Secondary Trauma


First let me say, I am blessed that our children are so affectionate. All three of them…not one more than the other. I have a 10 year old who still loves sitting on his momma’s lap…that’s awesome! And an 8 year old who doesn’t mind holding my hand in front of his friends. All three love cuddles and are quick to let us know how much they love us. Yes, I am blessed.

That being said, I’m tired of being touched. It is almost laughable to me that “touch” has always been my love language. I don’t know if the professionals say that your love language can change, but mine surely has. Though I’m not a professional, I think trauma can certainly change it.

The trauma that can be caused by touch. We are all familiar with the kind caused by abuse or neglect. But to be honest I never imagined you could incur trauma by being touched TOO MUCH. In my case, this is what is called secondary trauma. Secondary trauma is often defined as “the stress resulting from helping or wanting to help a traumatized or suffering person” ( To explain what I mean by all of this, let me tell you a story…

Dinner time. Three kids fighting for who gets to sit next to me. It’s your turn, and you lean on me. I feel feet touching me from under the table. Its how you get to touch me from across the way. Dinner is barely over and each of you are yelling over one another to sit on my lap.

I know you need touch. I want to provide for your needs. Nothing is ever enough. You are insatiable.

Family movie time. I’m excited about the movie. You are excited about sitting next to me. Three voices fighting over me. Flanked on each side by a kiddo. My third kiddo pushes onto my lap. You touch me. You rub my arms. You grab my hand. You kiss my face. All three of you. All at one time.

I know you need touch. I want to provide for your needs. Nothing is ever enough. You are insatiable.

Every day. All the time. Your desire for physical affection is beyond anything I’ve seen. Almost 547 days so far of constant touch. Morning. Afternoon. Night. Morning. afternoon. Night. Morning. Afternoon. Night. Day after day after day.

I know you need touch. I want to provide for your needs. Nothing is ever enough. You are insatiable.

My insides cringe. Touch. Touch. More touch.  You sit on my lap and give my face a gazillion kisses. I literally feel anxious. Even violated. I do my best not to show you how I feel even though I’m dying on the inside. I just want 5 minutes where my body is all mine.

I know you need touch. I want to provide for your needs. Nothing is ever enough. You are insatiable.

I hate touch. But I let you touch me. I’m your mom. You need my touch. So, when we sit together at church we are like one being. You take turns on my lap. I rub your back. I rub your face. I squeeze you tight. I rock you back and forth. You mess my hair up. You kiss my cheek. You squeeze my arms.

I know you need touch. I will try to provide your needs. It might not ever be enough. You might always be insatiable.

(written by me 2/12/17)

Secondary trauma is a very real thing. In seeking to help your kids who have been effected by trauma, you are now traumatized yourself. This can look so many different ways. In my case, our kid’s lack of love and attention and affection created in them a bucket with a whole in it of sorts. Their bucket of physical affection can never be filled enough. So much so, that in trying to meet this need, I now hate something I once loved. But I am learning to seek to meet their needs and yet provide some boundaries that will help me through my own trauma.

I don’t like secondary trauma. Who does?! But I would do it all over again for our kids.

(How ironic that as I am writing this my son just said, “Mommy can I give you a hug?” Yes son, yes son you can. And he did. 😊) 


9 thoughts on “Secondary Trauma

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! I understand EXACTLY what you are saying here! I wrote a post that spoke of this, but I called it “over-loved”. Lol! And it’s hard to deal with because I felt SO guilty about it. It’s nice to read that I’m not alone in these feelings!!! This is my post here if you want to feel less guilty and know you’re not alone, too! Thanks for giving me the word “secondary trauma”, never heard of that before….
    you are doing awesome and amazing things, mamma!!!! 😍😍😍😍 I’d say I’m sending you a hug, but, well…. Hahahaha! 🤣🤣🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is my life! The over touching, the anxiety of it, the guilt from wanting to get away from it sooooo badly, but loving them at the same time…. it is almost hilarious to me to see you write it so clearly!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Audra! Fun to see you on here! And it is so great to hear someone else be able to totally relate with how I feel! Thanks for sharing that! Definitely a #metoo moment. 😜


  3. Omg I can’t believe this is real! I felt so bad for actually feeling this way at times even snapping asking my kids to please leave me alone for a minute. I’m so glad I’m not the only one and I totally understand the unfillable hole no matter how much love and attention they just can’t get enough to satisfie their needs

    Liked by 2 people

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