How do I let my partner know about my past traumatic experiences without my partner freaking out?

10 Answers
Last Updated: 10/10/2016 at 12:40pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
South Africa
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Claudette Pretorius, MA Counselling Psychology

Licensed Professional Counselor

I know how overwhelming it can feel when you're having a tough time. I offer clients a space that is non-judgemental and empathetic whilst navigating these times together.

Top Rated Answers
HopeandFaith
January 11th, 2015 11:17pm
The first thing to ask yourself is why you want to tell your partner: is it because they have noticed something seems to trouble you often, and want to know what it is - or because you feel you need to. If it is the second option, please understand that you are under no obligation to share that with someone you don't trust not to freak out. You can always come here to 7Cups for a 1-to-1 chat if it is pressing on you to share but you're not sure if they're the right one to share with - not saying they're not a great partner, they very well might be, but I stress this because often we feel the need to test people in our lives by sharing everything and end up just pushing them away. And I don't believe some therapists realize the gravity of losing someone like that; they'll often say "Oh if they left, they weren't the right one anyway." Well, even if they weren't - they were your one. And it's easy to say when they're not the ones who have to deal with the repercussions of losing them. If the partner seems genuinely interested, though, then share - maybe face-to-face so they can see your reaction, but if this is not possible (it wasn't for me, so no judgement) then really connect yourself to the present moment rather than the usual typing conversation where we may just type away without thinking. Ask them if they're prepared to hear it first, then if they give you the go-ahead, proceed slowly - maybe one to two lines at a time and wait a few minutes for their response each time to make sure they are listening and prevent any anxiety that they're just ignoring you. Don't be afraid to ask "Still there?" because if you're pouring out your heart and that's what they asked for, they need to put in as much effort to show they're present. Any more questions feel free to contact me in a 1-1 chat. Good luck.
low
April 13th, 2015 3:21pm
Be open with them, they do deserve to know about your past, but you cannot control their reaction. The most important thing is honesty.
LilyFlowers
May 18th, 2015 5:12pm
Well, you start by telling him. Communication is everything. Where as I can understand your worries, them freaking out has nothing to do with you, and in the end, it defines the quality of person they are.
originalLion57
June 4th, 2015 2:03pm
You start by saying you want to talk about something serious and that it would be most helpful if they didn't freak out or react in a strong manner, but instead listened to you while you both would sit down. Then hopefully your partner listens and respects that.
Anonymous
June 29th, 2015 11:54am
It's great that you decided to share and be honest with your partner. Because you and your partner might come from different background, it helps for the both of you to do it gradually. Meaning, you sit your partner down and just tell him a story and how that felt for you until you manage to be completely open. Both of you must be open-minded and if you feel that it's necessary, you can gently remind your partner to listen and react later.
AndBeyond
November 2nd, 2015 11:12pm
A one on one conversation can be effective, but if you are nervous about that, then having a mediator or therapist with you when you discuss your past may be beneficial. Both for you to feel safe, for questions to be answered, and for your partner to know that you are seeking the help you might need.
WalkinDownRapperBlvd
December 8th, 2015 3:27pm
Tell them you wanna talk and reassure them that you aren't the same or that you aren't going back to what was. They may need some time to soak it in and that's normal. Just tell them straight out
Anonymous
December 27th, 2015 6:13pm
Talk to your partner privately, surely they noticed your reactions and first of all, tell them what happened to you and express all your feelings, and never keep anything in, just let everything out and they will understand you because you have been through a hard time and they know that so they will do their best to support you
kindheartedSunrise21
May 10th, 2016 4:36am
The most important thing is honesty. Both of you must be open-minded & talk to your partner privately, expressing all your feelings, and never keep anything bottled up . Gently remind your partner to listen and react later as this is hard for you also. I am sure they will be very supportive through your hard ordeal .
Dawn04
October 10th, 2016 12:40pm
Find a relaxing time and sit him down saying you need to talk. Maybe even make him promise to let you finish the whole story first and then you'll be open to any questions.