Emotional Abuse And Ptsd
Over the past three years, I realized that the symptoms I had experienced from the years of emotional abuse I suffered from my ex-husband were the telltale signs of post-traumatic stress disorder . At the time, I didn’t even know that I was suffering from it, as it was never diagnosed until the end of my marriage. I had always thought that PTSD stemmed from severe trauma, such as war, a natural disaster, or facing repeated physical violence. Yet, it’s not just physical trauma that can cause this disorder but can develop from emotional abuse and psychological trauma as well.
Disturbing Ptsd Symptoms That Surface In Victims Of Narcissistic Abuse
All people have some narcissistic traits. They can help you become a tougher person, give you the right amount of confidence, and allow you to set limits on how others treat you.
Nevertheless, there are people, who take these traits to an extreme.
If you are close with a narcissist, you’ll notice they expect endless praise from you. And this is not all; narcissists want to control others, usually by separating them from the ones who support them. Narcissists try to lower others’ self-esteem to boost theirs. And all of these actions are more or less abusive.
Narcissistic abuse can occur in different forms, and victims of such abuse may find that they develop PTSD symptoms.
Generally, narcissistic abuse consists of all sorts of unloving actions that aim at the gradual dismantling of your self-esteem by the abuser. And the truth is that the narcissist does not like themselves, so they hurt you to feel normal. A person with a narcissistic personality lacks understanding and sympathy for others. And on top of that, such people often harass others not only emotionally but physically as well.
As with anything, people who have narcissistic personalities display mild to extreme malicious characteristics.
Narcissists might even not realize or care how harmful their presence is because they are too concentrated on trying to satisfy their own selfish needs.
This condition is called Post Narcissist Stress Disorder .
What If You Recognize This In A Partner
If you notice signs of PTRS, or any other traumatic stress, in your romantic partner, it’s generally best to encourage them to reach out for professional support.
No matter how kind, compassionate, and loving you are, a healthy relationship alone generally can’t heal the lingering effects of abuse. You can’t save your partner from what they experienced or take their pain away.
That said, your patience and understanding can have a positive impact on both their recovery and the outcome of your relationship.
Note: When talking about what happened seems to worsen your partner’s distress instead of helping them process, it may help to encourage a distraction without dismissing them.
For example, you might say:
“I’m always here to listen, but I’m worried talking about this right now is making you feel worse. Would it help to take a short break and go for a walk?”
Without support, PTRS can get worse.
Feeling unable to share what happened with others can leave you isolated and alone.
The persistent fear that comes with ongoing retraumatization can make and difficult, leaving you vulnerable and to the point of burnout.
You might struggle to feel safe with anyone and begin to fear the world as a whole. If you blame yourself for the abuse, you might feel unable to shake feelings of guilt, helplessness, or unworthiness.
When you find yourself struggling to cope alone, support from the right therapist can make a big difference.
#4 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 didn’t even intend in the first place.
Needless to say, this makes it difficult for people to build mutually trusting relationships. It’s 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.
Finding Yourself In Circles Of Repetition
Although you may not see it at first, according to Shapiro, repetition is a big, yet unexpected sign that you’re suffering from PTSD from your past relationship.
“Finding yourself in another unhealthy relationship, feeling like you deserve to be treated badly that was learned from your previous traumatic relationship ,” says Shapiro. “Even in friendships, or family relations, finding yourself in uncomfortable situations where you feel badly about yourself and you have a decrease sense of self-worth.”
If there’s anyplace where you shouldn’t feel badly or uncomfortable is amongst family, but PTSD makes the opposite true.
Signs You Are Experiencing Trauma After A Toxic Relationship
And how to heal from it.
While many people feel down or upset when a relationship comes to an end, there’s a big difference between taking a moment to pause and reflect â€” or even spending a few days crying â€” and experiencing post-traumatic relationship syndrome . If you’re coming out of the relationship with intense baggage, hangups, or symptoms that seem similar to post-traumatic stress disorder , there’s a good chance you were in a toxic relationship, or had an emotionally or physically abusive partner, and are suffering as a result.
Trauma symptoms might stem from mistreatment from an abusive partner, unhealthy dynamics, or even confusion resulting from being strung along by someone who was emotionally unavailable. It could be mild. It could be intense. But recognizing the signs is a key aspect of moving on.
It takes work to move out of the trauma response, says Botwin, who notes youâ€™ll need to re-evaluate messages you have internalized in order to access your anger. â€œYou need a , friends, or support group members to help you understand these behaviors or statements told to you are about the person who is demonstrating toxic behaviors.â€?
If you were in a toxic relationship, went through a breakup, and are experiencing any of the signs listed below, reach out for support ASAP so you can begin moving on.
