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What to Do When Someone with PTSD Pushes You Away: Helping Guide

Emotional withdrawal is a complex reaction that can occur in young adults and teens who have experienced traumatic events, such as those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This reaction may be observed in individuals who have gone through distressing experiences and can affect their ability to connect with others, including their partner.


When a partner with PTSD pushes away a gent, teen, or young adult, it’s crucial to understand the underlying causes behind this behavior. By delving into the reasons for emotional withdrawal in partners, teens, and young adults, we can respond compassionately and provide support to those in need, whether a partner, a gent, a teen, or a young adult.

Defense Mechanism against Perceived Threats or Triggers

One of the primary reasons young adults with PTSD may push their partners away is as a defense mechanism against their gender. Trauma can leave deep emotional scars on teens and young adults, making them hypersensitive to potential threats or triggers from their partners. Teenagers and young adults may withdraw emotionally to protect themselves from reliving painful memories or experiencing overwhelming anxiety. This withdrawal allows teens and young adults to create a perceived sense of safety and control over their emotions.

Feelings of Shame, Guilt, or Fear

Another factor contributing to pushing others away, especially for teens and young adults, is the presence of intense emotions like shame, guilt, or fear. Teen and young adult Teen and young adult individuals with PTSD often struggle with these feelings due to their past experiences. Teenagers and young adults might believe they are unworthy of love and support or fear burdening others. As a result, teens and young adults distance themselves emotionally from loved ones to cope with these negative emotions.

Understanding these underlying feelings can help us approach them with empathy and reassurance. Reminding them that they are not alone and their feelings are valid can gradually encourage them to open up and seek support.

Reacting to Overwhelming Emotions

People with PTSD often endure intense emotions that can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. The emotional turmoil caused by triggers or flashbacks may unintentionally lead them to push others away. It becomes challenging for them to maintain healthy relationships when their own emotions feel out of control.

When faced with someone pushing you away due to overwhelming emotions, it’s essential not to take it personally. Recognize that their actions result from their struggles and offer them patience and understanding.

Navigating the Path Forward

To support someone with PTSD who is pushing you away, it’s crucial to approach them with compassion and respect. Here are some strategies to navigate this challenging situation:

  1. Educate yourself: Learn about PTSD and its symptoms to better understand what your loved one is experiencing.

  2. Communicate openly: Encourage open dialogue, but be mindful not to pressure them into sharing before they’re ready.

  3. Offer support without judgment: Let them know you’re there for them unconditionally, providing a safe space to express their emotions.

  4. Respect boundaries: Understand and respect their need for personal space when they require it.

  5. Encourage professional help: Suggest therapy or counseling as an additional avenue for support.

By following these steps, you can establish trust and create an environment where individuals with PTSD feel comfortable seeking help without feeling judged or misunderstood.

Maintaining a Supportive Attitude: Strategies for Providing Understanding and Compassion

Cultivating empathy is crucial when someone with PTSD pushes you away. By attentively listening and empathetically validating their experiences without passing judgment, you can cultivate a secure and nurturing environment that encourages the free expression of their emotions. Understand that their suffering is accurate, and by acknowledging it, you can help them feel heard and supported.

Patience and understanding are vital virtues when dealing with someone who has PTSD. Healing takes time, and the journey towards recovery can be filled with ups and downs. Recognize that they may have good and bad days, and be there for them through it all. Offering your support consistently can make a significant difference in their healing process.

Educating yourself about PTSD symptoms and coping mechanisms is essential in providing informed support. By familiarizing yourself with their challenges, you can better understand their needs. Research various resources such as books, articles, or online forums to gain insights into effective ways of helping individuals with PTSD.

Support groups can provide an invaluable network for individuals with PTSD and their caregivers or family members. Encouraging your loved one to join a support group can offer them an additional sense of belonging and understanding from others who have experienced similar struggles. These groups often provide a platform for sharing experiences, learning coping strategies, and finding solace among peers.

Building a solid support system around the individual is vital in their recovery journey. As a caregiver or family member, ensure you are available to listen, offer assistance when needed, and provide emotional support. Let them know that they are not alone in this battle against PTSD.

Helping someone with PTSD involves more than being present; it requires active participation in their healing process. Engage in cognitive practices such as mindfulness exercises or breathing techniques to help alleviate stress. Encourage healthy behaviors like regular exercise or hobbies that bring joy or relaxation.

Remember that supporting someone with PTSD can be emotionally demanding for both parties. Take care of your well-being, enabling you to provide better support. Seek guidance from professionals or support groups for caregivers to learn effective ways to manage the challenges that may arise.

If you are a partner of someone with PTSD, it is crucial to understand their unique needs and triggers. Be patient and gentle in your interactions, giving them space when necessary while remaining available for support. Learn and respect their boundaries, ensuring they feel safe and understood within the relationship.

Practical Steps to Take: How to Respond When Someone with PTSD Pushes You Away

When someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) pushes you away, it can be challenging and confusing. It’s crucial to respond in a way that respects their boundaries while providing support. Here are some practical steps you can take to navigate this situation effectively.

Respect their boundaries while letting them know you are there for them when they’re ready.

It’s essential to acknowledge and respect the boundaries set by individuals with PTSD. Understand that their need for space does not reflect your relationship or value as a person. Instead of taking it personally, communicate your availability and support when they feel ready to reach out.

  • Be patient: Recognize that healing from trauma takes time, and everyone progresses at their own pace. Avoid pressuring them into opening up or seeking help before they are prepared.

  • Express empathy: Let them know you understand how difficult it must be for them and reassure them that you are there whenever they need someone to talk to or lean on.

  • Validate their feelings: Acknowledge their challenges and assure them that their emotions are valid. This validation can help create a safe environment where they feel comfortable sharing when they are ready.

Offer consistent reassurance that your support is unwavering, even if they push you away temporarily.

People with PTSD may go through periods where they isolate themselves or distance themselves from others, including those closest to them. During these times, offering unwavering reassurance of your continued support is vital.

  • Stay consistent: Show up consistently in their life without being intrusive. Send occasional messages or check-ins to let them know you care.

  • Avoid judgment: Refrain from passing judgment on their actions or decisions during challenging moments. Instead, remind them that you are there for support without any conditions attached.

  • Provide resources: Offer information about professional help, support groups, or therapy options available to them. Let them know that seeking assistance is a sign of strength and can aid their healing process.

Avoid taking their actions personally; remember that it’s not about you but their struggle with PTSD.

One crucial aspect of supporting someone with PTSD is understanding that their behavior does not reflect your relationship or interactions. Their actions are often driven by their challenges due to their condition.

  • Practice self-care: When supporting someone with PTSD, it is crucial to prioritize self-care. Engage in rejuvenating activities for your well-being while assisting.

  • Educate yourself: Learn more about PTSD to understand better what the person may be going through. This knowledge will enable you to respond with empathy and compassion.

  • Seek support for yourself: Consider joining support groups or counseling sessions specifically designed for individuals who have loved ones with PTSD. Connecting with individuals who share similar experiences can provide valuable insights and effective coping strategies.

Responding appropriately when someone with PTSD pushes you away requires patience, empathy, and understanding. By respecting their boundaries, offering consistent reassurance, and avoiding personalizing their actions, you can create an environment where they feel supported on their journey toward healing.

Building Trust and Safety: Creating a Secure Environment for Healing

Building trust and safety is crucial. By fostering a secure environment, you can help them navigate their healing process and improve their mental health. Here are some essential steps to consider:

Be Reliable, Dependable, and Consistent

Establishing trust requires consistently demonstrating reliability and dependability in your actions towards individuals with PTSD. This means showing up when you say you will and following through on your commitments. Doing so demonstrates that they can rely on you during difficult times.

In addition to reliability, consistency is also vital. People with PTSD often struggle with feeling safe due to past traumatic experiences. By consistently showing up for them, you provide a sense of stability that helps create an environment where they feel secure.

Create a Safe Space for Expression

People with PTSD may find it challenging to express themselves openly due to fear of judgment or criticism. To be supportive, it is crucial to establish a secure environment where others feel at ease expressing their thoughts and emotions without worrying about being disregarded or invalidated.

To achieve this, actively listen without interrupting or offering unsolicited advice. Validate their feelings by acknowledging their experiences as real and significant. Given what they have been through, let them know that their emotions are valid and understandable.

Communicate Openly about Boundaries

In any relationship, the significance of respecting boundaries is undeniable. However, when it comes to supporting an individual with PTSD, this becomes notably heightened. Engage in open communication about boundaries to feel respected and heard.

