4 Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone With Complex PTSD
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) can be caused by a fearful event or a time when someone felt like they had to fight for their life more than once.
There are a few things that, if said to a person with C-PTSD, are more upsetting than anything. Here are some of them:
1. “Get over it.”
This is one thing that someone with C-PTSD hates to hear. We want to move on; we don’t want to be haunted by our past. If it were a switch we could flip we would, but we can’t. Please don’t tell us this.
2. “That was so long ago.”
The events we experienced may no longer be happening, but we relive them most days. The flashbacks, nightmares and daily reminders make us feel like it wasn’t long ago. It may have happened a long time ago for the person who says this, but for us, it’s still so real.
3. “Change your ways; stop thinking that way.”
When people tell us to change our ways, the things we do because of C-PTSD, they don’t realize that this thought process or way of doing something has been drilled into our heads. We are scared of changing; we are scared this will bring back the abuse and fear.
4. “I don’t remember it that badly.”
You did not live my fears and worries. I never asked what you remember. You were not there all the time; there were closed doors. I have reasons I have C-PTSD and I don’t want to argue about what you remember.
With PTSD or C-PTSD, even just the tone used and word choices can make the brain feel like it’s being attacked. Try and be there for the person, allow them to gain trust in you. Let them talk to you and cry on your shoulder. Ask how they are and if they need anything. Trust can be the hardest thing for many people with PTSD and things like those above can make us even less trusting in others. Think before you speak; it can save lives, confidence and friendships.
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Thinkstock photo via bugphai