Tip : Find Healthier Ways To Express Your Anger
If youve decided that the situation is worth getting angry about and theres something you can do to make it better, the key is to express your feelings in a healthy way. Learning how to resolve conflict in a positive way will help you strengthen your relationships rather than damaging them.
Always fight fair. Its okay to be upset at someone, but if you dont fight fair, the relationship will quickly break down. Fighting fair allows you to express your own needs while still respecting others.
Make the relationship your priority. Maintaining and strengthening the relationship, rather than winning the argument, should always be your first priority. Respect the other person and their viewpoint.
Focus on the present. Once you are in the heat of arguing, its easy to start throwing past grievances into the mix. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem.
Be willing to forgive. Resolving conflict is impossible if youre unwilling or unable to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can never compensate for our losses and only adds to our injury by further depleting and draining our lives.
Take five if things get too heated. If your anger starts to spiral out of control, remove yourself from the situation for a few minutes or for as long as it takes you to cool down.
How To Help Someone Suffering From Ptsd
Traumatic events happen every day, and can hit unfortunately close to home. Each day people are faced with sudden deaths of loved ones, natural disasters, life-threatening illness, car crashes, abuse, rape, and other unforeseen traumas. These life events can cause an upheaval of emotions and destroy a persons equilibrium, causing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder . Often, these traumas and their aftereffects are more than a person can handle on their own. They need the support of their loved ones and their community. In recognition of National PTSD Awareness Day, below are practical ways to support people in your life who may be struggling with PTSD.
Dr. Gregory Jantz
Pioneering Whole Person Care over thirty years ago, Dr. Gregory Jantz is an innovator in the treatment of mental health. He is a best-selling author of over 45 books, and a go-to media authority on behavioral health afflictions, appearing on CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CNN. Dr. Jantz leads a team of world-class, licensed, and…
Finding The Right Team For A Person Struggling With Ptsd Is Essential
They will need specialists and colleagues who understand stress disorders. For many, family may not be enough. Be supportive and help them get advocates.
Veterans are accustomed to working in teams. Hence, it would be especially beneficial for those who served in the military. Ive worked with survivors of military sexual trauma and some of the feedback I got from them is that they were in a place where they felt powerless.
The best way to combat these emotions is to take responsibility for everything going forward by being the conductor of your life. You will in effect, reclaim your power and shift the feelings from victim to victor. When you have an everything only happens to you mentality, you stay powerless.
When you choose who you want to become, you can turn every situation into a lesson. Then you only get better, stronger, and more powerful.
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Common External Ptsd Triggers
- Sights, sounds, or smells associated with the trauma.
- People, locations, or things that recall the trauma.
- Significant dates or times, such as anniversaries or a specific time of day.
- Nature .
- Conversations or media coverage about trauma or negative news events.
- Situations that feel confining .
- Relationship, family, school, work, or money pressures or arguments.
- Funerals, hospitals, or medical treatment.
Tip : Rebuild Trust And Safety
Trauma alters the way a person sees the world, making it seem like a perpetually dangerous and frightening place. It also damages peoples ability to trust others and themselves. If theres any way you can rebuild your loved ones sense of security, it will contribute to their recovery.
Express your commitment to the relationship. Let your loved one know that youre here for the long haul so they feel loved and supported.
Create routines. Structure and predictable schedules can restore a sense of stability and security to people with PTSD, both adults and children. Creating routines could involve getting your loved one to help with groceries or housework, for example, maintaining regular times for meals, or simply being there for the person.
Minimize stress at home. Try to make sure your loved one has space and time for rest and relaxation.
Speak of the future and make plans. This can help counteract the common feeling among people with PTSD that their future is limited.
Keep your promises. Help rebuild trust by showing that youre trustworthy. Be consistent and follow through on what you say youre going to do.
Emphasize your loved ones strengths. Tell your loved one you believe theyre capable of recovery and point out all of their positive qualities and successes.
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What You Should Know About Post
PTSD, like many other mental health conditions, has no specific symptom. There are a number of symptoms that might be linked to the disease. Many of these, such as terrible nightmares, insomnia, irritability, and so on, may appear to be relatively innocuous on their own.
