Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

Is it possible to have the effects of a traumatic experience after being told about it without actually experiencing it yourself?

9 Answers
Last Updated: 07/24/2018 at 12:40am
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Johanna Liasides, MSc


I work with youth and young adults to help them improve depressive symptoms and self-esteem as well as effectively address family, relationship and peer conflicts.

Top Rated Answers
July 24th, 2018 12:40am
I believe it is. It's empathy. It's a good thing that a person is able to be able to place themselves in someone else's shoes.
January 24th, 2015 10:36pm
Experiencing stress through someone else is very much a real thing. Many people feel for the victims of the trauma and sometimes live it through them. The best way to get over this is to help the actual victim to recover, and then you should naturally recover on your own.
March 20th, 2015 11:51pm
Some text books state there is a phenomenon called "vicarious trauma" which occurs by hearing about the experience without having actually been through it.
June 2nd, 2015 1:20am
Yes, it happened to me when I found out my mom was abused by her boyfriend. I was completely convinced that it was my fault and had a difficult time forgiving myself. It still affects me to this day, but I have finally convinced myself that it was not my fault.
July 6th, 2015 7:03am
Yes you can experience trauma vicariously, especially if you are very empathetic. The more empathetic you are the more you may take one someone's pain as your own.
September 8th, 2015 9:23am
It definitely is. Especially if the experience was experienced by someone who is very close to you, in which case I think it's a natural empathetic response.
September 13th, 2015 10:11pm
Absolutely. Mirror neurons allow us to feel empathy, and to actually experience the feelings of others as though we are experiencing them ourselves.
November 27th, 2017 7:21pm
I believe it is possible, the mind is a powerful organ that can force you to believe things that are not true.
March 19th, 2018 2:30pm
Hearing someone bad experience especially if it is someone who is close to us can trigger a lot of anxiety.