Have you ever noticed there are socially acceptable & socially unacceptable responses to trauma? There are. The especially interesting part is the socially acceptable ones are the most unhealthy trauma responses & encouraged.
Some socially acceptable trauma responses are:
- being a workaholic.
- focusing on career over family.
- never taking breaks.
- being over scheduled or too busy.
- sleeping too little.
- excessive exercising.
- under eating.
Some socially unacceptable trauma responses are:
- taking time off to relax.
- crying or being angry about the trauma.
- admitting that it still upsets you, even years after the trauma.
- taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication.
- seeing a counselor.
- severing ties with an abuser.
- discussing the abuse.
When you live with PTSD or C-PTSD, trying to heal is tough enough. It’s not easy, even under the best of circumstances. It’s much worse though when you have people telling you that your healthy coping skills aren’t healthy, & insisting you instead use unhealthy coping skills.
Having been through narcissistic abuse, I can vouch for the insecurity that comes from it. It takes a conscious focus on my part not to assume someone’s criticism of me is right & to consider what is said before assuming I’m wrong, & frankly I’m not always good at this. When someone tells me I should use one of the unhealthy trauma responses instead of my healthy ones, naturally I figure they’re right & feel shame. No doubt many of you reading this experience the same type of response.
You can learn to deal with the dysfunctional response in these types of situations.
Remember, the world thinks quite skewed in the area of mental health. No one bats an eye at someone who goes to a doctor with a broken leg, yet many of those same people claim someone is weak for seeing a counselor for their mental health problems. That is just one example of this skewed thinking. Anyway just because so many people think this way doesn’t mean they are right. What others think about how you heal isn’t important. What is important is that it works for you.
Use logical thinking. When someone criticizes you for how you approach your emotional healing, ask yourself if what they say makes sense & why. For example, if someone says you’re being lazy, you need to keep busy instead of taking time off, think about this statement for a moment. How would keeping busy benefit you? Sure, you might be busy enough not to think about your problems for a bit, but that won’t last forever. Besides, ignoring emotions means they will come out in unhealthy ways later. So many addicts became addicts because they tried to avoid facing their own traumas. Considering all of this, do you really think this person gave you good advice?
Another thing to consider is people view things through the lens of their own experiences. Many people who are the quickest to judge others’ healing journeys are ones who also have been abused, but refuse to deal with that. Rather than be inspired by someone else facing their pain, they get upset by it. They often think because they aren’t facing their past trauma, they are over it. They’re functioning just fine while someone else is suffering with C-PTSD. In their mind, clearly that person is weak & could learn a thing or two from the person without C-PTSD. They honestly think they’re helping by telling the other person what they do, which involves their socially acceptable trauma responses.
Remember, just because some people think your approach to healing is wrong doesn’t mean that is true. You have to do whatever works best for you. What others think shouldn’t matter. All that should matter to you is that what you’re doing helps you to heal.