Loving a trauma survivor may mean you also want to help them in many ways. You may want to help them heal, help them live an easier life, and help them be happy! This is natural and usually comes from a loving, kind, generous place.
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So many relationship experts have embraced the idea of love languages. They became popular with Gary Chapman’s 1992 book, The 5 Love Languages, for the ways partners show love and care: acts of service, physical touch, words, gifts, quality time. Yet none of these can exist in a meaningful, enriching way without one basic element — safety.
Safety is the foundation for all of the love languages.
Safety is the prerequisite for everything else in a healthy relationship.
If you are feeling inundated and overwhelmed by information about the trauma of the world right now, you are not alone. And if you are someone who experienced childhood trauma or you are in a relationship with them, you already entered this time with a lot on your plate.
In order to help survivors and their loved ones in one post, I asked two trauma-informed experts to weigh in on the topic of support for trauma survivors and their loved ones during Coronavirus. While this post is a bit longer than usual, I hope to give you trauma-informed information and insights you can use now and in the future.
You will also find links throughout the post and a recommended resources list from my guests and myself at the end.
Some of my clients have called feelings “the other f-word.”
Can feelings be scary? Yes, they can, especially if the emotions you experienced early in life felt overwhelming or were ignored. You may have a fear of emotions if no one helped you learn to regulate, comfort or understand them. You probably tried to do anything you could to not have them!
Self-care is one of the most important aspects of living a full life! It is a much needed strength to learn in healing trauma. Unfortunately, many trauma-survivors struggle to see their own needs for self-care.
Accepting change can be especially challenging for trauma survivors. Since my office has recently moved upstairs in the same building – presenting change – it’s a great time to talk about it! Dealing with change can offer meaningful challenges and opportunities especially for trauma survivors.
It’s good, healthy and human to want love and seek it out. We live longer, healthier lives when we feel close to someone safe. Some people feel painfully disconnected, and long to open up to others. But then they stop themselves from reaching out.
As therapists, we want to empower people to build more meaningful connections. For all of us, healthy relationships matter. In fact, deep relationships are essential to life as a healthy human being. For trauma survivors, the act of deepening relationships in a healthy way can be particularly difficult.
People need support. Absolutely. Providing support is a foundational principle to a therapist’s role because, as said beautifully by Brené Brown, “what we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.”
One of the hard things we talked about in the last article, strategies for coping with the hard parts of life, was watching the news or dealing with current events. There is certainly a lot going on in the world — and at times, feeling powerless, as it feels more polarized than ever.
In the last several years, when the world has felt so tough, I have dreamed of a world led by someone on a trauma-informed platform. I have even joked with my family and friends that I wanted to run for president on the platform of safety, kindness, and compassion. And as I’m unable to do that, at least I can do this: Help encourage people to view the world through a more trauma-informed lens. This is the way to bring us closer to safety together, instead of further apart.