10 thoughts on “13 Things Never To Say To Trauma Survivors

  • September 28, 2016 at 4:00 am

    Ironically, I talked briefly about this with my therapist today. For some reason, and for the first time in quite awhile, I have been flooded with memories this afternoon and it’s been unsettling. I was remembering several unhelpful things that were said to me just after a second overdose over a decade ago.
    An e.m.t on the ambulance commented to his partner “I think this one’s gonna be another frequent flyer” simply because that was the second time in a few days that he transported me to the hospital. I had bruises all over my arm after that trip because he got angry that I reacted to his statement verbally and with tears and told him I wanted the other paramedic to administer the I.v. Then he threatened me with arrest “if you don’t cooperate” which was ridiculous because I was laying on a stretcher and belted in, am never a violent person under ANY circumstance and had done nothing to him but verbally refuse to speak further to him.
    Also had a therapist yell at me once in frustration while hospitalized because she had come into the restroom and I’d asked her a question after she’d finished briefly speaking to another patient of hers. She accused me of being needy and said “You are one sick little girl, don’t worry I’ll be seeing you because you aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!” I requested discharge shortly after even though I hadn’t been there long.
    Thankfully, the majority of comments I’ve heard from people I’ve dealt with have been mostly supportive–or else they say nothing which I’d prefer over rudeness. But then again, trauma is a topic I avoid unless I am talking to my therapist, one other support person or here!

    • September 28, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      Hi Lori,
      So sorry you had this experience. Under no circumstance are such comments appropriate. A therapist, if they are truly qualified, should not make statements that are angering to a client/patient or hurtful. Therapists will say things and make comments they believe may be helpful and unintentionally hurt feelings, but this therapist will apologize or discuss it with the client/patient. A therapeutic experience, positive or negative, sticks with a client/patent. Training on how to be compassionate needs to be taught.

      Take care

      • September 29, 2016 at 1:43 am

        Just for the record, I MEANT to type “dayroom” but spell check “corrected” it to say restroom and I didn’t catch it until just now lol! I would NEVER attempt to interfere with hospital personnel/therapist attending to something personal — unless of course it were an emergency!
        I understand what you mean in that therapists do sometimes say things that may come across to the patient/client as hurtful when it was meant to be helpful or to challenge them to move forward in some way. In this situation though, there was no benefit to her outburst nor do I think there was any benefit even INTENDED. She just “lost it” and it was something that was apparently and obviously specific to me for reasons never explained to me. I did report her behavior once discharged but I have no idea if anything ever came of it.
        Thanks for your articles and responses and take care.

  • September 28, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Wow you are good at this Tamara ..Sniff ..Just put on a waxed jacket to cover my stiff upper lip…Lol .But my water works are happy tears. I met so much resistance to my personal horror story I kinda just dug in and fought a lone battle of attrition..Primary care offered Prozac, but no thoughtful one to one therapy..The web offered plenty of suggestions which combined with a change of personal philosophy to Buddhism kinda helped though at the mention of the reason for my odd ways, the general consensus was ” I wonder what made your father do that”????
    How easy is it to disassociate from a story,to avoid touching down with the feelings that the victim has experienced???
    Got used to it eventually,and stopped talking about the incredible inner pain and used Winnie’s philosophy …The Churchill not the Pooh ..”Never ever give up” …
    I’m a lay person, folks, there is nothing special about me at all, apart from being a bad tempered mule headed fighting pain in the ass who wanted happiness..Thats different strokes for different folks.. Ok?.
    You are all worth it, go for it in whatever way you can, even if it seems impossible…If I can make it so can you!… Love and Light and Namaste…

    • September 28, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      Thank you Little Drummer Boy.
      I suppose the article resonated with you. I like your positive reinforcement to other readers and your genuine recount of your life and struggles. I think we all kind of feel some type of inner pain and a simple philosophy can sometimes be just what we need to keep moving. For me, that is scripture. A verse that meets me where I am when I need support the most. Believe it or not, the smile of a child or the love from a pet can be just as comforting.

