Quote by Martin Luther King Jr.
It is hard to know what to say on this Martin Luther King holiday. I admit to feeling some sort of pressure around it given everything that has happened in the last year. But I am going to stick with what I know, trauma and this quote by Dr. King as it applies to so much.
This idea of shallow understanding being not only frustrating, but painful, comes up most for my clients how have endured the less obvious or visible traumas that are neglect in the home, not being validated for who you are, attachment trauma, lack of attunement, and chronic chaos growing up.
The average person does not get that it has the same psychological and physiological impact as more obvious and over forms of trauma such as physical abuse and sexual abuse.
This shallow understanding is all the more painful because it’s often a repeat of what the LGBTQIA+ person experienced growing up. It is painful because they are sharing with someone they have a closeness or connection to. That feeling of once again not being seen or understood or validated for who they are is heart breaking.
So, if a friend or family member opens up to you about the pain of their past, make an honest attempt to stop and listen and understand. Don’t jump to conclusions about what they mean or jump in with how that relates to your life, don’t give a quick “I totally understand” or a dismissive “that can’t be.”
Just hold that space for them. And if you are the one sharing and unable to find a supportive, listening then find an affirming therapist.
Photo by Miguel Bruna obtained from Unsplash