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Comfort in, Venting, out. Picture a bulls-eye

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LA44 posted 6/14/2013 05:13 AM

There was a good article circulating over the internet back in the winter months about how to comfort a person experiencing trauma.

Picture a dart board. In the center of the board - the bulls-eye - is the person in trauma. We will call her, Trauma. In the rings around Trauma are those closest to her. The next ring might be Trauma's H, the ring around that would be the parents/siblings of Trauma, the best friend comes after that. The rings continue right up to co-workers and then until casual acquaintances.

In this case - Trauma is someone who needs open heart surgery. This is BIG and she is a WRECK!

Trauma needs to be comforted. Period. She needs to know that YOU are there for her no matter what. No matter how many times she cries, expresses anger at how unfair life is, or is looking like a deer in the headlights, she needs you to be a sure thing.

That means, that whoever is outside of the circle cannot bring their pain, their concern, their worries to Trauma.

And we know those people, right? The "do you know how hard this is on me?" people.

So, if that is YOU, you can vent to anyone in Trauma's circle AS LONG AS THEY ARE OUTSIDE of where YOU fit in the circle. But for goodness sake, YOU MUST refrain from venting directly to Trauma.

If H needs to vent, he will vent to anyone outside of him. Same with parents or best friend.

Comfort goes in. Venting goes out.

Having said all this, I know that being a BS means that MOST people do not know your story. This is all so private. Which also means that your trauma goes, for the most part, un-tended by those closest to you. It also means that the person who hurt you the most, IS the one that needs to comfort you....the most.

Not easy. Not fair. Not anything you ever imagined. Hold tight my friend. You are in the centre. You need care.

LA (up way too early)

[This message edited by LA44 at 5:15 AM, June 14th (Friday)]

sailorgirl posted 6/14/2013 09:01 AM

LA, framing it this way offers all kinds of useful insights . . . thanks!

It's so hard for me when my mom is having a tough time and wants to gather her circle. I need to give her support and listen to lots of venting and it's exhausting. She also makes me feel obligated to be in the first ring around my sister (who is with a suspected NPD).

I don't want to tell my parents about the affair. But you'd think they'd realize that I need less pressure since they know WH is in counseling and finally facing an abusive childhood. Nope. They have no clue how draining that is for me.

WH is doing his best, but he's in the center of his own circle, too. He is realizing that despite years of denial and minimization, his childhood was a nightmare. I am emotionally healthy and 5 months past d-day, so I can be in his inner circle, but he never demands it and always thanks me.

I draw the line at getting sucked into his mom's trauma circle! She is dealing with all her children going off the rails. She may never be able to admit it, but she enabled their alcoholic father to beat them. She emotionally abused them, hit them and abandoned them when WH was 12. She has become a better person, and she is a good grandma to my kids, but I cannot comfort her right now! (She should know this because she knows about the affair, but she doesn't get at all the effects on me.)

Thank you God for my two BFFs and SI. I'm still standing because you guys circle the wagons whenever I need it.

Kelany posted 6/14/2013 09:28 AM

So insightful.

LA44 posted 6/14/2013 11:48 AM

((sailorgirl)) Wow! You have SO much to deal with! I feel for you and the issues your H is struggling with too.

It's amazing isn't it? How people who know - or even those who know your H is having a hard time - keep unloading and you are there going, "Hello? Can't you see I am drowning?!"

I did not tell my parents either. I told my sister and that was a HUGE error in judgment on my part. She spent the next 6 weeks telling me, "well this is hard on me too you know!" I just couldn't believe it. Ok. I get you are feeling shocked and angry. But...go tell a friend bc I am in no position to comfort you.

Then...once her shock wore off she started complaining to me about the same old stuff. Are you kidding me? I posted the article on fb but clearly she did not read it!

Last night, my H said those words, "well, this is hard for me too you know." That is what inspired my post. He was saying, "it is hard to comfort and then get pushed away". I get that. BUT....he is the CAUSE of the hurt. His actions put us all here. I suggested he talk to his IC or his Dad about that.

He apologized to me. Told me he will never be able to understand how deeply he hurt me but will do everything in his power to rebuild. I mentioned this article which he remembered and we had a good, long hug. His uncle just died too so...I know his head is unclear.

Anyway....I hope more people read this and it brings some insight as it did for you and SamB.


[This message edited by LA44 at 11:50 AM, June 14th (Friday)]

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