CALIFORNIA PSYCHOTHERAPEUTIC RESOURCES, INC.
PATRICIA MCTAGUE-LOFT, MS, LMFT, FAPA, SAP
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Posted on: May 21, 2021
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The short answer is, absolutely yes. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has a variety of features, including a tendency to pull away from certain situations or relationships. This behavior is actually quite rational. PTSD can cause a person to feel emotionally numb and involve feelings of rejection or abandonment.
Writing for PsychologyToday.com, Annie Tanasugarn, PhD says that “ Because these feelings and experiences can cause more stress, avoiding situations or people who ‘trigger’ vulnerable emotions — from love, to anger, to fear or shame — is commonly reported. Essentially, avoiding feelings that cause distress can ‘trigger‘ avoidant behavior, which can keep a person suffering from PTSD caught in a self-defeating cycle of: disconnection –> emotional trigger –> avoidant behavior.”
Understanding this cycle is particularly relevant right now. Research is mounting that shows up to 20% of people in critical roles (for example, nurses treating Covid-19 patients, or nursing home residents) are suffering from PTSD. For couples in a relationship, the danger is that PTSD causes love-avoidance. (See “Love Addicts And Avoidants” for more information.)
“Emotional numbing, or avoidant behavior,” says Tanasugarn, “can affect the quality of a person’s life; they may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, there may be increases in interpersonal/relationship problems, and/or a detachment or inability to remain emotionally close to others. Similarly, fight/flight behavior and self-sabotaging behavior (self-medicating, ‘distracted’ behavior, eating disorders, cycling through relationships, promiscuity, or other risky behavior) are reported, which can exacerbate avoidance of intimacy.”
We’re only beginning to understand the human cost of the pandemic and associated societal reactions. Self reflection may be wise in order to repair damaged relationships. See Tanasugarn’s full article here.
Posted in: Marriage Counseling
Disclaimer: The screening tests and videos that are linked on this web site are not designed to provide diagnoses for the various clinical issues. They are intended solely for the purpose of identifying the symptoms of the issues and to help you make a more informed decision about seeking help. An accurate diagnosis for these clinical issues and other psychiatric disorders can only be made by a physician or qualified mental health professional after a complete evaluation. If you have scores that indicate that you meet criteria for these issues or think that you may be at risk, please contact a mental health professional or your physician.