What should you do if a loved one talking about their traumatic experience makes you feel uncomfortable ?
Last Updated: 03/19/2018 at 12:33am
Jennifer Geib, LCSWR
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
1:1, daily chats. - My therapy is non-judgmental and focuses on emotions and motivation to accomplish your goals or overcome your struggles.
Top Rated Answers
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.
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.
Tell him immediately that you do not want this conversation anymore. He must respect that if he loves you.
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.
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.
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.
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
Continue to listen patiently and lovingly anyway, regardless of your feelings about the event, person or surrounding circumstances.
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.
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
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.
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