Caring for or loving a trauma survivor typically means you want to support them in every way possible. Naturally, you’ll want to aid in healing, make life easier, and help them live happily post-trauma. Still, finding the best way to help your loved one can be challenging.
Are you enabling negative behaviors? Will they resent you for offering tough love? Do you worry that your relationship will change the more you try to provide support? Regarding trauma survivors, you’ll need to find healthy ways to support growth and healing. Let’s discuss some healthy ways you can help trauma survivors thrive.
Understanding Healthy Support for Trauma Survivors
Finding the best way to help your loved ones is essential, but you must be sure you provide healthy support. Unfortunately, some support individuals do more harm than good. So, how can you help trauma survivors without enabling harmful or damaging behavior?
In the mental health industry, there are two types of enabling. First, you need to understand what healthy support means. Offering compassionate care and treating your loved ones empathetically is the best place to start. You’ll also want to maintain healthy boundaries and watch for signs of resentment.
- Positive Enabling can also be regarded as empowering another person. This allows you to create positive interactions that help trauma survivors grow, heal, and thrive.
- Negative Enabling is what we typically refer to as enabling. This means you support dysfunctional behaviors that worsen or worsen the problems.
During a hardship or difficult situation, trauma survivors typically require support to get to the next stage of healing. Positive enabling examples include helping your child pay their cell phone bill after losing a job, offering financial support while your friend finds a new job, or providing transportation and childcare during a transition. So, when does this type of support turn into negative enabling?
Enabling is not good if you or your loved one begins to feel resentment, support continues for an unreasonable time, it negatively impacts your life, or you support harmful behaviors. Trauma survivors with minor setbacks typically overcome challenges fairly easily. Still, if your loved one has many layers of pain, they may need additional support to move out of survival mode and create helpful coping skills.
7 Tips for Supporting Trauma Survivors
Here are some things to consider if you’re trying to help someone you love overcome trauma:
- Evaluate your intentions and discover why you are helping. Are you supporting this individual out of guilt? Do you need to feel needed? Are you attempting to be in control? If you are bringing your own trauma into the situation, you need to help yourself before offering help to anyone else.
- Check in with yourself while helping to see how you feel. It’s easy to let the support consume you as you try to help your loved one heal from their trauma. That’s why checking in with yourself frequently is crucial to ensure you are both responding well to your support. Keep a close eye on your comfort level as days and week pass.
- Set boundaries. Creating healthy boundaries protects everyone, especially the trauma survivors themselves. Trauma survivors create many emotions in those who love and support them. Understanding what they’ve been through, you’ll likely feel bad for what they’ve endured. Many people offer help and support that ultimately impacts their own financial situation. Be mindful of your own boundaries, and make sure you protect yourself.
- Gently challenge unhealthy behavior. As a cheerleader for trauma survivors, your job is to ensure you support them well while also challenging them to grow and thrive. Love isn’t always easy, and sometimes you’ll need to offer the hard truth to help ensure your loved one gets exactly what they need. For example, if your loved one is self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, you’ll want to talk to them about other ways to manage their emotional pain.
- Are you actually helping? You’ll also want to ensure that you’re actually helping by offering your support. Step back and look at the situation objectively. You may need to adjust the scope of your support to assist everyone move forward.
- Address the root issue. Providing emotional and even financial support can be helpful, but you’ll need to help them address the root issue to provide true support. The best way to help trauma survivors is to address the main cause of the trauma and work toward healing.
- Be strong. Negative enabling starts with a strong desire to help and ultimately goes too far. Helping and caring are normal parts of a loving and healthy relationship. Creating boundaries and empowering your loved one is the best way to truly support them in their growth. Be loving, but strong.
Learn More About Healthy Boundaries with My Recon Therapy
Trauma survivors face several challenges in their healing journey, but can easily thrive with the right support system. If your loved one is suffering from PTSD, talking to a Vancouver mental health therapist help you learn more about healthy boundaries and additional ways to help them thrive. Contact us today whether you are a trauma survivor or support someone with a traumatic past. We offer the trauma resources and tools you need to thrive!