Trauma is an intricate labyrinth of emotions and experiences that can profoundly affect every aspect of a person’s life. Yet, one of the most challenging aspects of trauma is that it often leaves individuals feeling isolated and incapable of seeking help. This paradox, where the very thing that can aid healing seems elusive, can be better understood by delving into the psychology behind why trauma makes it so hard to ask for help and how asking for help heals trauma.
The Isolation of Trauma
Trauma can take many forms – from physical accidents to emotional abuse, from natural disasters to combat experiences. Regardless of the form it takes, trauma often leads to a sense of isolation. This isolation can stem from several sources:
Shame and Guilt:
Trauma survivors frequently carry a heavy burden of shame and guilt, believing that somehow they were responsible for what happened to them. This self-blame can be a significant barrier to seeking help as it convinces individuals that they do not deserve assistance.
Fear of Judgment:
A common fear among trauma survivors is the dread of being judged or stigmatized by others. They may worry that sharing their traumatic experiences will lead to people viewing them differently or thinking less of them.
Trauma often leaves people feeling emotionally raw and vulnerable. Opening up about one’s trauma requires immense courage because it exposes these vulnerabilities. Many survivors fear that by asking for help, they will be further hurt or betrayed.
Lack of Trust:
Trauma can shatter trust in others, making it challenging to believe that anyone can be relied upon for support. Survivors may struggle to trust therapists, friends, or even family members, further exacerbating their isolation.
How Asking for Help Can Transform Trauma
As daunting as it may be, asking for help is a pivotal step in the journey to healing from trauma. Here’s how it can make a profound difference:
Validation and Empathy:
Seeking help often begins with confiding in someone we trust, whether it’s a friend, family member, or therapist. Sharing our experiences allows us to receive validation and empathy, reminding us that we are not alone in our pain. This validation can be incredibly powerful in breaking the cycle of isolation.
Reframing the Narrative:
When we share our trauma with others, we have the opportunity to reframe our narrative. Rather than internalizing blame and guilt, we may gain new perspectives that help us understand that we were not at fault. This shift in perspective can be transformative.
Building a Support Network:
Asking for help can lead to the creation of a support network. These individuals can offer emotional support, guidance, and encouragement as we navigate the healing process. This network becomes a crucial source of strength during challenging times.
Access to Professional Help:
Trauma can be incredibly complex, often requiring the expertise of trained professionals. By seeking help, we can access therapy, counseling, or medical assistance tailored to our specific needs. These professionals can provide tools and strategies to cope with trauma’s impact.
Asking for help is an act of vulnerability, and it takes immense courage. By embracing vulnerability, trauma survivors begin to reclaim their power and agency. This step can be transformative in itself, fostering resilience and self-compassion.
Breaking the Silence:
Trauma often thrives in silence. Speaking out about our experiences can break the silence surrounding trauma, making it easier for others to do the same. In this way, asking for help can contribute to broader societal awareness and destigmatization of trauma.
Overcoming the Barriers to Asking for Help
While asking for help is essential for healing from trauma, it’s not always an easy step to take. Here are some strategies to overcome the barriers:
Asking for help doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Begin by confiding in a trusted friend or family member about your feelings or experiences. Gradually, you can work up to seeking professional help if needed.
Understanding the effects of trauma and the benefits of seeking help can demystify the process. Knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about your healing journey.
Practice self-compassion by acknowledging that it’s okay to ask for help. You are not weak for seeking support; you are brave for taking this step toward healing.
Trauma is a heavy burden to bear, but it doesn’t have to be carried alone. While the isolation it brings can make asking for help seem impossible, it’s crucial to remember that healing from trauma often starts with reaching out to others. The journey toward recovery is not linear, and it’s okay to ask for help along the way. By seeking support, you not only lighten the load but also open doors to healing, growth, and resilience. So, take that courageous step, and let the transformative power of asking for help guide you toward a brighter future. Discover how asking for help heals trauma.
Join Elizabeth Kipp for her evergreen course “Heal. Here. Now. Mindfulness and Trauma Recovery” to deepen into gentle and effective ways to recover from trauma. You can attend Elizabeth’s online Trauma-Informed Yoga Class on Thursdays at 6 p.m. CST.