Trauma Victims In Your Family And Friendships
One of the things a traumatized person needs most is to feel "normal" again, to be reassured that the people around them care about them for real, are glad that they survived, and are eager to make sure they're okay. LONG TERM "okay", not just in the moment, or for today, or until we all get sick of "dealing with it". The traumatized person needs to feel that they their "people" love them and LIKE them, and want them around. They often want to be heard, need to tell their story, and need to see that their family and friends have their back. Ironically, the larger portion of humans do just the opposite to a victim of trauma. They often turn away from the person, cast blame on the person, stop treating them like "one of their kind", as if the person is the one who created this terrible thing to happen to them. This is a psychological malfunction, where a victim of crime, abuse, or trauma is wrongfully placed by those around them as the perpetrator of the trauma. When people can not handle the caretaking of an individual in their group because they are not mentally or emotionally equipped, they often turn on the the very person who they are supposed to be caring for because they feel overwhelmed. Often they feel guilty or ashamed, and in order to cast these feelings off of themselves, they throw them onto the traumatized person. Many victims of trauma develop PTSD, exacerbated by the cold treatment of those whom they had previously trusted. To be chased by a grizzly bear through the woods is traumatizing. To get to the family home and find the door locked, and no one will open it from the inside, is severely traumatizing. To have to wrestle with your keys with the grizzly bearing down on you, unlock the door, and get inside, only to find everyone shaking their heads at you and accusing you of making it up just to get attention, or backs turned on you as if you had done something wrong and should be ashamed, can be absolutely devastating, even debilitating. The person now knows they are not in a safe environment, and not surrounded by people who have any interest in their well-being. And once a person is stamped as a scapegoat in any given group, when there is no one to stand up for them, the group will usually treat that person like a pariah for the rest of their lives; and to clinch it, this stamp will often be spread far and wide, just to make sure that no one ever believe the real story. A pariah is shunned, judged, refused resources, made fun of, laughed at, used as a dumping ground for family problems. It's the most terrible way to treat a person. And yet, it's very common in human families and groups all across the world, in every social and economic strata. If there's someone in your family or group that has been labeled "black sheep" or "bad", a person who people love to call crazy, who they seem to delight in bashing, chances are the whole truth is being hidden. Think about how you would want to be treated by your family or group, and compare that to the way they treat and talk about that person. Do they seem bent on making sure that person is spoken of in a negative light? Do they show concern for things that person went through, or do they dismiss every single thing that happened to that person? Everyone needs to feel like they are cared about by their group, like they belong, like they are safe.