      My take away: find an anchor to hold you steady as you wait for the storm to pass.
      All the best

      • September 29, 2016 at 7:12 am

        Thank you Tamara..Yes fortunately I do have a highly spiritual nature..I used to have quite a lot of spiritual “moments” when I was a kid , and long before I found out about the stupid thing which blanked out my early childhood memories. Nowadays I understand these are called numinous moments…Have seen a lot videos of people trancing out having seen “the light” during church services, a very uplifting and centring process, so there is an accessible intuitive channel to the Grand Order Designer, for everyone ,if you can persuade /allow yourself to let go. I hadn’t had any of these for years until the sheer pressure of divorce was added to my journey out of the pits..But appear they did, and for a change in front of friends, and family. My daughter says she witnessed a kind of flash of light cross the room. I was kinda elsewhere at the time I guess..lol…but it was very calming just like the ones during my childhood. No doubt science could logicise these as a kind of fit caused by the chemistry of a brain under stress. On the other hand as a recipient, I found them insightful in the sense that afterwards I made ,what in retrospect, were very good life changing decisions.
        One of these was not to get into a relationship until I had filtered out PTSD issues from my natural character traits, whatever these were.
        I’ll expand on this because the trauma took place during the first three years of my life ,so undoing the block was a very difficult and sensitive operation.
        Had there been an available trauma therapist like you ,it would have been much quicker. Be that as it may, I’m sort of “there”, but with the usual conundrum, that I’m most obviously no where as mature as my peer age group , and they let me know it. Cant blame them. It must be very annoying to witness my ways. But as my inner kid had been trapped for so long in a cage made of fear I think he has every right to behave like Peter Pan…
        ” Wendee..” Nope no answer…
        “C’mon Tinkerbell wave that wand”…
        Ok then, I’ll write my own story with a happy ending..lol

  • September 29, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Oh, exactly.

    I had a rough childhood… and I never dealt with it until in my 40’s and now I’ve been dealing with it several years. I know some people in my life don’t understand why I’m not just “over it” especially all these years later, and when I seemed to be for so many years leading up to now. Shoot, I tend to be one of those people! I sometimes long for those shadow years of half living where I hadn’t dealt with things, and then a therapist will remind me of all the anger that boiled over uncontrolled, and I know I’m better now for dealing with things — but I also know those around me don’t understand why I have to now, and for so long.

    Believe me, I’m chief among those who wishes it was shorter and easier.

    But, it’s not. I’m doing my best, though, and trying.

    And I always hang on to hope of light at the end of the tunnel. A very, very long tunnel that I’ve been in all my life. Maybe when I get there, it’ll be the first real time to be out in the light. And I want that, so I’ll keep trying. No matter what anyone else thinks, I want that for myself. So I’m not giving up, not yet.

    • September 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Moth3flame,
      Thanks for your comment. I am glad that you are still trying because when we stop trying, we lose hope. None of us want to experience the painful side of life. We all have a preconceived notion that life should be one way or that it should offer us its best. But reality soon wakes us up and shows us that there is no guarantee of happiness, even peace of mind. I appreciate your perspective and am glad you have an “anchor” to keep you holding on.

      I wish you well

  • November 1, 2018 at 5:29 am

    My trauma is from people telling me what they think, how to dress etc. If someone tells me “I think…” I shut down. So I statements cause me to panic. I can’t handle that I would rather be chased.
    I don’t feel safe so we have to be careful about using the “I” statements.

    • November 8, 2018 at 10:05 am

      Hi Rhea,
      Thanks for commenting. Some people do “shut down” when certain words are used. The best way to tackle something like this is to get into therapy and work on becoming more resilient to the things you cannot control such as words someone else used. This takes some time and healing.
      Take care


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