Often people don’t know what to say to someone with Complex PTSD. As a result some say things that are harmful, invalidating and hurtful. Often unintentionally. Some avoid us, either because they don’t know what to say, or because they don’t want to deal with our pain. Some suggest we should be over this, or shame us for talking about past trauma. That increases the isolation and shame survivors often feel.
I could write an entire article on the things people have said to me, that were completely inappropriate and very hurtful. Being someone who suffers suicide ideation and suicidal thoughts, I am aware of the life threatening result of being victim shamed, invalidated and being further traumatised by other people.
So, this article is a list of things survivors of complex trauma, who have Complex PTSD, feel are helpful. It is my hope this leads to more productive and helpful interactions and support.
I asked my online Facebook community, and these were some of their responses.
- I believe you. (This is the most important).
- I love you and I’m here for you.
- What can I do to help?
- What happened to you was never your fault.
- What happened to you, should never have happened and you did not deserve that.
- I admire you so much for the way you are dealing with it.
- I am proud of you/your courage/strength.
- If you need me for any reason, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me; I am and always will be here for you, to the best of my abilities.
- You are not weak or bad or wrong, you didn’t deserve this and you could not have stopped it.
- Thank you for surviving.
- I’m sorry they hurt you.
- You’re wonderful and loveable.
- You’re a good person.
- If you need to talk, I’ll listen.
- I want you to feel good and safe.
- How can I help you feel safe?
- You are loved and cherished.
- It’s okay to be hurt and angry, these feelings don’t make you a bad person.
- I won’t preach forgiveness at you.
- I know that you don’t want to live your life in what feels like a constant and never ending state of pain and misery and I know that you ARE trying hard enough to get through it the best you can with what you’ve got.
- What you are experiencing is real. I believe you. And I believe in you.
- Your uncontrolled emotional breakdowns were not because you were a selfish, but because you were in an indescribable pain.
- I’m proud/impressed with the progress you’ve made (maybe give examples).
- Just tell me what you need and I will understand.
- You are not alone, no matter how much it feels like it.
- We will make it through this together.
- I’m so sorry those things were done to you.
- Its not your fault.
- It is not your shame.
- I love you and I wish I could take your pain away.
For more information about Complex PTSD, please see my Website – which is supported and shared by many trauma informed mental health professionals at
~ Lilly Hope Lucario
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