“Are you sure you have PTSD, you look normal to me?”
“You can’t be experiencing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) symptoms. You need to experience something traumatic.”
“It wasn’t that traumatic”
These are all things said to me by my family members when I would discuss my past in domestic violence. Some “family” right?
This is what I was told after I had shared with them my loss of memory, constant paranoia, reoccurring nightmares, lack of concentration, and how I thought I was experiencing slight PTSD.
“That’s (referring to my experiences) not traumatic enough”
(As if there is some sort of “traumatic meter” which can determine what is classified as traumatic in a person’s life or not).
When I heard that, my mouth dropped to the floor. I couldn’t believe it. The people who “raised me” who I was supposed to “look up to” were the very ones minimizing my abuse, not taking it serious, telling me it’s “not traumatic enough”.
Months of being isolated from friends and family, missing class and ending up failing college courses, being manipulated by the one claiming to “care” about me, being hit, choked, slapped, by the one claiming to “love me”, all wasn’t “traumatic enough”.
Feeling trapped in a cage not being able to be myself, covering up bruises with makeup, having my clothes cut up with scissors for “looking at another guy”, having my items taken and sold for drugs because “if I really loved him, I’d let him sell my things so he can buy what he wanted” all wasn’t “traumatic”.
Being a pregnant teen by a person who would threaten to kill me with a gun, almost getting thrown off the second story of my apartment building, slipping out of consciousness from being nearly choked to death because a random number texted me, all wasn’t “traumatic enough”.
Maybe I’m missing the definition of traumatic… Wrong!
These all were traumatic, very traumatic! Unfortunately, hearing this from my own “family” hurt me, made me second guess myself “Am I taking this too seriously?” “Maybe it wasn’t so bad”, it even made me want to apologize for ever sharing my abuse with anyone, made me wish I would have just kept it all to myself, not telling anyone what he had done to me, made me wish I would have just said “we broke up” and never mentioned him again.
It took months for me to realize what was said to me was untrue, incorrect, false, inaccurate, wrong! Yes, my experiences were traumatic, yes what I went through was traumatizing and it will stick with me for life. My experiences, as much as I wish could just disappear from my memory, will always be in my mind. I learned through lots of researching and truly finding myself and who I was that these symptoms were normal after a traumatic event. That it wasn’t only normal but okay to feel this way.
Sadly, we can’t choose our family but we can choose how what they say affects us. It took months for me to realize that. A person who thinks that abuse isn’t “traumatic enough” 1. Is ignorant. And 2. Has no right to determine what is “traumatic” or not in your life.
Never let anyone, whether that be family, parents, friends, determine whether it’s okay or not to feel a certain way. They aren’t you. They weren’t going through the experiences that you went through. Know that after your traumatic experience, with time, you can and will feel better, be stronger, and overcome it all.
If you have a toxic “friend” or “family” member here’s a link below on how to deal with the toxic people in your life.