Wifeys & Gentlemen,
Thank you so much for all the love on the last blog post! ❤ I am really glad it was enjoyed and appreciated and I will definitely do more like it in the future. 😀
I’ve been really excited about writing lately and I think it has a lot to do with my promise to embrace vulnerability. I feel like opening up to you guys has made you into my friends! Yes, whether you like it or not, we are homies now.
On Sunday’s we drink wine and eat cake. 😉
All jokes aside, conversations with friends have had me thinking a lot about trauma and sharing our “crazy” in new relationships. If you’ve been reading the blog for awhile, you might remember my stance on when and how to reveal your “crazy” to a new partner.
I believe that we should reveal our crazy slowly, in small bursts, working at our own pace based on trust and comfort level. It is hard to unpack our baggage. It is even harder to let someone else in on the chaos.
At the end of the day, our “crazy” is nothing more than the trauma we all are trying so hard to heal from. Regardless of whether “self-care” and “healing” is either a necessity or merely a trend, we all have to admit that it feels damn good to indulge ourselves in the name of doing the work. Right?
I’ve been wondering a lot about how we should share trauma with our partners and loved ones. Is it always necessary?
Are there some things better left unsaid?
Is it possible to fully love someone if you withhold the darker parts of yourself from them?
Of course, the painful events that we have experienced are often very hard to remember and relive. Many therapists believe that sharing our trauma with trusted loved ones can be extremely powerful and restorative.
Others, aren’t convinced, believing that oversharing or sharing with the wrong people can sometimes cause additional damage, reopening and deepening wounds.
Here are some things you should consider before deciding to share your trauma with a partner or close friend:
Why Do You Need/Want to Share?
If you’re on the fence about whether you should share your private, difficult experiences with someone in your life, ask yourself why you think it’s important and/or necessary to share with them? For example, it was important for me that my husband know about my past experiences with sexual harassment and assault.
I believe it would have been impossible for us to take progressive steps with our intimacy if he was kept in the dark. These experiences informed a lot of my story. It felt good to be able to open up with him and ask him for what I need in order to feel safe.
It served to bring us closer together.
Make sure your reason is good enough for you.
Are You Aware of Your Triggers?
Before sharing ANYTHING deeply personal about your past or traumatic history, please make sure you are comfortable retelling and reliving your story. In a way, I guess no one is ever going to be completely comfortable and “okay” with talking about the ways they are hurt and damaged. However, it might not be the best time to share if there are parts that are still really raw and fresh for you.
Remember it is okay not to be “over” an event or experience that hurt you. There is no deadline for healing and we are all very different creatures. What might be very minor to you can feel earth-shattering to someone else.
Know what areas of your experiences are triggering for you and have a plan for how you’ll cope if you spiral or shutdown.
Do You Trust This Person?
This should definitely be the first question on this list, but realistically, it’s the one I think we take most for granted.
Real talk, when you’re with someone new and things are going well you’re going to start thinking about your future together, you will naturally assume that you trust this person, no questions asked.
Here’s what I am proposing: ask some questions. Seriously.
Give yourself 72 hours and reflect on the nature of this relationship with this person. Are there any red flags? Is there ANY part of you that hesitates? Has this person ever done anything to someone else that made you uncomfortable or worried about ever getting on their bad side? What are they like when they are angry? Is the information your sharing going to ruin your career or social reputation if it’s revealed?
Of course, I want us all to live in a world where you can always trust everyone not to share things you disclose in confidence. I wish that, even if two people have a falling out, there is never any worry that a person would cross the line and give out your secrets as a means of revenge or humiliation.
Sadly, it happens.
It happens more often than you’d think, especially if we’re vulnerable.
Make sure you spend some time really considering your trust level before taking the leap.
Will You Be OK if They Don’t Respond “Correctly”?
Even the most “woke” and well intentioned partner is human and imperfect.
Not everyone has the right words to say when someone unloads something heavy.
What if your partner doesn’t understand why you consider your experience traumatic? What if they have very strong beliefs about mental health that do not align with yours? What if they say the wrong thing? What if they accidentally minimize your reality?
Will you still be okay with them if they don’t respond the way you hope? Will you be able to answer their questions and clarify their confusion if they can’t relate to your experience?
Will you be able to draw boundaries for yourself?
If the answer is no, it might not be the right time to share. Make sure you’re prepared for all scenarios.
Remember that while there isn’t always a “right” way to respond, there are several wrong ways. If someone shows you a side you don’t agree with or feel safe around, you have a right to change your mind about the relationship.
Who Benefits from This Experience?
Are you sharing this trauma for you? For them? Will it improve your intimacy or further your relationship in a meaningful and worthwhile way?
It might seem counterintuitive, but when considering sharing your trauma, you MUST be selfish.
If you will not benefit from the experience of sharing, do NOT share. It is possible to love and appreciate someone without telling them everything about your past.
It is up to you to decide where you lines and limits are.
So, fam, I am curious…what do you think? Is it mandatory for us to share our trauma with those we love and want to be genuinely close to?
What makes you feel safe enough to disclose? What are your red flags or deal breakers?
Help each other out by sharing in the comments!
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Until next time,
Carry on wifeys & gents!