People finally are taking PTSD seriously and not brushing it off as something that people can just “get over”. The thing is, when somebody has it, it doesn’t just affect them. It can destroy families and relationships very easily if the proper PTSD treatment is not being sought out.
Luckily, there are a lot of resources these days for veterans, survivors of childhood abuse and even car accident victims. Whatever the reason or cause of the PTSD, there is help out there. But, it doesn’t just stop with the person who actually has it.
It takes help from family and friends to get through it. In fact it is essential that if you know somebody with PTSD that you understand what they are going through so you can make sure that it doesn’t hurt them further or make life difficult for everybody around them. In this article, I will go over what you can do if you have a family member or friend with PTSD.
How to communicate
One thing that is essential to dealing with a person that has gone through a traumatic experience is to know how to communicate with them. When they are early in their treatment, there are a lot of things that can trigger them and even make their situation worse.
The best thing you can do when talking to your friend or family member is to make sure that you are listening more than you are speaking. Many times these people need a sympathetic ear. And if you are talking more than listening then they may feel misunderstood and end up pushing themselves away. This makes it harder to reach them.
When you do speak you can ask them things about how they’re feeling and even help put into words for them. Asking if they feel sad, angry or anxious can help them open up to you and possibly diffuse a stressful moment that may be going through.
Dealing with anger or violent behavior
A common reaction when feeling the effects of trauma in the form of PTSD is to act out in anger. Sometimes this anger can even be violent. Your first priority is of course to make sure that you and others are safe and not in any danger.
Then, you will need to find a way to set up a system in which you can still continue to communicate to either avoid these outbursts or to help them get through them when they do occur.
Before these episodes occur, talk to your friend or family member about how it affects them and others. Then, come up with a system together that can be a sort of time out. It can be a word or hand signal that you use that hopefully can bring the person back and out of their episode. It can be a time out type of situation in which you both agree to take a break and reflect on what happened without any judgement.