How do I navigate trauma with other people??

  • 8 Replies
  • 843 Views
*

goblinchild

  • Member
  • 72
    • View Profile
How do I navigate trauma with other people??
« on: December 14, 2017, 04:12:04 AM »
So I was talking with a group of friends that I've been hanging around with for maybe a year and a half now. We never really get into conversations that are THAT deep, and besides I'm usually quiet. But this time they had gotten into a subject that I knew would bother me a bit because of trauma (I hadn't realized how bad it was in that moment) but I was thinking maybe hearing people talk about that kind of thing was just part of like...being around people. I didn't think I was being bothered by it that much anyways. And then I realized I was like....having some tunnel vision and clocking out a bit. And then just after that I noticed I was still really telling myself to stick out the conversation even though some small part of my brain with some sense in it could tell there was something up with me. And then I got hit with a flashback and I just left. They still don't know why, gunna deal with that later.

But like. I don't think this is gunna be a subject I can avoid and I don't even know how I feel right now. There was this whole big part of my life that was trauma. A very large, developmental window of time. Years and years and years. How do I even... interact with people about that? I feel like I'm fighting back a lot of feelings from the past AND a lot of feelings from the present that I had no idea were related until just an hour ago and they're all saying that nobody really cares about this sort of thing. I keep fighting the thought that they talk about it like that because they just aren't the types to be concerned. Maybe people like me are a punchline of a joke, or we shouldn't exist at all or maybe we're just not other people's problems because they just simply don't care that much.

What's worse is that someone like me was there but I have no idea if they've ever suffered any trauma or if it was ever even as bad for them at all as it was for me. But they seemed fine. Maybe they're just more emotionally mature than I am and I should be fine too? If they knew this was a big deal for people like us, why didn't they speak up? They're the type who always does. Or maybe I'm wrong and it's never as bad for other people, maybe I just had bad experiences specifically?

I feel like that one person would want to know but I'm not sure if anyone else would. The thought of saying anything at all is terrifying. I really like the person who was leading the conversation but what if they aren't in an emotional place with themselves to be empathetic of anyone like me. That person was one of the people who started that friend group. Everyone's known them for ages except me. I'm not sure how to deal with that.

*

Rainagain

  • Member
  • 1101
  • New member 27/9/17 cptsd diagnosed 20/9/17 oh well
    • View Profile
Re: How do I navigate trauma with other people??
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2017, 10:58:40 AM »
I understand your feelings.

We are experts in living with trauma, we know the pain and the damage.

Our experiences have given us insights which others don't have, lucky them.

To most people our trauma is like stuff they see in movies, its escapism, its so outside their experience they can't grasp what it means.

They are not being hurtful, they are just ignorant of what it means.

I often watch a movie and see characters go through extreme violence, threat to life etc. I often think the film doesn't show all the subsequent difficulties the 'hero' will be suffering after the film ends, the sleepless nights, the relationship difficulties etc.

How many people would think of the issues the 'hero' is likely to have to deal with? Just us I'd guess.

We are different because we are experts.

*

Contessa

  • Member
  • 815
    • View Profile
Re: How do I navigate trauma with other people??
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2017, 12:56:42 PM »
Goblinchild,

That is such a tough situation to be in. As you, I have been in that situation too many times. Trauma is already so hard to work through, we have to worry about how to cope socially as well because of it.

But... I still don't know the answer. I apparently had a good poker face in the beginning before excusing myself to break, but got very worn down eventually. I couldn't tell who was trustworthy or not, and I desperately needed to get things out.

You do need some of that weight lifted. Are you able to speak to a therapist about how to go about this?

You are a strong person GC!


Rainagain,

Quote
Our experiences have given us insights which others don't have, lucky them.

...

How many people would think of the issues the 'hero' is likely to have to deal with? Just us I'd guess.

I have often thought the exact same thing. Exactly the same.

In addition I watched a critically praised and awarded film which dealt with the aftermath of trauma... but in my opinion it barely scratched the surface.

And that's all I can muster right now. Sorry I could not convey anything more useful. Just solidarity with the both of you :)


*

Three Roses

  • Member
  • 3461
  • CPTSD is an injury, not an illness.
    • View Profile
Re: How do I navigate trauma with other people??
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2017, 03:14:21 PM »
I've no brilliant words of wisdom, no stunning insights. I'm struggling with how to just find myself in this internal maze, and express who I am naturally and without apology. But as I do that, it gets easier.

