Saturday, June 8, 2024

How To Love Someone With Complex Ptsd

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Loving Someone with C-PTSD

During the time that I was processing my trauma and trying to cope with the overwhelming feelings, emotions and unrelenting symptoms of PTSD, I felt unglued. Before I had learned skills to tolerate my distress, I was upset, angry, hurt and lived in what felt like a constant state of panic. I took anything my husband said personally and blew things way out of proportion. I lost my trust in the world, feeling raw and vulnerable, working hard to push him away. At the same time, I was terrified he would abandon me, needing constant reassurance that he wasnt going anywhere.

He was stunned and hurt and didnt how to be around me any longer. He didnt understand what was happening to me, and Im sure he felt helpless not knowing how to make things better, to fix it. He found a support group for loved ones of PTSD and started therapy to learn how to take care of himself. Its extremely important that our caregivers get what they need for their own emotional and physical wellbeing. Rose

Living With is a guide to navigating conditions that affect your mind and body. Each month, HuffPost Life will tackle very real issues people live with by offering different stories, advice and ways to connect with others who understand what its like. In June, were covering trauma and PTSD. Got an experience youd like to share? Email

Try To Accept Abnormal Behaviors

When triggered, people with PTSD may act irrationally, and you should be ready to deal with them. PTSD patients may suffer from nightmares, headache, dry mouth, muscle aches, repetitive motions, blurred vision, nervous tics, emotional withdrawal or even have difficulty in telling what is true and what is imaginary. On a date, your partner may become nervous, get irritated easily or look really anxious. Just dont judge or get irritated with them instead, be empathetic to your partner and try to distract his or her attention with jokes or chitchat.

Learn About The Options For Treatment

With the right tools and awareness, you can be a remarkable source of support when caring for someone with complex PTSD, but it is still a disorder that calls for professional guidance and treatment. Long-term residential treatment programs are the best option for a recovery path that brings clients back to the life they really want to live. In these settings, experts are trained to establish a nurturing environment and be receptive to clients particular needs and triggers so they can ensure the best potentials for recovery success.

In a long-term treatment setting, clients can heal trauma as they are ready. Just as they build trust with you and the home recovery environment, they have sufficient time and space to build trusting relationships with therapist and clinicians who can offer invaluable guidance, support, and tools along the way. The extended time in the treatment setting allows the trauma to unfold gradually and progressivelyunlike in short-term settings where surface layers of trauma and triggers may be resolved temporarily, but the roots of past pain remain.

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Stay In Clear Communication

Each person will have different symptoms and triggers. Clear communication can help you plan the most supportive ways to respond when they arise. Communicating about symptoms and triggers can help you to create an intentional, supportive response.

For example, one common symptom of PTSD and complex PTSD is dissociation. If your partner or friend experiences dissociation, they may display a sense of numbness or detachment.

Foo told Psych Central that when her dissociation is at work, her voice can become flat.

If your loved one starts interacting with you with a flat voice, or flat affect, it may be initially hard to interpret. Its helpful to ask questions about what their expression or tone may or may not indicate.

One way you can support your partner is by asking them, Hey, you sound kind of irritated. What are you experiencing right now? Is there anything I can do?

If you and your loved one have developed a rapport around symptoms, you may feel comfortable asking them directly about what a blank expression may mean. If youre still learning about how PTSD manifests for your loved one, it may take time to figure out what your communication style will be.

In any case, it helps to stay in close contact about both parties needs and expectations to show love and avoid miscommunication.

Ways To Support Your Partner If They Have Ptsd

Pin on Trauma &  Relationships

Dating someone with complex PTSD means you need to try to understand how to help them navigate their symptoms when they occur. There are various ways you do this and help with their PTSD recovery, but its also important to remember that youre not a mental health professional. If you want to learn how to help someone with PTSD, one of the best things you can do is to encourage them to seek professional help and learn about the different types of therapy for PTSD. Aside from that, you may also want to:

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What It’s Like To Be In Love When You Have Ptsd

Just like most mental disorders, post traumatic stress disorder is only just starting to become more widely understood. This was quite apparent to me in the interactions Ive had when discussing it.

The first time I mentioned my diagnosis to my brother, he responded in confusion, Isnt that only for war veterans? Another time, I was going over a pre-op questionnaire with a nurse who asked if my PTSD was related to military service. I certainly understand why they were confused. It took me years to understand what I was experiencing were symptoms of PTSD and many more years before I was able to manage my symptoms.

The official DSM-IV definition for PTSD is the development of characteristic symptoms following exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor. Even a quick Google search causes for PTSD shows a snapshot in the Google Answer Box:

Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop after a very stressful, frightening or distressing event, or after a prolonged traumatic experience. Types of events that can lead to PTSD include: serious road accidents, violent personal assaults, such as sexual assault, mugging or robbery.

