‘Tis the season to be triggered

By Thohahoken

There is common sense that is needed to help loved ones with their trauma. The need for understanding is especially important for loved ones with traumas suffered on what are mostly joyous times for most people.

Triggers take over the traumatized that puts strain on relationships and family life at this time of year. You may have to take on a bigger share of the chores, deal with the frustration of a loved one who clams up, deal with anger, or disturbing coping behaviours.

Here are some helpful tips for helping a loved one cope with their triggers:

Don’t pressure your loved one into talking. It is often difficult for traumatized people to even know they’ve been triggered. It can even make things worse if you try and get your loved to talk about their trauma.

Be a good listener. Comfort often comes from your companionship, speaking less, and listening more, rather than trying to reason.

Let your loved one have the power to choose when they want to talk. Take cues from your loved one as to how you can be supportive and good company. They may want to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. They might just want to hang out together.

Be mindful of your own stress. Try and stay relaxed, calm, and focused. You’ll be better able to help a loved one if you stay strong.

Try to watch for trauma triggers. Common triggers besides the time-of-the-year includes people or places associated with the trauma, and certain sights, sounds, or smells. Be aware of the triggers that may cause an upsetting reaction, and you’ll be able to help your loved one calm down.

Don’t take their reactions personally. If your loved one seems absent, irritated, angry, or shut-off, remember that this probably has nothing to do with you or your relationship.

Educate yourself. The more you know about the trauma symptoms, effects, and helping, the better equipped you’ll be to help your loved one understand what’s going on. Keep things in perspective.

Take care of yourself. Letting your loved one’s trauma dominate your life while ignoring your own needs sets you up for burnout. Take care of yourself and you’ll be better able take care of your loved one.

All people are different and have all kinds of traumas. But also understand that this season can be made into a time of renewal. Ringing out the old and ringing in the new. A loved one can be loved in spite of themselves.

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