Relationships are hard. Period.
Sprinkle in some PTSD and things can feel impossible.
But there are things you can do to help make the journey a smoother.
I learned some VERY important lessons while going through my PTSD recovery with my boyfriend Brad
If we knew what we know now, we would have saved ourselves from…
Want to know what caused all these things?
What caused all this stress, tension, and what almost tore our relationship apart?
It really came down to this…
It’s a very simple concept, but if you care about your relationship please learn from our mistakes.
We made little to no effort to communicate…
We had no idea how each other was feeling…
The communication we did have was completely blown out of proportion because we didn’t even understand why we were mad in the first place.
Oftentimes with PTSD, the fights you have with your partner have absolutely NOTHING to do with what you think your fighting about.
Now, that doesn’t make much sense now does it?
Maybe I felt like I wasn’t getting enough attention, and maybe Brad thought that I was too demanding. And we would start to fight…
But in reality we were never actually fighting about those things…
We were fighting about the past pain that we held inside of us…
That past pain manifests as fights and arguments.
Basically something in the present moment triggers a past pain in you.
You’re then not fighting because of what happened in the present moment, but about the past pain you had… sometimes years or decades ago.
So that’s the topic of today’s post. Communication.
What are the things you NEED to tell your partner about PTSD?
Brad and I had it bad, but it doesn’t have to be.
So, without further ado…. Let’s dive into the list!
The very very first thing you need to tell your partner is that you have PTSD.
Sounds simple right?
Well, it’s something a LOT of people struggle with, so if you’re riding that boat too it’s okay!
I didn’t tell Brad about my PTSD for a longgg time, and we suffered because of it.
It was the unknown that hurt Brad, he didn’t know why things were happening, he thought I was lashing out for no good reason, or just because I was “crazy”.
It’s the first conversation that you need to have with your loved one, and trust me…
It IS uncomfortable (all these things are), but after you communicate what’s going on with you a huge weight will be lifted and you will have taken the first step to healing your relationship.
The next thing you want to tell your partner is about your symptoms.
And if you’re not currently aware of how your symptoms are affecting your life you can download this free symptom checklist by clicking here to see what PTSD symptoms are affecting you at this moment.
The reason why you want to tell your partner about your symptoms is because it’s important for the both of you to know how PTSD is affecting your life.
It eases a lot of struggle and tension in the relationship because then you can talk openly about how you can ease those symptoms, and it just helps with overall compassion for what you’re going through.
We have to realize that the other side has no idea what we are thinking or feeling unless we communicate it with them… They can’t be compassionate or help you unless they know how PTSD is affecting you.
This leads perfectly into the next thing…
You need to tell your partner that these symptoms that you’re experiencing are NOT who you are, and it’s not how the rest of your life is going to be.
Separating myself from my PTSD was one of the biggest steps I took, and when I was able to communicate that separation with Brad things got a lot easier.
What I mean by “separate” is this…
You want to realize that “True You” or “Real You” Is not the person who has the anger, or who has these intense emotional swings… that all these symptoms are your PTSD acting for you, and they are NOT you!
They are not you…
You are separate form your PTSD, you are a good person who deserves unconditional love and acceptance.
I used to think that I was a monster, and that tore me up inside… but once I was able to separate it literally everything got better!
The fourth thing you want to communicate is that it’s nothing personal.
This kind of goes hand in hand with separate yourself from PTSD. This is because when you separate yourself you realize again that all that anger and negative emotions that have come off at your partner are not only NOT you, but nothing personal.
Your anger and everything else is not personal, it’s not because they’ve done something wrong, and there is nothing wrong with them.
This again helps with their understanding about what you’re going through.
It stops them from getting defensive, and things start moving towards love, compassion, and acceptance for what you’re going through.
This builds off the last one, but it is also very important for your partner to realize!
One thing that Brad and I would always communicate to each other was that we are still a team.
And not just any team, but the BEST DANG TEAM THAT HAS EVER EXISTED IN THE UNIVERSE AND BEYOND!
You and your partner are on the same side and it’s not only important to recognize that, but to communicate that… constantly.
Let each other know that you are there for each other, that you are on the same side, and that you will beat this thing as a team.
You and your partner are the best team that ever existed.
Realize how special what you have is and actually tell them.
Brad always wanted to know how he could help me.
