Yes, love and PTSD can be a thing. but there are a few special considerations.
We often define ourselves around how productive we are – or what we bring to the economy. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be productive, is giving to “the man” everything? What if we also need more? Additionally, success can be love, but what about Love and PTSD?
Despite being off work for a number of years, the “need to be productive” still kills me. Why? Because I can’t go back to the working world.
What’s more, the young man I once was, still nags at me that “To be successful you must work; no one will fall in love with you if you’re not.” But is this really true? How can someone prefer a partner willing to destroy himself for an uncaring company? Okay, so I get it; you don’t want to “carry” someone through life. But what if someone with a work injury, ends up being “the one?” The one we passed by?
Sure, my work injury, PTSD, comes with its own set of challenges, but what it’s not, is probably what you’re expecting. I’ve heard many things’ from “I worry that you’ll hurt me” to “You just need to be more stable.” Worries from people who only see mental illness as crazy across the board. However, I am for all intents and purposes – “normal” Well, with a few exceptions.
Yes, I have a high startle response, and yes, sometimes the nightmares can be a bit too much, but crazy? Nah!
I would say that a lover has to be more patient and really learn what PTSD is, but a high-value person shouldn’t be overlooked because of it. Additionally, there are trust issues to a degree, but they are only present because of the pervasive fear.
Read all about my struggle here:
The real problem – the epidemic of fear of being uncomfortable.
Sad to say we – those who have PTSD – can be more challenging. We are also not like those poor souls with schizophrenia or major psychotic tendencies. Well, not everyone. While there is thought to be a sub-type that experience psychosis, I and many others do not.
Let me say this: it is my feeling that you are much more likely to experience major troubles with people of a dark psychology. Or often said to be of the Dark Triade of traits; it refers to three distinct but related personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. These personality types are very harmful to a partner and to anyone, really.
While post-traumatic stress disorder isn’t exactly a walk in the park, people who suffer from it are worthy of love. In fact, all good people are deserving of love -regardless of disorder or difficulty.
What it can be like loving someone with PTSD
Firstly, the suffer needs to, like anyone with a disability, customize their lives for success. And they will need your help. This may look like:
- When your partner is overstimulated by the party you’re both attending, he may need to leave. Compassion and understanding will go a long way because it’s never personal. What’s happening is actually real. So, let him go home. Additionally, a good partner wouldn’t have a problem if you stayed. Work with and respect one another.
- When a fight does arise, it can be interpreted as a threat. Therefore, the individual may get stuck in a loop they can’t get free from. Just nicely tell them this; “We can talk about this later, but for now I am going for a walk.” No fuel, no fire. Again, this sufferer is not intentionally making the situation worse – they are in a fear-based mode.
- Try to not approach your partner with a defensive stance. Remember, they are always in fight, flight or freeze mode so this will be seen as a threat. Use a non-confrontational approach like: “I’d like to bring something to your attention – is this a good time?” – and go from there. Use I-statements and compassion as a communication pathway.
Learn more about I-statements here:
- Lastly, seek therapy for yourself. Sometimes it can feel a bit like walking on eggshells, so it can be helpful to get help for yourself. Remember, the fundamental difference between an abuser and someone with trauma is that it’s not intentional. A true abuser wants power and control, while individuals with PTSD react because they have none. Our behaviors are a manifestation of that.
In closing, loving someone with PTSD is a challenge, as any relationship is but you can get all the love you’ve been looking for. What’s more, don’t allow someone who isn’t working to slip out of your hands. They may be the last piece of success you’ve been longing for – true love.
Enjoy Love and PTSD? read: 4 fundamentals for authentic love