The Impact Of Unresolved Trauma On Relationships
Physicians use the word trauma to describe a serious injury to the physical body resulting from a sudden impact, such as an accident or a violent act. But you can also suffer emotional trauma, which can cause an equally painful wound to your sense of self as a whole, coherent being. Just like a wound to your physical body, emotional injuries also require care and attention so that you may heal.
When this trauma is left unresolved and your experience of yourself is one of not being wholeof somehow being brokenyou are likely to bring the footprints of this to your relationships. To have healthy relationships, you must first have a healthy sense of your own being and place in the world.
Lets take a brief look at trauma, its origins and symptoms, and then how this may affect your relationships.
Origins and Effects of Emotional Trauma
Emotional injuries result from any experience in which one feels that his or her life or well-being is endangered. These experiences might include the shaming of a young person by a parent or teacher, the molestation or beating of a child, the loss of a job or a divorce, a sudden death or life-changing accident, or being sent to war.
Whether the trauma occurred in childhood or adulthood, it changes your experience of yourself and your world. If you were young when the trauma occurred, you will likely have more scars, because you were more vulnerable and had fewer coping skills.
The Impact on Relationships
Falling Into Another Unhealthy Pattern
In spite of all the boundaries and fear, people with PTSD find themselves repeating the same experiences. Its a sort of mental conditioning that keeps you stuck.;
Believing you deserve the bad treatment you receive is the trademark of someone conditioned for emotional abuse.; In reality, this is a learned behavior from past traumatic situations. For this reason, its imperative to recognize the cycle and put an end to the madness.
Henceforth, its crucial to understand that you can have PTSD from past relationships. Moreover, it can distort your sense of self-worth and perception. And its important to take the time to heal.;
Blowing Things Way Out Of Proportion
Past trauma keeps you on the defense, at all times. Your ego wants to protect you at all costs and will trigger you to think things not rooted in reality.;
Even minor things start to set off alarms for you! You may get critical of others actions and judge them for things they didnt even intend in the first place.;
Needless to say, this makes it difficult for people to build mutually trusting relationships. Its even more common for people who have been betrayed in the past.
So, Can You Get PTSD from Being Cheated On?;
Yes. In fact, it can trigger the darkest aspects of your personality. You may experience bouts of anger, irritability, and anxiety in reaction to a situation you perceive as threatening in your future partnerships.;
What Risks Are Associated With Ptsd
Alcohol and drug use
You might use drugs or alcohol to help you to manage your symptoms.
Drugs or alcohol can make you more unwell and more likely to try and harm yourself or take your own life.
Mental health conditions
Symptoms of PTSD can be made worse by other disorders such as:
- substance abuse, and
- memory problems
Most people with PTSD will have at least 1 other mental health condition. The most common disorders are:
- depressive disorders,
- substance use disorders, and
- anxiety disorders.
Other mental health conditions have the some of the same symptoms as PTSD. This may be why PTSD is hard to diagnose.
Suicidal thoughts and behaviours
In severe cases PTSD can last long enough and have a large impact on day to day life. This can cause suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
Physical health issues
PTSD has been linked to physical symptoms such as dizziness, tinnitus and blurry vision.
It has also been linked to physical illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.
You can find more information about:
What Does Relationship Ptsd Mean Exactly
You probably know its possible to develop lingering symptoms of fear and distress after a single traumatic event. When flashbacks, avoidance, and other symptoms persist after the trauma has ended, mental health professionals may diagnose PTSD.
An abusive relationship is trauma of a different kind. Leaving the relationship can put a stop to repeated emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, but it may not necessarily free you from their effects.
In an effort to better recognize and address this specific type of trauma, experts have introduced the concept of post-traumatic relationship syndrome .
People who experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse in an intimate relationship may have a very different response to trauma than people who experience other traumatic events.
Instead of blocking out and avoiding your memories of the abuse or numbing yourself to them, you might continue to revisit them, experiencing them again and again.
The pain of this retraumatization can get in the way of healing, moving forward, and eventually building safe, healthy relationships with future partners.
Traumatic stress after an abusive relationship can look a little different from typical PTSD.
A diagnosis of PTSD requires symptoms in four categories:
- arousal and reactivity
- cognition and mood
PTRS doesnt involve the same avoidance that characterizes PTSD.
PTRS differs from PTSD in a few other key ways:
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Understanding Ptsd And Its Effects On Marriage
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that occurs following a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault. Approximately eight percent of all people will experience PTSD at some point in their life. That number rises to about 30 percent for combat veterans.
Those suffering with PTSD may experience several different types of symptoms:
- Reliving. Becoming emotionally or physically upset when reminded or triggered. Nightmares and flashbacks are extremely common.
