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“Their Right Mind”

Survivors are not in their right mind... At least not when they first come to you. From personal experience I can say with 100% conviction that this statement is true. We have spent years, if not decades, in constant fight, flight, fawn, or freeze. We have no homeostasis. When survivors come to you they are triggered, dysregulated, and activated. It is important for you as advocates or care team members to remember this fact.

Be calm, expect blow ups and do not expect your survivors to be compliant. They are going to test you the same way that we test our invisible chains. It took me a good two years to find my own homeostasis and to heal my mind of the brainwashing and internal trauma that I suffered. During the two years I was highly paranoid, fearful, and somewhat reactive. What helped me the most were several trips to the Trauma Center. (Fancy words for mental hospital..) Medication and hours upon hours of work with a skilled counselor.

If counseling is not an option, try simple talk therapy with your survivors, but KNOW that you have to first build trust, have empathy, and be authentic. Survivors are oftentimes harmed by well meaning individuals so it's ultimately important to cultivate trust and make an effort to keep a safe place for them to both heal AND grow. Consider them like a traumatized wild animal- (I know that's what i was!) Go slow, try and try again, and most importantly don't take anything personal.


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