I had two answers for him:

1. Dont be fooled, we all struggle.

2. I am in love with my greatest trigger.

Therapy Is Available For You Too

The person you are dating the one with CPTSD needs professional help. In addition, as you navigate a difficult situation you can also benefit greatly from such guidance. I. would love to assist you and invite you to start that process please read more about trauma therapy. Then, lets connect soon for a free and confidential consultation.

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Withdrawal Leading To Detachment

The trauma survivor in your relationship may withdraw from you and from themselves. Often, their brain may feel disconnected from their body because the trauma feels like too much to handle.7 As a result, the person with PTSD may feel shame, embarrassed that theyre unable to cope with their feelings, or feel out of control over their own behaviors.5

Individual Or Couples Therapy Can Be Invaluable

How to Actually HELP SOMEONE With CPTSD

Heres whats important regarding complex PTSD and romantic relationship. Both people need support and guidance. The partner with C-PTSD needs to work with a qualified mental health practitioner to move toward recovery. Trauma treatment is a specialized field of psychology. So, its best to work with someone who provides trauma informed treatment. But, as a team, you can both commit to couples counseling. And if you are in relationship with a trauma survivor, be sure to get the support you need. While your partner heals, the two of you can make much-needed progress in your romantic life. These parallel tracks validate both of your needs and cover a lot more ground.

To learn more about this process, why not reach out today for support? Consider PTSD therapy We can connect for a confidential consultation to gets things moving in a healthier and more productive direction.

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Cat is a university student majoring in psychology, and living with C-PTSD. She is a passionate advocate for mental health with the purpose of reducing the harmful stigma associated with mental illness. Her goal is to share her experiences with others in hopes of bringing validity to them, and to let them know they are not alone in what they are experiencing.

We’re so happy you found us. The Mighty is a supportive community created to help people going through any type of health challenge including recovering from trauma. You are welcome here.

A Few Things You Can Do If Your Partner Has C

  • Try Your Best to Not Take Things Personally: Yes, this is easier said than done. But it can go a long way in soothing both of you.
  • Learn More About C-PTSD: Self-education is key. Also, learn more about your partners specific needs and triggers. Learn what C-PTSD is.
  • Practice Self-Care: You need to safeguard your mental and physical well-being. Maintain regular sleep patterns. Make healthy eating choices. Engage in daily activity and exercise. Develop some relaxation techniques.
  • Be Consistent: Someone with C-PTSD responds well to predictable patterns and habits.
  • Respect Boundaries: But also, be sure to set and enforce your own boundaries. Make this an ongoing conversation between you.
  • Talk About Consent in Terms of Intimacy: Get things out into the open in terms of your intimacy and your sex life.
  • Encourage Them to Seek Professional Help: Simply put, your partner needs professional treatment, not judgment or unreliable support.

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Complex Trauma And Dissociation

When youre stuck in trauma, simple or complex, you may feel like you are not real and the world around you is a mirage.

You dont belong, youre different, and youre not like the normal people.

Its like somebody cut you out of life you can watch it pass by, but you cant be part of it. And you cant feel.

Although this state is invisible and not dangerous, the excruciatingly painful feeling of numbness and not belonging is a frequent companion of post-traumatic stress.

Its called depersonalization/derealization or DPDR.

Lack Of Emotional Regulation

Loving Someone With Complex Ptsd

Many people who live with Complex PTSD struggle with a lack of emotional regulation. They may get angry over small things, and they may have intense emotions and urges that are difficult for them to control. You may notice that anger transforms into rage or that you scream louder than you did before. Sudden mood swings are particularly common. You will find it difficult to control your emotions because of the severity of your inability to process the intensity of the trauma. Eventually, things do stabilize, so remember that all of this is temporary.

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Change Loss & Disappointment

Its common for the partner of a trauma survivor to feel disappointed, particularly if the trauma occurs during the course of your relationship and your partner changes. You may feel disappointed that your partner no longer seems to be fully themselves or that your relationship isnt turning out the way youd hoped.

Prolonged disappointment can often lead to resentment as well, doubling down on the difficult aftereffects of trauma in your relationship.5 The immense changes that occur in your partner as a result of trauma often feels like a loss to you loss of the person you loved and aspects of their personality that you loved about them.5

Finding Support As You Navigate The Relationship

Dating someone with PTSD can be difficult. It can even be frustrating at times. Remember that post-traumatic stress disorder is a treatable mental health condition. It can be successfully managed in the long term, especially if you and your partner seek professional counseling, online therapy, PTSD treatment, and use goal-setting to anticipate and better-handle triggers as they occur.

Still, its vital to protect yourself. You shouldnt become so engaged with taking care of your PTSD partner that you neglect your own individual needs in a relationship. Be sure to consider your own desires, and dont hesitate to speak up about what you want. Above all, keep in mind that if, at any point, your partners PTSD symptoms feel too frequent, too intense, or otherwise too much to take, its OK for you to do what you need to in order to take care of yourself. However, if your partner is in danger, we recommend helping them get professional help, too.

