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Mail from Liz


How to help someone who has been abused.


Hi, Steve: 

First, let me thank you for your website.  It has been so insightful in helping me continue my emotional healing and learning to get my emotional needs met.   I think the question you pose is a good one because it will immediately identify whether a person chooses to be truthful with you or get defensive and their answer will be an indicator of where they are at in their journey.   

I am a conqueror of domestic violence and sexual trauma and I give support as a member to an online message board for sexual trauma survivors.  I have arrived on the other side of the pain and I want to assist others who are in that dark space and may not feel they can get through it to the other side.   

My approach has been to ask the individual what it is that they need from me if anything because control is what was taken from them during the abuse, so control is the gift to give them in their healing journey by asking what do you need from me and then honoring what they tell you.  However, if they indicate on the board they want feedback or ask questions, then, I am honest and truthful yet kind in my response.   

And I have begun incorporating some of your info by really listening to what they are saying their emotional needs are in their posts and I have seen some very huge responses.  One person said it was the first time they felt validated and heard and they could not express with words what that meant to them. 

And others have expressed something similar in the few short weeks that I have been using some of what I have learned from your website.  Thank you for that. 

To give a gift of emotional healing in even that small way that I can means so very much to me because I was so invalidated most all of my life until about 1.5 yrs ago.  Now, I am to a point in my healing where I do not need to be heard so much as I want to be there for others who are hurting and let them know that they have been heard and understood.  Strive to understand first rather than to be understood, I guess is the way to sum up where I am at in my journey.   

I think the truth can be very difficult for many to hear and a person needs to be in a place where they can hear it, apply it, and act on it if they feel the need to do that.  I like the question you posed because that gives me more info about how to proceed and what tact to take when attempting to be helpful in another's healing journey.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight.  

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Liz - http://pages.ivillage.com/liz_711