People who don’t know your story, will expect you to behave as if you did not endure the things you have endured.
For that matter, most people will pretty much expect you to behave as if your story, was their story.
People who have not experienced abuse, often do not take into account the impact of abuse on others’ thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Often they do not know or appreciate the impact of living with reality-based fear and anxiety over a period of years.
They’ll often expect you to “get over it” or “not be so dramatic” when your post traumatic responses kick in.
Sometimes they will be impatient or dismissive or your responses or symptoms.
All of which is frustrating, insofar as most people who suffer from the aftereffects of abuse or trauma would love NOTHING MORE than to not be so affected by it.
They would love NOTHING MORE than to be able to “not be so dramatic.’
They would love NOTHING MORE than to “just get over it.”
But, as trauma survivors, we do not have that straightforward option— to just behave as if we are not trauma survivors.
Consequently, we must learn to live in a world that often does not understand us, our reactions, or our needs.
This can feel lonely.
This can even feel hopeless.
There is a reason why self-harm and suicidal ideation are such common symptoms of severe post traumatic disorders: because post traumatic difficulties are very often among the most alienating difficulties humans can struggle with.
It’s hard to endure post traumatic symptoms, while at the same time being misunderstood and often rejected by the world around us…and still look to the future with any kind of hope.
Why am I writing about any of this?
Because you, reading this, need to know that you are not alone.
You, reading this, need to know that you are not the first or the only person to experience what you’re experiencing.
You, reading this, need to know that there ARE things that you can do and things that can happen that will increase the quality of your life and decrease the intensity of your symptoms.
Recovery from post traumatic difficulties is possible. We have science and we have experiences that bear that out.
But I’m writing this because I know full well that a lot of people struggle, a lot, to believe that.
It’s true that you might have a set of specific experiences that I do not know about, or that nobody else has EXACTLY experienced before.
I’m not in any way saying that I, or anyone, knows EXACTLY what you’re going through or EXACTLY what you’ve endured.
What I am saying is that there absolutely ARE people who have endured absolutely HELLISH traumatic experiences…who have not only survived, but gone on to recover and thrive.
I am in no way saying it is easy. I am in no way minimizing the struggle. I am in no way dismissing the pain that you, specifically, have had to face.
But I absolutely believe that there is a way out of the pain for everybody reading this…that does not involve hurting oneself or anyone else.
If you haven’t found the right supports yet, if you haven’t found the right program yet, if you haven’t found the right tools and skills yet…please keep looking.
I have a lot of experience in this area— starting with my own recovery.
I would not put this assertion out into the world unless I believed it to be true.
You can recover.
You can live.
You can wholly transform the way you feel and function.
Please keep trying.
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