Please encourage them to express their limits and preferences regarding physical contact, personal space, triggers, or topics that may be sensitive for them. By understanding these boundaries, you can avoid unintentionally triggering distressing memories or causing further harm.

Provide Opportunities for Control

PTSD often leaves survivors feeling like they have lost control over their lives. By providing opportunities for control, you can help them regain a sense of agency and empowerment.

Allow them to make decisions whenever possible, even if they seem small or insignificant. This could involve choosing activities to engage in together or giving them the freedom to decide when they need alone time. By respecting their autonomy, you help rebuild their confidence and trust in themselves.

Support from Family and Partners

It is essential to involve other family members or partners in creating a safe environment for someone with PTSD. Educate those close to the individual about the condition and provide resources to help them understand how best to support their loved one.

Encourage open conversations among family members or partners about how they can contribute positively to the healing process. By fostering a supportive network, you create an environment where the person with PTSD feels understood and valued.

Recognizing Triggers: Being Mindful of PTSD Triggers and Their Impact

Living with someone who has experienced traumatic events can be challenging, especially when they push you away due to their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is crucial to understand that their behavior may stem from triggers related to their past trauma. By recognizing these triggers and being mindful of their impact, you can provide the support and understanding they need.

Identifying Potential Triggers

To effectively assist someone with PTSD, learning how to identify potential triggers is essential. Traumatic experiences can create associations between certain sounds, smells, or situations and the danger detection system in the brain. These associations put individuals on high alert, triggering a range of symptoms. By maintaining awareness of potential triggers, you possess the power to cultivate a safer environment for your loved ones. Some common triggers include:

  • Loud noises or sudden movements

  • Crowded spaces or confined areas

  • Specific smells associated with traumatic events

  • Certain types of physical touch

Avoiding Triggering Situations

While avoiding triggering situations altogether may not always be possible, minimizing exposure is essential. Understand that individuals with PTSD may also undergo exposure therapy as part of their treatment process. This therapy involves gradually facing their fears and triggers in a controlled setting under professional guidance.

Respecting their need for exposure therapy means balancing and avoiding unnecessary triggering situations while supporting their healing journey. Open communication is vital here; encourage your loved one to express what situations they find distressing so that you can work together towards minimizing exposure whenever feasible.

Supporting Coping Strategies

Individuals with PTSD often develop coping strategies to manage their symptoms when triggered. These strategies might include deep breathing exercises, grounding techniques, or seeking solace in activities such as painting or writing. It is crucial to support these coping mechanisms as they play a significant role in helping your loved one navigate through their trauma.

Encourage open communication about their triggers and coping strategies. You can provide the necessary support by understanding what triggers them and how they cope. Remember, each person’s experience with PTSD is unique, so be patient and adaptable to their specific needs.

Communicating Triggers

Effective communication is vital in any relationship, mainly when supporting individuals with PTSD. Encourage your loved one to communicate their triggers with you openly. By doing so, you can better understand what situations or stimuli may cause distress and work together to create a safe space for them.

When discussing triggers, ensure that you listen attentively without judgment or criticism. Reassure them that their experiences are valid and that you are there to support them. This open dialogue can strengthen your bond while enabling you to navigate potential triggering situations effectively.

Seeking Professional Help: The Benefits of Therapy for Individuals with PTSD

Living with someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be challenging, especially when they push you away. It is essential to understand that their behavior is not a reflection of their feelings towards you but a manifestation of their internal struggles. Supporting your loved one in seeking help from experienced therapists specializing in PTSD can profoundly impact their path to healing and recovery.

Practical Tools and Techniques for Symptom Management

One of the primary benefits of therapy sessions for individuals with PTSD is the provision of practical tools and techniques to manage symptoms. Traumatic stress disorder can cause intense emotions, flashbacks, nightmares, and panic attacks, making it difficult for individuals to cope with daily life. However, therapy offers various evidence-based treatments that have proven successful in symptom reduction.

Exposure therapy is one treatment used by mental health professionals to help individuals gradually confront their traumatic memories. By safely facing these distressing experiences within a controlled environment, patients can learn to process and manage them effectively. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely utilized approach that targets identifying negative thought patterns. It then facilitates their transformation into positive and adaptive alternatives, promoting enhanced well-being and personal growth.

