Read "What to do when someone with PTSD pushes you away" offline:

Episode 47: When someone with PTSD pushes you away, you need to know what to do because it is so painful. Dr. Daniel Williams, MD discusses this difficult topic, as it is the most often asked regarding PTSD.

How to Help Someone with PTSD when the Push You Away

  1. Don’t chase them.
  2. Your story is safe.
  3. Start with Your Strength. Many prefer a non-threatening course like the Sex Therapy or Pet Therapy courses that come with membership.
  4. Don’t feed into unhealthy behavior.
  5. Don’t be an enabler.

What Not to do after PTSD

This is an entire chapter in the very first book I wrote (Combat PTSD in America: Toward a Permanent Solution) as Chief Resident at Baylor Scott & White, which is available as PDF in the Mental Component course.

  1. Put a time limit on grief.
  2. Assume anything, especially that someone will be better if they talk about it.
  3. Stick exposure therapy up your assessment.

By Doctor Dan

[veteran, physician, psychiatrist]

2 thoughts on “What to do when someone with PTSD pushes you away”
  1. Hello Melissa. We can chat on zoom if that’s easier to communicate. Thanks for writing.

    Sounds like the best thing you can do at this point is to model self-care. I can always tell if someone has had good counseling before or not. Those that don’t just seem to focus on all the pain and spread the trauma like it’s a communicable disease. Trauma stories inevitably bring up our own internal feelings and body memories, which are two different things. I recommend the Emotion Code for any couple, or individual, seeking to bypass the painful part of talking about the story with a counselor to attempt some kind of relief. What people don’t realize is that if you don’t develop emotional regulation skills, self-care, and communication when overwhelmed, then talking about the traumatic past is at least as likely to cause a bigger problem rather than bring on some relief. Thus, my position is that we’re doing it all wrong. Modern “counseling” is blind to the subconscious mind. The world should have listened more to Jung, not Freud, as it were.

  2. HI – I recently went through an extremely painful experience. I was in a relationship with a combat vet ( still active AF). He had a massive PTSD breakdown over night. No access to feelings, depression, “feels Dead inside” etc. Shut off all emotions and pushed me away. I supported him for 10 months and kept let him know that I would be there for him. He finally told me in a text to let him go. It has been 6 weeks since that message and I did not respond. I love him and would work through it with him but he has shut me out. I wish I could understand why push away the one person in your life who has supported you. His family does not know the depth of what has happened- he has shared the graphic horrible stories with me and I am now left with it. It is soo painful and hard to digest. Any advice is greatly welcomed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.