6 safe ways to support a partner who has trauma
It's essential to have a strong, supportive relationship with your partner if they are dealing with trauma. Check out these six safe ways to help a traumatised partner.
If your partner is suffering from trauma then it's important to be in a healthy and supportive relationship with them. Your love and care will be enough to extend them kindness, unconditional love and support to continue to grow into a healthier relationship despite their past. It won't ever be your 'job' to save your partner from their trauma, pain or triggers. You can be a consistent, loving, supportive, safe relationship for them that gifts them the opportunity to safely process their trauma and receive healthy love. As a support system, you are not their punching bag and be sure you are setting and upholding your own boundaries. (Also read: 7 ways to support and help your partner through depression )
Amy Fiedler, Life Coach and Trauma Support Specialist, suggested seven ways to support a partner who has trauma, in her recent Instagram post.
1. Listen with understanding
When your partner opens up and shares about their triggers, they might carry a lot of shame and embarrassment. Finding empathy and compassion with your words in these moments will ease that fear of judgment.
2. Being patient when they ask questions you feel are just "common sense"
Sometimes trauma survivors have never experienced a healthy relationship and in wanting to learn how to maintain one, they may lean on their partner for guidance as to what is "normal" or not. Remember, their reality of relationships can be significantly skewed by abuse. They may need clarity and reassurance as to what a healthy one looks and sounds like.
3. Managing your own emotions and setting clear boundaries
Each individual in a relationship needs to manage their own emotions and set clear boundaries that they both follow through on. As a partner to a survivor, don't let their trauma be your excuse for not respecting yourself. They do want you to feel respected in the relationship as well.
4. Ask how you can support them when they're triggered
Their answer may be, "I don't know" but it shows care and support when they're visibly triggered or communicating about a trigger they have to inquire about their needs. Every survivor is different and it's important they learn it's safe to ask you for what they need.
5. Communicate with clear intent, empathy, kindness, maturity and compassion
A lot of trauma survivors are not used to gentleness and honesty. This is why managing emotions is so essential. It sets you up for successful communication.
6. Don't change how committed you are just because it scares or confuses them
Be consistent in your love and support! Being treated lovingly is new for them. Feeling safe may take time. Even though they want to love, support and safety, that doesn't mean it doesn't scare them to receive it finally.