Decoding C-PTSD: Recognising the silent, internal struggle; therapist explains the signs


Complex post-traumatic stress disorder or C-PTSD is the disorder where a person experiences the symptoms of PTSD along with additional symptoms. Feeling angry and distrustful towards the world and having difficulty in controlling emotions are some of the additional symptoms of C-PTSD. However, C-PTSD is often a silent struggle for the people going through it. “Living with C-PTSD is often an invisible battle. Many individuals may appear perfectly composed on the outside, but internally, they’re navigating the turbulent waters of developmental trauma. Recognising these silent disruptions is crucial for understanding and healing,” wrote Therapist Linda Meredith.

C-PTSD is often a silent struggle for the people going through it.(Unsplash)

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Internal signs of C-PTSD

Inconsistent emotional state: One of the primary signs of C-PTSD is spotting the sudden changes in mood and emotions. Emotions feel unpredictable because of the storm within.

Persistent self-doubt: People with C-PTSD have an inner critic who constantly shame themselves and criticise their every action and words, making them doubt their own abilities.

Intrusive memories: The emotional equilibrium is disrupted because of sudden flashbacks of past memories and uncomfortable experiences that can disrupt daily life.

Avoidance behaviours: They also tend to limit their life experiences by consciously steering away from people. Places and situations that can trigger past trauma for them.

Hyperarousal: Relaxation and rest may be difficult for people with C-PTSD because of their constant state of hyperarousal – always looking out for impending danger.

Difficulty with intimacy: People also face difficulty in being intimate with their loved one because of the thought of having the heartbreak of being betrayed in the relationship.

Emptiness: A sense of feeling empty and lonely can happen for people with C-PTSD. They feel a void and have difficulty in connecting with themselves.

“Recognising these internal disruptions allows for a deeper understanding of CPTSD and its pervasive impact on an individual’s life,” Therapist Linda Meredith added.


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