Trauma Therapy Session 21 Part 1: The art of conversation and surviving when it’s lost.

I wish that the treatment of PTSD was easy and the rest of your life just opened up and accepted you lovingly when you choose to face a traumatic past.

I have been struggling for a while with the conversation around my parents. Other family members often drop them into conversion. Either a passing comment, sometimes a long reflection of their good parts and sometimes even just directly referencing upsetting events, the suicide attempts or alcoholism. I have been trying to help them understand how upsetting it is to hear about them and directly asked them all not to bring them up. Most of them wanted to no further explanation and all agreed. One family member though has struggled more than others. They agreed but still keep mentioning them. So with a little encouragement and a lot of support from Stephen I decided that best next step was to set aside some time and tell them why I found it so upsetting.

I booked a day off work, let them know in advance why we were coming to chat and spent hours worrying about what to say and how they might respond. Well even with all my worrying I couldn’t have predicated just how difficult it was. I had been really upset after the conversation. Troubled by some of the responses and left feeling frankly unseen and unheard.

Chris as always was amazing. He had brilliant advice my key takeaways being…

It’s ok not to be ok…

It’s understandable to be feeling the way I am. At best it was a clumsy conversation at worst well… we must remember no one is it taught how to have these conversations.

Verbal contract…

Next time there is a family get together the day before I should look for a verbal contract. Remind them kindly along the lines of “ I am sure I don’t even need to mention this because I know you are totally onboard so just briefly…” The importance of the reminder is to ask… is that ok with you? To get them to agree out loud not to mention them.

It’s a process…

I must admit I continue to desire one off conversations in this space. I think because a huge part of me still does not want to talk about these things. But I am starting to realise it’s all a process. And one potentially with no conclusion. No real goal. Just a continuation of living the best life I can. And that may involve multiple conversations not just over days or weeks but over the rest of my life.

We spent most of the session not discussing the above but taking another crack at EMDR. That part has been hard to write. Perhaps it’s because I have been busy, maybe because I still want to avoid it. I will share that last exploration of EMDR soon but I wanted to get at least this part out there. Perhaps it will free up the rest.


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