Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.

I see how talking about abusers with mental health professionals, can be harmful. And why ~ Lilly Hope Lucario



Psychologists, counsellors, psychiatrists etc, all have to deal with any clients and any behaviours, in a respectful and what is considered ‘non judgmental’ way. And need to remove their emotions, to deal with worst of behaviours.

I see this can lead to a continual emotional disconnect from the reality of the harm highly abusive people cause to their victims. They choose to see the abuser/perpetrator, in a non emotional way, and that can transfer to how they speak about them, with the victims. Which is really insensitive and lacking in empathy for the victim of the abuse.

I’ve seen this happen in my own counselling. And I’ve raised it and pointed out the lack of empathy.

I watched a psychologist on a TV program about sex the other day and what is considered normal. One person being interviewed was a paedophile. And what he considers as absolutely appropriate sexual contact with a child as young as 7. (It made me nauseous listening to him). The psychologist spoke of her struggling to deal with him and his obvious deeply sick mind, and how that struggle was because she was out of her clinical environment. Inside a clinical environment – she could remove her emotions and deal with paedophiles in a manner considered appropriate. Outside of that, she struggled to contain her disgust. I could see it on her face. So inside her clinical environment, she wasn’t in fact acting like a normal human being would.

It made me realise, mental health professionals in their clinical environment, can remove emotions and deal with vile, disgusting people, in certain ways. Which is appropriate for that client. And they choose to see that as empathy for the abusive client.

But, this becomes a big issue for the victims, when this lack of emotion, and seeing vile, disgusting people, who have caused such profound and intentional harm, spoken of in a ‘clinical’ way, is also displayed to the victims. (Or they harp on about compassion for abusive people, which is even worse). The victims need validation of the vileness and need normal emotions shown, not some emotional devoid attitude, about something so profound and so life impacting, and painful.

The lack of normal human emotions that can be displayed by mental health professionals, simply invalidates the pain of severe abuse and minimizes the damage and suffering.

This is all about a real lack of empathy for victims of severe intentionally caused profoundly impacting abuse/suffering.

It’s all about how the mental health professional needs to feel. It’s about how they need to cope with their job and certain types of clients. Not about the abuse survivor client, at all.

And a lack of empathy, never serves a severe abuse survivor. It only causes more pain and suffering.  And this shames the survivor, who yet again, does not have their normal and needed emotions, validated.

I see this very clearly. Real empathy, is not a flower that grows in everyone’s inner garden.

This is why I try to avoid speaking about the abusers who caused such profound harm and suffering in my life, in counselling. Because the invalidation and minimization hurts. The lack of normal emotions and excuse making and ‘clinical’ attitude, is invalidating and deeply hurtful.

So I choose to ignore it. I accept people are limited, and often by their own needs to view things in certain ways to cope with their lives, even when that be at the expense of others. I also see it’s not intentionally meant to harm and shame. But, it does.

It is interesting when you have more empathy for a counsellors needs and behaviours and understand why, than they do for their client.

I instead focus on those who do have normal emotions and normal reactions to what is evil at work and the empathy to understand the pain it causes.

~ Lilly Hope Lucario

This post has been noted on Twitter as ‘thought provoking’ and ‘needed’, including by mental health professionals. This is all I aim to do – help others to think. I realise I am controversial at times, as I think about things in a way many don’t.

I guess this is what I bring to the conversation about empathy for severe abuse survivors and discernment into human behaviour. This being due to a greater empathy level and capacity to express what I see, think and feel.

I know this is being shared by mental health professionals, which is good.

Jane Street kindly shared this post. Jane is an Associate Director for Psychology & Psychotherapies, Wandsworth. Clinical lead for LIA. Passionate about positive practice & the NHS.

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Another example of a mental health professional, glad to see I had written this, and confirmed it’s value and this insight is needed. And helps mental health professionals and clinicians, to become more aware and better at providing appropriate counselling and empathy, for complex trauma clients.

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I will add to this post, I did raise this issue with my counsellor, who did understand what I was stating. She did express what her emotions are about e.g. paedophiles, and how yes what they do is disgusting, vile, abhorrent and they do disgust her. I said to her ‘well that’s the first time you have ever shown any normal reactions to what paedophiles do. Or any abusers.” And how her failure to show normal human reactions and emotions, has affected me and my capacity to trust her.

I explained I do also have empathy for how therapists etc, do have to control their emotions when dealing with abusers, but they need to know how they harm abuse survivors, if they continue being ‘clinical’ about them, to the survivors.

I also stated I think it would be better, if therapists did not have clients who are both abusers and victims of abuse, so not to have this issue arising. There is too much of a conflict of interest when dealing with both.

All blogs written by Lilly Hope Lucario and subject to © Copyright Protected.

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Author: Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

I am a survivor of complex and multiple trauma and abuse, who at the age of 40, began my healing journey. I am using my journey to recovery and healing, to help others, to help survivors feel less alone, validated, encouraged and to enable others to understand themselves more. Complex trauma, particularly from severe, prolonged childhood abuse, is profoundly life changing. Complex trauma produces complex adults. The journey to recovery is a painful, often lonely, emotional daily challenge and it is my aim to encourage others in their daily battle.

