Trauma. The word itself is almost overwhelming because trauma is this thing that comes in so many different forms and we know the heavy emotions that it comes with. At some point in all of our lives we will experience trauma and for some of us, more than once. The irony in the tragedy is that everyone’s trauma looks different. So much of the details of our experiences inevitably shapes the person we become. Someone who experiences trauma young will have a different outlook on life than someone who experiences it at an older age. What makes us even more unique is how we handle our trauma. So as you can see the directions of trauma are endless, but today I want to focus on what it means to love after trauma.
Now there are a lot of directions I could go with discussing love after trauma. I’m sure you’re thinking “does she mean love as in romantically or as in all types of relationships?” The same thing came to my mind when I began thinking about it so I am going to discuss both. I mean after all every relationship is impacted by a traumatic experience.
The ugly truth is that you will never be the same. After traumatic experiences there is nothing we want more than to have everything go back to normal, but since it can’t, loving yourself means finding your new normal. It won’t be easy, yet it’s necessary to accept and adapt to what has happened as well as to your new reality. When we hold on to what we can never get back we interrupt our own healing process and get stuck there sometimes. No one else can pull you out of your hurt, but you can learn to walk in your truth. So cry when it hurts and remember to laugh when you can. It will take time, but you will get there.
There is going to be a wall. A wall that people who love you will try to break through but they won’t until you realize that wall is actually a door that only you can open to let them in. So loving others means learning to be open. Even if you’re not completely ready to give love, try to be open to receiving it. We are all human so it’s only a matter of time before your love begins to flow into others.
Loving Your Special Person
We all know that the love you share with your partner is as deep and intimate as you can get, which also makes it the most difficult thing to do after and scaring experience. Just remember they are there because they love you. It will be hard to not shut them out so find creative ways to be open with them. Your partner is human and it hurts them to see you hurt so find new ways to show them that your love for them is still there and they need only be patient. Such as writing them letters, sending them music playlists that mirror how you’re feeling or even simply laying in each other’s embrace without speaking at all.
Loving A Survivor
Patience is key. Not only is your survivor trying to love you, but they are also trying to remember how to love themselves and life. When you go through a traumatic experience it can make life seem so ugly and only time shows us the beauty that exists all around us. So simply be there for them and pour love into them until they can remember how to give it back to you. Remember your survivor’s love language so you can do things you know they will understand is coming from a place of love then you just wait for them to come to you.
Love comes in all different shapes, colors and forms so no one can tell you what love is going to look or feel like for you. Ironically, that is what makes it so amazing because the only way to know what love is, is to experience it.
My personal experience:
Growing up, for the most part it was just me and my mom. We were closer than close and she was my best friend. Then on April 25th, 2009 we were involved in a car accident that took my mom’s life on impact. To say I was devastated is an understatement. It has been 9 years and it feels like the accident was yesterday. Learning to live without her felt like learning how to live all over again. It took awhile, but the love and prayer of others is why I have become the woman I am today. A woman who misses her mom, but learned to accept what happened and remembers that I am now living for the both of us. One thing I always hold on to from that traumatic experience is that only a couple hours before the car accident I took the time to tell my mom I loved her. I didn't know that would be the last time I would tell her those words but I am so thankful that I had an opportunity that so many others never have. So what I want everyone to learn from my experience is how important it is to let your loved ones know how much you love them, because you never know if it will be your last time telling them.