As I’ve written in the weekly newsletter before, I’m not spending a ton of time and effort on Twitter these days, but I happened to see this today, and it just struck a nerve for me in a good way:
If something worked to help you ‘heal’ then that’s great. But if you’re assuming the same will work for another survivor and then using that to judge, shame, or manipulate them into what you think they should do-then you’re just causing more trauma. #SAAM #saam2023
— Defend Survivors (@defendsurvivors) April 15, 2023
In case embeds stop working, that says, “If something worked to help you ‘heal’ then that’s great. But if you’re assuming the same will work for another survivor and then using that to judge, shame, or manipulate them into what you think they should do-then you’re just causing more trauma.”
It’s a tweet-length explanation of something we’ve discussed on my blogs for years. What works for you might not work for everyone. I usually write it from the advice seeker perspective, don’t expect that what someone else says worked for them will automatically work for you, and don’t give up just because what worked for them didn’t work for you. We’re all different. But we need to discuss the other side of that equation, the advice giver.
We must discuss that because there’s too much of this in the childhood abuse and mental health community. We’ve all seen it. An advocate found something that helped them and immediately told everyone to do it. Proclaiming it as the one “cure” for everything that ails all of us, and should anyone dare to suggest that they tried it and it just didn’t work for them, immediately go on the attack.
That’s not how this works.
First, we don’t shame people for how they deal with their trauma and for doing what works for them in healing. (Short of doing something illegal and/or destructive to themselves and others.) If avoiding any medication worked for you, great. That doesn’t mean that anyone deciding to take medication is failing.
The same can be said for inpatient treatment, therapy, exercise, gardening, micro-dosing, meditation, religion, etc. There are so many things that have worked for some people in healing. The list could get long, but no matter how many items we add, one thing will be true for every item. They all worked for some of the people some of the time and never for everyone all of the time.
Healing is hard. Those who are trying to heal from trauma deserve our respect and encouragement. They don’t need a ton of judgment about how they are healing. Stop making it harder with your judgment.