer a unique perspective and understanding.
Seeking out this understanding can create an additional layer of support and connection, ensuring that you’re not alone in your journey toward healing. Remember, your feelings are valid, and finding understanding from different sources can be an important part of your healing process.
Make a Script or Write a Letter
If you’re still feeling worried about opening up, you can also create a script or write a letter. You can put your thoughts on paper which makes it simpler to express yourself. You can share it with someone you trust, use it as a checklist, or just clarify your thoughts before a conversation. Putting your thoughts on paper can simplify expressing yourself. No need for perfection, it’s all about getting your emotions out there.
If you’re feeling a bit lost about where to begin, trauma counselling in Vancouver can help you in writing the letter or script. A counsellor understands complex emotions and offers you to bring clarity. Counsellors can help you write a letter or script that truly reflects what’s in your heart and mind.
Seek Out a Trauma Therapist
If you feel like nobody understands or if you’re still unsure, there are many evidence-based therapies shown to be effective in reducing trauma symptoms such as Prolonged exposure (PE), Cognitive processing therapy (CPT), and (TF-CBT). At Modern Therapy in Vancouver, each of our therapists undergoes specialized training and have specialized training and experience in dealing with trauma.
We use trauma-healing approaches, such as Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy (EFIT), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Tension Stress and Trauma Release (TRE), and other proven therapeutic approaches dedicated to effectively addressing and healing trauma. You should not miss out on the chance to make a real difference in your life – therapy can offer you support and help you become a better version of yourself.
From carrying the weight of past traumas to the transformative power of sharing is not easy, but it’s not impossible. Acknowledging the hidden burdens we carry is the first courageous step. Whether you lean on loved ones or consider professional help, it doesn’t matter which path you choose. What matters is that you don’t carry the weight alone.
And if you’re in Vancouver, why not check out a free 15-minute consultation with our trauma therapists? Your healing journey matters, and there’s power in being heard. So, take that next step, because you deserve support and a path to a better you!