“Shouldn’t you be over that by now?”

Georgia NeSmith
2 min readMar 24, 2020

Photo by Andy Køgl [the visitor] on Unsplash

Of the many inappropriate phrases often used with people who’ve suffered trauma, the worst of all is “shouldn’t you be over that by now”? Followed by comparisons with the speakers’ own versions of trauma that have no equivalency. Such as, for instance, my oldest brother saying the latter, followed by talking about the grief he felt when his son died suddenly of a heart attack at age 28.

While deep grief is appropriate & understandable with the loss of a child, whatever age, it is no way comparable to coping with the trauma of having been sexually abused by one’s beloved father when a very young child, and beginning to recover memories at age 45. But see, he recovered within a few years of his loss, whereas there I was at age 65 still struggling with PTSD. Which I think is a misnomer because there is no “post” in it. [See my piece, OTSD, Ongoing Traumatic Stress Disorder.] So my therapist must not be very good.

It wouldn’t be quite so aggravating if he, along with my three other siblings, hadn’t believed the lies our mother told the whole lot of them long before I disclosed to the family, ensuring they would not believe me when I finally did. The whole lot of them had decided to avoid me whenever they could, so in fact I was more of a stranger to them than a sister. They had no idea of all that I had suffered through and had worked through for decades [I’m 71.] We haven’t spoken or written to each other since a few months after our mother died in 2013.

You know all those “wicked stepmother” fairy tales are just displacements for wicked mothers because it’s so hard for people to accept that a mother could do the terrible things she did, not just in ignoring what was going on, but specifically enabling it.

Oh dear…there I go again running off at the keyboard whenever I encounter a sympathetic voice. Not that it’s bad to do that, but it really needs to be channeled into the book I am writing.

Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.