Many people, including ourselves, tend to minimize traumatic life events. We continue to shame ourselves or others for these events. However, no amount of neglect or persuasion will undo trauma. Common phrases used to minimize trauma are “You should be over this by now” or “Why can’t you just let it go?” Understand that these statements are hurtful, and give no relief to the person suffering. In addition, if you use these statements to belittle your own trauma, you fail to provide yourself with an avenue for healing.
After my grandmother passed, I minimized my struggle. I was not ready to deal with the grief, nor was I ready to let her go. It was difficult talking to others about my trauma because they never understood. Many thought I was attention-seeking and others didn’t understand why I still thought about it. Being ignored by others caused me to belittle myself. A year after my grandmother’s passing, I still ask myself “why can’t I move on?”
Due to the impact of people's words, I wasn’t being fair to myself and my personal healing process. When assessing your healing journey, look at all the progress you made and be gentle with yourself. The traumatic experience won’t disappear; it’s necessary to address it, process it and resolve those thoughts.
The most common form of minimizing our traumas is comparison. We often think that our trauma is never as difficult as someone else’s. Common statements we use are “what I went through is nothing compared to what they went through.” Understand that your story isn’t comparable, nor minimal. Talking with others about your trauma is healthy, but comparing is not. You are entitled to your own feelings and healing process. We all deal with daily battles. It’s okay to feel how you feel.
Trauma survivors often deal with constant self-defeating talk. Negative thoughts control your mind, fighting to gain control. I encourage you to keep track of all your minor progressions and accomplishments! Celebrate those wins and give yourself the credit for the progress. It will help you overcome this struggle.
Throughout my process, I’ve had difficulty with the emotional flashbacks. My anxiety spikes, and it’s hard for me to focus on life. I’ve learned that when these thoughts come about, negative talk doesn’t do any good. I’m continuously surrounding myself with positive thoughts, and constantly telling myself that I am making progress, even when it doesn’t feel like it.
To start healing from trauma, it’s okay to acknowledge it head on. People will tell you you’re making too much of it, but it’s your healing process. It doesn’t matter what others think. You have every right to find help and heal. Understand that you may take steps back at some points, rather than forward. The process isn’t linear with a set date. It’s all about how you approach revelations and truths within your journey. Remember you don’t need permission to feel how you feel!
Written by: Chloe West