Many people are familiar with the term post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but few may realize that they may be suffering from it. It’s commonly recognized that military veterans may experience PTSD, but they are not the only group of people who may suffer from it. Experiencing any traumatic event in life can lead to developing PTSD, such as childhood abuse, a car accident, domestic violence, or a toxic relationship.
PTSD includes symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares about the trauma, avoiding situations associated with the traumatic event, feeling nervous or irritable, and an increase in negative thoughts and feelings. These are general symptoms that can be exhibited in a variety of ways, especially depending on what kind of traumatic event you’ve experienced. Think you may have PTSD from your past toxic relationship? Look out for these five signs.
Being On Edge
Nobody likes the feeling of walking on eggshells, but if you continually put yourself in such a situation without needing to, it could be a sign of PTSD. Being hyper-aware of potential triggers that could recreate past trauma and trying to avoid it at all costs is common among those who suffer from PTSD. Feeling as though everything you say or do will result in ridicule from your current partner or a fight amongst you two because of a past relationship might mean you have PTSD.
As you may put yourself in a situation of walking on eggshells, if you also do the same to your partner, it could be another sign of PTSD from a past relationship. Trauma from a past relationship can actually make you hypercritical of your current partner’s behavior. If you frequently overreact to little things, it could be due to memories of your past trauma. Try to be more observant and reflective on your feelings and reactions towards your partner. If you’re expressing a lot of anger over little things, it may be a sign you have PTSD.
Lack of Communication
Avoidance is a common symptom of PTSD. If you avoid communicating with your partner about important matters such as your feelings, because building a wall to protect yourself is easier, then you may be suffering from PTSD from your last toxic relationship. Communication is key for any relationship to succeed, and decisions need to be made together. Sacrificing your own wants and needs to avoid letting your partner know your thoughts and feelings will not help either of you.
Numbing Your Emotions
Another form of avoidance that manifests after developing PTSD from a toxic relationship is turning off your emotions. It’s expected to feel all sorts of emotions and butterflies when entering a new relationship, but if you don’t feel much of anything after your last unhealthy relationship, it could be a sign you’re suffering from PTSD. Those who numb themselves to their emotions often feel as though it’s better to protect themselves and feel nothing, even in terms of positive emotions, rather than open themselves to abuse. However, it’s important to feel both, positive and negative emotions, as they are important indicators of our surroundings and current mental health state.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
If you developed an unhealthy coping mechanism after your past relationship, you could be dealing with PTSD. Binge eating, excessive drinking, or taking drugs are all forms of self-medicating and attempting to cope with a traumatic experience. If you notice you’re eating large amounts of food for comfort or feel the urge to drink excessively to cope with past trauma, it’s important to seek help.
Help is Available
Suffering from PTSD can be tough on any relationship; however, it doesn’t mean you should avoid relationships. In fact, developing a healthy support system of friends, family, and loved ones can help. It’s important to work on healthy coping strategies and embrace healthy lifestyle choices.
Professional treatment can also help those affected by PTSD. Individual therapy or couples therapy could benefit those with PTSD from toxic relationships. Has nothing been able to help your PTSD? Lehigh Center may be able to help. See if you qualify for a clinical trial today.