16 thoughts on “I see how talking about abusers with mental health professionals, can be harmful. And why ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

  1. I have learned more from YOU than any therapist. honest. the last therapist I talked to made that royal remark ” You will be able to forgive your sister, you are just not ready Now” That was it for me. I lost a business because of my sister. She has been abusive my entire life. I have been gaslighted for years and did Not even know it !!! And because the so called therapist make that assine remark….I should start thinking about forgiving my sister. Right.
    My therapy is now YOUR website. so there

    • This is a very important post. I agree completely and think that until “therapy” is not extended simultaneously to both predators and victims, there will be no real change.

      • I do believe cases of predators being psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists and paedophiles – any therapy is a waste of time.
        There are experts like Dr George Simon – who has worked with many character disturbed people – there is no change in their behaviour – no matter how much therapy they receive.

  2. Excellent post! Thank you so much for writing it Lilly as it is so needed. This really hit home – “The victims need validation of the vileness and need normal emotions shown, not some emotional devoid attitude, about something so profound and so life impacting, and painful.” I think mental health professionals should definitely acknowledge how vile and traumatic abuse can be. Maintaining this “neutral” emotional expression/stance can be very traumatizing for a victim who simply needs validation of the horror and of the abuse.

    There also needs to be further discussion of how therapists judge how survivors react to abusive behaviors that are not as well known like triangulation, stonewalling, blackmailing, smear campaigns etc. and acknowledge the difficulty of leaving an abusive situation and recovering from its trauma. Too many therapists do not know enough about trauma and its effects, and are prone to judging the victim for staying too long/reacting in a certain way/feeling a certain way about the abuse.

    A validating professional knows that an abusive relationship is not easy to leave and that psychological reasons like trauma bonding will interfere in moving forward. Many mental health professionals misunderstand how covert and insidious these behaviors can be and think that the victim is “projecting” or being hypersensitive or try to refocus on how the client is reacting to the abuse, rather than validating the abuse. The best therapy in my opinion is with a mental health professional who demonstrates empathy for the client’s pain, is able to understand the depths of trauma in the client’s life, and gently guide the victim towards self-compassion, which I personally believe is in the root of true change – not judgment and timelines for healing. A client will be more likely to leave a toxic situation when they are validated in their pain and secure in the fact that there is someone who understands them.

    • I agree with everything you have written Shahida. You and I are so alike in our thinking and understanding of severe abuse, it’s consequences and how abuse survivors, need to receive empathic and non re-traumatising support.

      It can push survivors over the edge, when the professional support is not adequately empathic/sensitive.

      I agree, self compassion is what the survivor needs to develop and that is often so hard for childhood complex trauma survivors, who have never been shown love, compassion, decent care, or protection.

      I know self compassion, self care etc.. are ongoing learning curves for me, which I only learned within the last few years.

      I am SO thankful to connect with you Shahida. You are a true blessing in my life, and many others.❤❤

      • Thank you so much Lilly! It is such a blessing to be able to connect with you as well. You are making such a difference writing about these important topics and helping to inspire, educate and validate so many survivors struggling with abuse, trauma and PTSD/Complex PTSD. Self-compassion can be a challenging journey for survivors to take but you are lighting the path! Sending much love, light and blessings your way!❤❤

    • This is so good to hear. I just wrote a post on how the system is letting victi

    • Thank you for your post. My Mother is a survivor of D.V. and it sure wasn’t easy for her to leave, but leave we did at last once she was awarded full custody from my biological Father. The trauma I witnessed my Mother go through is still felt today. Today I almost burst into tears at the store I was in so much pain.
      This blog & posts like the one you’ve written helps & offers much needed support that I really never received from these so called therapists.
      Thank you

  3. Hi- this is an interesting post and very important point. But I do think you’ve been unlucky with your therapists. My counsellor is extremely empathic and validating and I’ve never before felt so ‘heard’ and understood. I feel I’m making excellent progress. I know talking about abuse isn’t for everyone, but it’s really helped me to see how innocent I was, and how little to blame. I would definitely recommend talking therapies to overcome these issues, but sometimes it can take a while to find a really good counsellor-and I think that is a key point.

  4. I’d just like to add that the narcissistic abuse I went through growing up, is exactly what my counsellor has been through too- I think this has made an enormous positive impact, as she is able to understand every little nuance, every subtle manipulation or put down. I think I’m very lucky!

  5. I had a mental health professional who, when I told her about sexual abuse as a 10 year old said “well I’m not saying it`s your fault but kids that age can dress quite provocatively…”

    • That is highly abusive and absolutely disgusting to say to a child sexual abuse survivor.
      This attitude is wrong, re=traumatising and any mental health professional stating these kinds of victim blaming, victim shaming words….. should never be counselling anyone.
      I am so sorry you were told this.
      That person is 100% wrong, to suggest the abuse was in any related to how you dressed. How you dressed, does not in anyway justify any form of child sexual abuse, by a grown adult.
      Much love, Lilly❤

  6. One of the most healing aspects in my therapeutic journey was a real human response to the horrors of trauma. To see tears in my therapist’s eyes, to experience his compassion and his deep care towards me brought peace in my “war-zone” inner reality. May everyone experience this kind of healing, we truly deserve it.

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