In a pointed and insightful New York Times article “Coping with Crisis Close to Someone Else’s Heart,” psychologists comment on how people react to other people’s traumas. This is a field that psychologists are just beginning to study, but in the article they offer insights on why we act the way we do when someone close to us undergoes a traumatic event.
The author, Harriet Brown, tackles some of the difficult thoughts we have after a trauma in our own lives and some of the feelings of paralysis we have about supporting someone else.
Among a number of moving comments, she quotes Barbara Sourkes, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, “We all live in some degree of terror of bad things happening to us. When you are confronted by someone else’s horror, there’s a sense that it’s close to home.”
Another psychologist comments that: The only certainty is that traumatic events change relationships outside the family as well as within it.
This comment really hits home for me.
This article is a wonderful tool and can be accessed here: