Where listening to your dear ones is necessary, it is also important to take care of your mental health alongside. Read here to know-how
You must have come across times when you find your friend and dear ones in tough situations. All of us have our problems and a lot of times, we seek external help and validation. There can be events when your dear ones reach out to you, telling about their trauma and other times, you might be required to identify if your loved ones are safe and sound physically and mentally. There can be events where they might hesitate to reach out, at that point, you must offer your support and show them confidence that you are ready to hear out their trauma.
Where there has been a lot of discussions around mental health and there have been enough memes and posters being circulated on social media saying things like, “I am here to hear you out” and “I am with you”, the important conversation that remained missing was the fact that listening to someone’s trauma can also be equally triggering. Before even starting to talk about how it can impact the listener, it should be noted that an individual can’t take the responsibility of the mental well-being of an entire group or their entire social circle, but what they can do is that they can keep a check on their dear ones. And when they do so, here is what they should not be doing.
We spoke to Sargam Mittal, a Psychology Graduate who has told us about what one must not do while listening to another person’s trauma.
“Sharing someone’s trauma requires a lot of emotional stability. It doesn’t mean one must not empathize with the other person, but one must not get traumatised by it. When a psychologist hears their patient out, they are trained so, they are emotionally stable and hence, they don’t let other person’s trauma affect them, instead help them in dealing with it.”
The few things that she pointed out that one must check within themselves before hearing out the other person are –
In a world that is not black and white, people with fragile mental health are prone to vulnerability. The first and foremost thing before one should seek within oneself is that are they ready to listen to vulnerability? Whenever you offer support, ask yourself out if you are in that mental space to hear and help them out. If you are not in that space, you are not obliged to hear them out as it won’t help either of you.
You are not supposed to help everyone but you are definitely supposed to help and support friends and people you are close to. Remember, you being kind is not subjective to the fact that you are hearing everyone out. At times, you will be required to be kind to yourself and need to give yourself that.
Being a listener can also be very triggering at times. While an aware speaker must give trigger warnings before reaching out if they don’t and if you find sings of triggers in the conversation, take your call and choose not to listen or if you do, ensure that you are in the right mental space.
Be kind, be empathetic, but don’t live with their trauma. You need to support them, empathize with them and help them in healing. There can be times when they are seeking out a solution which you might not have, at that point, you need to show your support, give them comfort and help them sail through it. But don’t try to live it. Don’t try to put your shoes in theirs in an effort to feel them. Tell them that you understand them, show them by your actions that you care but don’t with their trauma. You need to help your dear one’s and that, you won’t be able yo do if you let yourself get traumatised.
Last but not the least, there is no such thing of reciprocation. Yes, you must try to be as supportive to your dear ones in their trauma, but just because they were supportive in your hard time doesn’t put any obligation on you to help them when you are not in the right mental state to help. You should try to help them only when you are emotionally stable.
To conclude, we can only say that being kind doesn’t mean hearing out everyone around you and draining yourself mentally. And, it doesn’t even mean feeling and living with the survivor’s trauma. It means emphathizing and making efforts in helping your dear one’s heal without letting your yourself affect by it.
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