Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop after someone witnesses or is involved in traumatic events. Afterward, they relive those negative experiences and fear that they’ll reoccur. The condition can put a strain on relationships, because it makes sufferers hypervigilant, distrustful, and anxious.
Fortunately, you can help your loved one cope with their PTSD symptoms as well as improve your relationship. Our team at Creative Care in Woodland Hills and Calabasas, California would like to share some ways you can soothe someone suffering from PTSD and explain how to jumpstart their healing journey.
Boost self-esteem by allowing your loved one to take the lead
Avoidance is one of the symptoms of PTSD. This can include social avoidance as well as avoidance of certain triggers, such as loud noises or big crowds.
Some situations are more difficult for PTSD sufferers to deal with, and we don’t advise that you pressure your loved one to go too far out of their comfort zone. At the same time, doing too many things for your loved one — or helping them completely avoid discomfort — may reinforce the idea that they can’t deal with certain situations on their own.
Be observant of situations where your loved one is comfortable. Help them get involved in activities that boost their self-esteem, and reassure them that they can step outside of their comfort zone.
Listen, but don’t try to fix anything
Someone suffering from PTSD rarely opens up. However, when they do, avoid giving advice or setting expectations for them.
You may have a completely different perspective on how your loved one feels. Unfortunately, even if you do feel like there’s a solution to their problem, it may not resonate with them yet. Pushing your point of view may prevent them from opening up in the future.
Also, keep in mind that everyone reacts to abuse and trauma differently. Don’t give examples of how others have overcome even bigger obstacles, because this only makes your loved one feel weak for not being able to cope better.
Honest praise boosts self-confidence and can alter one’s view of their own capabilities. Encourage your loved one to help you with small chores, and show them gratitude. However, avoid exaggerating your praise, or you may come off as inauthentic and untrustworthy.
Don’t forget about self-care
Even though being supportive is helpful, simply loving someone won’t make PTSD disappear. Many people who are close to someone suffering from PTSD fall into the trap of becoming a caregiver instead of being a friend, family member, or lover.
If you suspect your loved one has PTSD, you don’t have to deal with it on your own. Contact us to get expert guidance on how to treat and soothe PTSD.