How Do You Recognize The Signs Of Post-Traumatic Relationship Syndrome

When you end a broken relationship and leave behind all of your emotions with that person, somewhere down the line you may create a weird, confusing feeling for your ex-partner. 

Some of the feelings may seem conflicting and haunt you for several weeks or months.

Getting out of a broken relationship may give you a positive vibe to start a fresh new day. You’ll feel relieved and free, which is good for your mental health. 

But in some intense relationships, when the partners get separated, it may generate a surge of negative feelings such as depression, loneliness, or anxiety at the thought of starting a new journey without their former partner.

The situation is quite normal if you become disheartened due to the loss of a good relationship. However, if you get out of a relationship with lots of emotional baggage, and if those are hampering your normal day-to-day life a lot, then you might consider the possibility that you may be experiencing post-traumatic relationship disorder.

Some symptoms can indicate that you have Post-Traumatic Relationship Stress (PTRS). You may experience intense negative feelings due to your old relationship, and it may even restrict you from entering a new relationship.

Practically, PTRS can be defined as an anxiety and stress disorder that can be triggered due to the presence of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse in an intimate partner relationship. PTRS has similar symptoms of PTSD; however, PTSD can occur due to multiple levels of stress with different reasons.

What are the common symptoms of PTRS?

Life coaches Poppy and Geoff Spencer, MS, CPC, added - "Many people who have been dumped or had the wisdom to leave an unhealthy relationship, often say, 'Time out. I don’t trust myself to trust anyone again. How could I have been fooled? Am I not good at reading people?' These people have become self-defeating and their self-worth is at a low point."

These are some of the significant symptoms of PTRS that can be noticed:

  • Self-isolation

  • Sudden changes in eating and sleeping habits

  • Weight gain or loss

  • Increased anxiety

  • Hypervigilance

  • Showing sudden rage or sign of fear to the ex or probable future partner.

  • Sudden glimpse of images or continuous flashbacks of abusement happened during your relationship

  • Loss of memory

  • Cognitive difficulties

  • Relationships fears

  • Sexuality issues

  • Trust issues

  • Suicidal tendency

If one of the couples have a suicidal tendency, you may ask for help in this way:

  • Immediately contact a close friend or family member whom you can trust.

  • Contact a suicide hotline number at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to talk to a trained counselor.

  • Make an appointment with your family doctor or mental health professional. One of my friends in Los altos was having the same issues. But she was treated by a popular mental health clinic in los altos, and now she is absolutely fine!

How do PTRS affect your dear ones?

Relationship therapist Naphtali Roberts, LMFT added - "Individuals who have post-traumatic relationship disorder have a tendency to struggle with obsessive thoughts about following relationships...They often doubt their choice in relationships and others intentions and therefore can find it hard to trust the process of relationship building and trust their gut about others. This can often lead to distraction, acting impulsively ... difficulty falling or staying asleep, or constant crying or irritability because you remember past choices or are overwhelmed by current relationship interactions and your connected fears."

Couples who are in a current relationship may also develop some unique symptoms and feelings due to PTRS. These may include:

  • Anger

  • Sympathy

  • Depression

  • Guilt

  • Avoidance

  • Mood swings and change in feelings

  • Increased health problems due to negative thoughts, depression, or bad lifestyle habits.

These mental health issues not only harm the relationship but also can harm the physical health of both the partners. The relationship between mental and physical health is very deep and complicated. 

Small mental health issues can create big health hazards and couples may need to spend thousands of dollars in medical bills.

How to win the battle against PTRS?

Relationship expert Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford, PhD, MFT, CRS, CMFSW added - "Essentially PTRS stems from the fear and mistrust of relationships. PTRS can be defined as an anxiety disorder that can occur subsequent to the experience of physical, emotional, or psychological abuse in the context of an intimate partner relationship.

Whether you qualify for PTRS, or are simply having a difficult time moving on, these feelings can be very real, and they can prevent you from finding a healthier relationship in the future. 

So the sooner you can seek treatment, the better.”

Here are some of the best ways to treat PTRS:

1) Face the situation directly

The best way to get over the situation is to accept it and be OK with it. Do not ignore your memories and the things that may trigger them. 

Facing your feelings directly is a wise decision as if you face your challenges openly and without any fear, you may solve them sooner than ever.

2) Don’t be alone

Talk to your close friends and family members. If others also have experienced the same situation in their personal lives, learn from them how to deal with PTRS. Communicate with others whom you trust, and as soon as possible. 

It’s an important part to get yourself out of any kind of relationship problems.

3) Get back to your daily routine

Relationship trauma can make your regular life unstable. So, if you want to recover from your bitter, past relationship memories, you should get back into your regular life, as soon as possible. You will get your control back on your life and will be able to enjoy it fully. Start attending your office if you have taken leaves from your work.

If possible, spend some more time at your workplace, it will help you to concentrate and forget all the bad memories for the time being.

4) Charge yourself with music

Mental health experts suggest that music has the power to heal a human brain from any kind of stress and trauma. Listening to classical and soft music can help people recover from severe depression and anxiety. 

Music may help mental health patients to meditate and keep their emotions under control.

5) Daily exercise

Experts say it’s one of the most effective ways to calm your mind if you experience a traumatic event. 

Starting from deep breathing, gentle stretching, and jogging will be beneficial. Everyday exercising can make you strong and energetic.

6) Start a meditation practice

Deep breathing or any other form of meditation may help couples to recover from PTRS and make them relax. 

While deep breathing couples should focus on positive things around them so that they can forget about stress.

7) Consult a professional

A broken relationship may give you stress and trauma, bundled with other negative feelings such as sadness, fear, grief, and depression. 

If you have recently encountered a relationship issue and as a result facing severe interference in your life, then it is justified to consult a mental health expert in your area. 

Treatment options are available for PTRS and it may include individual psychotherapy and mental support groups. 

Ralph Macey devoted himself as a professional content developer and regular guest post contributor in multiple blogs - such as thehealthsciencejournal.com, opentohope.com, and many more. His motto is to focus on the integrated interventions to improve mental health conditions and the other alternative approaches to healing.