How to Support A Survivor, 201: Survivor Doesn’t Mean ‘Angel’

This is just a quick piece I wanted to write about how I think there’s a set of seemingly counter-intuitive things some trauma survivors do, based on avoiding or even actively disrupting their own friendships and other support networks. I’m primarily writing for people who want to know how to support a survivor, but I hope the piece will also be useful for survivors themselves.

The subject came up during some recent conversations with friends; originally I just wanted to post a link to existing articles, but I wasn’t able to find anything. Instead, I’m trying to patch something together from the various areas of experience I have. I’ve sometimes needed support and noticed myself being avoidant in minor ways, and I’ve sometimes been in the position of offering support to friends who are either in a relationship with an abuser or who have survived abuse.

However I don’t write as a survivor and I don’t have much writing of survivors to draw on. So what I’m going to produce here is a fabric of intuitions and scraps of knowledge, which means it may have some serious flaws. It also won’t be as structured as most of the things I write here; all I’m really trying to do is start a conversation.

Trigger Warning: The other thing to know before you read it is that it tries to describe the experience of survivors, and that if you’d rather not read an account of the dynamics of abuse, you might want to skip this piece.
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