Friendships and Chronic PTSD

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CCD

Policy Enforcement
Hello,
I am a 24 F and I have been healing from PTSD for 3 years. Some background, my trauma came from a night when roommates (and perceived best friends) plotted and then screamed at me for 3+ hours accusing me of things that were untrue, twisted my words, or exaggerated mistakes that I made even after I apologized profusely. They told me there was never a friendship even after all the things we went through because they hated me the whole time and the rest of our friend group did as well. They told me their goal was to mentally break me down to the ground. Once they were finished/I couldn't take it anymore, I could barely stand up from hyperventilating and crying. I tried to call for help, but they took my phone away from me and then tried to force me to drink water which I was scared to do due to the uncontrolled breathing. They also said I was exaggerating by hyperventilating.

A few weeks later I tried to be independent and okay, but while out with some new people, I was walking out of the bathroom to meet back with them and I was grabbed around the neck by a man while another came up and groped me.

To make a long story short, this has been a long journey. I have been doing really well, but I do still struggle with a few triggers occasionally. A big issue I have now is solidifying friendships. I have made myself new friends, but I have difficulty trusting in the friendships. I am scared to call anyone my best friend because I don't believe that anyone cares about me that deeply or will be friends with me forever. No one has ever called me that either, even though I try super hard to be a good friend, love to have fun, am super social, I am always available at the drop of a hat. I can't even imagine how happy I would be if anyone ever did call me that, my heart might pop out of my chest right then and there. Maybe I just annoy people. I either have to keep myself partially numb or closed off from fully believing in the friendship, or if I don't feel like the person is buying in, I will feel hurt. I realize you are probably thinking that the other person senses this, but I keep that part very private and do my best to be the type of friend someone would want. I am decently open about my PTSD in general if the conversation arises but I never tell people when Im struggling because I don't think anyone really cares. Sometimes I "test the water" and drop hints or straight up tell the people I think I'm close with if I'm struggling, but no one ever asks if I'm okay. I am a super social person and love to be around people though, so maybe it is hard for people to tell when I really need them.

Does anyone else struggle with this? I feel like I can't tell when a friendship is real and I can trust it versus when I need to leave it be. I know people have their own struggles as well so I am also super aware of trying to not make things about me and making sure I am sensing when they need help. Basically, I am doing my best, but no one seems to want me as a friend or at least I am constantly perceiving it this way.
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
I am very sorry that you are struggling. I’m curious who told you that you have ptsd? Are you seeing a therapist?

With your questions on friendships, I’d recommend that you google some stuff on attachment. What happened to you with your “friends” was certainly traumatic. It would make sense that you have trouble trusting others. I’d recommend taking things slowly with all of your new potential friendships. When you jump in too fast or share too much it can scare others off. When someone shows a kind gesture, appreciate it, but don’t assume they are your new best friend. That needs to happen gradually. A pet is an excellent way to explore unconditional love. I would recommend that. Even if it’s as simple as a beta fish.
 

anthony

Founder
Some background, my trauma came from a night when roommates (and perceived best friends) plotted and then screamed at me for 3+ hours accusing me of things that were untrue, twisted my words, or exaggerated mistakes that I made even after I apologized profusely.
This does not meet the criterion for a PTSD diagnosis. You are literally attempting to compare your bad experience to someone who has been raped, tortured towards death, been in war, etc. Shitty behaviour, sure. PTSD? Not a chance. If a professional told you you have PTSD from that specific experience, then they should lose their license immediately.

Your negative experience with friends is shitty. You can absolutely have anxiety, depression, panic, etc, from such a thing. BUT NOT PTSD.

I get that you're having trouble with new friendships due to your past, but telling people you have PTSD because of this experience is just false and misleading. You need to stop it for your own future health and well-being.

Deal with the reality of your symptoms, and not try and lump yourself into a diagnosis that exists for trauma related to death and sexual assault, not everything and anything that people deem traumatic in their lives. There are other disorders... PTSD is not the one based on your writing.

You should seek professional counselling for your experience and stop trying to self-label. You are hurting yourself IMO based on what you are saying here, and your credibility. People are not stupid. The average person does not associate PTSD to a bad friendship experience of being yelled at or verbally abused for a brief period of time.
 

CCD

Policy Enforcement
This does not meet the criterion for a PTSD diagnosis. You are literally attempting to compare your bad experience to someone who has been raped, tortured towards death, been in war, etc. Shitty behaviour, sure. PTSD? Not a chance. If a professional told you you have PTSD from that specific experience, then they should lose their license immediately.

Your negative experience with friends is shitty. You can absolutely have anxiety, depression, panic, etc, from such a thing. BUT NOT PTSD.

I get that you're having trouble with new friendships due to your past, but telling people you have PTSD because of this experience is just false and misleading. You need to stop it for your own future health and well-being.

Deal with the reality of your symptoms, and not try and lump yourself into a diagnosis that exists for trauma related to death and sexual assault, not everything and anything that people deem traumatic in their lives. There are other disorders... PTSD is not the one based on your writing.

