How can I support a loved one with PTSD?

Sometimes it’s best to simply listen

While it can be tempting to try to “fix” someone with PTSD, often the best thing you can do is simply listen. People with PTSD do not need you to tell them what to do, compare their experience with others, or make them talk about their symptoms. Simply offering a compassionate ear is often the best thing you can do to help your loved one feel supported. They will likely open up in their own time.

Don’t pressure your loved into talking

By the same token, you must not give in to the temptation to make your loved one talk. Discussing a traumatic experience can induce flashbacks and other frightening PTSD symptoms, so individuals suffering from PTSD often will not want to delve into the details of their trauma until they are ready. Let your loved one know that you’re there when they’re ready to talk, and be patient.

Take care of yourself

One of the best things you can do to support someone with PTSD is manage your own stress. The calmer you are, the more you’ll be able to be there for your loved one. Basic acts of self-care, such as bathing, eating regular meals, and making time for yourself are all essential for ensuring your own physical and emotional wellbeing.

Consider attending a therapy session together

At Family Care Center in Colorado Springs, our team of mental health professionals provide exceptional family counseling services to help individuals suffering from PTSD, as well as their loved ones who are attempting to recover from the fallout of the disease. Not only can these family counseling sessions help your loved one learn how to deal with symptoms, but they can also help you better understand what they are going through.

Keep your promises

Individuals with PTSD often suffer from a lack of trust. In order to let your loved one know that you’re there for them, it’s important to honor your commitments and promises. Be consistent and follow through with what you say you’re going to do so you can rebuild the sense of intimacy and trust that was compromised by the traumatic experience.

Give your loved one space

It can be hard to walk away in the midst of a conflict, such as when your loved one lashes out at you for seemingly no reason, but it’s essential that you give them the space they need to cool down. Do not grab or crowd the person, as this can make them feel threatened. Go in another room and let them gather themselves. This will not only keep you and your loved one safe, but also help you avoid saying things you may later regret.