PTSD: What to Avoid – Tip #421
There is a lot of information out there about what PTSD looks like, feels like and strategies for how a person with it can try to cope but there isn’t a lot for family members, friends and colleagues who are trying to support a loved one. Here are my top ten tips to try to avoid. They are easy pitfalls and I really believe just knowing what they are will help you.
1) Avoid criticizing – it may be constructive but they hear judgment, lack of understanding and dissatisfaction
2) Avoid making a joke out of it or labeling – doing this will only cause them to be further withdrawn or disconnected with you. Even if they are laughing at the time this is not a reflection of how they are truly feeling. Nothing about PTSD is funny when you are going through it. Find things in other areas of your lives to laugh about.
3) Don’t compare – each person experiences PTSD in very different ways and for different reasons. Comparing will only lead to frustration.
4) Don’t try to be a doctor and work it all out. Your job is to offer encouragement and support – don’t try to tell them what you think is wrong with them. Would you want someone sitting down with you and pointing out all of your issues, faults or problems?
5) Avoid setting time limits – Everyone will have a different pace to their recovery and they need to be able to set it themselves and not feel pressured or held to a particular date and time. It will only sabotage their progress.
6) Don’t be bossy – This one is in my nature and a tough one but it doesn’t help! They have been coming from a setting where they had very little they could control and need a chance to feel in control of their lives and in the driver’s seat. If you are always telling them what to do they never have a chance to establish a new sense of control.
7) Don’t Push or Pressure – If they tell you that they aren’t ready, it will not help if you keeping asking or demand it of them. Give them an out, time to think and accept decisions that wouldn’t be the ones you would make or that you think are right. They will do things when they are ready.
8) Don’t agree when you really don’t – Placating or telling someone something that they want to hear isn’t going to help either. You need to be you, stick to what you believe and be honest. No one wants to live or be a in relationship with someone (for long) that isn’t honest or just says what they want to hear and you won’t be able to keep it up for long either! Be who you are so that you are able to give them time to recover and be who they want to be.
9) Never give up – Avoid doing things like raising your hands in the air and walking out, leaving for awhile, avoiding them, etc. When you are willing to stick it out you will also teach them the same thing. Your perseverance will one day be theirs.
10) Talk about your problems too – Your life doesn’t stop because you are living with, working with or loving someone who has PTSD. One of the best ways to engage them back into your world is to share your worries, stresses and strains. Don’t avoid talking about your life because their life is hard and this should also be a motto they follow too!
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Filed under: Lists, Military Family Support - Tips from the 101 Tips books, Re-integration Tips, Tips for Educators and Deployment Support Workers | Tagged: deployment, military families, PTSD, re-integration, reunion tips, tips to avoid |