Niecy Nash-Betts suffered a devastating loss when she was in her early ‘20s that affected the course of the rest of her life. The Claws actress’ brother, Michael Ensley, was shot to death in high school when he was just 17 years old.

Nash revealed on a recent episode of Entertainment Weekly’s Awardist podcast that this trauma, along with her mother surviving a shooting in a domestic dispute a few years earlier, informed her role in Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.

“There is a responsibility I have as a survivor to be a part of storytelling like that because I know — I know the pain, I know the trauma, I know the loss,” the Rookie: Feds actress said. “I still get very, very skittish when it comes to anything that I do that involves me having to shoot a gun or somebody pulling a gun on me.”

“You show up with your full self and your full self includes your own personal trauma,” she added. “So the part of me that has to step on me in order to stand flatfooted in the art is always a challenge in those types of scenes.”