Dealing with Emotions After a Burglary

One of the most forgotten aspects of a burglary is the emotional one; and it is one that most people are not quite sure how to handle. After a burglary, people know to take care of the practicalities like call the police, take pictures, call the insurance company, and clean up the mess. It is the emotional fallout that leaves most people feeling alone and wondering what to do.

The process of a burglary does far more than take your valuables. It breaches your trust, violates your sanctuary, steals memories and robs your feeling of safety. In its wake it leaves an aftermath of emotions that few people understand.

What Those Who’ve Been There Wish You Knew

There is a horrible strangeness that comes with being burglarized. Someone came into your home and took your possessions, and violated your space. Unless the criminal is caught, being angry feels like swinging at air. Suddenly, the walls feel less solid and it is more like sleeping in a tent in the jungle than the safe sanctuary it once was. Your mind swirls with “if onlys” and “what ifs” and you fear that even worse could happen. You smile politely when friends say how much worse it could have been and think how that only adds to your anxiety. People might even think that if you were not home at the time of its occurrence that it is not a big deal. Trust me. It is a big deal. Burglars take money, electronics, and worst of all, peace of mind.

More Emotions Than You Know What to Do With

The fact that a burglary is incredibly emotional surprises most people, but it shouldn’t. The act of burglary is a massive violation of trust and will of course have emotional repercussions for the victim.

It is common for burglary victims to experience many of these feelings:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Short temperedness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Vulnerability
  • Loss of control
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of concentration

What Should You Do?

After a traumatic event, we always want to do something—anything to gain back control. The very first thing to do is realize you are not alone and that having a strong emotional reaction is completely normal and expected. Next, know that there are things you can do to help get things back on track. Here are some proactive steps you can take:

  • Increase your security by installing security cameras and alarms
  • Join a neighborhood watch program
  • Seek support from a pastor, friend, or counselor
  • Exercising regularly and eat healthily
  • Take time to be with others
  • Include recreation and relaxation in your week
  • Take time to be thankful
  • Take a class in self-defense
  • Become a victim advocate
  • Join a support group

Dealing with emotions after a burglary can be difficult, but you never have to do it alone. Seek support and do what you can to empower your life. If you have questions about how to increase your personal safety, we would be happy to answer them.

Keith Maley
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