“Find a safe person to process your pain with,” I wrote in Trauma Thoughts. Who’s a safe person? Some of us instinctively know who’s safe and who’s not, but others may find themselves repeatedly baring their souls to people who ignore or trample them.
If we need to develop skill in recognizing a trustworthy person, here are three questions: “Is this person maintaining eye contact with me?” “Is her voice kind?” “Is he speaking truth?” And listen to your own feelings. Do you feel safe? What do you expect them to say and do when you disclose your hidden pain?
If you say, “Sometimes I still feel like a little kid getting bullied on the playground.” Will she say, “Oh, yeah, everybody goes through that. I was so scared, in third grade, of George…” and she sails off on her own tale, leaving you watching from the shore. Her indifference to your pain only adds pain.
Will she say, “You must have done something to deserve it.” Her cruelty will double the old pain. Nobody deserves bullying. Bullying is sadistic. Bullies get pleasure from your pain.
Or will he say, “I’m sorry that happened to you. Do you want to tell me more about it?” If he doesn’t have time then, he’ll say so but he’ll offer you a date when he is available. His attentiveness alone will lighten your load.
Pay attention to the clues others give. Ask God to provide a safe person for you. Don’t let your soul be trampled further by indifference or cruelty. Everyone, including you, deserves love.
How have you learned to distinguish safe people from unsafe people?
Resource: Safe People
Father, help us to recognize trustworthy people.