Living with Complex PTSD (CPTSD) is never easy. There are hurdles to jump and bullets to dodge. Trust is always a “thing.” Living outside the confines of isolation long enough to connect with other people is not always an enjoyable experience. The risks are often greater than the payoff. They can be scary and daunting, and sometimes literally hurt.

Just beyond contentment sits a nagging suspicion that relationships are charitable, indentured or malignant; even when it doesn’t parallel reality. Emotion and Intellect are often opponents in the fight for sanity, stability, and control.

Around every corner lurks the menacing fear of opportunity — someone you care about may see what’s ugly inside of you and leave. Trust is, and may always be that “thing,” and sometimes it’s embarrassing how much extra time, attention, and reassurance you need from other people.

There are hurdles to jump and bullets to dodge, and trust is always a “thing.”

You feel guilty for the way you are, even though you know it’s not your fault, and don’t allow many people “in.” When you do, it’s never simple. Sometimes you wonder what scares you more — the prospect of being rejected, or loved.

Sometimes you feel like a burden to people who love you. You understand how irrational your fears and vigilance are, but don’t have a choice. You feel the need to honor the realities of your past by preparing for the worst; just in case.

Some nights you find yourself repeatedly making the rounds, double-checking locked doors and first floor windows. Some mornings, you wake up exhausted.

All you want is to feel safe and secure. You wish, more than anyone, it was easy. Finding balance between your own limitations and the needs of others can feel like stapling Jell-O to a tree. It just doesn’t stick — no matter how hard you try or how much you want it to.

You may hate and sometimes abuse yourself, and have no answer when people ask why, because you genuinely don’t know. 

You wonder sometimes if you’re even worth the time and effort necessary to be close to you. You loathe how often you need reassurance that this is what love looks like.

It is not easy to love someone with Complex PTSD.

There are hurdles to jump and bullets to dodge, and trust is always a “thing.”

You may be pushed away when you get too close and met with anger or irritability when you step back. There will be confusion and mixed signals.

Sometimes you’ll wonder if you’re doing more harm than good by accepting such bizarre and erratic behavior. There will be days you’ll want to walk away and others you’ll want to run. You may question whether or not we can even feel or appreciate the love you give. You may grow tired of our constant need for reassurance that you’re still here.

It will be exhausting. It’s not easy to chip away at invisible walls and make space for someone else’s pain and healing process. It might be difficult to remember your job is not to fix us. Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to love us while we’re broken.

Your kindness keeps us going in ways you’ll never fully comprehend. You have access to things we don’t often share, and we are forever grateful for your willingness to listen and really hear us.

Thank you for showing up in all the ways you do, and giving your extra time and patience without shaming us for needing it.

Thank you for holding space we don’t often feel we deserve and can’t always appreciate.

You will never fully understand what your presence means. It is a comfort beyond the ability of my words to express, and a whole lifetime will never be enough time to explain. Just knowing you’re there makes it easier to breathe.

We can’t imagine what we would do without you, and we’re so grateful every day we don’t have to. We love you a thousand times more than we may ever feel comfortable telling you. Sometimes the opportunity to trust in your love for us is our only saving grace.

If you or someone you know is suffering with any form or symptoms of PTSD, please follow this link and connect with the wonders of trauma informed/focused therapies and find some relief. 

Know someone who needs to read this? Please share it.

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1 year ago

This is just what I needed today. You have a profound way with words and it came to me just when I needed it. Thank you so much.

2 years ago

Thank you so much for this article! It is just what I needed to show my husband. He’s very patient, kind and loving, but sometimes stuff I never expected pops up and I’m a mess. I’ve worked through many of my trauma and am much better, but I could never quite explain things to him. This article really helps.

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