Are you having nightmares about your ex? Then it is not just PTSD but PTRS. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD resulting from a traumatic relationship is known as Post-Traumatic Relationship Syndrome or PTRS. Psychologists introduced this concept to understand better and recognize this particular type of trauma. Leaving an abusive or traumatic relationship frees you from physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, but there is a possibility that it will still leave its mark on your mind.
What are the symptoms of PTRS?
The symptoms and diagnosis of PTRS are not entirely agreed upon; however, there is a consensus on the symptoms. In the case of PTRS, the individual might willfully recall memories of the abuse on a constant basis, thus experiencing the trauma again and again. But in the case of PTSD, the person tries to block the memories or numb oneself to them. This tendency to visit the memories again and again can prevent you from healing, building healthy relationships with future partners, and moving forward.
You may find it challenging to prevent the memories of a traumatic relationship. You also feel fear, horror, and rage towards your abusive partner. It is not necessary to have physical or sexual harm to experience PTRS. You may experience symptoms of PTRS when you do or see anything that reminds you of your partner or the relationship. These symptoms include physical sensations of anxiety, fear, emotional distress when remembering the abuse, intrusive thoughts, nightmares, and flashbacks.
There are some PTRS symptoms that lead your body to be in a state of hyperarousal. This can manifest itself with problems sleeping, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, anger, irritability, anxiety, or panic. It will make it difficult for you to feel safe or relaxed.
What are some types of PTRS?
As the research is still ongoing, there are currently no subtypes of PTRS in the academic literature. It is essential to know that there can be variations regarding the intensity and severity of the symptoms. There can be differences in the way individuals respond to trauma and how they experience it.
It will be easier to recognize that you have PTRS when you know its causes. Professionals recognize one type of PTRS, known as Complex PTSD or CPTSD. It includes feelings of dissociation, guilt, shame, self-blame, changes in self-identity, suicidal thoughts, feeling of hopelessness, sadness, despair, and issues in emotional regulation.
What causes PTRS?
PTRS can be caused due to relationship abuse such as sexual coercion, direct physical harm, threats of physical harm, gaslighting, control, manipulation, rape, and sexual assault. It can also result from the potential for future abuse and lingering fear of abuse. Repeated conflicts, silent treatment, ignoring the partner, infidelity and betrayal are toxic dynamics and may or may not lead to abuse.
How can PTRS be treated?
If it becomes challenging to recover from PTRS on your own, it is crucial to consider therapy. Through therapy it would be easier for you to overcome your feelings of guilt and self-blame while addressing underlying symptoms of depression and anxiety. It will also help you develop a healthy support system, work through trust issues and lingering insecurities.
It will be an uncomfortable experience to open up in front of someone unknown, but the compassionate environment will aid you to heal through the therapist’s support and guidance. Various emotion-focused coping strategies such as art, meditation, journaling, desensitization techniques, and joining support groups can help you heal from PTRS. Your supportive social network, such as family and friends, can also aid you to cope healthily with relationship trauma.
If you are in a relationship with a partner suffering from PTRS, it is vital to encourage and support them to seek professional help. You can only comfort them and provide them with a healthy relationship, but that solely wouldn’t be enough to heal them. Your understanding and patience are significant in their recovery, and it will also lead to a positive impact on your relationship.
If your PTRS is getting in the way of living your best life, do not hesitate to seek further evaluation and treatment. Call us at (833) 931-1716 to learn more when you are ready to take your first step toward healing.