Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dealing with the Trauma

If you or your child has been abused, there are millions of things going through your head. Go to the police, or not? Does my child need therapy? Who's a good therapist? Can I ever trust another person with my child, even a therapist? I haven't been through the experience, but I'm observant enough to realize this.

I'm only going to mention something important to keep in mind. A child (or even an adult) who was abused is likely in trauma, and in order to heal, he/she needs to have someone validate his experience. If you are the parent, I cannot imagine the stresses you are under, but I implore you not to ignore your child's emotional experience. On the contrary; now is the time when your child needs your listening ear the most.

It's very hard to be a good listener to your child when you were traumatized yourself! Your need to minimize the pain is understandable: you're hurting as much as your child is, and you are desperate for some relief. You have the additional pain of knowing that you did not protect your child adequately, and you may be beating yourself up for that. While dealing with all that, you're supposed to calmly listen to your child's feelings about it?

Try. Your child's healing depends on you, the parent. Whether or not you can help your child feel understood, you should seek out an experienced therapist, who knows how to deal with these problems with a level-headed approach.

If you were abused yourself, you need to get someone who can let you express your pain without trying to minimize it. I know how hard it is to find such friends; a therapist may be necessary. Your friends may love you, but precisely because of that, they are unable to see that they are hurting you by denying your pain.

I hope you find healing, and soon. Trust that it will take time, and trust that it will eventually happen. You will be stronger, and be a comfort to others who go through the same horror.

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