Meaning Making


How do I deal with family members who do not take my traumatic history seriously?


 It can be incredibly upsetting and frustrating to deal with people who don’t take your traμma seriously, particularly when those people are your own family. People often misunderstand what traμma actually is and the different ways it can affect someone. 

A common and persistent stereotype is the belief that post-traμmatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related symptoms only occur in war veterans, and that survivors of viφlence or abμse don’t get PTSD. This isn’t true. Any traμmatic experience can have serious psychological effects. 

You might encounter people who don’t believe you, who belittle your experiences, or who refuse to acknowledge the psychological impact traμma has had on you. Remember that your traμma is real and your feelings are valid regardless of what other people think or say. 

It can be exhausting (and often unattainable) to change the minds of those who choose not to take your traμma seriously. It can feel isolating to be misunderstood in this way and to not receive the support you deserve. 

Regardless of the reasoning behind your family member not taking your traμma seriously, you might consider talking to them about how this makes you feel. Depending on your relationship and comfort level, a conversation might (or might not) be the right approach. 

Talking to the family member can help them better understand your traμma and how it affects you. It can be an opportunity to express your needs and goals for your recovery. You may also learn about their own personal traumas which may be interfering with them giving your experiences the attention they deserve. 

Sometimes difficult conversations don’t go the way you intend. It is brave and admirable to advocate for yourself, regardless of the outcome. If your family member chooses not to be understanding, that is not a reflection of you. You may need to look outside of your family network to find reliable support. 

When a family member belittles your traμma, it can be hard to not internalize it and take it to heart. What you are asking for is a reasonable and valid request. You deserve to be heard, and you deserve to be supported in the ways that you need.

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