No, Trauma is Not an Excuse to Treat People Poorly

How-to-Process-Grief

While trauma can explain why we might struggle with certain emotions and behaviors, it doesn't justify acting out in ways that hurt others.

Using trauma to avoid responsibility for poor behavior is not fair to those around us – our family, friends, or partners.

  • Trauma does not justify causing harm to others.
  • Using trauma to avoid responsibility is unfair to others.
  • Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.

If you find yourself acting out due to your experienced trauma, it's important to take steps towards healing and developing healthier interpersonal relationships.

Trauma & PTSD Therapists in Colorado

Jennifer Wilson, LPCC, NCC

Jennifer Wilson, LPCC, NCC

Colorado
(720) 437-9089
Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Abigail Corless, LPCC

Abigail Corless, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jackie Erwin, LPC

Jackie Erwin, LPC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Melvin Lee, LPCC

Melvin Lee, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Julianna Miller, LPCC

Julianna Miller, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Katelynn Dwyer, LPCC

Katelynn Dwyer, LPCC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424

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Why is it Unfair?

  • It places a burden on others to manage the consequences of one's actions.
  • It creates an imbalance in relationships, with the traumatized individual's behavior taking precedence over mutual respect.
  • It undermines the trust and safety necessary for healthy interactions.
  • It discourages accountability and personal growth, which are essential for overcoming trauma.
  • It unfairly penalizes others for the traumatized individual's experiences, which they did not cause or contribute to.

Addressing Those Being Treated Poorly

If you're on the receiving end of poor behavior from someone using their past trauma as an excuse, it's crucial to understand that you have a right to healthy relationships.

Abuse, whether from an abusive alcoholic, traumatized partner, narcissistic abuse, or physically abusive parent, is never acceptable.

  • Setting boundaries is crucial in dealing with abusive behavior.
  • Encourage the person displaying poor behavior to seek therapy.
  • You are not responsible for healing their trauma.

Your primary responsibility is to your own wellbeing and mental health. It's okay to distance yourself from people who consistently hurt you, even if they are dealing with their own pain.

Ideas of What to Say When Someone Uses Trauma to Justify Treating Your Poorly

  • "I understand that you've been through a lot, but it's not okay to treat me this way."
  • "Your pain is valid, but it shouldn't be the cause of mine."
  • "It's important for both of us to treat each other with respect, even when it's hard."
  • "I care about you, but I also need to care for my own well-being."
  • "Perhaps we can find a healthier way to communicate without hurting each other."
  • "I'm here to support you, but not at the expense of my own mental health."
  • "I encourage you to seek help so that your trauma doesn't lead to more pain—for you or for others."
  • "Boundaries are necessary for a healthy relationship, and I need you to respect mine."
  • "We all have our struggles, but we can't let them define how we treat the people around us."
  • "Let's work together to find a constructive way to deal with our emotions, instead of letting them control our actions."

Understanding Trauma

Life is a complex tapestry of joy, sorrow, triumph, and trauma. Some traumas, particularly those experienced in childhood, can leave a profound impact on our lives. 

Childhood trauma, past trauma, or even the grief caused by death can shape our mental health, behaviors, and how we interact with the world.

  • Trauma can profoundly affect mental health.
  • Past experiences can shape our behaviors.
  • Grief caused by death or loss can lead to traumatic experience.

However, it's crucial to understand that trauma is not an excuse for bad behavior. 

Even if we have been victims of child abuse, neglect, or any other form of trauma, it does not give us free rein to cause physical pain or emotional suffering to others.

The Path to Healing for Past Trauma

Therapy is a viable option that can help process traumatic experiences, manage emotions, and develop healthier behaviors. Our Colorado trauma counseling services include therapists who are trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and can provide effective treatment strategies.

  • Therapy can help process traumatic experiences.
  • Therapists can provide effective strategies to manage emotions and behaviors.
  • Healing is possible, and it starts with taking responsibility for one's actions.

Get Matched to the Right Provider

Complete this questionnaire to discover service providers that match your requirements! No need to provide contact information.


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Why it is Important to Understand that Trauma is Not an Excuse for Bad Behavior

Experiencing trauma, especially past traumas, can have profound effects on a person's life. It can shape how we think, act, and interact with others.

However, it's crucial to remember that causing harm or suffering to others, even if you experience trauma, is not justifiable.

Imagine a world where everyone uses their pain as an excuse to inflict pain on others - it would be a reality filled with anger and fear, rather than understanding and compassion.

Blaming our actions on past traumas might seem like an easy way out, but it doesn't lead to healing. In fact, it can further complicate the process of recovery.

Parents, therapists, and individuals affected by someone else's trauma must understand this truth.

It's important to practice empathy, but also maintain boundaries and not accept poor treatment as a norm. Instead of assigning fault to what happened in the past, focusing on the present reality and working towards healthier coping mechanisms is key.

This isn't impossible – with the right support, therapy, and sometimes addressing factors like addiction, healing can occur.

The field of psychology provides many tools and strategies to help people navigate their feelings and reactions after experiencing trauma, emphasizing the point that trauma should not be used as an excuse for treating people poorly.

Conclusion

While trauma can significantly impact a person's life, it should not be used as an excuse for causing harm or suffering to others. We all have a responsibility to treat each other with kindness and respect, and to strive for healthier relationships. Therapy is a valuable tool that can provide guidance and support along the path to healing. If you need help with this, please schedule a time to talk to a trauma therapist at Overcomer's Counseling as soon as you can. 

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July 20th, 2024

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