- Avoidance. Staying away from places or people that remind one of the traumatic events. Isolating behaviors.
- Numbing. Feeling numb is typical. Numbing oneself with substances such as drugs and alcohol is prevalent.
- Anxiety. Feeling on guard, unable to relax, irritable, anxious, or startling easily are all characteristic.
- Addictive. Participating in addictive behaviors such as excessive gambling, pornography, or substance abuse.
Work and daily activities often prove to be a struggle as well for those diagnosed with PTSD, and may contribute to higher rates of divorce and unemployment. Veterans who have been diagnosed with PTSD have reported significant marital difficulties. Studies have shown that nearly 50 percent of their marriages end in divorce and that they are three times as more likely to have multiple marriages end in divorce.
What Is Complex Post
The main symptoms of PTSD and complex PTSD are the same. But if you have complex PTSD you will have extra symptoms such as:
- constant issues with keeping a relationship,
- finding it difficult to feel connected to other people,
- constant belief that you are worthless with deep feelings of shame and guilt. This will be related to the trauma, and
- constant and severe emotional dysregulation. This means it is difficult to control your emotions
You are more likely to have complex PTSD if your trauma is linked to an event or series of events. The trauma will be very threatening or frightening. Most commonly from a trauma which you were not able to escape from such as:
- a long period of domestic abuse, or
- a long period of sexual or physical abuse
What is the treatment for complex PTSD?
You may respond to trauma focussed therapies if you have complex PTSD. Please see the section below on therapies and additional needs for PTSD.
There is some overlap of symptoms for complex PTSD and borderline personality disorder . If you have complex PTSD you may benefit from certain treatments that help people with BPD.
You can find more information about ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ by clicking here.
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Learn To Love Yourself To Transform Your Life
As a therapist, I meet so many people who don’t like themselves and by extension create lives they don’t like either. In contrast, when I work with people who have learned to love themselves, they love their lives as a result. It’s not because they are perfect, had perfect parents, or experienced no adversity ; it’s because they have learned how to self-dialogue and redirect their insecurities and fear of rejection and disconnection into a tremendous self-belief.
I want everyone to know that it’s not only possible to get over your problems, issues, and hang-ups to live a full and happy lifeit’s yours for the taking once you learn to love yourself and get your mind on side, working for and not against you.
The interesting thing about love is that people can only love you as much as you love yourself. When you know your self-worth, everyone else will know it too.
What Are The Signs Of Ptsd
People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. “They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear or anger; and they may feel detached or estranged from other people,” Dr. Tendler says. Those with PTSD may avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong negative reactions to something as ordinary as a loud noise or an accidental touch.
Depression is a common co-occurring diagnosis in people with PTSD. In fact, researchers have found that people who have or have had a PTSD diagnosis are three to five times more likely to have a depressive disorder.
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Finding A Therapist For Ptsd
When looking for a therapist, seek out mental health professionals who specialize in the treatment of trauma and PTSD. You can ask your doctor or other trauma survivors for a referral, call a local mental health clinic, psychiatric hospital, or counseling center.
Beyond credentials and experience, its important to find a PTSD therapist who makes you feel comfortable and safe. Trust your gut; if a therapist doesnt feel right, look for someone else. For therapy to work, you need to feel comfortable and understood.
Get more help
National Center for PTSD Leading research and educational center on PTSD and traumatic stress. Includes resources and treatment info.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Causes, risk factors, and treatments.
Self-Help and Coping; Articles on coping with PTSD in healthy ways.
Find treatment and support for PTSD
In the UK:PTSD UK offers treatment and support options.
In Australia:Phoenix Australia offers PTSD helplines and resources.
Counseling: The Key To Healing From Abuse
There are many ways to heal from PTSD and its important to know that you dont have to do it alone. I recommend to anyone who has been in an abusive relationship that they seek counseling to work through symptoms they may be experiencing that are interfering with their daily life.
My favorite treatment model to assist patients in healing from PTSD is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing . EMDR is a heavily researched, proven effective technique that helps patients reprocess painful memories to reduce emotional distress when remembering the traumatic event. It basically helps the brain file traumatic memories away in long-term memory so that individuals truly feel it happened in the past and is not still happening in their present.
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How To Deal With Relationship Ptsd
The question is, can changing your thinking really change your life?
In this article Hypnosis for Depression, Marisa explains I have helped thousands of clients gain freedom from depression and mental health problems with Rapid Transformational Therapy, which gets to the root cause of emotional, physical or cognitive issues. I believe that when it comes to depression, we need to change our thinking, beliefs and behaviour to achieve lasting change.
