What to do when someone with PTSD pushes you away

Two Important Things To Do when someone With PTSD pushes you away

Commonly, a person with PTSD who pushes you away may be closest to you. So this behavior can be annoying and painful to you. But it is important to understand that it is not personal.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be a bad experience when you have to deal with someone close to you. But it’s important to know that PTSD doesn’t mean someone is sick or not coping well. It is a normal reaction to a very difficult experience. You may feel disappointed when someone you love hurts you.

People with PTSD might have symptoms like feeling scared or nervous all the time, having nightmares or flashbacks about the event, avoiding places or people that remind them of the event, and feeling very upset or angry. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. But don’t worry there are treatments available for PTSD that can help people feel better.

Two Important Things To Do when someone With PTSD pushes you away

  • The first thing you should do is try to be aware of the 6 possible reasons why someone with PTSD might push you away. To do this you can read books, watch documentaries, and talk to mental health professionals to understand the symptoms and causes.

  • The second thing you should do is try to take 10 gentle steps to support someone with PTSD who pushes Away. These steps will help you empathize with the person’s experiences and provide better support.

Try to Understand The 6 Possible Reasons Why A Person With PTSD Pushes You Away

1- Fear of vulnerability & abandonment

A person with PTSD may push you away because of difficulty trusting others and opening up emotionally. When they share their feelings, they may feel vulnerable and exposed, which can be triggering and overwhelming.

Sometimes people with PTSD may fear being abandoned by loved ones. So this fear can cause them to push people away as a way to protect themselves from potential abandonment.

2- Avoidance due to hyperarousal

Reality is often disappointing but another hallmark symptom of PTSD is avoidance due to hyperarousal. So they avoid situations, people, or memories that remind them of the traumatic event.

Hyperarousal means intense anxiety and a heightened state of arousal. This can make them feel on edge and irritable. causing them to push people away to avoid triggering their symptoms.

3- Shame & guilt

A loved one with PTSD pushes you away because he may feel ashamed or embarrassed about their symptoms. Or as survivors of traumatic events, they may feel guilt or self-blame, which can contribute to feelings of unworthiness & self-destruction.

And they also want to avoid being judged or misunderstood. This can cause them to push people away, as they may feel they don’t deserve love and support.

4- Lack of understanding due to emotional numbness

PTSD can cause a lack of understanding due to emotional numbness. Because people find it difficult to connect emotionally with others. Because they can’t feel the emotional connection they need. 

This lack of understanding can make things difficult. Because people with PTSD do not feel seen and heard, which can cause them to push you away.

5- Control & difficulty expressing themselves

PTSD can make people feel out of control as if they’re constantly reliving the trauma. This can cause them to push people away as a way to regain control of their lives.

So may have difficulty expressing themselves and communicating their needs. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflict, causing them to push people away to avoid further conflict.

6- Trauma bonding and trust issues

People with PTSD may feel a strong connection to others who have experienced similar traumatic events. If they feel like you don’t understand or haven’t experienced similar trauma they try to seek connection with others who have. 

They have trust issues due to their experiences with trauma. This can cause them to push you away to protect themselves from potential harm or betrayal.

Related- Is It Normal for My Girlfriend to Hit Me?

Take The 10 Gentle Steps to Support Someone With PTSD Who Pushes Away

If you have a loved one with PTSD who pushes you away, it can be difficult to know how to support them. So here, I will share 12 gentle steps you can take to help someone with PTSD who pushes away.

1) Collect proper information about PTSD

The first step in supporting someone with PTSD who pushes away is to collect proper information about it. Learn about the symptoms and the different ways that they can impact a person’s life. 

By understanding what your loved one is going through, you will be better equipped to provide the support they need. You can also educate yourself on the different treatments and therapies available, and how you can support your loved one in accessing these resources.

2) Don’t make assumptions to have an understanding

Avoid making assumptions about your loved one’s behavior. PTSD can cause a range of symptoms and behaviors that may not be easy to understand.

People with PTSD often experience intense emotions and may struggle to regulate their moods. It is essential to have an understanding of when your loved one is suffering.

3) Practice active listening without being judgmental

It involves giving your full attention to the person speaking and reflecting back on what they have said to show that you have heard and understood them.

It is crucial to listen without judgment or interruption and to validate your loved one’s feelings. Active listening can help your loved one feel heard and understood, which can be incredibly validating and supportive.

4) Offer emotional support & use humble words

People with PTSD may feel isolated and alone. Offering emotional support can be incredibly validating and supportive. Let your loved one know that you are there for them and that you care. Encourage them to express their feelings and validate their emotions.

Humble language and phrases you should try for them. Such as-

  • “I can see that you’re going through a tough time right now, and I’m here for you when you’re ready to talk.”

  • “I want you to know that I care about you and I’m not going to abandon you, even if things feel difficult right now.”

  • “It’s okay if you’re not ready to talk or spend time together right now. Just know that I’m here for you whenever you need me.”

  • “I know that it’s hard to trust people right now, but I want to earn your trust and be someone you can rely on.”

5) Offer practical support & encourage self-care

Offer practical support because it can be incredibly helpful. Even small gestures can make a big difference, such as dropping off a meal or offering to pick up groceries. Practical support can alleviate stress and allow your loved one to focus on their recovery.

Encourage your loved one to engage in activities that promote self-care, such as exercise, meditation, or journaling. Self-care can help reduce symptoms of PTSD and improve overall well-being. Offer to join in on these activities or provide resources to help your loved one find support.

6) Don’t give up on staying patient and supportive

When someone with PTSD pushes you away, don’t give up hope & don’t tired of being nice. And keep supporting your loved one because healing from PTSD takes time. So don’t give up on staying patient and supportive of your loved one’s journey. Encourage them to seek professional help and offer to accompany them to therapy or support groups if they’re comfortable.

7) Don’t take their behavior personally

PTSD can cause people to act irrationally or aggressively toward others. Don’t take their behavior personally and understand that it’s a symptom of their condition. Instead of reacting negatively, try to respond with compassion and empathy.

8) Avoid triggers & stay calm

PTSD triggers can cause intense emotional and physical reactions in individuals. Avoid triggers such as loud noises, crowded places, or certain conversations that may trigger PTSD symptoms.

Be mindful of their triggers and try to create a safe environment for them. If your loved one becomes agitated or angry, stay calm and composed. Avoid reacting emotionally and try to diffuse the situation with a calm approach.

9) Know your limits & respect their boundaries

As much as you want to help your loved one, it’s essential to know your limits. Don’t sacrifice your own mental and physical health to support someone else. Set boundaries and communicate them to your loved one. Remember that it’s okay to take a step back.

It’s important to respect their boundaries and not take them personally. Give them space and time to process their feelings and experiences at their own pace.

10) Seek professional help

When a loved one with PTSD pushes you away. It clearly means that he is engaged in a complex mental health condition. That requires professional help. Inspire him to seek professional help and offer to help them find a qualified therapist or support group. Be supportive of their decision to seek help and offer to accompany them to appointments. 

It’s also important to remember that each person with PTSD is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. 


Author Tarannum Ali

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