Most people have a basic understanding of PTSD and what it is. But, when you’re living with or dating someone who struggles with it, it’s important to know not only what to expect, but how you can support that person through their struggles.
PTSD impacts everyone differently. But understanding some of the most common symptoms and how you can help your partner work through them will strengthen your relationship and help the person you care about at the same time.
So, what should you know if your partner has PTSD?
Educating Yourself is Important
One of the best things you can do for your partner is to educate yourself as much as possible about PTSD. Learn some of the common symptoms and how they can affect your partner on a daily basis. Again, people handle the symptoms differently. But some of the most common include flashbacks and irrational fears.
Some people with PTSD also struggle with feeling wounded or scared sometimes. It can make them “act out” in different ways. Some become sensitive and emotional. Others might express those feelings with anger or even indifference.
Your Partner Might Feel Unlovable
If your partner deals with the effects of PTSD daily, they might struggle with how their symptoms permeate their life. For example, if they tend to get angry or emotional, they might feel guilty about those things when they fade away.
As a result, it’s not uncommon for people with PTSD to feel like they don’t deserve love. Does your partner often ask you what you see in them, or why you stay with them? Do they need a lot of attention from you to feel secure?
If that sounds familiar, the best thing you can do is understanding that being their “caretaker” isn’t enough. Not only can it enable them to stick with those behaviors, but it could cause strain on your relationship.
So, while it’s important to make sure they know they are loved, there’s a fine line between being loving and enabling.
Instead of enabling them, encourage them as much as possible to get help. PTSD is a more common problem than most people realize.
So, mental health treatment is widely available. Encouraging and supporting your partner through treatment will help them with their flashbacks and fears. It will also teach them they don’t have to feel unlovable, and can help them cope in healthier, more effective ways.
It’s also a good idea to learn about the different types of treatment yourself. In doing so, you can help your partner stick with the skills and exercises they’re learning to manage their symptoms.
The Importance of Self-Care
Loving someone with PTSD isn’t easy. When you care about someone, you want to do whatever it takes to support them. That can be exhausting, even when your partner starts getting treatment.
So, one of the best things to keep in mind is making self-care a priority. As the old saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you truly want to care for and support your partner, make sure you’re taking care of yourself first.
Self-care looks different for everyone. But it’s about doing something every day that has a positive impact on your well-being. For some, that might be exercising. For others, it could include journaling, or even taking a warm bath. Self-care doesn’t have to be a luxury or a way to “treat yourself.” It can, and should, be something that’s integrated into your daily routine.
Understand that PTSD can have an impact on your relationship. But, it doesn’t have to control every aspect of it. By keeping these ideas in mind, you can support your partner while taking care of your own mental and physical health.
You don’t have to go it alone. If you are struggling with your partner’s PTSD, help is available. Feel free to contact me.
For more information about my services in Delray Beach, Florida and Sandy Springs, Georgia, click here.