Family & Friends

With sufficient support from family and friends, the nervous system can get better again, and an affected person can finally move on from the traumatic event.

Usually, people with PTSD tend to withdraw from family and friends. While it’s important to maintain your loved one’s boundaries, your support can help the person with PTSD overcome feelings of grief, helplessness, and despair. Trauma specialists believe that face-to-face support from others is a very important factor in PTSD recovery.

You shouldn’t force a person with PTSD to talk, but if they do choose to share, try to listen without judgment or expectations. Show that you’re interested and that you care, but refrain from giving advice. It’s your act of listening attentively that is helpful to your loved one, not what you say.

Communication pitfalls to avoid

Don’t…

  • Give simple answers and tell your loved one everything is going to be all right.
  • Prevent your loved one from talking about their feelings or fears
  • Tell your loved one what they “should” do or offer unsolicited advice.
  • Blame your loved one’s PTSD for all of your relationship or family problems.
  • Minimize, invalidate or deny your loved one’s traumatic experience
  • Give ultimatums or make threats or demands.