* 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
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.
- Physical discomfort
- Feelings towards certain individuals
- Strong emotions pleading to feelings of overwhelm
- Bodily sensations
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.