#93 - Listening When Trauma Speaks (Dedicated to the Memory of George Floyd)

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By Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW, Vicki Tidwell Palmer, and LCSW. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Right now, in the United States, trauma is speaking. Prejudice and racism wounds, and are potentially traumatizing to anyone who experiences them. But listening to another person’s trauma is a challenging thing to do, especially if we perceive that we may have played a part in their experience — even when remaining silent or looking away. Let’s talk about how to listen when trauma speaks.

Biggest Takeaways From Episode #93:

  • The listening boundary is the most challenging boundary for most of us. When we feel at fault or like we’re being blamed for trauma, it takes the listening boundary to a whole new level.
  • Prejudice and racism are spread very much like the coronavirus; people who appear not to be infected can infect quite a few people, and the results can be deadly.
  • What has happened since Mr. Floyd’s death is the result of centuries of oppression, discrimination, and systemic, institutionalized racism.
  • Notice any urges you have to defend, explain, or make the other person feel better. This is usually a sign that you’ve strayed into defensiveness.

Highlights from Episode #93:

  • Vicki makes a clarification, then introduces today’s episode on how to listen when trauma speaks. [00:39]
  • We hear Vicki’s thoughts on the use of the words “white” and “Black” to describe people. She then shares some of her own journey. [04:19]
  • Despite having intentionally and actively worked against it, Vicki still counts herself as a product of the racial conditioning that she received as a child. [11:17]
  • Vicki shares a jaw-dropping story about unaware racism. [18:03]
  • Discomfort can make it difficult to listen when trauma speaks. [22:36]
  • What’s the solution? How do we listen to another person’s trauma? Vicki offers some tips and advice, and emphasizes the importance of listening. [30:01]
  • Vicki offers some observations about the way that white people try to make things better, but end up making them worse. [34:43]
  • White people will never know what it feels like to be a person of color. Vicki invites white listeners to have curiosity, embrace humility, and to try to stay open to the reality that others may have very different life circumstances and experiences. [39:12]

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