Warning: This articlecontains information about abusive relationships, which some may find triggering.
The Symptoms Of Ptsd Which Narcissistic Abuse Can Bring About Are:
- Feeling lost, confused, and stuck.
- Feeling hyperaroused; this means feeling jumpy, afraid, overwhelmed, anxious, and having obsessive or racing thoughts among others.
- Feeling guilt and shame.
- Feeling unable to control your emotions.
- Developing physical symptoms such as headaches, chest pains, stomach aches, nausea, IBS, etc.
- Developing self-destructive tendencies and coping strategies: self-harm, eating disorders, etc.
- Having nightmares, reliving events, and having flashbacks.
- Having suicidal thoughts.
Sign 4 You Feel Emotionally Numb Lifeless Or Out Of Reality
The fourth sign that you might have PTSD from emotional abuse is if you feel emotionally numb, lifeless, or “out of reality.
Have you ever felt that feeling where you feel like you’re not even living your life?
Like you’re just observing your life…maybe like a movie or a videogame?
This happens when your brain gets completely overloaded and it pretty much just shuts down.
You feel numb, lifeless, and reality doesn’t seem real anymore.
What this is technically called is “dissociation”.
This overwhelmed and overloaded feeling is an extremely common sign of PTSD.
Maybe you feel like this on a daily basis.
You might be exposed to abusive environments every single day that make you feel this overwhelmed feeling.
If you do, it not only means that you’re in an extremely toxic and dangerous environment…but that you need to get yourself out of there as soon as humanly possible.
What Does Ptrs Look Like
While many experts consider PTRS a very real response to the trauma of abuse, the condition has yet to be recognized as a formal mental health diagnosis in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Researchers haven’t reached a complete consensus on PTRS symptoms and diagnostic criteria, but experts generally agree it includes:
- an initial response of terror, horror, and rage toward the abusive partner
- intrusive, arousal, and relational symptoms that began after the abuse
What Should I Do If I Think I May Be Suffering From Ptsd
Taking the first step to help yourself is often the hardest thing to do. Understand that it may take time for treatment to help, but you can get better. The first thing to do is to make an appointment with your GP and speak about your concerns. Your GP will be able to perform basic screening and either make a referral to a mental health service or give you the details to self-refer.In the meantime, if you want to learn more about what you are experiencing, we invite you to read more articles on the PTSD UK website.
For more support and information on Domestic Abuse, the following organisations are available:
- National domestic abuse helpline 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247
- Welsh Women’s Aid Live Fear Free 24-hour helpline: 0808 80 10 800
- Scotland National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriages 24-hour helpline: 0800 027 1234
- Northern Ireland Domestic Abuse 24-hour helpline: 0808 802 1414
- Men’s Advice Line 0808 801 0327
- Police: 999
Online webchats and text services are also available.
If you are worried that someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, you can call Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free, confidential support, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247. Visit the helpline website to access information on how to support a friend.
If you believe there is an immediate risk of harm to someone, or it is an emergency, always call 999.
Discrediting Your Thoughts And Emotions
- Being dismissive of your feelings and concerns, “you’re just being overly sensitive/emotional” ,“Your opinion doesn’t make sense”
- Invalidating your perceptions “You’re over exaggerating”
- Attempting to define how you ‘should’ feel
- Denying having done or said the action in question
- Gaslighting or attempting to make you feel as though you’re imagining things
Physical Health Symptoms And Health Care Visits
Physical symptoms were assessed using a modified version of the Pennebaker Inventory of Limbic Languidness ., The original PILL is a 54-item, 6-point Likert-type scale that assesses the frequency of common physical symptoms and sensations. The PILL was modified by selecting only those items applicable to the study population and by adding specific health symptoms cited within the literature for women who experience IPV. The modified 60-item scale reflects empirical evidence of physical health problems experienced by abused women and addresses limitations regarding the limited number of gynecologic-related items on health symptom inventories noted in a review of nursing research on IPV and women’s health. To assess physical health symptoms in this study, participants were asked to rate the frequency within the past 9 months with which they have experienced each symptom, using a scale of 0 to 5 . The total scale scores obtained for frequency of occurrence were summed to obtain overall physical health symptoms. An additional item was added to the M-PILL that asked the respondents if they had been treated by a health care professional for each symptom within the past 9 months. Zoellner et al., using a previously modified version of the PILL, reported a Cronbach’s alpha of 0.94 for the scale with 76 female victims of sexual assault suffering from chronic PTSD.