However, when combined with other symptoms, a health professional may determine that more investigation is required to rule out or confirm PTSD as a probable cause.
How Can I Find Help
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, an online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs in your state. For additional resources, visit NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage.
If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK . You also can text the Crisis Text Line or use the Lifeline Chat on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.
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Deal With Anger And Volatility
PTSD often leads to challenges when managing impulses and emotions, which might manifest in your loved one as moodiness, extreme irritability, or explosions of rage. A person dealing with PTSD lives in a constant state of emotional and physical stress. Since they experience sleep troubles like insomnia, it means theyre constantly on edge and exhausted, increasing the likelihood theyll overreact to daily stressors.
For many of those with PTSD, anger might also be a mask for other feelings like helplessness, guilt, or grief. Anger allows them to feel powerful instead of vulnerable and weak. Others might suppress their anger until it erupts at a time you least expect. You should watch for signs that your loved one is angry and try to remain calm. Try giving them personal space and ask how you can help. Anger is a healthy emotion, but chronic anger spirals can have adverse consequences.
Educate Yourself On Ptsd And Get Help For Yourself If You Feel You Need It
PTSD affects not just the person who experienced the traumatic event, but can also affect their friends, family, and even coworkers. It can be really overwhelming seeing someone you care about having a hard time after a traumatic event and in some instances it can lead to you having a difficult time coping as well.
You might feel at a loss on how to help, and you might even have difficulties concentrating, or problems sleeping because you are so upset with what happened to your loved one.
It is way more common than people think for the loved ones of someone who has PTSD to see a counselor for themselves and it can also go a long way in helping the person with PTSD feel supported.
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You Must Care For Yourself
Caretakers in relationships with people with PTSD often forget to take care of themselves.
I developed guilt associated with personal fulfillment or enjoyment, because its easy to get sucked into an unhealthy cycle.
When I wanted to hang out with friends without having to spend an hour talking D. down or not check in consistently while I was traveling for work to let him know I was safe, I felt guilty.
The partner of someone with PTSD will have to be strong a lot of the time. To do this, you must take care of your own mental health.
Wen agrees. When youre in a caretaker role, you have to put the mask on yourself first, she says. It must be a conscious effort to carve out time for yourself. The caretaker has to stay strong if they are to become a support system, and they need to have support and healthy outlets to maintain that.
After years of baby steps forward and monumental steps back, I ultimately made the decision to end the relationship.
It wasnt because I dont love D. I love him and miss him every moment.
But the issues surrounding PTSD that needed to be addressed called for dedicated commitment, time, and the help of a professional things he didnt say he was opposed to. Still, he never made the choices to show he was ready.
The guilt, sadness, and feeling of defeat were all encompassing. For two months I barely left my apartment. I felt like I failed him.
Negative Thought Patterns That Can Trigger Anger
You may think that external factorsthe insensitive actions of other people, for example, or frustrating situationsare causing your anger. But anger problems have less to do with what happens to you than how you interpret and think about what happened.
Common negative thinking patterns that trigger and fuel anger include:
- Overgeneralizing. For example, You ALWAYS interrupt me. You NEVER consider my needs. EVERYONE disrespects me. I NEVER get the credit I deserve.
- Obsessing over shoulds and musts. Having a rigid view of the way a situation should or must go and getting angry when reality doesnt line up with this vision.
- Mind reading and jumping to conclusions. Assuming you know what someone else is thinking or feelingthat they intentionally upset you, ignored your wishes, or disrespected you.
- Collecting straws. Looking for things to get upset about, usually while overlooking or blowing past anything positive. Letting these small irritations build and build until you reach the final straw and explode, often over something relatively minor.
- Blaming. When anything bad happens or something goes wrong, its always someone elses fault. You tell yourself, lifes not fair, or blame others for your problems rather than taking responsibility for your own life.
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Give Us Permission To Be Imperfect
For a lot of us with complex trauma, we struggle with perfectionism. Pete Walker calls this the inner critic, which so many survivors grapple with in recovery.
For some of us, perfectionism was a coping mechanism run amok, in which we desperately tried to better ourselves to earn the love or attachment that we lacked by correcting our supposed shortcomings .