The good news is that often the most challenging situations have the most to teach us and can act as a catalyst for change. Change comes from within and with the right support everything you need is available to you. Understanding is power. As Marisa says: Once youve located the issues that are underpinning your behaviors, its time to change how you frame or feel about those issues. The only person who can do that is you. You can reclaim your own personal power and learn to love yourself, so that you do not need external validation in order to be happy.
In this article, Self Love – Learn To Love Yourself, Marisa shares: When you learn to love yourself you have a lifelong romance that never fades, tires or disappoints you, love is always available to you no matter what
Relationship Ptsd: What Causes It
PTSD is an extreme anxiety disorder caused by experiencing a life-threatening event or situation. It’s characterized by intrusive memories, an avoidance of things that could remind a person of the trauma, moodiness, and hyperarousal, Aaron Tendler, MD, chief medical officer of Brainsway, a mental health tech company, tells Health. “These four clusters of symptoms persist over at least one month and impair patients’ ability to function normally in daily life,” he says.
An abusive relationship can lead to PTSD, Dr. Tendler says, because the traumatic events that took place during the relationship can cause the symptoms to stay present during the relationship, as well as long after the relationship has ended. “When these symptoms are present for a period of time, it can be diagnosed as PTSD,” Dr. Tendler explains.
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When Youre Ready To Begin Recovery
Emotional abuse can lead to mental and physical symptoms that shouldnt be ignored. But what works for one person may not work for another. And not everyone is ready to begin recovery right away.
When youre ready to take the next step, you may find it helpful to start with any of the following tips.
Although I Initially Thought Ptsd Was A Bit Extreme It’s Been Almost Three Years And Certain Noises Or Situations Still Trigger Difficult Memories For Me
When my male boss was angry and yelling at the staff one day, I became physically sick. I felt like I was right back where I was years ago in the same traumatic events, sitting and cowering on the garage floor, trying to placate the anger of a man towering over me.
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You Keep Blaming Yourself
Due to the fact you were manipulated and gaslighted, you might even believe that you âcausedâ this breakup, Dr. Holly Schiff, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. You also might worry that you drove your ex to act the way they did or feel as if you caused the breakup by being âdifficultâ â even though that isnât true.
This type of relationship PTSD will cause you to over-analyze what happened and replay scenarios of how things could have been different, adds relationship expert Rori Sassoon. Youâll wonder what you couldâve done differently and feel intense guilt for not being âperfect.â
Itâs hard, but redirecting your thoughts in these moments is super important. “The goal is to start re-centering yourself to focus on you and to re-pattern your attention,” Sassoon says. This can be done with the help of friends or a trained therapist who can assist you in breaking out unhelpful thought cycles.
Ptsd In Military Veterans
For all too many veterans, returning from military service means coping with symptoms of PTSD. You may have a hard time readjusting to life out of the military. Or you may constantly feel on edge, emotionally numb and disconnected, or close to panicking or exploding. But its important to know that youre not alone and there are plenty of ways you can deal with nightmares and flashbacks, cope with feelings of depression, anxiety or guilt, and regain your sense of control.
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How Does Ptsd Affect Relationships
Frustration, anxiety, and avoidance due to post-traumatic stress disorder can make all aspects of life challenging, including your relationships.
You care about those close to you, but PTSD can sometimes make it difficult for you to interact with them. You might say things you dont mean, or feel unable to relax and be intimate.
In response, those around you may withdraw or become unreceptive, creating a cycle in the relationship that can be challenging to break.
But living with PTSD doesnt mean you have to give up on connections with other people.
Its possible to manage symptoms of PTSD to improve your social skills and relationships. In turn, those around you can also learn what living with PTSD means and how to best support your healing process.
Ptsd Symptoms In Children
In children especially very young children the symptoms of PTSD can differ from those of adults and may include:
- Fear of being separated from their parent.
- Losing previously-acquired skills .
- Sleep problems and nightmares.
- Somber, compulsive play in which themes or aspects of the trauma are repeated.
- New phobias and anxieties that seem unrelated to the trauma .
- Acting out the trauma through play, stories, or drawings.
- Aches and pains with no apparent cause.
- Irritability and aggression.
Do you have PTSD?
If you answer yes to three or more of the questions below, you may have PTSD and its worthwhile to visit a qualified mental health professional.
- Have you witnessed or experienced a traumatic, life- threatening event?
- Did this experience make you feel intensely afraid, horrified, or helpless?
- Do you have trouble getting the event out of your mind?
- Do you startle more easily and feel more irritable or angry than you did before the event?
- Do you go out of your way to avoid activities, people, or thoughts that remind you of the event?
- Do you have more trouble falling asleep or concentrating than you did before the event?
- Have your symptoms lasted for more than a month?
- Is your distress making it hard for you to work or function normally?
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