Healing From Emotional Abuse: How To Be A Good Advocate

Can you heal from abuse?  What do I do after leaving my narcissist? What does a healthy relationship look like? These concerns cross the minds of over 20 people every minute; over 28,800 people every day.  And the sad fact is, we still don’t talk about it enough.  Healing from Emotional Abuse isn’t a bandaid situation.  But it doesn’t have to take years either. The lives of millions of other survivors around the worlds have been impacted by their narcissist.  Yours doesn’t have to.  To show you how to live a free, confident and peaceful life, your host and Founder of the Healing From Emotional Abuse Philosophy, Marissa F. Cohen.

Hello, Hello and Welcome back to Healing From Emotional Abuse!  Being a champion and overcoming our abuse is only a part of our journey.  We are a community, and should be the best champions that we can be for ourselves, but also, the most empowering advocates that we can be for someone else. Today, let’s talk about the 3 best ways to be an empowering and supportive advocate for the champions in your life.

First and foremost, you have to learn to listen.  We are inherently healers, and we all want to help.  And that’s an incredible gift that we have as humans.   We just want to help people.  But sometimes, the best way to help is to just listen. Being an active listener to someone who is trying to unknot the mess that narcissists and narcissism leave behind can be more helpful than actually solving their problems. 

Sometimes, champions just need to vent to someone that wants to listen.  They don’t want advice, they just want to be heard and validated.  And that’s okay, and it’s normal.  It’s up to us as their advocate to be supportive and give them the control of that situation.

So, listen.  Listen, and validate.  Tell them that you believe them, and what happened isn’t their fault.  Encourage them to speak, and trust you, and feel comfortable and brave for speaking their truth.  Being the person a champion confides in, is big responsibility, but also a huge honor. 

The second piece of advice for you is, meet them where they are.  I don’t mean physically, I mean emotionally.  The best way to make them feel comfortable is to match their tone.  If they are being quiet and calm, you should also remain quiet and calm.  If you get hyper and they are being quiet and calm when they speak, it will most likely make them want to shut down and not talk about it again. 

The first time I tried to talk about my rape, I was in my college student government office with who of my colleagues.  We were alone, and I brought up that my boyfriend and I had had sex for the first time, but I really didn’t want to.  And I didn’t feel good.  And both of them, in support of me, flew off the handle and became loud and explosive in tone and in mannerisms.  They told me that what happened wasn’t right and it shouldn’t be like that.  But all I could hear were loud noises and yelling.  So, I retracted everything I said and didn’t talk about it again for 6 months. 

Looking back, had that moment been handled differently, and I seriously don’t blame them for anything because they didn’t know, the healing process would have been much different for me. 

Bottom line of advice number 2, meet them where they are.  Observe their mannerisms, tone and body language, and mirror that.  It will make them feel more comfortable talking to you.

The third piece of advice I have for you is to Ask for consent. It doesn’t matter what your relationship to the champion is.  It could be family, best friend forever, professional help.  Always ask for consent for everything during the conversation.  When someone is abused or assaulted, their control is taken away.  Our job is to give them the confidence in themselves to be able to make the decisions in situations.  If I’m working with somebody in person, I don’t touch them in any way unless I ask.  “Can I hug you?  Can I put my hand on your shoulder?  Would you be comfortable if I held your hand?”

And if I’m on the phone and they are talking to me, I ask, “Would you prefer I listen or would you like me to give you some advice?  It’s up to you.  Is it okay if I make a comment here?” 

If they’re talking to you about their experience, you’re obviously a person they trust.  This isn’t something that people are generally open about.  And for that, you should feel great honor.  I just want the situation to feel as safe and secure for everyone involved as possible.  And to do that, they have to remain in control of the conversation.

It might feel like a lot of pressure to keep these three things in mind.  Don’t be nervous.  If you accidentally slip and start giving advice, just stop yourself and ask if that’s something they want.  All of this is human nature.  We want to help.  We want to hug.  We want to coddle.  But the very best thing you could possibly do is giving them the control back.

Thank you so much for being a phenomenal and informed advocate, and helping this community rise up and overcome narcissism.

If you enjoyed this podcast, you have to check out www.MarissaFayeCohen.com/Private-Coaching. Marissa would love to develop a made-for-you healing plan to heal from emotional abuse. She does all the work, and you just show up. Stop feeling stuck, alone, and hurt, and live a free, confident, and peaceful life.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the Healing From Emotional Abuse podcast, and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/marissafcohen, and instagram @Marissa.Faye.Cohen. We’d love to see you there!

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