Supportive Decision-Making Process

It is crucial to support your loved one’s decision-making process. Therapy is a personal journey; each individual may have different needs or preferences. Respect their autonomy while gently encouraging them to explore professional help.

To assist them in finding the right therapist, provide resources such as directories or online platforms specializing in mental health professionals experienced in treating PTSD. Offer assistance researching potential therapists specializing in trauma-focused therapies or have relevant experience working with individuals with PTSD.

The Role of Therapists in Promoting Healing

Therapists are vital in promoting healing and recovery for individuals with PTSD. Through therapy, they provide a safe and non-judgmental environment where patients can express their emotions, fears, and traumas. By actively listening and validating their experiences, therapists create a foundation of trust that allows individuals to explore their trauma at their own pace.

Therapy sessions also offer a space for learning coping mechanisms and developing healthy strategies to manage symptoms outside the therapeutic setting. Therapists may teach relaxation techniques mindfulness exercises, or provide education on self-care practices that can significantly impact an individual’s well-being.

Exploring Different Therapies

Various therapies are available for individuals with PTSD, and it may be helpful to explore different options to find what works best for your loved one. Some standard therapies include:

  • EMDR is a therapeutic technique using eye movements or bilateral stimulation to process traumatic memories and promote healing.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a highly effective and evidence-based form of psychotherapy that aims to identify and modify unhelpful or unhealthy thinking and behavior patterns. Individuals gain insights into their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors by working with a therapist. They develop practical strategies to navigate challenges and achieve positive life changes. CBT is widely utilized across various mental health conditions, helping individuals to enhance their overall well-being and lead more fulfilling lives. It can effectively manage negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors related to PTSD.

  • Exposure therapy involves gradually exposing the To assist individuals in effectively managing distress, it is crucial to address and support the processing of traumatic memories, promoting the acquisition of healthy coping mechanisms.

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  • Group Therapy: Participating in a support group alongside individuals who have encountered similar traumas can foster a profound sense of community and empathy.Art Therapy: Through engaging in creative activities like painting or drawing, individuals can find a powerful outlet for expressing challenging emotions.

  • Medication-Assisted Therapy: In some cases, medication prescribed by psychiatrists may be used alongside therapy sessions to manage specific symptoms.

By considering these different therapies, you can help your loved one make informed decisions about the most suitable treatment approach.

Final Thoughts on Supporting Someone with PTSD Who Pushes You Away

Supporting someone with PTSD can be challenging, especially when they push you away. However, it’s crucial to remember that their actions do not reflect your worth or value as a person. Instead, it’s essential to approach the situation with understanding and compassion.

One way to navigate this difficult situation is by maintaining open lines of communication. Assure the person of your unwavering support and willingness to lend an ear whenever they feel ready to open up. Educate yourself about PTSD and its symptoms to better understand what they may be going through.

Remember, supporting someone with PTSD is a journey that requires patience and empathy. It’s essential to respect their boundaries while still offering your support. Doing so can create an environment where healing and trust can flourish.


How long does it take for someone with PTSD to heal?

The healing process for individuals with PTSD varies from person to person. Some may find relief within a few months, while others may require years of therapy and support. It’s important not to rush the healing process but instead provide ongoing understanding and encouragement.

Can I help someone with PTSD without professional help?

While professional help is vital in treating PTSD, your support as a friend or loved one can make a significant difference. Please show your support by being there for them emotionally, offering a non-judgmental ear, and encouraging them to seek professional assistance when necessary.

Are there any specific triggers I should avoid?

Triggers vary for each individual with PTSD, so it’s crucial to communicate openly about what triggers them personally. Please encourage them to share their triggers with you so that you can work together to create a safe environment.

What if my mental health is affected by supporting someone with PTSD?

Supporting someone with PTSD can be emotionally draining at times, so taking care of your mental health is crucial, too. Establishing boundaries is crucial to maintaining your ability to offer support effectively, reaching out to friends or a therapist, and prioritizing self-care.

How can I help someone with PTSD who pushes me away?


p style=”white-space: pre-wrap;”>If someone with PTSD pushes you away, respect their need for space while letting them know you are there for them when they’re ready. Continue showing your support through small gestures like sending a thoughtful message or checking in on them periodically.

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