  • doi:10.1136/bmj.h6161. Accessed February 5, 2022.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Feeling Unsafe In Relationships

Its commonly known that those who have histories of severe and/or chronic trauma in childhood will often grow into adults who unconsciously seek out connections with othersespecially intimate relationshipsthat allow them to reenact their unresolved childhood conflicts. Freud coined this as repetition compulsion where an adult with unprocessed trauma will attempt to resolve the trauma through reliving the traumatic experiences in relationships. Anyone who has a history of dating their mother may often fit this bill, in Freudian terms.

Other signs include:

Things You Shouldnt Say To Someone With Complex Ptsd

6 Tips to Help Someone You Love With PTSD

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder can be caused by a fearful event or a time when someone felt like they had to fight for their life more than once.

There are a few things that, if said to a person with C-PTSD, are more upsetting than anything. Here are some of them:

1. Get over it.

This is one thing that someone with C-PTSD hates to hear. We want to move on we dont want to be haunted by our past. If it were a switch we could flip we would, but we cant. Please dont tell us this.

2. That was so long ago.

The events we experienced may no longer be happening, but we relive them most days. The flashbacks, nightmares and daily reminders make us feel like it wasnt long ago. It may have happened a long time ago for the person who says this, but for us, its still so real.

3. Change your ways stop thinking that way.

When people tell us to change our ways, the things we do because of C-PTSD, they dont realize that this thought process or way of doing something has been drilled into our heads. We are scared of changing we are scared this will bring back the abuse and fear.

4. I dont remember it that badly.

You did not live my fears and worries. I never asked what you remember. You were not there all the time there were closed doors. I have reasons I have C-PTSD and I dont want to argue about what you remember.

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Repeated Search For A Rescuer

Subconsciously looking for someone to rescue them is something many survivors understandably think about during the ongoing trauma and this can continue on after the trauma has ceased. The survivor can feel helpless and yearn for someone to come and rescue them from the pain they feel and want them to make their lives better. This sadly often leads to the survivor seeking out the wrong types of people and being re-traumatized repeatedly.

Try To Understand Our Fears Instead Of Writing Them Off As Irrational

People with PTSD experience terror that can be debilitating. This is a terror that is often impervious to logic, which means that trying to reason with people who have PTSD is one of the quickest ways to alienate them. Instead of trying to talk them out of their fears, let them talk to you. Ask questions. Listen. Let them know that you understand. You dont have to understand the exact nature of their terror you simply need to understand that it is, in fact, terror. Chin

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When Were Having A Bad Day Know That Its Not Your Fault

I wish they understood that when Im struggling it has nothing to do with them. Like, if Im going through something because of my PTSD, its because of my PTSD, not them. I never want friends or family to feel like its their fault when Im struggling with anxiety or from other symptoms of my PTSD. Kayla Stevenson

Your Responsibilities In Your Romantic Partners Treatment

Loving Someone With Complex Ptsd

If someone you love is receiving treatment for complex PTSD, you may be able to aid in their recovery. Make an effort to learn all you can about your partners conditionthe causes, the symptoms, the effects, the treatmentand be prepared to approach them with openness, understanding, and a lack of judgment.

Make sure you respect their boundaries. Dont risk retraumatizing them dont force them to re-experience traumatic memories if theyre not ready and willing to discuss them with you. Listen to them when they want to talk, but be prepared to give them space, if thats what they prefer. Find useful ways to help them through traumatic flashbacks and other disturbing effects of complex PTSD and give them active support with their treatment. When your romantic partner has C-PTSD, helping them recover will require empathy, compassion, and gentle support. With your active participation in their professional treatment, youll be able to strengthen your romantic bond and help your partner through the healing process.

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For Survivors Of Cptsd: How To Find Real Love

For people who were abused and neglected in childhood, one of the cruelest ways the damage shows up is in romantic relationships. Too many of us go through life either alone, or in relationships where were not loved, not safe, and not happy.

It doesnt have to be that way. If you have Childhood PTSD and youre wondering why you keep attracting people who are either dysfunctional, unavailable or abusive youre going to want to read this. .

This is an area where I struggled horribly for much of my adult life. I used to live my life stuck in a loop, between being alone, then in a bad relationship, then back to being alone,

Im writing this for those of you who are in that loop right now. If youre in a good relationship, keep reading because what Im going to teach here can be applied to a lot of other aspects of life including work, creativity, and the fulfillment of dreams and goals you havent achieved yet.

For people with childhood trauma, romance is one BIG area where you can end up with not only less than you really want, but with something you never wanted.

Maybe youve been through this before: You try to meet someone you like a solid person and someone you can trust. When you think youve found them, they let you down. They push you away or they turn out to have some giant problem, e.g., theyre already in a relationship, or they have an addiction, or for one reason or another, they just cant be there for you.

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