*

Rainagain

  • Member
  • 1101
  • New member 27/9/17 cptsd diagnosed 20/9/17 oh well
    • View Profile
Re: How do I navigate trauma with other people??
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2017, 03:21:22 PM »
Contessa

You have made me realise that I get agreed with on here much more than I ever do in real life.

We don't shout people down on here, we don't dismiss or talk over people.

We listen and we have empathy.

I really feel a connection with all of you.

*

Combine59

  • Member
  • 20
    • View Profile
Re: How do I navigate trauma with other people??
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2017, 02:51:36 AM »
I know speaking up, especially in a group may be terrifying. Is there a chance of speaking 1:1 to anyone in the group? Sometimes other people just are completely unaware, and it takes a lot of energy and courage, but giving others the chance to “see” us, even a little bit sometimes can turn out much better than expected. I don’t mean turning on the faucet and confiding everything, but maybe one small part that might give insight as to what bothered you? Most people do like to be helpful, and are much more empathetic talking face to face. Sometimes being heard and understood by someone in person can be medicine. Best of luck!

*

Cookido

  • Member
  • 120
    • View Profile
Re: How do I navigate trauma with other people??
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2017, 03:12:08 PM »
It feels like I could have written your post. I've had the same thoughts as you so many times.

I think there is no easy answer. I did decide to tell a friend about some of my issues, because she had shared a lot of her life to me and I always supported her.

Sadly, it did not go as I hoped. She did not respond at all and it was hurtful. Everyone is different though so I think you have to feel if your friend is able to support or feel empathy. In hindsight, I think my friend didn't respond because she couldn't even deal with her own problems. Maybe try sharing something "smaller" first and see how the person reacts before telling the whole story.

Wish you all the best ♡

*

Contessa

  • Member
  • 815
    • View Profile
Re: How do I navigate trauma with other people??
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2017, 05:01:04 AM »
Quote
In hindsight, I think my friend didn't respond because she couldn't even deal with her own problems.

I think you might be right with that one Cookido. I know at times I've struggled with the multiple events and raging feeling that come with them, that when they're at the fore, helping others is impossible when you can't even control your own life.

Empathy will be there, but it's difficult when competing with the consuming mix of anger, dread, fear, ... , etc.

Part of what got me down was that I could not even begin to be there for anyone (something that I would jump into in a heatbeat), when I had no capacity to keep my own head above water.

This is very hard, either people have no idea, or too much of an idea. Those happy people on the surface who can extend empathy are all the more difficult to find.

Oh well. Goblinchild and Cookido, rest assured you will find no shortage of empathy here, from many.

*

Libby12

  • Member
  • 97
    • View Profile
Re: How do I navigate trauma with other people??
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2017, 09:54:15 AM »
Such a helpful discussion. What Contessa said about how people have no idea or too much idea is spot on. Then, I suppose, the big question is how do we decide where someone is on that spectrum.

Over the last year,  I had lost touch with an old schoolfriend.  We left school 30+ years ago,  we're only in minimal contact so I didn't think much of it.

I have just heard from her again, explaining that her lack of contact was because of her father's death.  I will respond to her, and let her know how sorry I am for her loss.  I didn't know her father well, but he was very nice and she was very close to him.

There is a small part of me that wonders if I should explain a little about my situation at the moment - why I was not in contact with her over the past year.  This was the time during which I really learned about cptsd and how utterly damaged I feel.  After all, she is a very intelligent person and a scientist,  she may understand.  But then again, as I am NC with my parents,  whilst she is grieving for hers,  is that fair of me?

Also, perhaps I should hold back because I know I can't truly feel what it is to lose a beloved parent.  Probably I feel a little jealous that she had a lovely father for 50+ years and has grown even closer to her mother by helping her to cope.   This is something I cannot even begin to imagine,  so perhaps it would be best if I should keep silent altogether.   Social isolation,  my default behaviour.  Then I question why my reality is "less than" anybody else's, and I just become paralysed.

It just seems that other people can act instinctively,  but we just question everything,  often to the stage of not acting at all.  And, for me, if I do act, I ties myself in knots, questioning whether I have done the right thing.

Thanks for listening.

Libby
I