Safety – A person who has experienced trauma loses a sense of the world being a safe, secure place. They feel more vulnerable in the world and may be more fearful in general about their overall safety.
Trust (Trust in self) – A person who has experienced a trauma loses trust in their own ability to make good judgments about others.
(Trust in others) – A survivor of trauma does not trust others.
Esteem (Self-esteem) – As a result of trauma, the survivor may have a negative sense of self-esteem. They may become very self-critical, hurt themselves, and avoid looking at themselves in the mirror or take care of themselves.
(Other Esteem) – The survivor may idealize others who they see as stronger or more talented or may degrade and devalue others or simply ignore them.
Intimacy (Self-intimacy) – In order to block pain, survivors of trauma may block their innermost feelings and thoughts.
(Other Intimacy) – An awareness of human cruelty can lead to avoiding closeness with others in order to avoid further disappointment, hurt, or loss.
Control (Self-control) – Having experienced a trauma, a survivor may feel helpless and unable to take control of their lives, to direct their future, to express their feelings, or to act freely in the world.
(Other Control) – A survivor may surrender control of their lives to others, give up any sense of an ability to lead others or influence others.
What Can I Do to Help?
To help child feel safe:
- Ask them what will make them feel safe.
- Tell your child you will protect them.
- Give them a teddy bear or some symbol of comfort.
To help child trust again:
- Demonstrate that your child has support and people who they can trust. Help them identify them.
- Explain that though some can’t be trusted there are many good people.
To help child gain self-esteem:
- Give them jobs/projects to do that will help them to gain confidence.
- Praise your child often.
- Ask them what would make them feel good about themselves.
To help child open-up and be capable of intimacy:
- Tell them what feelings are and give them examples.
- Model good communication skills and honesty.
- Acknowledge the thoughts and feelings they express.
To help child feel that they have some control over their lives:
- Give children coping ideas to protect themselves (What to look for/ whom to go to/ how to respond to demands, etc.)
- Ask them what they want and help them to get it. (If reasonable.)
- Show them that they do have control in their lives.
- Point out times when they did control their lives. (Like having the offender and the abuse identified.)