Do you have a loved one suffering from PTSD?
Dating with PTSD can be overwhelming to think about. PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, can develop after trauma. This may result from military time, rape, or childhood events.
It affects parts in the brain that trigger strong actions. This includes parts like the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. However, many don’t realize that people with PTSD are still normal people.
Many people who suffer from PTSD can lead normal lives. If it’s your first time dating someone with PTSD, you may feel anxious or pressured. In this article, we give you a guide to dating and PTSD to help you overcome your fear.
PTSD Is a Real Illness
People who witness or experience a traumatic event may develop PTSD. In World War I and II, many referred to this as “shell shock” or “combat fatigue.” It affects over 3.5% of people in the US.
A person may experience intense feelings and thoughts related to their trauma. They tend to avoid situations that remind them of their trauma. One may even have negative reactions to simple touches or loud noises.
If this is your first time learning about PTSD, it’s crucial to know that it’s a real mental illness. Dating with PTSD may require crucial knowledge about the illness. This is more important if your partner suffers from C PTSD.
Complex PTSD may affect patients with additional symptoms. People may start experiencing flashbacks without realizing they are. You need to be aware of this if you’re dating someone with C PTSD.
Feelings of Inadequacy
Traumatic experiences can affect a person’s sense of safety. This can result in emotions such as feeling unworthy of love. A person with PTSD may feel as though the world is against them.
They may start the generalize these thoughts until the point it impacts all aspects of life. They may have deep insecurities that others may not even realize was there. A person who doesn’t know how to manage their PTSD may have explosive outbursts.
It’s crucial to know that your partner cannot control their emotions. However, you can help them manage their reactions. If they start distancing themselves, give them space but find ways to stay connected.
Creating a Safe Space
Cultivate a relationship that allows your partner to feel safe. A person with PTSD may lead them to believe they are never safe. Be patient when you have last-minute plans or start arguing.
Contact their friends and loved ones to create a healthy support system. Your loved one may feel comfortable when they’re around people they trust.
It’s essential that your partner will be able to approach you if they need anything. However, it’s not healthy if they only depend on you. An expanded network can help them feel more connected and confident within a group.
Knowing the Triggers
Your partner’s trauma could result from a variety of things. From childhood abuse to military combat, your partner’s triggers could be different. It’s essential to know these triggers to avoid high-risk situations.
Use this as an opportunity to build good communication habits. Loud noises and sudden changes in plans are some common triggers. However, you can’t always avoid this.
If you know this is coming, try to reassure your partner. Lessen the impact by creating a soft landing for your partner. Talking about certain topics may also trigger your partner.
Whenever possible, ask your partner about their triggers. You may even create a safe word for your partner so you know when to stop the conversation.
It’s Not Their Fault
Telling your partner to “snap out of it” won’t help them. Dating with PTSD can sometimes be difficult. However, this is not an excuse for you to minimize their trauma.
Avoid blaming your partner for their symptoms or their emotions. Try your best to empathetic and sensitive to their feelings. When they’re experiencing flashbacks or anxiety, offer reassurance and comfort.
If you feel that it’s too much for you, don’t be afraid to contact their support system. Getting the help of others may help you manage the trauma easier. Don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional.
Encourage your partner to seek a therapist for their PTSD. You may even join them in their sessions if you feel it would be more helpful. It’s crucial to recognize the effects of PTSD, but you must not blame all your problems on it.
Some therapists offer individual therapy for both you and your partner. You may even attend couple’s therapy to learn how to manage it together.
Attending a therapy session with your partner may help you gain a deeper understanding of what they’re going through. You must never feel embarrassed about seeking professional advice.
Dating someone with C PTSD is not easy. You may start to feel as though your life revolves around them or the other way around. When you’re dating with C PTSD, it can be easy to forget about yourself.
It’s essential to know when to take a step back from your relationship. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your partner starts expressing negative behavior. More often than not, it’s not your fault.
Many people mistake that PTSD can define a person. While this isn’t true, the effects are genuine. You can help a person recover, but remember it shouldn’t be at your expense.
It’s okay to acknowledge and recognize your feelings. Maintain a positive and healthy lifestyle by engaging in self-care. Making coping strategies for yourself can make your struggles easier.
If it all becomes too much, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to walk away. At the end of the day, it’s not your responsibility to deal with your partner. Your health and happiness are more important, and it’s enough reason to walk away when needed.
Dating With PTSD: Now You Know
Dating with PTSD doesn’t mean you can’t have a normal and stable relationship. With a lot of empathy and sound communication, anything is possible!
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