Happy Sunday, ladies! This post is therapeutic for me and includes 7 ways to help the victim of a traumatic event drawing from what helped and did not help me over the last eleven days.
On May 5, I experienced a traumatic event. If you want to see the video and learn more about what happened, then go to this post.
Now on a scale of traumatic events, what happened to me is pretty small compared to some others; however, none-the-less it was traumatic and took me completely by surprise.
Up until that moment, I felt safe in my home and in my neighborhood.
In our current world, crime is on the rise. Police forces are smaller and struggling to keep up. Our southern border (just a few hours from me) is wide open with thousands of people (some criminals), drug cartels, and drugs coming into the U.S. daily. That is not a political opinion, but all verifiable facts.
So, I write this post (I know it is long, please forgive) with a desire to help those of you who may become victims and those who will know victims and hopefully assist with healing.
7 WAYS TO HELP THE VICTIM OF A TRAUMATIC EVENT
- HELP THE VICTIM TO PUT A LIMIT ON HOW OFTEN THEY RE-LIVE THE EVENT
While the Next-Door App did assist with the capture of the man who attempted to assault me, it also became days of re-living the event repeatedly. One of the reasons, I wrote the first blog post was so I could just send the story to friends and family in a link and not return to that place so often.
Each time, I told the story over the first 48 hours the trauma returned. My heart was rapidly beating as I sat with a local television reporter and looked at the RING video with him. Then after the criminal, a registered sex offender, was captured, a neighbor thought they saw him in the neighborhood and got in touch with me. It would have been better for me if they had pursued on their own with the police department to confirm he was still in jail. I was once again traumatized until I heard the detective confirm he was incarcerated with a high bond.
People mean well and our neighborhood was rocked by what happened to me, but it is important to consider how much to involve the victim when there are questions. For the most part, I am staying off Next Door right now…and there are people still trying to get me to look through sex offender registries and figure out his name.
I have set my own boundaries and will not do that. Encourage victims to set boundaries.
- BE THOUGHTFUL WITH YOUR WORDS TO A VICTIM…ESPECIALLY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
A local realtor responded on Next Door that she believed the RING video to be a poorly made attempt with bad acting as an advertisement to sell RING security doorbells. What an amazingly insensitive, self-serving, ignorant thing to say. May she never go through an experience like this and may I never recommend her to anyone as a realtor.
A couple of people asked me why this man did this? Well, they would need to ask him, not me.
Just think before you speak or write to a victim.
- DON’T PUSH TOO HARD FOR THE VICTIM TO RETURN TO NORMAL LIFE
Something that is amazing, is that the day before this happened Leigh Ann and I had spent an entire day producing a lot of content. While it has looked like I was smiling and writing new posts this past week, all the content was completed before the traumatic event.
That is such a good thing, because for days I was not motivated or drive to do anything.
Help a victim understand emotional exhaustion.
There were a few people who said that work would help me, and I should dive right into it, but I literally could not. I was not motivated to move at all. Then I happened to see this article in my news feed….
According to this article a lack of motivation is a sign of healing….so I was going through the healing process. I am so thankful to Leigh Ann that we were able to produce all that work needed this week beforehand and we did not even know why it would be important.
It relieved stress from me in the work area of my life.
Be understanding of naps and a need to get sleep when possible. It the beginning, nights were difficult.
Mr. B has been so understanding about walking Tux….and that I needed some time.
I finally did walk him in the neighborhood one week later.
- ENCOURAGE THE VICTIM OF A TRAUMATIC EVENT TO TAKE TIME TO BE PAMPERED
Perhaps, another coincidence was that it happened the week before my scheduled appointments for a mani/pedi and hair. It did help me to relax, refresh and receive a little pampering.
But the best thing I did was go for a two-hour Swedish/Stress Busting Massage. This was the recommendation of a reader on my Facebook who told me of the damage a traumatic event does to the Central Nervous System. This massage cleared the fog! For me it was a return to focus and to my life. I highly recommend the two hours for new vision and relaxation…and a good night’s sleep.
During the great Texas freeze, the birds brought me so much comfort as we sat without electricity. Our bird feeders were empty last week, so I did go purchase bird seed.
Just watching ou little songbirds brought me joy. Make sure to encourage the victim you know to experience what brings them joy …..soon after!
- FAMILY AND FRIENDS ARE IMPORTANT
To have Mother’s Day four days later was very important to me. My wonderful family members have helped so much and been my joy and needed support.
Look for ways to surround a victim with people who love them. Don’t allow them to withdraw to a place where they are alone.
Also, on Mother’s Day I did not stay home, but went to church and that also was an incredible way to heal.
- ENCOURAGE A VICTIM TO SEEK COUNSELING IF THEY DO NOT HAVE A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Many of you know that I have a strong faith and this traumatic event has strengthened it more.
But, if I did not have a close relationship with Jesus, then I would be visiting a counselor. I highly recommend it and suggest you look for one who specializes in trauma.
Through prayer, God’s Word and listening to His voice, I am doing well. He has revealed so much to me and Mr. B through this event.
For the Christians reading here who may be victims, I have clung to these two verses:
“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind.”
- 2 Timothy 1:7
Be joyful in hope; patient in affliction; and faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12
- SILVER LININGS AND VICTIMS
If a traumatic event has happened to someone you care about, you know best if they are ready for silver linings.
People like me look for silver linings in all things. I have always done that and will not stop. God can use any bad event for good.
I received this text from my son’s MIL a couple of days after the crime:
“I emailed your post about your bad experience to a close friend and her husband who live in the Round Rock area outside of Austin. She walks a lot in her neighborhood, which also consists of beautiful, but isolated trails. Her husband has always been concerned about this and after she saw your story, she decided to make changes in where she chose to walk.
Yesterday, she chose not to walk at all just because your experience weighed on her mind.
Yesterday, early afternoon in a nice neighborhood two miles from her home, a guy was walking around in a trench coat carrying an AK-47 randomly shooting into neighborhoods, but mainly at police. My friend said that she frequently walks in that area but chose not to yesterday because of your experience. She asked me to share this with you.”
Chills ran through me.
If my story can save or help anyone, please share it.
Those are my steps to help you or people you know who are victims of a traumatic event. Another post for another day will be the lessons I have learned. I am writing them down and will share soon. These are the safety lessons Mr. B and I now practice.
Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have.
The short answer to the question, HOW ARE YOU? is...I am doing well and writing helps me to continue healing and processing.
However, an individual who has experienced trauma at a much deeper level than me will take a very long time to heal. I have a better understanding of that now.
Thank you for being here…I truly hope this helps someone….back tomorrow with fun!
And know, that I genuinely………
By Pamela Lutrell