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What To Do When Someone With PTSD Pushes You Away?

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

Having a romantic partner, loved one, or friend who is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be difficult. Learning how to support them is the best way of understanding why they may act a certain way or be triggered by certain things. Keep reading to learn what to do when someone with PTSD pushes you away.

In this piece, we look at what you can do when someone with PTSD pushes you away, which is commonly done by people with PTSD as a coping mechanism to avoid certain emotions or things from happening or things that they worry may happen. 

What To Do When Someone With Ptsd Pushes You Away?

What To Do 

Below we look at what you should do when you are being pushed away by someone who suffers from PTSD.

Provide Support And Listen 

Providing support and listening is the best thing you can do. Let them take the lead and try not to pressure them into speaking, they will come to you when they are ready.

You should continue on as normal and just show you are there through gestures such as cooking them dinner and allowing them to eat alone or with company.

Maintaining a sense of normality will help the PTSD sufferer to feel more comfortable and this will help them to relax. Educating yourself on PTSD can also be useful so that you are in a good position to offer support.

Rebuild Trust And Safety 

Rebuilding trust and safety is simpler than it may sound. Creating routines and keeping your promises will help minimize stress for this person and show them that trusting you is ok. 

COmplimenting them and building them up as well as audible expressing your commitment to a relationship will also help to build trust as they know you are not simply going to walk away when things get tough. 

Understand Possible Triggers

A trigger could be both internal and external. We look at common triggers below that could remind a person of their trauma.

Internal Triggers

  • Physical discomfort
  • Feelings towards certain individuals
  • Strong emotions pleading to feelings of overwhelm
  • Bodily sensations 

External Triggers

  • A sense of something, such as sight, smell, or sound
  • Things, locations, or individuals 
  • Certain dates and times
  • Weather conditions
  • Negative media coverage 
  • Medical establishments
  • Funerals
  • Confined or restricted situations

Recognize Possible Unsafe Behaviour

There are times when PTSD symptoms can become unsafe and so it is important to be able to recognize such behavior and know what to do.

Often extreme irritability, explosions of anger, and extreme moodiness can show when a person is on edge and could erupt. If you encounter this behavior you should remain calm and give this person space to move through their feelings.

If you are fearful you should always put safety first and call the authorities if you are worried about what a person may do.

If you feel able to speak to them you can try to help speak them through how they can manage their emotions and also ask how you can help them but this may not always be possible. 

Encourage Support Treatments

As important as your support and love are to PTSD sufferers, sometimes they will need professional support and treatments and this should be something that you encourage to help a loved one.

Encourage Support Treatments

It is important to wait for the right time to broach such a topic but when you do make sure that you focus on the possible benefits, what specific problems could benefit from such support, and also acknowledge that support treatments don’t work instantly s they are aware you understand it may take time to help them.

Support groups are often a great stepping stone to seeking professional support and als give PTSD sufferers the opportunity to meet other people who are experiencing life as they are.

This can help them to lose any feelings of loneliness that they may have been feeling as they see they are not alone. 

What To Remember 

It can be difficult to not take the symptoms of PTSD personally but it should be remembered that someone who is suffering from PTSD does not always have control over their actions and emotions. 

When you are pushed away by a PTSD sufferer it usually highlights that something has triggered them and essentially puts their nervous system on high alert which makes them very irritable, frustrated, and angry which is why they choose to be alone. 

They are constantly on high alert and so they may not feel safe around others, no matter how much they love them or trust them.

By showing that you are there to support them you can help their nervous system to become unstuck allowing them to reach back out to you. 

Mind Yourself 

While it is important to support your loved one who is suffering from PTSD it is also hugely important that you look after yourself.

Make sure that you tend to your own physical needs. Try to get a good night’s sleep, eat properly, look after any medical issues you may be having, and try to get some exercise done. 

Having your own support system is also important as you likely will need someone to talk to while you are being pushed away.

If you can, spreading the responsibility of caring for a PTSD sufferer among family members and close friends can help you to take a break when needed.

Your own life should not be put on pause to the point where it is having a negative effect, resulting in possible job loss and more. Understand your limits and set boundaries if necessary so you can continue to live your life while caring for your loved one. 

Final Thoughts 

We hope that this piece has given you some advice that you will be able to use to deal with being pushed away by someone who is suffering from PTSD.

As mentioned above, always remember that it is not your fault. It is no one’s fault and this is something that can be worked through, it may just take some time.

As long as they see that you are there for them and ready to support them whenever they are ready will be hugely important to them. This will draw them back to you and then the healing process can begin.

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories


UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/

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