Traumatic events are unfortunately quite common. From sexual abuse to military combat, most people experience a trauma themselves or are affected by a family member, friend or acquaintance’s traumatic experience at some point in their lives. Knowing what to do or how to approach a loved one after a traumatic event is difficult, but it is imperative that the individual receive support. In order to provide support, loved ones must understand the thoughts, feelings and reactions that the individual may be experiencing due to the trauma. Moreover, loved ones must accept that the traumatic event may affect them as well.
Fear, anger, confusion, frustration, guilt and helplessness are all common feelings that one may have after a trauma. Loved ones should learn all they can about trauma, and common reactions to trauma, if they wish to help their loved one and support his recovery. Emotions and behaviors can be erratic and unexplainable after surviving a trauma and by researching the issue, going to a support group or speaking with a professional, loved ones can learn how to adapt to the individual’s many different responses to the trauma. This can also provide a place for family and friends to address their own reactions to the event and how it is affecting their lives.
How to Support Someone After a Traumatic Event
The best way to offer support to a loved one after trauma is to simply let them know that they have your support. Reassure them that they have someone to talk to and someone they can confide in. Victims of trauma want to feel safe. They want to talk to someone who will listen, without judgment, blame or questions. Being supportive, demonstrating love and concern, and validating the victims feelings will go a long way in helping him recover from the trauma.
Listening to the trauma victim is huge. This means looking out for cues to when the individual wants to talk about the traumatic event, and when he or she wants to be distracted or needs to hear something positive, encouraging and supportive. Making an effort to listen and pick-up on these cues will help establish a trusting relationship.
Loved ones should also encourage the trauma victim to seek additional support and recovery help. Finding a support group, other trauma victims, a counselor, therapist, or doctor is most likely needed to address the many physical and psychological effects of surviving a trauma. Working though a trauma, addressing fears, overcoming emotional pain, and identifying any major developing conditions like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder can all occur with the help of someone who specializes in trauma issues.
While friends, family, co-workers and neighbors are all great sources of support, talking to others who have dealt with similar experiences or those who are trained to deal with trauma victims will have the biggest impact on a person’s recovery after trauma.
Learn More about Finding and Giving Support After Trauma
Trauma can affect people in many ways. Whether you need support yourself or want to learn more about supporting a loved one after trauma, you can call our toll-free helpline for assistance.
Our recovery professionals are on-hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist you. We are here to provide guidance and information, answer questions, address concerns, and help you find the resources or services you need to recover or help a loved one recover from trauma.
It can be difficult to approach a loved one after a traumatic event and even more difficult to ask for help for yourself, but you need support and there are people ready to supply it. We’re ready to help, however we can; call and speak with a recovery professional today.