How To Support Someone With PTSD
PTSD is a complicated disease. People aren’t always “themselves” when experiencing the symptoms, which are both acute and long term. When we’re trying to help someone that pushes us away, it can lead to anger, frustration, and sadness. When those that are close to us push us away, shut us out, and stop communicating it can be exceptionally painful.
But you must remember, this is a facet of the disease itself. Pushing others away is a coping mechanism and must be seen as part of the manifestation of the disease. People with PTSD are not doing this on purpose. They are not doing this because they hate you or don’t love you anymore. They are doing these things because they are in severe pain. They might even do this because they think they are protecting you. Ultimately, being pushed away is not about you, it’s about the disease.
Being pushed away is a difficult situation to deal with for anyone, but we’ve compiled below some of the ways that you can help when being pushed away, and how to deal with some of the effects. Remember, addiction and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are treatable diseases, and help is out there.
Lead With Kindness
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to lead with kindness. Although this person may have hurt you, remember that you love them, you care for them, and you want them to get help. Being pushed away can make you angry or hurt, but you have to be strong for your loved one. Sometimes this means holding back your feelings, even and especially anger, when speaking with them.
Kindness is key. Think about how, if you were having the worst day of your life, you would like to be spoken to. It would likely be with kindness. This doesn’t mean you need to be un-firm or lose your boundaries, but you catch a lot more flies with honey than vinegar.
When dealing with any psychological problem, whether it be PTSD, addiction, or any other mental disorder, you shouldn’t be giving anyone a lecture. You should likely be listening at least as much as you are talking— and you should listen to understand, not to disagree. You can understand without agreement.
Try to understand what your loved one is going through. Sometimes traumatic experiences are quite difficult to understand for people who have not gone through them themselves, but you can try your best. Nobody wants a lecture everyday, and when your loved ones are open to speaking, be ready to listen.
People with PTSD have gone through intense experiences, experiences outside the human normal, and none of us know how we’re going to react to them when and if they happen. Especially for soldiers who have seen combat, civilians simply can’t understand what people have had to do to survive. Thus, don’t judge, it is almost never helpful. Listen to understand and to help your loved one.
Communicate Your Support
Tell your loved ones you love them. Tell them you’ll do everything in your power, you’ll do whatever it takes, to help them— and mean it. Give them words of encouragement, and offer them anything positive you may have. Your position is to be available to help— and let them know you’ll be there whenever they want it. It may be a long process, but it’s worth it.
Gently Try Again
Being pushed away can sting, but you can’t take this to heart. Many times being shut out is a facet of the disease. Still it doesn’t feel good. But keep trying. Pick appropriate times and places to try to speak with your loved ones, and be gentle.
This almost goes without saying, but try to remain calm. Adding anger from your side is like adding fuel to a fire. Anger and other strong emotions can often push those away who are dealing with their own. Try your best to remain calm.
Know What Options For Help Are Available
Finally, know what options are available to help your loved ones dealing with the effects and symptoms of PTSD. You can understand what options are available in your area for therapy, doctors, treatment centers, any resources that might be of use. You can also seek to understand terminology, the disease itself, associated issues and triggers, anything to do with the disease can be helpful and can bring you closer to your loved one. Educate yourself.
Seek Professional Help For PTSD
If one of your loved ones, be it a spouse or another family member, is dealing with PTSD and associated issues like addiction, there is help available. Both PTSD and addiction are treatable diseases. Desert Rose Recovery is always an option and there may be other options as well. We’ll be happy to serve you and your family, and the number one thing we want is to see you and your family as happy and healthy as possible.