7 ways to help the victim of a traumatic event

Ways to Help a victim of trauma

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

ways to help the victim of trauma

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

ways to help a victim of trauma

  1. 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….

From Well + Good,  ‘TRAUMA DRIVE’ EXPLAINS WHY A LOSS OF MOTIVATION JUST MAY BE A SIGN OF HEALING

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.

Ways to help the victim of traumatic events

  1. 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.

 

Ways to help a victim of traumatic event

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!

ways to help the victim of traumatic event

  1. 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.

ways to help the victim of a traumatic event

  1. 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

ways to help victims of traumatic events

  1. 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………

KEEP SMILING!!

By Pamela Lutrell

49 Comments

  1. There is so much I could say in response to this post, but I will just say that these are excellent pointers for victims and friends or family that might be victims. That realtor…I wish she could read this. I have strong faith in God like you do, and I know we live in a fallen world. Some might think that if you live in a nice neighborhood, these things aren’t likely to happen and that’s SO not true. I moved to a neighborhood that is in a very nice area and I’m not going out walking alone. It happens. I was once a victim and understand your feelings. It’s like grief, everyone heals at their own rate and in their own way. Your post today has helped me know better how to navigate my good friend’s loss of her son a few weeks ago. Sometimes people mean well and it comes out all wrong, so I’m glad you wrote this. God bless you Pam, just heal at your own pace.

  2. So sorry this happened to you! Although I have thankfully never been a victim of a violent crime, I work as a prosecutor and work closely with victims to bring them justice and to protect the public from dangerous offenders like the one who tried to attack you. I think you are doing great and I am super impressed by your ability to keep working and keeping up with your every day life. This was a great post and a big help because most people don’t know what to say to a victim.

  3. My thoughts & prayers are with you & your family. I am so sorry this happened to you. Years ago my purse was snatched & I was pushed to the ground. For a long time, I did not like men I didn’t know to stand too close behind me. I had difficult times at the grocery store & sometimes my emotions were all over the place in asking or demanding that men not stand so close. I would add to your wonderful article that friends & family may experience higher levels of emotional reactions from someone who experienced trauma. Your faith will hold you in God’s healing love. Please know that you can take time off to heal & just be and when you return we will all be here. Hugs of support.

    1. Thank you, Judy. So sorry that happened to you. I am really doing good and don’t plan right now to take time off. I love what I do and love this audience. Fir now, I still plan to be here every day. You are part of my family!

  4. Pam, you have given us much thoughtful information. I’m just still so sorry that this information and advice comes from your personal experience. Yesterday our oldest grandson who is 22 was saying that he wants to install a ring doorbell system here at our house where my Mr. B and I live alone. And he was expressing concern for my daily walking in a city cemetery behind our house where someone might be parked. It’s such a sad statement that we realize how much more dangerous our world has become, even when we “think” we live in “ nice” neighborhoods. Thank you for sharing these seven things that would help anyone deal with trauma. As I have so often said, I do not know how people who do not have their faith in God manage to get through the painful events such as this. Again, I’m so thankful that you are physically alright, and have found ways to deal with your trauma. I’m sure relating this today makes you remember the situation again, but helps others.

    1. It is such a sad commentary of our times..I completely agree. Please get the Ring camera and heed your husband’s warning about walking in the cemetery. Be safe!

  5. Pam, I am so sorry this happened. You must have been so incredibly scared. And the thought of what might have happened if Mr. B weren’t there is terrifying. I read your blog often and look toward to your kind and thoughtful posts. Thank you for sharing this. I hope as time goes on, and knowing this person has been caught is helping you to find some peace.

  6. Thank you for this post, Pam. You are so brave and kind to share these thoughts, and they will help many of us. We are praying for your continued healing. Sending loving thoughts and prayers your way.

  7. I’m really glad your doing much better and are healing from this. It was interesting to read what is going on in other places. It seems like the world coming apart and people don’t care our respect other people. I live in a rural subdivision in Wisconsin and feel safe but am I? You have reminded me to be aware all the time. Thank you!! Take care of yourself.

  8. Good morning, Pamela. Your sharing this story and delving into trauma is enlightening and educative. I could respond to so many points, but will say only this: your blog is the epitome of how exceptional social media can be while the real estate agent’s disgraceful comments point out the flip side. Trauma can not be judged and should never be dismissed. It is as broad as losing a pet to being exposed to terrorism. I am relieved that you have found your way to healing, and that you have shared so many steps with us. Think of the thousands who have experience trauma and buried it deep inside their hearts. You are a blessed soul and spread grace everywhere.

    1. Thank you, Deborah. I do believe the real estate post is an example of the worst types on social media. I also know there are trauma levels much worse than mine, but hope this will help some.
      Thank you for your kindness!

  9. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and tips today. I hope the healing process continues for you, and for those closest to you whose sense of security has likely also been rocked. The story relayed about the woman who altered her usual walk is but one of the miracle ripples, most of which you might never hear about. With your widely sharing the trauma, countless women are taking stock of our routines and assumptions about personal safety. You and your story bless all of us, and most likely you won’t realize the impact because many will be safer for having heeded the warning. 💗🌻

  10. Pamela, Thank you for this thoughtful article!! I know there are now Christian counselors that you can go to that can help you if you find later you need that feel free to see one. My prayers are with you!!! The Lord understands all!!

