So, you’re the loved one of a man who’s experienced trauma.

You’re probably here because you want to help him. 

But what should you do if you, yourself, have previously experienced trauma at the hands of a man?

What if your loved one’s expression of his trauma makes you feel unsafe? You want him to heal, but listening to his story places a burden on you.

It’s ok if you can’t handle the details.

To protect your own health while supporting him, here are some things you could say:

  • “Maybe I’m not the best person to share these details with. This is bringing up painful memories for me.”
  • “Although I can’t handle listening to this, it doesn’t mean I don’t care.”
  • “Can I help you find somebody to talk to?”

It takes bravery to say these things, but you’re protecting your health.

If you feel unsafe and traumatized, you won’t be in a place where you can help him in his trauma. It’s no small thing to help him heal, even if you’re not the specific person he can share with. 

I encourage you to speak up, if hearing about his trauma triggers trauma for you.

Try using the phrases above to open conversation, or a statement of your own.

What can you say to communicate your needs while supporting his?

By Matt Burton