You should seek professional counselling for your experience and stop trying to self-label. You are hurting yourself IMO based on what you are saying here, and your credibility. People are not stupid. The average person does not associate PTSD to a bad friendship experience of being yelled at or verbally abused for a brief period of time.
I have been given that diagnosis by two professionals. Are you one? The criterion for the National Institute of Mental Health uses the definition, "someone who has experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event." I didn't give the whole story of that night because I didn't anticipate needing to, I was just asking a question to try to connect with others. I would never compare myself to someone with a worse situation, and I didn't know that was the environment here. I apologize.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
A few weeks later I tried to be independent and okay, but while out with some new people, I was walking out of the bathroom to meet back with them and I was grabbed around the neck by a man while another came up and groped me.
I'm wondering how you see this as relating to the PTSD diagnosis you've been given?
A big issue I have now is solidifying friendships. I have made myself new friends, but I have difficulty trusting in the friendships. I am scared to call anyone my best friend because I don't believe that anyone cares about me that deeply or will be friends with me forever. No one has ever called me that either, even though I try super hard to be a good friend, love to have fun, am super social, I am always available at the drop of a hat. I can't even imagine how happy I would be if anyone ever did call me that, my heart might pop out of my chest right then and there.
Reading this, what strikes me is that you've put a lot of weight on this idea of a "best friend" - like its something everyone has, or that it's something you're supposed to have. It's like thinking you don't have an identity of your own unless you're in a relationship. That's simply not true. But my advice to work on that would be to focus on also spending time with yourself, doing things that you like to do. Sure, sometimes it's nice to be with other people but it's also good to be OK with being alone.

That's what will ultimately help you grow. And your friendships will deepen as a result of that growth.

As far as the bad night with your non-friends three years ago...I get that it would have been really upsetting. It sounds like you had your own part in it as well, and its hard to tell from what you shared - but there are indicators that those people may have been confronting you over something you did, that you don't want to take responsibility for.

We get a lot of people here claiming to have PTSD from failed relationships, from bad arguments, from all sorts of terrible personal experiences. The fact is: Everyone will have devastating things happen in their lives. Loss, abandonment, loneliness, etc. Those traumas don't cause PTSD.

That doesn't mean they aren't painful, and it doesn't mean you shouldn't seek help from professionals.
The criterion for the National Institute of Mental Health uses the definition, "someone who has experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event."
That's the simplified for the general public definition, not the diagnostic criteria. For that, you'd need to refer to the DSM-5 (US) or the ICD-10 or -11 (anywhere else). My advice - don't get deep into a debate about diagnosis, here. Read the Community Constitution, to see if this is the right website for you.
 

CCD

Policy Enforcement
How does me telling a brief synopsis of my story… the parts I feel like sharing, give you the right to think you know all of it? I just hoped to come here to gain support. I didn’t think I had to disclose every last detail of what happened. But for those wondering/prepared to throw the DSM-5 at me. Yes, I was “threatened with serious injury” and I wasn’t sure what else they were capable of, and that’s all I am going to say about it because I owe you nothing. I could not get away because they locked me in a room with them and took my phone when I tried to call for help. I am sorry if my details of what happened or if what happened to me in general isn’t enough for you. The criterion does not state that you have to have had physical harm, that’s why the word threatened is used. Following the event, I was seen for issues under the categories of the other criterion. I had trouble sleeping because I was so afraid of the nightmares, I thought about the event constantly and had frequent panic attacks when I thought about what happened, I couldn’t go to the city or think about the people in any form without my heart racing, sweating, and starting to panic, I stopped doing things I enjoyed because I didn’t think I had the right to anymore, and the list goes on. I put that in past tense because the intensity was so high for about a year, I have done a bit of healing since then, but I still struggle with many of these things. I would never self-diagnose myself, that’s why I sought two opinions. Other diagnoses were cleared. I am really sorry if you feel that the people that diagnosed me were incorrect or that I don’t belong here. I didn’t realize that this was the type of environment on this site or I wouldn’t have joined.

Im just wondering why you all are running a support group if you aren’t supporting others? Does it help validate your journey to invalidate theirs? Does it help other people who are reading this, hoping to find a place to share, to see you knocking others down because they didn’t have a bad enough experience in your opinion? Please tell me how that supports anyone? I just thought this was a place for supporting each other while trying to improve and trying to heal. I struggled for a long time with shame from my diagnosis for this exact reason, but I finally got myself to try a community support system. I really hope the next person who sees this, who might be struggling to share their full story with others or struggling in any other way, you don’t shame like this. This should be a safe place.
 

Friday

Moderator
Please tell me how that supports anyone?
If I told you I got pregnant from a car crash...

Would you not ask questions, or tell me that’s not possible, you can’t get pregnant from a car crash?

Because you know that you get pregnant from sex, not car crashes.

Best case scenario... They’re wrong. They are pregnant, but not from the crash. Worst case scenario? They’re right, it was the car crash that is causing their belly to swell up like they’re pregnant -and- They’re wasting valuable time finding out what is really going on with them.

You don’t need to be a doctor to know that car crashes don’t cause pregnancy, or that being shouted at doesn’t cause PTSD. You DO need serious training to find out what might look like pregnancy, or PTSD, but isn’t.

So, if I told you I got pregnant from a car crash... would you keep mum, and let me waste valuable time? Or would you say something, or ask questions, because you know you can’t get pregnant from car crashes? Which is more supportive? Whether you’re blunt about it (you can get pregnant from sex, rape, in vitro, any version of sperm meets egg, but not from VW meets BMW or guard rail), or more indirect; and whether the person is over the moon, or furious with you, or doubles down that car accidents can too cause pregnancy; keeping secret the knowledge that sex is what causes pregnancy, not car crashes, is the only cruel & unsupportive option.
 
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joeylittle

Administrator
I just thought this was a place for supporting each other while trying to improve and trying to heal.
'Support' means different things to different people.
This should be a safe place.
No, that's really not possible. I mean, it's the internet - let's be real.

@Friday nailed all the other reasons.

No need to continue this any further.

Regardless of your diagnosis: this isn't the right forum for you.
 
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