The majority of us have experienced a traumatic event at some point in our lives.
There are various types of trauma and no experience is more or less serious than the other. Whether you have faced the loss of a loved one, domestic abuse, sexual assault, divorce, or anything else, your emotions are valid. It is normal to feel lost, afraid, stuck, and in pain. While some people will understand that your trauma can result in certain behaviors, it is never an excuse for you to mistreat or abuse others.
There are 3 things your trauma is not an excuse for.
1. Not taking responsibility.
The trauma you experienced was not your fault. You are not to blame for the events that happened and nobody would ever ask or expect you to take responsibility for what you experienced. However, you are responsible for learning how to overcome it. You are in charge of your healing. No matter how much we want the one who caused us pain to come forward and fix it for us, they never will. More importantly, they never could. When we refuse to take responsibility for our healing, we choose to remain victims of our trauma. When this happens, we not only give up on ourselves but we also harm our relationships with the people around us. You need to help yourself because nobody else can do it for you.
2. Treating people poorly.
Trauma can result in the development of trust issues, poor self-esteem, irritability, aggression, etc. While this is normal, it is not an excuse for you to mistreat others and behave inappropriately. It is your duty to take control. People do not deserve to be treated poorly because you have experienced something traumatic. In fact, the people you mistreat have at one point or another probably also faced trauma. According to the National Council, “70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. That’s 223.4 million people.” Therefore, you do not have the right to mistreat people solely because life has been unfair to you: it has been unfair to most of us.
3. Making others uncomfortable.
There is a fine line between having people respect your pain and having them censor everything they say or do. Of course, you are allowed to feel what you feel and others should be mindful and respectful. However, they are not obliged to walk on eggshells around you. More importantly, you do not have the right to make people talk or behave differently. To reiterate, while people must be respectful, they should not feel like they have to change who they are.
If your trauma is taking over your life and your relationships, you might consider seeking professional help. Therapy can allow you to find ways of coping with your traumatic experiences so that you may regain control and find your happiness.