06 May Tips for Loving Someone with PTSD
Helpful reminders for partners, friends, and family members of those with PTSD
Navigating relationships can be challenging. When PTSD affects someone you love, “relationship struggles” take on a whole new meaning. Here are a few tips on how to help you and your loved one stay emotionally healthy.
Know how PTSD affects your loved one. PTSD is unique to each individual. This means everyone diagnosed with PTSD will have different symptoms, triggers, and coping strategies.
Ask your loved one to tell you how they feel and what they are experiencing. Also, ask them how you can help.
Ask them questions like…
What are some of their triggers?
Triggers are different for every person. Some examples of triggers are loud noises, a specific place, a smell, a touch.
What do they experience when they are triggered?
Some people may experience fear and completely freeze, while others become hyper-aware of their surroundings. Experiences are unique to every individual and the more you understand about your loved one, the more you can offer help.
What can you do to help make them feel safe?
On a daily basis what would be something that would lessen their anxiety? Something as simple as remembering to lock the door every day may sound simple to you, but it may alleviate a significant amount of anxiety for them.
Healthy communication is key to any relationship but when someone in the relationship has PTSD, extra attention must be paid to tone, volume, and other unintentionally harmful ways of speaking.
Choosing the appropriate moment to start a conversation is also important. If you would like to have a serious conversation, it is best to wait until your loved one is in a good mindset- not highly anxious or coping with a trigger.
Identifying a “Safe” Space
Ideally, wherever a person sleeps should be the place they feel the safest. For your loved one with PTSD, it is crucial that they feel safe in their home. “Safe” means no physical danger but it also means emotionally safe from judgment.
Another aspect of feeling “safe” is predictability or routines. When things are predictable, they are not as likely to cause an increase in stress. Things as simple as calling your partner when you are on the way home from work can make a significant difference for someone with PTSD.
Get Support For YOU
Loving someone with PTSD can be challenging. A therapist can help you with boundary setting, communication, and self-care strategies which are all essential in daily life, and even more so when you have a loved one dealing with PTSD.
It is also important to remember that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. You can find support groups for those who love people with PTSD, which may help in reminding you that you are not alone.
Hopefully your loved one has seen or is currently seeing a counselor who specializes in PTSD. If not, support and encourage them to seek help, but resist the urge to force them.
If the relationship between you and your loved one is struggling due to what you believe is the PTSD component, seek a therapist to help improve the communication between you and your loved one.
Above all, treat yourself and your loved one with love and respect.
Need More Help…We Are Here For You
The therapists at Locke Counseling and Consulting are currently offering face to face and Telehealth sessions. Talking to a therapist can help you and your loved one identify coping strategies and provide you with ways to increase self-care during these uncertain times. If you or your loved one need help at this time dealing with PTSD, trauma, or any issue you are facing, please contact Janelle today.
Other Services at Locke Counseling and Consulting
Locke Counseling and Consulting specializes in couples counseling in Katy, Texas. In addition to couples counseling, Locke Counseling and Counseling provides counseling services for: parenting, divorce recovery, infidelity, sexual health and intimacy, anxiety, and depression. Call today for an appointment!