How to Approach Your Loved One after Trauma
If one of your loved ones survives a traumatic event, it would be natural for you to want to help that person. But, the behavior and emotions people exhibit after trauma can confuse family members who want to help. So, learn how to approach loved ones who endured trauma so they can recover from this difficult period.
Behavioral Effects of Trauma
Become familiar with the following behaviors that are common to people who experience trauma:
- Reluctance to communicate
- Disruptive or distracting behavior
- Angry or tearful outbursts
- Resistance to logical arguments
Although it may appear strange and even worrisome, the behavior of trauma survivors can be connected to normal patterns of thought.
How to Help Someone Overcome Trauma without Talking about It
You can help your loved one overcome trauma without discussing the event. In fact, you can utilize any of the following resources to support someone through traumatic events:
- Space – Give a trauma survivor physical and emotional distance as she processes memories and feelings from her experiences
- Steadiness – Although emotions may fluctuate rapidly in someone who endured trauma, company that is emotionally steady can be a comfort
- Patience – Explosive behavior may last longer than expected
- Preparation – Your loved one may approach you and want to talk. Be ready to listen, but hold off on immediate suggestions or judgments.
These tips can comfort and help your loved one, even if he doesn’t realize you are trying to help.
How to Approach Someone Dealing with Trauma
More active approaches can help someone deal with trauma, so consider the following ways to help your loved one recover:
- Practical support – Help with cooking and laundry to minimize stress without discussing trauma
- Monitor health – Keep tabs on nutrition and exercise habits, and when necessary make gentle suggestions for improvement
- Invite out – Take your loved one to fun events if she is willing to go
- Offer to talk – Rather than avoid discussing trauma, indicate your willingness to talk
Your loved one may reject some of the aforementioned approaches, but be patient, and offer your help again and again.
How Treatment Addresses Trauma
People who survive the same traumatic event can have different reactions. One possible outcome is coming to terms with the problem and continuing a normal life. Another outcome is developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which causes fear and invasive memories to interfere with daily life. The support you provide to your loved one can help him bounce back. Staying in close contact with a loved one after trauma can be very helpful if PTSD does develop. In that case, a professional intervention offers the best chance to bring about healing and recovery. Approaching your loved one with treatment options can be that best help that you can offer.
Find Help to Address Trauma
If you or a loved one is struggling after a traumatic experience, call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to learn more about normal reactions and problems that may surface. Our admissions coordinators are available right now to help you recover, so seek help to find a happy life.