Is Your Partner’s PTSD Ruining Your Relationship?

Posted by on Feb 15, 2019 in Couples Counseling For One | Comments Off on Is Your Partner’s PTSD Ruining Your Relationship?

PTSD can develop after someone is exposed to a traumatic event (or events).  It may even occur if one simply observes something traumatic. If you are concerned that your partner’s PTSD is ruining your relationship, read on to learn more.

There are several scenarios that can be traumatic stressors. These include war, natural disasters, car accidents, or relationship violence. It’s very common for people to experience symptoms immediately or soon after a trauma. Conversely, for some people, it can take weeks, months, or even years for symptoms to appear. These symptoms may not last very long. However, for some, they can last much longer and greatly impact their lives and relationships. 

The Toll of PTSD on Relationships

So, how does trauma affect your relationship with your partner? Well, in a lot of ways.  PTSD can take a heavy toll on intimate relationships. People with PTSD tend to isolate themselves, and your partner may be more distant and remote. They may also experience a decline in sexual activity, struggle to feel relaxed with others, or resist going outside the home. It changes their outlook on life and turns a positive person into someone who is gripped with fear.

When Their Whole Life is Affected by PTSD

The lives of those with PTSD often turn upside down because of the condition. Some people blame themselves for what happened to them. This creates a lot of emotional baggage that they carry with them everywhere. Additionally, these sufferers go to great lengths to avoid situations that trigger their PTSD. They may have sleep problems, sleeping too much or getting hardly enough sleep at all. Some survivors struggle to control their anger too, resulting in frequent outbursts, which, of course, causes problems in their relationships. Also, problems controlling anger often forces people with PTSD to avoid social situations.

Your Partner’s PSTD and Your Relationship

All of these struggles make it very difficult to be the partner of someone with PTSD.  For survivors, it’s hard to focus on anything else, let alone the needs of their partner. Your partner’s PTSD also makes it difficult for them to connect with you on a personal and intimate level. The strain of even basic social interactions can just be too much to bear. Or, PSTD survivors will come overly dependent on their partners. For instance, it might be very hard for them to even leave their home without the support of their partner.

PTSD and Misunderstanding

It’s not easy being the partner of someone who has PTSD. In some cases, survivors feel a lot of pressure to protect their partners from danger. This can be hard for you as your partner’s PTSD makes you feel controlled or smothered. Your’ partner’s PTSD makes you feel like you are walking on eggshells whenever you are around them. That’s because there is the fear that one misstep could trigger them and they lash out. You might find it very hard to understand why your partner is doing what they are doing. In fact, you might not even realize that your partner went through a traumatic event in the first place because it can be so hard to talk about.

Indeed, even they may not understand that what they experienced was traumatic and is negatively impacting their lives. All of this stress and actually cause the partners of PTSD survivors to be vicariously traumatized because of having to navigate and often bear the brunt, of their partner’s PTSD symptoms.

The problem with your partner’s PTSD is that the cumulative effects of the condition build up over time.  Without proper treatment, both you and your partner will suffer, and your relationship could be permanently damaged. That’s why seeing a counselor who specializes and understand he can be so important.

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