Unfortunately, many people either already have or will experience some type of trauma in their lifetime. The following events and occurrences can cause an individual to experience trauma:
- Combat exposure
- Natural disaster
- Physical and/or sexual assault
- Extreme violence
- An accident
There are many more incidences that can be labeled as traumatic, however these tend to be the most common. Once an individual survives a traumatic event, she might begin to suffer from psychological distress that impacts her everyday life.
Support Your Loved One Through the Aftermath of Trauma
It is important to approach your loved one after his trauma, even if you are unsure of how to do so. Here are some tips for how to support your loved one during this difficult time in his life:
- Keep an open line of communication – Do not run away from the traumatic experience. It is important that you make yourself readily available to your loved one so he can feel comfortable talking to you about the trauma, rather than bottling it up inside.
- Spend time with your loved one – One of the best ways to offer up your support is to simply be there (physically) for your loved one. You don’t always have to talk about the trauma, but just by being there, you can comfort him during this trying time.
- Validate his feelings – Never tell your loved one that his feelings aren’t appropriate or wrong. Instead, validate his emotions and personal response to the trauma event. If these feelings become destructive or out of control, seek professional help for yourself and your loved one.
Approaching your loved one after a traumatic experience can be complex, but by communicating openly, spending time together, and validating his feelings, you can be a source of love and support.
Life after trauma can be difficult, and you might find yourself at a loss for how to handle your own emotions as well. Here are some helpful tips for what not to do when approaching your loved one:
- Don’t dictate how he should feel or react
- Don’t complain about how his experience or response to it has impacted you
- Don’t be impatient with his process or expect him to get over it sooner
Traumatic events can take a great deal of time to overcome, and doing one or more of these things in the presence of your loved one will only make matters worse.