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What is C-PTSD and Its Effects on Relationships?

A woman suffering from C-PTSD

You might have heard about PTSD. But what are C-PTSD and its effects on relationships? Let’s find out.

C-PTSD and its effects on relationships
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Psychological disorders are, unfortunately, common nowadays. It is hard to pinpoint the reasons for our miserable mental stability. Besides, the number of affected individuals continues to rise in the coming years.

However, the reason we are witnessing the growth in the number of patients is related to events happening around us. These events come with grave consequences that affect our psychological stability.

Moreover, they are also responsible for stress, resulting in trauma and damaged cognitive processes. One such disorder is PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Also read: What Are The Symptoms Of William’s Syndrome?

We are aware of the causes of PTSD, which results in trauma from accidents and abuse. Besides, it also damages our self-image resulting in depression and anxiety.

“But, recently, some of the neuroscientists explained that PTSD is not the same for everyone. In other words, its effects remained for the long term in some of the patients. As a result, it was difficult for them to consider it as just PTSD due to its complexity.”

Hence, neuroscientists termed it as complex PTSD or C-PTSD.

So, “Does another lesser-known type of PTSD exist?”

Yes, it does.

The symptoms of PTSD are noticeable and can be cured easily with therapy. However, complex PTSD is not easy to understand, and the patient needs more love and attention.

So, Let’s find out about C-PTSD and its effects on relationships.

What Is C-PTSD?

We have briefly discussed C-PTSD and its effects on relationships in the previous section. Now, let us discuss what we mean by C-PTSD.

“C-PTSD is a type of PTSD in which an individual faces constant interpersonal abuse for a long period of time and gets no chance to escape.”

In other words, it is the long-term impact on a person’s mental state when he becomes subject to prolonged abuse. Moreover, the effects of C-PTSD remain longer than PTSD. The individual suffers from many problems, which trigger insomnia, depression, and anxiety.

Consoling a woman suffering from C-PTSD
Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

Most importantly, childhood abuse, domestic violence, torture, and slavery are some of the causes of this disorder, unlike PTSD, which is caused by accidents or events.

Now that we have understood about PTSD. It is time to understand the symptoms of PTSD.

Symptoms of C-PTSD:

The symptoms of PTSD are not easily noticeable and differ from that of PTSD. The symptoms are:

  1. Difficulty controlling emotions and feelings.
  2. Have a negative self-image.
  3. Face complications in relationships.
  4. Disconnect themselves from trauma.
  5. Lose touch with their individuality.

1. They have difficulty controlling emotions:

Individuals with C-PTSD have difficulty controlling intense feelings or emotions. Moreover, they easily fall into depression and anxiety and suffer from suicidal thoughts and sadness.

Also read: What Is The Truth About Emotional Responses?

2. They have negative self-image:

The effects of C-PTSD are evident in their negative self-image, which is detrimental in the long run. They have low self-esteem and dwell too often in past experiences.

3. They face complications in relationships:

Maintaining relationships is difficult for them as it is tough to trust their partner leading to misunderstanding and complications. Besides, they also tend to engage in unhealthy relationships.

4. They disconnect themselves from trauma:

Individuals suffering from trauma have a lot of stress and sadness and hence disconnect from the world around them. They become too self-absorbed.

5. They lose touch with their individuality:

They lose touch with their identity and individuality. As a result, they suffer from depersonalization and do not value their beliefs, principles, etc. Moreover, they become pessimistic about the future.

Also read: Individuality in Relationships: An Intrapersonal Truth

C-PTSD and its effects on relationships:

Relationships are affected by many different factors. Likewise, C-PTSD also affects an individual and his relationships. Most of the patients suffering from C-PTSD have trouble dealing with it. Besides, prolonged abuse and violence make them distrust and sceptical.

Effects of C-PTSD on relationships
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

They also engage in many unhealthy relationships, which leads to even more abuse and torture.

Here are some of the ways C-PTSD affects relationships:

1. They end up with unhealthy people:

Individuals with C-PTSD grow up in an unhealthy environment, which means they do not experience love and affection in their lives. Besides, they also have a hard time understanding people and their intentions. As a result, the idea of abuse and violence influences their relationships.

“They ultimately end up with unhealthy people who continue to take advantage of their innocence and miserable state. However, individuals with PTSD overlook these traits of unhealthy people. In some cases, they are even attracted to them.”

It is difficult for them to handle things in life as they become nothing but prey to partners who do not care about them.

2. They face issues with love and intimacy:

Patients with C-PTSD desire love and intimacy as much as anyone else. They want to fill the void of love and affection. But, things do not go as expected when they suffer from sexual abuse.

It prevents them from engaging in love and intimacy. As a result, it creates serious misunderstandings between partners as they do not feel loved and appreciated.

3. It is difficult to share a life with them:

It is very difficult to handle a person suffering from C-PTSD. Taking care of such individuals is not easy and requires hard work, patience, and perseverance. Besides, managing emotional outbursts, self-neglect, and negative self-image is not a cup of tea for everyone.

They require a lot of love and support from their family members or partners. However, many people had successful relationships with the patients of C-PTSD. Therefore, if both partners are willing to maintain healthy relationships, they do not suffer from such consequences.

4. It is difficult for them to establish trust in a relationship:

It is never easy to establish trust in a relationship. This also applies to patients with C-PTSD. Due to negative experiences from the people they trusted before, they withdraw from their loved ones. Consequently, their partners feel invalidated and misunderstood.

Moreover, any kind of spontaneous reaction may instill fear and insecurity in them. Hence, partners need to understand their struggles and adopt a slow and steady approach to relationships. They should empathize with each other to make it strong and healthy enough to establish trust.

What Is the Truth About BPD AND C-PTSD?

Recently, people have been confusing C-PTSD with BPD due to similarities in their symptoms. Moreover, BPD is also a long-term disorder that affects relationships.

However, there are some key differences that we need to understand to eliminate misunderstandings between them:

  • BPD is associated with the fear of abandonment, along with the symptoms of distrust and self-neglect. However, patients with C-PTSD might not engage in relationships due to the insecurity and abuse they had to face in their childhood. As a result, they do not have a fear of abandonment.
  • Individuals with C-PTSD have low self-esteem and a negative self-image, which is similar to BPD. But, unlike BPD, they do not engage in self-punishment or self-harm. Patients with BPD suffer from suicidal thoughts and attempts.
  • Both patients of BPD and C-PTSD suffer from emotional abuse and abandonment. However, patients with C-PTSD may become aloof or emotionally numb, while those with BPD may wallow in despair and sadness.

Final Words:

To sum up, C-PTSD has a detrimental effect on a person’s mental stability. Moreover, the growing cases of child abuse and abandonment have increased the number of patients in recent years.

Nevertheless, adopting a healthy and open-minded approach makes it easy for partners to deal with C-PTSD and establish strong relationships.

2 thoughts on “What is C-PTSD and Its Effects on Relationships?”

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