Sanctuary for the Abused

Friday, May 29, 2020

Why PTSD Needs Treatment and Does Not 'Get Better' with Time

The Time Bomb

Inside every person with PTSD is a time bomb. It is merely a matter of time before symptoms begin to show up. One might exhibit all manner of symptoms in nearly everything s/he does, and still live what appears to be a normal life. However, it doesn’t take much to bring out full-blown symptoms of a full-blown case of PTSD.

Unemployment, Illness, and too much Free Time (and worry) exacerbates PTSD symptoms. Can be acute when untreated.

Additional Stress: Stress kills; we know this. Additional stress in the life of a PTSD sufferer will bring out their PTSD symptoms. Even good stress can increase one’s symptoms; good stress such as a birth, or a new love, or a promotion at work. Anything that wobbles the apple cart — little changes, big changes, good changes, bad changes—will promote PTSD symptoms. 

Then there are the huge stressors; the larger the stressor, the more virulent the PTSD symptoms.

Reminders: anything that reminds the PTSD sufferer of the original trauma will pique symptoms. Additionally, the anniversary of a trauma will cause a rise in PTSD symptoms. 

[i.e. Someone making one mistake can and often does become a target of PTSD sufferer's anger. The PTSD suffer may lay all manner of unrelated or perceived 'slights' at the feet of the person who may have done something wrong in their eyes.] 

If a woman was assaulted near an elevator, elevators will trigger her symptoms. If she remembers the date of her assault, as the anniversary approaches, symptoms increase.

I know of no more disagreeable situation than to be left feeling generally angry without anybody in particular to be angry at. - Frank Moore Colby

Persons with PTSD hold in a lot of anger. It is a free-floating anger with no real target and very subtle causes. It simmers below the surface and can jump out at inappropriate times, aimed at the wrong person for the wrong reasons (displaced anger).

For instance: following a rape, the rape victim is filled with rage. The specific targets of this rage are quite obvious: the rapist, the system that puts the victim on trial, the doctors for their insensitivity, and the list can go on depending on the ordeal the rape victim endures. However, years later, this anger can still exist, simmering just below the surface.

And though many argue that the cues to the anger have changed, that the original incident has softened in the mind of the sufferer, that this, that that—it's all "neither here nor there" because there is no logic, no reasoning with chronic PTSD, everyone and everything is the cause, and the nearest person or object can be the target.

Normal people get warm, then angry, then angrier, and progress to a state of rage if the stimulus to the anger is not abated. A PTSD sufferer can go from A to Z immediately... When anger strikes, it quickly turns to rage.

Anger Management classes are usually prescribed for PTSD patients, however, the patient might still never arrive at the cause of this anger, as the original cause has faded, leaving only the anger. Learning to deal with this anger is much more productive at this juncture than trying to discover its cause or causes. In a good Anger Management class, the PTSD sufferer can learn that one cannot control one’s initial feeling about something aggravating, however, s/he can control her/his reaction.

Being the target, displaced or not, of this anger is one of the major causes of "secondary PTSD," the disorder suffered by those close to the PTSD sufferer. Oftentimes families walk on eggshells to avoid doing anything to upset the PTSD sufferer. Children, wives, friends, neighbors and lovers tend to withdraw and avoid any and all possible confrontation. Partners of PTSD patients must keep alert and note when the anger outbursts increase in intensity and the intervals between them shorten. This is a sure sign that there is something else occurring within the patient and a trip to the therapist is needed.

(Domestic Violence Centers are a good place to contact about counseling if you have no insurance)

excerpted from here

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shared by Barbara at 12:20 AM



Of all the crippling effects that I suffer because of my Complex Post Traumatic Stress, ANGER is the one that I hate the MOST. I do NOT want to be an abuser, like my narcissistic mother, and sadistic ex-husband.

When I explode in PTSD-Trauma-Triggered RAGE, I think at the time that I am totally justified, that I am "finally standing up for myself" against abuse. It is only after the fact that I realize how WRONG and ABUSIVE my anger was.... displaced anger, fueled by extreme trauma.

I am in therapy for my CPTSD, I have been doing everything in my power to get help and HEAL. I have lost a couple of friends due to my anger. And, I feel so deeply ASHAMED about my anger. It doesn't happen often, I'm glad to say. But even ONCE is too often for me.

4:02 PM  

I also feel so ashamed of myself for my anger outbursts; I feel they are triggered by insignificant things at times and I feel so bad for my kids and family.
Although sexually abused by my father, emotionally by narcisstic mother then 13 years with an abusive, psychopatic husband , I feel as if I'm just as bad as them due to this horrible toxic anger :-(

6:38 PM  

I have complex PTSD and rather than being a ticking time bomb for displaced anger I am a time bomb for sadness and depression. Knowing where my anger comes from it very rarely is displaced anywhere outside of directing it at the initial source in a healthy manner. I will usually talk about the source of my anger to a counselor or trusted friend, and then they understand why their is anger in my voice. There are many healthy coping strategies that I have developed for myself over the years. In the very rare event I have displaced my anger I apologize to the person for raising my voice, and when appropriate let them know where the anger truly came from. I may have been beaten nearly every day for three years of my life, but I have never beaten anyone myself. The great sadness and PTSD symptoms of body memories and flashbacks that are known to hit me suddenly do so because I know that other girls and boys, men and women are being beaten and raped all over the world every day. Yes this angers me, but since I know what angers me the anger is rarely ever displaced. And yes I was molested and raped repeatedly by seven different males over years of my childhood and adolescents. Now I want to be part of the change I wish to see in the world.

