To make Bryan more comfortable I mimic his tone and body language. My husband has never been an overly loud, animated, or bubbly person. I think the Army trained him to be calm, cool and collected at all times. For a very long time Bryan never got excited. In social situations it made him very uncomfortable for me to be overly excited or outgoing. When we entered a room full of people he darted to the corner. If I got too loud he said so in front of others. While it was embarrassing, I understood that it was just too overwhelming for him. Now, to make things go more smoothly, I mimic his actions.
I also repeat his words in the same tone when he is having trouble understanding so that he can hear what he asked or said before I respond. I never realized how much I do this until we are in a social situation. He is uncomfortable meeting new people so I follow his cues. I mimic his body language and pay close attention to his eyes and breathing. If he is flat in his expressions I try not to be overly expressive.
My personality is one that is outgoing and I get excited over little things. I love being high energy and outgoing but sometimes I have to step back and see if I am being detrimental to my husband’s level of comfort. Mirroring has drawbacks. When I mirror my husband, it takes away from my personality. Sometimes, I have to hold back. But, I think for anyone that is dealing with someone who has PTSD or a brain injury, it is important to mirror them. I am able to get Bryan out into social situations and make him comfortable. We all do it naturally, but those of use dealing with serious injuries probably make more of an effort.