Trauma Ptsd And Domestic Violence
Researchers have attempted to better understand what may lead people with a history of trauma or PTSD to engage in aggressive and violent behaviors. In studies of U.S. veterans, played a role in aggression among people with PTSD.?? People who have both depression and PTSD may experience more feelings of anger and, therefore, may have greater difficulties controlling it.??
Despite these findings, it is important to note that just because some people have experienced a traumatic event or have PTSD does not mean that they will exhibit violent behavior. There are many factors that contribute to aggressive behavior and much more research is needed to identify the specific risk factors for aggressive behavior among people exposed to traumatic events or who have PTSD.
One should not rule out a potential romantic partner simply because they have experienced a traumatic event. It is important, however, to find out if they have sought help for the trauma they endured or for their PTSD diagnosis.
You Have Intrusive Thoughts
While it’s OK to think about your ex as you process what happened, be on the lookout for signs you’re getting obsessive. It may feel like you want to think about something else, but canâ€™t.
“Individuals who have post-traumatic relationship disorder have a tendency to struggle with obsessive thoughts about following relationships,”Naphtali Roberts, LMFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle.
Intrusive thoughts can be vivid, scary, and often totally dictate your day. “This can often lead to distraction, acting impulsively, difficulty falling or staying asleep, or constant crying or irritability because you remember past choices,â€? she says.
Settling For Less Than You Deserve In Your Next Relationship
Even though the abusive relationship ended and you want to start something new, there is a great chance you will settle for just anything.
The thing is, your reality gets distorted from everything you have been through and you start believing that anyone who treats you a tiny bit better than your ex is good for you.
If you stop and take a look, you will realize that it is easy for your ex to be overshadowed. He was the worst and everything after him is an improvement.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should settle for just anything. You need a normal, healthy and loving relationship and being with someone who isn’t right for you will keep you far from it.
You Both Fear And Crave Commitment
You decided that you wouldn’t rush into another relationship after the toxic one you experienced. But it’s already been too long and you’ve refused all date invitations.
You desire closeness with another human being but at the same time, it’s your biggest fear. The last time you let somebody in, you just gave him the tools to hurt you.
You are afraid that the same thing will happen again—that if you allow yourself to fall for anybody again, you won’t see them clearly.
You didn’t see all the early signs of manipulations and red flags of abusive behavior and you are afraid you won’t be able to see them now either.
#8 Developing Controlling And Abusive Tendencies
Undoubtedly, this is one of the most dangerous signs of relationship PTSD. A past experience or relationship that caused trauma can easily trigger feelings of insecurity.
Your ego goes into overdrive whenever you perceive certain situations as threatening. Further, it’s exceptionally common to feel intense rage and have zero control over your emotions.
This can go as far as pushing people away, insulting them, and even become physically and emotionally abusive.
These are some of the top signs you can have PTSD from a relationship without knowing you have it.
So, can you have PTSD from a relationship? Yes, you may very well can with intrusive thoughts and negative emotions you don’t want.
Now, you know How to Tell If You Have PTSD from a Relationship.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder will make it hard to feel comfortable and like yourself in any future relationships.
Acting out of impulse and anxiety become way too familiar, making things even more difficult.
Hence, taking steps towards self-healing is imperative.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptomatology
PTSD symptomatology was assessed using the PTSD Symptom Scale . The PSS, a 17-item, 4-point Likert-type inventory, was used to assess PTSD symptom severity and its three symptom clusters of posttraumatic intrusion or re-experiencing, avoidance, and arousal symptoms during the past month. Each item corresponds to a PTSD diagnostic criterion, and higher scores indicate greater symptom intensity. Reliability and validity of the PSS has been established with female rape victims and battered women., Internal consistency of the PSS overall severity score and each of the PTSD subscales was supported in this sample by Cronbach’s alphas ranging from 0.80 to 0.90.
Emotional Abuse: Is It Traumatic
While the link between physical trauma and PTSD is well documented, experts are only now beginning to see a connection between the condition and psychological trauma. People who live with and love someone who is emotionally abusive experience trauma on a daily basis, they say. The experience of constant put-downs, criticisms or whatever other forms the emotional abuse takes, not only wears down but also impacts the nervous system in the same way a physical trauma would. What’s more, memories of the abuse can elicit negative feelings, intense physical sensations along with negative thoughts about oneself long after the abuse has occurred.
Psychologists call this type of PTSD complex post-traumatic stress disorder and describe it as a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape. Essentially, the “complex” in complex post-traumatic stress disorder describes how one layer after another of trauma can interact with one another. Examples of such traumas include and childhood emotional abuse. The difference between PTSD and C-PTSD is that the former can result from single events, or short-term exposure to extreme stress or trauma while the latter results from more chronic repetitive stress from which there is little chance of escape.
