Setting Boundaries with PTSD

When it comes to overcoming PTSD, setting boundaries is a crucial part of your recovery. There are many different kinds of boundaries that you might need to set, and these are going to depend on your own personal needs and preferences. The most important thing to remember when setting any sort of boundaries is that you need to be practicing open and honest communication. If you know that certain places and things are going to trigger you, everyone else around you might not. Communicating these things to them can go a long way in helping you, and helping them to help you.

 

If you’re in therapy, you might find yourself feeling uncomfortable with the things that your therapist wants you to talk about. Or, if you’re doing exposure therapy, your therapist might be moving you along too quickly.  If either of these is the case, it’s perfectly okay to tell them that you’re not ready to go there yet. Communicating this to them can help them to know where you are in your progress, and help you to go at a pace that works for you. After all, no one knows yourself better than you do, and that includes your therapist.

 

Another boundary to remember when taking therapy is that your relationship with your therapist should remain friendly, yet professional. Thinking that you have feelings for someone who you share private details of your life with can be an easy thing to do, and can even be a normal outcome. But acting on these feelings is not, and keeping things purely professional is a strict boundary that you should always keep with your therapist.

 

You should also consider setting boundaries with your family and friends. Again, communication is really important here. The people that you have in your life might not know your trigger points, and they can only have an idea if you tell them. Sometimes this is difficult to do because you don’t want to have to admit weaknesses to them, or you don’t want to seem like a burden. Your triggers are not weaknesses, and telling your loved ones can actually help them to help you.

 

It also helps if they know more about PTSD. Sometimes, friends and family can make things worse without meaning to. If they don’t realize the seriousness of what you’re asking them, they might think that overstepping your boundaries is a harmless game. You can help to educate them by giving them informational pamphlets or even inviting them to one of your therapy sessions.

 

If someone you know violates the boundaries that you set, it’s also important to enforce them. Set consequences and let them know what those consequences are. Stop spending time with those that don’t respect your boundaries or that make you feel less than you really are. Instead, hang out with those that support you and help lift you up. This will help you develop into a stronger person and lead you on your way to healing from your PTSD.

Somatic Experiencing – an Alternate Path to Healing PTSD

There are many ways to cope with PTSD, and it’s all a matter of finding what works best for you. One alternate way of dealing with PTSD is through a form of therapy called Somatic Experiencing, or SE.

 

Somatic Experiencing focuses on your physical body – how it feels, moves, and responds to certain, thoughts, images, and environments. So it’s less about what’s in your head, and more about what’s happening to you on the outside. Recognizing your outer bodily responses is the beginning of learning how to harness and control them, which can lead you on your way to overcoming PTSD, instead of letting it overcome you.

 

This alternative form of PTSD healing therapy was developed by psychologist Peter A. Levine, who specializes in trauma therapy. If you think you would like to know more about Somatic Experiencing and want to find out if this path is the right one for you, you should check out the book, Waking the Tiger, which was actually written by Peter A. Levine himself.

 

In it, Levine goes on to tell the story of Nancy, a graduate student who couldn’t figure out why she kept having panic attacks. By using the vision of a tiger, Levine was able to help Nancy begin to recover from her mental illness. This book is an inspiring read, and might even be able to help you on your path to recovery too. The key to overcoming PTSD is to find the best healing approach that works for you.

Unspoken Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance

In these blogs, we’ve talked in detail about a lot of the symptoms that those with PTSD face in everyday life and situations. Another common symptom is avoidance. This means that the person avoids places, people, and things that might remind them of the traumatic event. They might do this consciously, or they might even do it subconsciously without realizing it.

 

At the time, practicing avoidance can seem like the best solution, but after a while, it can really begin to interfere with one’s life in a variety of ways.

 

If the traumatic experience had to do with someone they were close to, then the person might avoid doing any sort of intimate things with others. This can create issues in relationships and even make the victim feel isolated and alone.

 

Another example is if someone had a traumatic car accident and now avoids getting back on the road. These avoidance maneuvers can cause the person to once again feel isolated and alone because they are afraid to leave the house.

 

Avoiding your fears and triggers when you have PTSD can seem like a simple solution at first, and might actually be easy to do in the beginning. But eventually, you’ll need to face your fears and overcome the things that are holding you back. Therapy can go a long way in helping you get there, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help. After all, it’s better to ask for help than to continue to suffer.

Do Narcissists Live in a Complete Fantasy?

If you want to be able to understand a narcissist, you must first realize that they believe that the world really does revolve around them. They are called narcissists, after all. They believe that they deserve to have anything and everything they want, and they shouldn’t have to do anything in order to get it. Instead, they want everything handed to them. While it’s completely normal to dream big and have grandiose goals, it’s not normal to expect them to be handed to you on a silver platter. Their goals are usually pretty unrealistic too, such as expecting to walk into a job interview and instantly become the new boss with no prior work experience or becoming rich and famous instantly overnight by writing a few short poems. Unfortunately, these kinds of examples the regular thought processes of a narcissist.

 

This mindset, while not sounding very promising as far as achieving results, still might not sound very harmful. Until you take into consideration that this person is living in a fantasy world, completely disconnected from reality. The problem is that they expect everyone else to want to live in that fantasy world too. They believe that everyone thinks very highly of them as if they have already achieved their unrealistic goals, and they yearn for compliments and praise from everyone around them.

 

But what happens when the narcissist stops getting that positive attention that they so desperately need in order to thrive in their made-up world of perfection?