This inner critic can also be the voice we internalized, like when youre a bad child suddenly becomes Im a bad child. The external criticisms or neglect we endured suddenly became the mantras we took on as we were further and further traumatized.
Which is to say, a lot of survivors who are dealing with complex trauma really struggle with being imperfect.
For me personally, I believed for a long time that if people truly got to know me, they wouldnt be able to love me. So I spent a good amount of time trying to make myself better, with the hopes that I would someday be good enough for the people in my life.
I think this is why its powerful when our loved ones give us permission to be imperfect. Some examples:
- You dont have to be perfect for me or for anyone else. Im going to be in your corner no matter what.
- Its true that you make mistakes. But you always work hard to make things right, and thats what matters.
- In my eyes, youre already lovable and youre already worthy.
- Trust me. If somethings wrong, Im going to tell you, and I promise well work through it.
Rebuild Trust And Safety
Trauma alters how a person with PTSD sees the making, and it might even seem like a dangerous and frightening place. If theres any way you can rebuild their sense of security, it will contribute to their recovery in the long term. You should express your commitment to the relationship and let them know youre here for them so that they feel supported and loved.
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There Is Treatment Available Forveterans And Military Members With Ptsd
If you or a loved one struggles with PTSD,there is help and hope available. Help for Heroes is a dedicated treatmentprogram designed specifically for the mental health and substance abuse needsof all first responders, military service members and veterans.
Visit our locations page to find the Help for Heroes facility closest to you. Need immediate help? Active-duty military members now for immediate help.
Additional Ptsd Support Resources
Along with treatment, consider encouraging your friend to join a local support group. There are many different kinds of support groups located in cities and towns across the country. Maybe attend with your friend, if they are comfortable with that.
Support groups for PTSD are a beneficial way to build a strong support network and interact with other people who also have this condition. It can feel good to have a safe space to share and listen among people who can empathize having PTSD.
There are support groups specifically for victims of childhood abuse, sexual trauma, and also for veterans. These groups are operated by private organizations, nonprofits and also governmental organizations.
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Look After Your Own Mental Health
It’s important to remember that your mental health matters too. Our pages on supporting someone else to seek help, how to cope when supporting someone else, managing stress and maintaining your wellbeing all have lots of information and tips on how to look after yourself.
Support options for you
A traumatic event can have a major impact not just on those who lived through it, but also on that person’s close family, friends and colleagues.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence – the organisation that produces guidelines on best practice in healthcare – says professionals should consider the impact of traumatic events on relatives and think about how to provide appropriate care.
Encourage A Loved One To Seek Professional Support
PTSD symptoms can feel debilitating, but with help, can be managed. Often, the most effective way to ensure a loved one receives the necessary level of care is to connect them with a credentialed mental health professional.
With the guidance of a therapist, your loved one can address their symptoms and develop coping strategies using evidence-based treatments such as Internal Family Systems Therapy , Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , Art Therapy, Narrative Trauma Therapy, and more.
For some, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy can be an efficacious form of treatment for integrating trauma memories, in order to be less reactive toward them and reframe negative beliefs into a resilient narrative that can help a person lead a more content life in the present.
For more support, loved ones can engage in programs that offer family-based treatment, which helps families as well as the person struggling with PTSD to better understand what is happening, develop stress management techniques, and foster healthier communication as a unit.
Alisha Sweyd, MA, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist | Certified First Responder Counselor | Certified Clinical Trauma Professional | Director and Co-Founder, Code 3 Counseling
One of the things I love about working with responders who have PTSD is the ability to do couples work with them.
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What Should I Know About Participating In Clinical Research
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials webpage.
What Can I Do To Help Myself
It is important to know that, although it may take some time, you can get better with treatment. Here are some things you can do to help yourself:
- Talk with your health care provider about treatment options, and follow your treatment plan.
- Engage in exercise, mindfulness, or other activities that help reduce stress.
- Try to maintain routines for meals, exercise, and sleep.
- Set realistic goals and do what you can as you are able.
- Spend time with trusted friends or relatives, and tell them about things that may trigger symptoms.
- Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately.
- Avoid use of alcohol or drugs.