Sign 2 Youre Jumpy Twitchy Or Always On Edge Around People
The second sign that you might have PTSD from emotional abuse is if you’re jumpy, twitching, or always feeling “on edge”.
This one is similar to the first, but a little more obvious to identify…
Jumping at sounds or sudden movements is a telltale sign of PTSD.
It doesn’t even have to be loud sounds, they can be as subtle at someone dropping a pencil.
When my PTSD was at its worse it seemed as though everything would make me jump and twitch with fear.
There was even a time when I was driving and a piece of paper flew up and hit my windshield…I nearly jumped out of my skin…a small piece of paper scared the daylights out of me.
If you’re experiencing anything like this, then it’s likely you have PTSD.
And there’s one thing I want you to understand too…
If you are experiencing any of these signs, do not beat yourself up for feeling them.
These are all normal responses to abnormal and destructive events in your life.
Do your best to learn how to love yourself through the process…if you want to learn more about how to love yourself
Being Kind To Yourself
Abuse is always the fault of the perpetrator, but we know that sadly many of the people we support blame themselves at some point – either for the abuse itself happening, or for not getting away sooner, or by shouldering some of the responsibility for the impact on the children. It was not your fault.
Part of the healing process after leaving an abusive relationship involves being kind to yourself. Accept that you weren’t to blame. Accept that doing things differently wouldn’t have stopped the abuse.
Abuse is about power and coercion, so if even if you’d been more loving… stayed quiet instead of shouting back… done as you were told… none of it would have made any difference to the person who wanted to control you. You are here now because you are courageous and determined – and because you know you’re worth more.
Ptsd From Domestic Violence Emotional Abuse Childhood Abuse
PTSD from domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence , is particularly damaging. Both physical abuse and emotional abuse at the hand of an intimate partner have a serious effect on the way the abused person thinks, feels, and interacts with the world . PTSD can result from any type of trauma, but for unique reasons, PTSD from domestic violence, physical or emotional abuse, can be a pervasive, long-term struggle .
- Rather than occurring as a single traumatic event, domestic violence and emotional abuse tend to be chronic, repeated over time. Chronic exposure to the trauma of intimate partner violence leads to chronic PTSD; the effects of both the abuse and PTSD are never allowed to diminish.
- Because the perpetrator of the violence and abuse is someone who is supposed to be nurturing, safe, and trustworthy, domestic abuse is particularly damaging to someone’s psyche, and the resulting feelings of abandonment and betrayal are entwined with the other symptoms of PTSD.
- Domestic violence is part of someone’s daily life; there’s no break; therefore, the effects of PTSD are intensified.
Are There Different Types Of Ptrs
Research specifically focusing on PTRS remains in the early stages, so experts have yet to outline any distinct types or subtypes.
Keep in mind, though, that people experience and respond to trauma in different ways. Two people with PTRS may not necessarily have the exact same symptoms, and some people might face more severe symptoms than others.
It’s also important to recognize that PTRS only describes one specific type of relationship trauma.
Survivors of abusive relationships can still experience PTSD or complex PTSD . The symptoms involved will just be slightly different.
If you attempt to avoid or block out memories of the abusive relationship, struggle to remember details, or feel detached, you could have PTSD.
CPTSD, a response to ongoing trauma, involves symptoms of PTSD along with other experiences, including:
- extreme negative feelings toward yourself, such as shame, , or self-blame
- feelings of hopelessness, despair, sadness, or thoughts of suicide
An unhealthy or toxic relationship could contribute to any of these three conditions.
Working with a mental health professional can help you get more insight on key signs of trauma and begin addressing the effects of abuse in a safe environment.
The direct cause of post-traumatic relationship stress is relationship abuse, or experiencing one or more of the following in an intimate relationship:
More specifically, you can consider PTRS a response to the lingering fear of abuse and the potential for future abuse.
The Emotional Component Of Ptsd
PTSD from emotional abuse is not distinguished as C-PTSD because of its emotional rather than physical nature. All PTSD, even from physical forms of trauma, is based on emotional and psychological reactions to trauma, which develop because of fear and distress.
Also, regular PTSD can happen because of any event the person finds disturbing or distressing, even when the person witnesses it or hears about it rather than experiencing it first-hand. PTSD can come from emotional responses to experiences such as:
- The sudden death of a loved one
- Witnessing a murder
- Hearing about a terrorist attack
- Going through a hurricane without experiencing any physical harm
The distinction between PTSD and C-PTSD is not because of a difference between physical and emotional trauma. The difference has to do with the ongoing nature of the trauma involved in C-PTSD.
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