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What should you do if a loved one talking about their traumatic experience makes you feel uncomfortable ?

12 Answers
Last Updated: 06/22/2021 at 7:07am
1 Tip to Feel Better
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Top Rated Answers
May 14th, 2015 6:24pm
I think in that situation it can be really rough. They're you're loved one, so you want to support them; however, they are also making you uncomfortable and could possibly trigger you. I'd say the best thing to do would be to talk to them about it and gently let them know that as much as you care about them, talking about this with them is something that you can't do at the moment. You can tell them that you can be there for them in other ways. Having a discussion about why you are uncomfortable might help them to understand and hopefully not put you in that position anymore , without ruining your relationship and still being able to support each other.
April 21st, 2015 2:15pm
If it's making me uncomfortable, I ask myself why, and then go from there. "Can I stay in this chat? Can I become comfortable?" If it is an obvious trigger for me, I will gently and swiftly refer them to someone else, being careful not to shame them.
August 10th, 2015 4:07am
Tell him immediately that you do not want this conversation anymore. He must respect that if he loves you.
September 7th, 2015 1:15pm
The best thing you can do is to steer them away from providing graphic details of the situation as they can be triggering to you. Discuss what s/he is doing for him/herself to manage flashbacks/memories/difficult emotions/ other symptoms. Ask about therapy. If they're already in therapy, ask if they've discussed (insert specific conversation topic) with the therapist, and what helpful responses has the therapist provided thus far? Ask how you can be helpful at that moment? You may even offer distractions such as an offer to go somewhere together, watch a movie, etc. It can be really difficult to say, "I can't handle discussing this topic in detail," though it may be helpful to find a way to say this to the person that is both gentle and firm. Remember to use "I" statements and to avoid making statements that are judgmental or shaming.
October 27th, 2015 2:02pm
Talk to your loved one about how you feel. If they love you, than they will understand how you feel. Try to find a new person for them to talk to.
December 29th, 2015 10:46pm
Don't let them know about it and be as empathic as possible. It's hard to talk about something like that, so if they do, it mean they trust you.
Anonymous - Expert in Domestic Violence
December 31st, 2015 3:24am
Just support them but listening to them can trigger you so just tell them that you care about them and that you will always be there for them. Tell them gently that if they talk about this, it is making you feel uncomfortable and they will surely understand
February 29th, 2016 8:51pm
Continue to listen patiently and lovingly anyway, regardless of your feelings about the event, person or surrounding circumstances.
September 20th, 2016 5:13pm
Give them a chance to talk and then be honest about how it makes you feel. Be understanding, but firm that maybe they should go to someone else.
November 6th, 2017 4:12pm
You should really try to listen to them as you don't know how much effort it has took for them to feel they can confide in you. If the experience is something you have no experience in helping with then look up and suggest advice lines for them even offer to be there at first for support
March 19th, 2018 12:33am
You can politely tell them you feel uncomfortable with them sharing there experiences and see if they have other options to go to like talking to a school counselor, friends or even a therapist at times when necessary.
June 22nd, 2021 7:07am
It's important to set clear boundaries. Knowing your boundaries and communicating them is important and doesn't mean that you care any less about the loved one. Make it clear that you care about them, and love them, and want them to feel supported, but that you don't feel like you can give them the support they need. Refer them to therapy or professional help and let them know that you're still in their life and that they're important to you, and that they aren't a burden - it's just difficult for you to listen, and that's okay. You need to prioritise yourself before you can prioritise other people.