Do you know someone victimized by trauma? Were you able to help them or did you feel helpless?
I used to feel helpless when I heard that someone I knew had experienced a traumatic event. I didn’t know if I had the right words and felt very incapable to help them. After many hours of study, talking to victims, and experiencing trauma firsthand, I’ve learned what I feel are the essentials. Listening, empathy, meeting practical needs, and praying for them are the best things we can do.
Walking alongside someone who has suffered loss, victimization, abuse, or who’s a caretaker, listening with an empathetic heart goes a long way. An article that gives Biblical insight into empathy is Does the Bible Say Anything About Empathy? by Topical Truth. As you read it, ask God to show you ways you can enlarge your capacity for empathy.
Many times we have a hard time empathizing with someone, especially if we’ve never suffered a devastating traumatic event or loss. It was when I experienced a deep personal loss, I began to have the capacity to understand how to truly empathize with someone who encounters a loss. Then, I could discern the pain and needs of another who was hurting as I did.
One of the most impacting experiences I have had was listening to a young woman telling me about her life as a victim of sex-trafficking. I wanted to put my hands over my ears and yell STOP, STOP. I knew in my heart I needed to listen to her and let her tell me what she needed to say without me saying a thing. I calmed down and concentrated on the pain I was hearing and not the details. I’m so glad I did.
What came out of it was a stronger trust level between the two of us and a deeper understanding of the toll this kind of victimization has had on her soul, heart, and brain. Her story very much affected me, so I reached out for counsel and prayer for the secondary trauma that I experienced from her trauma. The good news is that we are both now living victorious lives and helping other women with greater capacity to help!
This article by Life Wellness entitled 13 Little Ways You Can Help Someone Who Has Experienced Trauma gives some practical ways to come alongside those hurting. I have used most of them and found them very beneficial.
To sum the subject up on how to help those dealing with the pain of trauma is learning to listen with your heart and enlarge your capacity for empathy. Then you can be an agent of healing and hope.
What touched your heart as you read this and the other articles? What are things you need to do to be a better listener, empathizer, needs implementer, and prayer warrior?
Please share comments and stories of how you have learned to help victims of trauma.