I wanted to write an article with references about PTSD/CPTSD and relationships. Bless my husband for sticking with me through a rollercoaster of experiences and counseling. I want to share tips and ideas plus share resources to back up what I am writing. Frustration is finding articles that don’t talk about before and after trauma. Most of the articles I find are about the change in their relationship or how things are different with PTSD then before PTSD. I don’t have before PTSD. I muddled through with PTSD and figuring out life since I was 5 years old. I don’t know anything else. Counseling was an eyeopener for me that other ways of functioning existed. More than once when my counselor talked about human interaction I would ask puzzled, “Do you mean people really do that?”
I will share the resource from VA https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/family/ptsd-and-relationships.asp
- Building a personal support network to help cope with PTSD while working on family and friend relationships
- Sharing feelings honestly and openly, with respect and compassion
- Building skills at problem solving and connecting with others
- Including ways to play, be creative, relax, and enjoy others
These are the 4 suggestions made by the VA.
I will share what I am learning about PTSD/CPTSD and relationships:
- Stop LYING especially to myself. Hardest thing for me to combat was the ingrained habit of telling people what they want to hear. For years, it was a matter of survival. I don’t need to do this any more. Sorting through all the different lies and sitting with my true emotions is challenging.
- Don’t assume the other person heard what I thought I said. I need to check in with another person to make sure we are actually on the same page in a conversation. Misunderstandings slip in, triggers hit, and an entire conversation can blow to bits in seconds. Counseling helped me to ask for feedback from others to make sure we understand each other.
- Abandonment is a huge issue for me. Calling me to tell me a person is running late is not about keeping tabs on the other person but reassuring myself that they are still coming. When my husband is late I don’t see him just dawdling on the way home, vivid images of leaving me, murder and mayhem. My job is to write down all the other possibilities as to why someone is late. I also learned to set a worrynometer. I tell myself people are allowed to be one or two hours late before I hit the panic button. Most of the time they get home safely well before my worrynometer sounds off.
- Hold me accountable for what I said I would do….that’s right. Don’t let me slough off on a commitment by blaming PTSD.
- Hold me accountable for my emotions. Yes, my emotions can hit white hot to Arctic Cold. Call me on my behavior and expect me to address what I am feeling and own it.
- Here is a hard one….don’t take personally when a person with PTSD acts like a jerk. 9 times out of 10 my reaction is not about the situation at hand but some other unresolved issue adding fire power well beyond what the circumstances merit.
- Get help….get counseling….get a network built of people to encourage and strengthen each other. Don’t expect yourself to go this alone. If a person had cancer, we wouldn’t expect them to just ‘deal with it’ by themselves. Get HELP. Ideally find a counselor with experience with PTSD. Not easy to find but worth it if you do.
- Accept that relationships are hard…..two people from different backgrounds, experiences, and values come together to enjoy each other’s company and bring our lives together is work. My close friends and family and I get extra work trying to sort everything out in a positive and healthy relationships.