    1. Many great Christian counselors…you are a so right. I know ones in our area who have helped friends of mine deal with grief and marriage difficulties. Thanks for mentioning them, Natalie.

  11. I experienced trauma when I was 21 years old. No one goes out to dinner in a restaurant expecting to witness a murder. I had to find my own way to healing, as support for trauma victims in those days was non-existent.

    Thank you for sharing your story with others. Your experience of trauma is as valid, serious and unique as anyone’s. For me, the question “what if” kept coming up. The victim was my age.

    I can assure you that time will help you on your journey to healing, along with all the other steps you are taking. It’s okay to have bad days sometimes. It’s okay to lean on others for support. You will get there.

    I wake up every day with the thought that today is a good day to be alive. That is the gift that came out of my experience.

    1. Thank you for sharing…I am so, so sorry you had to witness this. I agree there will be occasional bad days for us both…but thank God we are alive!

  12. Thank you. I read your blog daily and was shocked when I saw this video. Such a horrible thing that happened to you. Thank you for the follow up and showing us how to be strong and reminding us to use our faith or the resources around us. Thank you. I appreciate not only your fashion, style and beauty tips but also your life tips!

  13. A very good post with some helpful suggestions for all. I was so pleased to read that you did take some time to take care of yourself with the massage etc. Just those moment to get out of your own thoughts are healing in their own way. The inconsiderate and unthinking expressions of others can do more damage than one would thing, so I hope many more will get your message. There may be times even years down the road that a feeling will come flooding back and you will wonder where that came from, but if you have careing family and friends to get you through, and your faith, you will make it. Sending you love and strength. Keeping up with your blog will help us know that you are healing as well.

    1. Thanks Diane. The massage was a key moment…afterwards I felt so much better and during the massage experience memories of moments when I was strong. It was incredible.

  14. Pam,
    So sorry for your experience, but you have encouraged me to remember that it is the strength we receive for healing because of our faith in Jesus. God bless you as you and Mr. B work together for renewed strength.

  15. Thank you for continuing to share your thoughts as you work through the healing process. I agree with Karen that your healing process is much like a grieving process & is unique to the individual. Jesus is a very present help in times of trouble, & I pray you will continue to feel His presence with you. Your words will help me as I encounter those who are healing & grieving. God bless you, Mr. B & your beautiful family.

  16. Having strong faith helps with so many traumatic life events and I applaud you for mentioning this. It has helped me and many of my close friends –
    Pam, I’m just still so sorry you had to endure this pain. So many people love you and only wish good things for you, as you bring us so much joy. One day at a time is what I was told. Bless you.

  17. I think you have made good points!
    I can see how people who’re excited and concerned would continue to contact the victim with new, but you’ve explained why that is not friendly! If you want news you can seek it out yourself.

    In my experiences with personal crime -a mugging, a break-in- it took me some time to return to my normal activites. I hope that you can return to your usual activitites and not be imprisioned by your memories – all the while instituting some practices/habits that will help you feel and be safer.

    1. Thanks Rose…that is exactly what I am doing now! Mr. B and I are changing lots of old unsafe habits!

  18. Pam, I continue with my prayers for your healing – I know that it can take a long time as I was physically assaulted over 40+ Years ago and can recall it with clarity. God is definitely our refuge and our strength. ❤️

  19. Hi Pamela,

    I just wanted to share with you something I do all the time with men. I watch their eyes, body language and everything in between. Also when I pass a man I keep turning around to make sure I’m safe. With my past experience it’s always “trust but verify.” We all process our experiences differently and depending on what drama we experienced. I so admire how well you are starting to heal . Believing in God has helped and that’s wonderful.
    Take care of yourself and know you remain in my thoughts for your recovery.

    Sending warm hugs your way.

  20. Pamela, For many years I worked with our local Coroner’s Office. I witnessed the devastation horrible acts of terror create. I am so grateful you came through this physically safe knowing our powerful faith and God’s comfort will heal the trauma emotionally! You are a very strong lady! Blessings!

  21. I’m so glad you’re feeling better, Pam. This was quite the shake up, so glad you had all the support, got a message, etc. Your experience shook me up, as well. God bless. Thank you for all of your assistance in finding the perpetrator and sharing your wisdom with us.

  22. Thank you for posting this, Pamela – I’m glad to hear you’re on the mend, but also that you’re taking your time & not rushing either to declare yourself as ‘fixed’.

    As someone with C-PTSD, I’m especially appreciative of the last part – people who don’t know me will say I seem ‘fine’ (because I have a job) & that I shouldn’t be taking as long as I am to just ‘get over’ certain things. We don’t however know someone’s internal state just from seeing the outside, & so we cannot put a timeline on recovery – all sorts of innocuous things might retrigger folk in ways in which we remain unaware.

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