 

To the narcissist, they think that surely someone else is the reason behind their failed success. After all, they are perfect, and everyone else thinks so too! So why don’t they have everything they desire? These thoughts are what cause the narcissist to begin lashing out at those that are closest to them. They blame their partners and children, thinking that if it weren’t for those people, they’d have their way. Or maybe if everyone was as wonderful as they are, then they could all help the narcissist, instead of making things worse.

 

The narcissist’s natural response is to look for someone to be their scapegoat because the narcissist thinks that they can never do anything wrong. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, their high expectations of themselves might actually fall on you as your responsibility so they don’t have to take the blame when they aren’t successful. If their goal is to become famous and they just can’t seem to find a way to make it work, they will likely expect you to do it for them. Then afterward, when you fail at these unrealistic requests too, they will begin to attack you and eventually come to resent you for failing them. After all, they trusted and counted on you to do just this one thing for them. Because to them, they didn’t ask a lot from you. Living in their fantasy world, they truly believed that they weren’t asking for much, and you couldn’t even do a simple task. They will make you feel like the failure and tell you how terrible you are, but don’t let this all get to you.

 

You are not the crazy one – they are. And that is something that’s very important to remember. They will make you feel crazy, but it’s your job to keep your head held high and don’t let them get into it and take over.

Are Narcissists Capable of Feeling Empathy?

If you’ve ever had to deal with a narcissist, you know that they are very good at manipulating you and putting on a show for others. Everything always has to be about them, and it seems as though they never care about you or anyone else. The problem is that for those that suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), they tend to lack empathy. But can they help this? Is there hope for narcissists to be able to relate and feel empathetic towards others? The answer might have to do with their level of NPD.

 

Just like all mental health disorders, the severity of narcissism can vary. For those that have been clinically diagnosed with NPD, they are more likely to be volatile and unpredictable and refuse to see the problems and seek help. Subclinical NPD, on the other hand, can be much more manageable. This type is more common, and many with subclinical NPD even go on to live normal, successful lives.

 

In various studies involving subclinical narcissists, it was made clear that these narcissists didn’t show empathy when exposed to a saddening story – such as a harsh breakup or domestic abuse – while non-narcissists did.

 

Except! – when the narcissists were prompted with a comment such as “imagine how they feel in this situation,” or “put yourself in their shoes.” When subtly ask to do these things, the reaction of the narcissists changed.

 

When the non-narcissists were prompted with the same comments, they didn’t react because they were naturally inclined to put themselves in the other person’s shoes in the first place. This did not come naturally to the narcissists, but when prompted, they were capable of doing so.

 

This shows that, at least for those with subclinical narcissism, there is hope that they can learn to feel empathy towards others. We can see that this is especially true because our bodies physically respond to feeling empathetic as well. Your heart rate changes and increases when you feel empathy for another person.

 

During the studies and experiments with the non-narcissists and subclinical narcissists, we might’ve expected the empathetic responses from the narcissists to only be external, as narcissists have a tendency to be manipulative and say what they think others want to hear in order to reap the benefits. But monitoring heartrate disproved this, and we could see that what they were feeling was true and honest empathy for the people in the sad stories.

 

So the answer is yes – many narcissists are able to feel empathy. They just might need some help to get there. Giving them support and encouragement can go a long way in helping them learn to recognize when they should be empathetic, but the first step is for them to realize that they need to work on things and be willing to receive the help they need. A great option is to get therapy, as a therapist is going to be more experienced with narcissistic behavior, and know the right way to approach the entire situation.

Unspoken Symptoms Of PTSD: Extreme Reactions to Memories

PTSD is usually caused by a very traumatic event in a person’s life, but sometimes it seems as though dealing with the PTSD afterward is worse than the actual event itself. One of the common side effects of PTSD is flashbacks. This is where the sufferer begins to remember the event vividly as if completely reliving the situation all over again. Even for those that don’t have PTSD, they know that those that do can suffer from flashbacks.

 

But sometimes, it’s not just flashbacks that they have to deal with. Those with PTSD can have extreme reactions to anything that reminds them of the terrible event, and these reactions include more than just the common flashbacks.

 

Extreme reactions can include but are not limited to fast heart rate, hyperventilating, nausea, tension, stress, vomiting, and sweating. That’s a lot for a person to have to deal with on a regular basis, and if not dealt with properly, these extreme reactions can also turn into intense flashbacks.

 

The best thing to do is to try to avoid things that you know are trigger points for you. You should also seek out therapy to learn healthy coping mechanisms and learn to eventually overcome your fears.

 

If you know someone with PTSD, try to learn their trigger points and make an effort to not bring them up around that person. If you find yourself in a situation where they begin showing extreme reactions, just stay calm and try to give them your full support.

Unspoken Symptoms of PTSD: Migraines

There are a lot of symptoms that come along with having PTSD. Some are fairly common and well talked about, such as flashbacks and anxiety. But there are some symptoms that you may not even realize are part of your PTSD. If you suffer from headaches regularly, and if those headaches seem to get so bad that you can no longer see straight and you feel the need to vomit, PTSD might be the culprit for it.

 

This is especially true for men. Although women are actually three times more likely to have either migraines or PTSD than men, men are more likely to have both at the same time. Basically, the chances of migraines being caused by PTSD are greater in men than in women.

 

PTSD is serious stuff, and it not only effects just what happens inside your head. It can be physically painful to relive your trauma over and over again. Your thoughts begin to take over and you can feel the panic rising. Your muscles tense up, your blood pressure rises, and your body releases all kinds of chemicals associated with fight or flight mode. Any one of these things can cause a headache on their own, but when you combine them all together, you get the perfect recipe for a serious migraine.

 

If you’re having headaches due to your PTSD, learn what your triggers are so you can avoid them in the future. Practice good self-care, and even consider taking some medication to help alleviate a headache when you feel one coming on.