Updated: Oct 4, 2022
If you’re struggling, then you’re not alone. Most people tend to struggle with PTSD relationships. Bad habits become ingrained. There can be a tendency to become complacent. And it can be very difficult to find good information that can guide us through with better ways to manage. You wouldn’t be the first one to get to this point and stop. The solutions might be there. They all sound perfectly logical. But it suddenly feels too overwhelming. And this PTSD relationship has already worn you thin. I mean, where would you even start? And what if it doesn’t work? Or, even worse, makes things more difficult? Don’t despair. There are two main points to keep in mind. Firstly, you cannot change everything at once. Choose just one issue or solution to work on, and let that be your single focus. Only once it’s working and feels instinctive should you move on to the next thing. Secondly, you cannot solve all the issues on your own. Remember, you’re just one part of this PTSD relationship. There’s plenty that a willing partner could be doing too.
PTSD RELATIONSHIPS: Y O U R MINDSET
Build your knowledge of PTSD Have you heard that knowledge is power? It is, but only if you know how to apply it. Understanding more about post traumatic stress disorder will help you support your partner. You will have more empathy when their PTSD symptoms are triggered. And you will be better positioned to live in the moment together. Reach out for your own support Psychological trauma therapy is vital to successful ongoing management of PTSD. We know it helps the outcomes for both PTSD and PTSD relationships. However caregiver burden is common in PTSD relationships. And the supporter almost always benefits from having their own professional support too. Learn how to be supportive without enabling Everyone only wants the best for their loved one with PTSD. We hope that love will conquer all. But unfortunately love isn’t all it takes. And sometimes our love can lead us blindly into the vicious cycle of enabling. It’s so important to know the difference between supporting and enabling for the best balance in PTSD relationships. Set some healthy boundaries Creating boundaries might seem like a selfish thing to do. But without them, you’ll soon find yourself feeling angry, resentful or exhausted. Healthy boundaries are all about choosing to live according to your own core values. They are not about restricting or punishing your loved one. Make regular self-care a priority Caregivers are so accustomed to directing all their energy and attention towards their loved one, they often forget to look out for themselves. Self-care is about reserving some of that love and compassion for yourself. Allowing regular time for self-care not only restores your peace of mind, but keeps you healthy too. Connect with others in PTSD relationships Talking with other people on a similar journey can be very comforting. When you find and connect with others who truly get it, the relief and encouragement you gain is very valuable. You could find local support groups for PTSD partners, or search for communities online.
PTSD RELATIONSHIPS: T H E I R MINDSET
Seek professional therapy and medical support If you’re not already receiving professional therapy and medical support for your PTSD, then it’s time to reach out now. Long-term recovery depends on a supportive network of trauma professionals. Effective therapy and treatment are also vital to maintaining healthy PTSD relationships. Learn about your PTSD What are your biggest triggers? What are your best ways to manage anxiety attacks, triggers and dissociative episodes? Learn what specialty PTSD treatments are available in your area and that might help your PTSD. And are there any new ideas about how to self-manage PTSD symptoms that you could investigate further? Address any substance abuse issues PTSD sufferers tend to have much higher rates of alcohol abuse and other substance abuse. While it might seem to help with your PTSD symptoms in the short-term, substance abuse will only have negative affects on your health and relationships long-term. Don’t let embarrassment stop you reaching out for help. Create daily habits to manage PTSD symptoms PTSD symptoms can be predicted at times, but more often than not there’ll be unexpected triggers or anxiety attacks. Regular healthy habits, such as mindfulness practice and exercise, can help manage PTSD symptoms. Therapists or psychologists can help you formulate a plan to work in with your lifestyle. Make the most of your good days PTSD is not a steady state. You already know you’ll have some good days, some great days, and some days when just getting out of bed is too much. Take advantage of those good days and teach yourself to truly live in the moment. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow isn’t here yet. Bad days will pass. And good days are here to be enjoyed. Connect with others who have PTSD Connecting with other PTSD sufferers can help you understand your condition and yourself better. It can be very supportive to talk with others who know first-hand what you’re dealing with. You may already be in a support group for people with PTSD. If not, try to find one in your area or search for an online community.
Stay tuned for our next installment where we are covering key issues of PTSD and Relationships!!