2:43 PM  

you have courage

6:59 PM  

I was sexually harassed throughout high school by 2 different guys, one of which tried to rape me. My senior year, my neighbor sexually abused me. I have some problems with anger and bitterness and nightmares, but my biggest issues is with waves of fear around older and stronger men and flashbacks. Does anyone know where to find help online? I'm in counseling, but it isn't helping.

11:09 PM  

The first thing is to know that it isn't your fault that this happened. I know it's something that is said a lot, but it is true. Nothing you said or wore or did caused this.
Secondly, it is normal. Our brains do the flashbacks and fear as a survival skill from when we were a hunter/gatherer society. The important thing is to remember that it isn't a broken record. When you have these flashbacks, remember that it ended. It's hard to do when you're afraid, but think about how you got away. You're alive, and still powerful in your own right-which is what they tried to take from you. They did not succeed in breaking you.
And breathe in slow breaths. It helps calm the chemicals in your brain and reminds you of a safe place.
I've been going through therapy for 15 years, so believe me, it's easier said than done, but if you work on it, it will help.

4:48 PM  

You are not defined by your worst behavior.

3:09 PM  

This topic interest me since much publicity and available resources are dedicated to the PTSD sufferers while little addresses the victims of the PTSD sufferers. I was born shortly after WWII ended to a father who had an extreme and severe case of PTSD due to the many horrors, humiliations and losses he endured during the war. His PTSD symptoms were ongoing rage, lack of empathy, inability to feel, total lack of affection, detachment, volatile compulsive reactions among his many devious behaviours. In other words he was a poster boy for psychopathic and sociopathic behavior. My childhood was one of incredible fear reinforced by physical violence and verbal abuse. I had no doubt that my father could kill me, dispose of me and report me as a runaway. Due to this fear I was terrified to say anything to anyone or to report the abuse fearing that my father would make a convincing argument that I was a problem and would then unleash his wrath on me after he avoided justice. I wish I could have saved the many 10's of thousands of dollars that I had to spend for help and counselling in my adult life trying to deal with my own issues and demons so that I could live a somewhat normal life and to not harm those close to me. I would be in a much better position later in life than I am now. Fortunately, having recently retired I can now enjoy just being and being a grandfather devoted to my kids and grandkids. It somewhat offsets the childhood that I never had.

6:38 PM  

I LOVE THIS statement! As I was reading through the comments & started to self reflect, while the brick on my chest just got heavier with every different comment......
"You are not defined by your worst behavior"
Immediately brought oxygen and relief with a uncontrollable smile to my face! I think I'm going to stop the comment reading section here😊 thank you for the simplicity

4:22 PM  

Remember, you're guilt is not justified. At the time, you were doing the best you could given the situation and circumstances. This is one of the hardest things for me to wrap my head aroyne. I too have the feeling of guilt and it is the worst. Most days I get upset it starts with guilt and then I'm sitting at 100 instantly with my skin crawling like bugs are underneath. Then the guilt comes back maybe because I yelled at my children for something insignificant. It's such a vicious cycle.

9:06 PM  

Ive been married for almost 12 years and have witnessed all sorts of outburst from my husband. He said he will change but I had been in this rolle coaster ride. Last week it got worse, we had a big fight and he pushed me in a corner. I slapped him because his face was close to mine. He threw me in bed and placed all his weight on me, twisting my arm and started to choke me. Kids witnessed him choking me. I begged for him to let me go so he did my throwing me off the bed hitting my face first. I was heavily bruised. He even dragged me out of the house. He calmed down and felt sorry. He said he will change. Will he? What do I do?

10:40 PM  

I was in am abusive relationship for six years that I finally got out of in 2010. Five months ago I lost my job, attempted suicide, and was physically assaulted by a police officer (not raped). I had to move in with my parents in another state where I don't want to live, and despite my extensive education cannot find a job. I am so angry at everything and everyone and take all of this anger out on myself because I don't want to hurt anyone else. I can't pay my bills and worry about money every second of the day and night. I am completely miserable and think about suicide every second. I see a therapist next week for the first time, but have no desire to do anything any more and have zero hope that things will improve. I just want to go to sleep (which I have so much difficulty doing anyway) and never wake up.

12:45 PM  

I'm not sure how displaced my anger is rather than it being easily aroused. From 1 to 10 with a simple insult by a supposed love one. When I feel attacked, I lose it.

I start shaking from head to toe from anxiety. Sometimes the anger will turn to the underlying emotion and I'll cry from all the hurtful comments. I used to cry more, but it has morphed into anger as I have learned to for fight my rights.

The problem isn't that my anger is misguided, it's that is extreme and almost impossible to control. Despite the trigger, I don't want to be like this. I hate it. I hate the overwhelming feelings where my heart feels like it's in my butt hole over something that can be seen as trivial to someone else. I don't like that I start shaking every time I feel defensive. I don't like that I defend myself with anger and rage.

I yell a lot and say things that aren't nice. But I feel in fight or flight. Often running off, then running back to argue more, then running off again.

I just want to be healthy but feel so broken. I've been advised nearly my whole life. My daughters father physically abused me for 8.5 years. My mom told me that I was a whore and would never amount to anything unless a man took care of me. My classmates as a child found out I was molested by my brother and teased me for being an incestuous brother fucker... even turned into a slave by a group of kids. I tried to commit suicide the first time at 12 yes old. I hated myself for years. I had no value in myself.

But the more value I get, the easier it seems the anger is triggered. Or, I don't know, it just seems like the ideas in my head justify it. Which the anger is in most cases, but not to the extremes I take it.

I'm pretty lost right now. Because assholes constantly use it to avoids responsibility for their behavior. And I can't do much about it... I've tried. I have adult coloring books, alone with psychology books, along with abuse books... I can't afford counseling.


11:49 PM  

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