Dating Someone with Complex PTSD: Healing and Growing With Your Partner – Bridges to Recovery
By Kerry Keating. Relationships can be challenging by themselves, but dating someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be even. Being the partner of someone who has PTSD can be challenging. For three years, I was in a relationship with a man who experienced PTSD symptoms daily. Like depression or other mental and behavioral issues, it's not. The closer the relationship is, the greater the emotional challenges are likely to be. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and dating are a complicated mixture that has .
Structure and predictable schedules can restore a sense of stability and security to people with PTSD, both adults and children. Minimize stress at home. Try to make sure your loved one has space and time for rest and relaxation.
- What to Know About Relationships With Someone With PTSD
- Dating Someone with Complex PTSD: Healing and Growing With Your Partner
- 6 Things I Learned from Dating Someone with PTSD
Speak of the future and make plans. This can help counteract the common feeling among people with PTSD that their future is limited. Encourage your loved one to join a support group. Getting involved with others who have gone through similar traumatic experiences can help some people with PTSD feel less damaged and alone.
Anticipate and manage triggers A trigger is anything—a person, place, thing, or situation—that reminds your loved one of the trauma and sets off a PTSD symptom, such as a flashback. Sometimes, triggers are obvious.
6 Things I Learned from Dating Someone with PTSD
For example, a military veteran might be triggered by seeing his combat buddies or by the loud noises that sound like gunfire. Others may take some time to identify and understand, such as hearing a song that was playing when the traumatic event happened, for example, so now that song or even others in the same musical genre are triggers. Internal feelings and sensations can also trigger PTSD symptoms. 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 certain types of weather, seasons, etc.
PTSD & Relationships
Then you can come up with a joint game plan for how you will respond in future. Decide with your loved one how you should respond when they have a nightmare, flashback, or panic attack. Having a plan in place will make the situation less scary for both of you. Touching or putting your arms around the person might make them feel trapped, which can lead to greater agitation and even violence Tip 5: Deal with volatility and anger PTSD can lead to difficulties managing emotions and impulses. In your loved one, this may manifest as extreme irritability, moodiness, or explosions of rage.
Remember, if it does, there is never any excuse for violent behavior. That said, PTSD sufferers will probably feel guilty about their loss of control and may accept that they have a problem if they are confronted by friends and family over their behavior. Get to safety instead.
Helping Someone with PTSD
In some situations, survivors might become too dependent upon family members, their partners, their friends, or even therapists or healthcare providers. Partners, family members, and friends of people with PTSD often have a hard time coping with all of this. They might feel isolated, depressed, or hurt because they are unable to help the survivor get past the trauma, and they might not know where to turn.
They might also feel controlled and tense and become distant or even angry with the person suffering from PTSD. Some survivors have a way of making the people around them feel like they too are living in a war zone.
People with PTSD can develop and sustain healthy relationships by working on the following things: Develop a network of personal support to assist in the coping process with PTSD and help build stronger relationships with friends and family Learn to share your feelings—even those that worry or scare you—openly and honestly, always with compassion and respect Build communication, problem-solving, and connecting skills by interacting with others Practice being creative, playing, relaxing and enjoying your time, both alone and with others How can you get help doing these things?
There is more than one way to get PTSD treatment. Find the options that work best for you, and try more than one treatment approach: Intimate relationships may have episodes of verbal or physical violence.
Survivors may be overly dependent upon or overprotective of partners, family members, friends, or support persons such as healthcare providers or therapists. Alcohol abuse and substance addiction — as an attempt to cope with PTSD — can also negatively impact and even destroy partner relationships or friendships.
In the first weeks and months following the traumatic event, survivors of disasters, terrible accidents or illnesses, or community violence often feel an unexpected sense of anger, detachment, or anxiety in intimate, family, and friendship relationships.
Most are able to resume their prior level of intimacy and involvement in relationships, but the 5 percent to 10 percent who develop PTSD often experience lasting problems with relatedness and intimacy.
Not every trauma survivor experiences PTSD. Many couples, families, or friendships with an individual who has PTSD do not experience severe relational problems. Keys to a Successful Relationship Successful partner relationships require ongoing work and dedication.The Brutal Ways PTSD Impacts Relationships
Maintaining or rebuilding family and friend relationships often takes perseverance and hard work over a period of time.