He didn’t always know what to do, and a big part was that I never communicated what I needed from him.
Sometimes all I needed was a hug, sometimes it was his support while I tried new healing techniques, and sometimes it was just a big ‘ole tub of mint choco-chip ice cream 🙂
The point is that your partner wants to help you, but they don’t always know how to help.
You need to communicate with them HOW they can help you, and the best ways that they can help.
Brad would tell me that there was like this primal need inside of him that wanted to help, but he didn’t always know how he could help.
So communicate what you need so you’re partner can get what they need… which is a way to help you through your suffering.
Just as telling your partner what you want them to do is important, so is telling them what you DON’T want them to do.
There were times when I just needed to be alone, and Brad would think that the best thing was for him to bring a lot of energy, dance, and try to cheer me up.
But in reality I just needed some time to relax and think on my own.
When I didn’t communicate that correctly to Brad he felt like I was just shutting him down and he got hurt.
You need to share things that don’t help.
What things trigger you, make you uncomfortable, or bring tension to your relationship!
PTSD doesn’t just affect you, it affects your partner too.
No, you don’t have to feel bad or guilty about it. It’s just the reality of the situation.
It is painful to watch someone you love go through so much pain themselves.
We feel the pain of our loved ones.
This is why it’s so important to tell your partner that you care about how it affects them too. That they don’t have to feel like they are alone either, that you are there to not only help yourself, but to help them with anything they are struggling with.
My relationship with Brad was almost destroyed because of this very reason.
This might be the most important one on this list.
While I was making progress, Brad was silently suffering.
He didn’t want to admit that it was affecting him so much, and at eventually it broke him down until he was in a deep depression.
But, this situation was completely avoidable.
Had I told Brad that I was there for him, that he didn’t have to feel bad for getting hurt, and I that I knew that it is really hard to watch someone you love go through pain.
All this would have been avoided.
Don’t make the same mistake I did, it almost cost me everything.
Sometimes it’s hard to open up about everything.
Sometimes it’s hard to be completely honest with your partner.
As you grow and expand your comfort zone (you do this by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations) you will be able to open up more and more.
The end goal is an honest and open relationship where both sides feel comfortable with sharing absolutely anything.
This was an important thing for me to realize and share with Brad.
To tell him that I was working on opening up to him, that I wanted to be honest with him, and that I didn’t want him to feel bad, I just had to go at my own pace.
You need to find your own pace for all these things here, but it’s also important to share with your partner what your goal is, and that it is to be fully honest, accepting, and open with each other.
Are you committed?
Are you 100% committed?
Not just to your recovery, but to your relationship as well?
You need to be.
You need to build that commitment up first in yourself, and then within your relationship
If you still need to build the commitment in yourself I created this “Commitment Contract” that you can download for free by clicking here. This download walks you through step by step what you need to do to commit 100,000% to yourself, your recovery, and your relationships.
The most important part here is actually communicating this to your partner. Actually TELL them that you are 100% committed to healing and to making sure that you get through this together… That there is nothing that will stop you.
You need to tell your partner that you are working as hard as humanly possible to heal and recover.
That you are spending all your free time learning how to heal, and working on processing your past.
This comes after commitment. When you commit to yourself you commit to your FULL recovery.
That means you do WHATEVER it takes to heal.
That you will never give up.
That you are an unstoppable force that will WIN.
Nothing can stop you.
Communicate that with your partner to show them that this isn’t forever, that things will get better, and that you are going to do everything in your power to recover.
Communicating this is important for 2 reasons.
One, it gives you and your partner hope for the future.
Two, it builds that commitment in yourself when you say it to someone else.
I hope you found these 11 things life changing.
Please take these and apply them to your relationship. You don’t have to go through all the suffering and pain that Brad and I did.
I say this all the time but…. Don’t just read this and move on with your day.
Really think about how you can do these things and you will see huge changes in your life.
If you’re the type of person who is committed, willing to do whatever it takes, and hungry to learn how to heal then I have something for YOU…
Want to learn how I was able to not only heal my 15+ years of PTSD, but also how I saved my relationship and turned it into an unstoppable force?
I created a FREE training showing how to do just that.
The people in our lives depend on us to recover.
PTSD can break your relationship, or it can make it invincible for anything that life throws at it.
See you on the other side!