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Please tell me how to get doubting friends & family to understand?

personally, i believe that PTSD, depression, anxiety, and avoidance are phenomena which you can't understand without having experienced it first hand. i don't fully understand it, myself, which only makes the attempt all the harder.

i feel like it is far more productive to puzzle ^it^ through with my fellow sufferers and be grateful my loved ones don't have the experience to understand. may they remain forever ignorant of PTSD, depression, anxiety, and avoidance.
 
Sometimes I wonder if people don't think it's real especially if you've never served in combat. I never would've thought to look at that until I saw something online one day that sparked my curiosity and I discovered what my issues might be. And then I went looking for help.

@alittlehelpplease hang in there!
Thank you LotF
 
I think if you’re struggling to get someone to understand, they needed to be moved to an outer circle of your friend/family group. Pull those who get it in closer. I echo what @arfie said, you can’t get it if you’ve never been through it.

I don’t know that what you seek is for them to get it. I think you’re looking for empathy. Maybe it would help if you told them that? They may not understand why it affects you but they out to be able to empathize and if they can’t, you should find some distance from them.
 
Yeah… the “doubting Thomas’” aren’t easy to deal with. If I was a veteran there would be zero questions, but I’m not and then, in my case you. add the “complex” to the front of it. Annnnd as humans will be… if they haven’t heard about then how is it different, ‘trauma?? From when you were a kid? Oh come on, everyone had some bad times as a kid, what makes your childhood any different?”

I can’t even talk with my therapist about most of it yet. Yet I am expected to divulge things I barely have acknowledged to myself to someone who doubts? That is like giving someone access to my inner critic and letting them play at bumper cars for awhile… nopin’ out on that! 😂

I am still a newbie to all of this but I keep my diagnosis in a safe under lock and key only to be shared with a few individuals I trust not to judge the f*ck out of me. Too stressful to attempt to convince anyone if they don’t believe you from the get go. So I don’t even share it to begin with. If questions do arise, they have Google just like I do. If they truly want to understand, give them a name of a book to read, (I give out Pete Walkers Surviving toThriving book for my CPTSD). You are not required to explain it or convince anyone. Just my 2 cents.
 
How can I get doubting friends or family to understand my PTSD, depression, anxiety, and avoidance?

Who do you want to understand what, & why? IE What do you want to achieve?

Many of the people closest to me don’t know I have PTSD, much less the series of events leading up to it. They DO know how I’m effected, to various degrees, because those are the effects that impact them, via our relationship. They “just” assign those effects to me, rather than one step removed. And are -relatively- okay with the fact that I’m sometimes an asshole, cancel plans but am on the spot in an emergency, show up early but arrive late, etc. etc. etc. They’d have to ALSO be fine with those things if they did know I had PTSD, so I don’t personally find a lot of value in explaining “why” I am the way I am. I am this way. Not 100%, or even 50%, of the time. And that’s also me-being-me.

Generally speaking I don’t try to get other people’s understanding.

There ARE specific instances where “Never explain, never apologize”, is for other people, & other situations, not for this person or this situation. But they’re rare, and not tiered. Meaning it’s not like level 1 knows this, level 2 knows this and that, level 3 knows etc.

So… for ME? The key point is what do I want to have happen? What does explaining help? (Them, me, or our situation?). In what ways? What are the ripples that will come from that? Conversely, what does it hurt? And those ripples? Again, I do tell some people, sometimes… but it’s on a very case by case basis; rather than attempting to get “everyone” read in.

If the cat is out of the bag, for whatever reason? Shrug. I basically just ignore the situation until it goes away. If/when I can.

Not saying any of the above is the best way to do things, it’s just how I do things.


If I was a veteran there would be zero questions
You might be surprised, unless you mean your friends and family specifically understand vets with PTSD, but not any other kinds of trauma or PTSD from other kinds of trauma?

In my experience, most people hear combat PTSD and react in

- Bullshit. (You’re fine) or (You’re malingering)
- Sudden Fear of the psychopathic suicidal murder spree maniac they mistook for a normal person
- Did you kill anyone??? And worse. Seriously f*cked up questions, in grisly detail, that I have NEVER been asked about my rape trauma, DV, etc. (Tell me, tell me, tell me!!! Excited most of the time, but? Sometimes just clueless curiosity)

Disbelief. Derision. Fear. Turned on by your trauma.

^^^ NONE of which equals understanding, and all of which means the person believes they have the “right” to cross examine you. At length. Rather like strangers believing they have the “right” to grope you, if you’re pregnant.

The few people who don’t bat an eye? Or better yet, back other eedjits down? Don’t need questions, because they already understand.
 
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Yeah… the “doubting Thomas’” aren’t easy to deal with. If I was a veteran there would be zero questions, but I’m not and then, in my case you. add the “complex” to the front of it. Annnnd as humans will be… if they haven’t heard about then how is it different, ‘trauma?? From when you were a kid? Oh come on, everyone had some bad times as a kid, what makes your childhood any different?”

I can’t even talk with my therapist about most of it yet. Yet I am expected to divulge things I barely have acknowledged to myself to someone who doubts? That is like giving someone access to my inner critic and letting them play at bumper cars for awhile… nopin’ out on that! 😂

I am still a newbie to all of this but I keep my diagnosis in a safe under lock and key only to be shared with a few individuals I trust not to judge the f*ck out of me. Too stressful to attempt to convince anyone if they don’t believe you from the get go. So I don’t even share it to begin with. If questions do arise, they have Google just like I do. If they truly want to understand, give them a name of a book to read, (I give out Pete Walkers Surviving toThriving book for my CPTSD). You are not required to explain it or convince anyone. Just my 2 cents.

Darkness Reborn, Thank you for the comments. I agree with what you said. I share with my spouse and most of the time she is supportive but sometimes I can tell she thinks some stuff is BS. I even sometimes question whether I’m making more out of it than necessary. But then I remember laying in bed calling off work and remaining there for days. Unable to understand what was going on and unable to explain how I felt. I couldn’t focus and didn’t want to do anything and especially didn’t want to be around people.
 
You might be surprised, unless you mean your friends and family specifically understand vets with PTSD, but not any other kinds of trauma or PTSD from other kinds of trauma?
Yes, family, sorry about not being more precise. My son was in Iraq.


NONE of which equals understanding, and all of which means the person believes they have the “right” to cross examine you. At length. Rather like strangers believing they have the “right” to grope you, if you’re pregnant.
I know right! When in the hell did touch someone’s belly become acceptable? 😂. Shocked the shit out of me during my first pregnancy when a stranger in the grocery store was all googley-eyed and touchy-feely to my belly! Blew my mind and I completely froze. The next time it happened I was instantly irate and my evil twin mode kicked in and reached out to touch their belly. They immediately got offended and asked what I was doing. I very sweetly said, “Oh, I thought this was the new norm on how to say hello to a pregnant stranger, like shaking hands.” She, all huffy and offended, said, “You could have just asked me not to.”. I replied, “Huh, I didn’t know it was ever acceptable to walk up to a stranger and touch them on their belly without asking permission, maybe you should have asked first. It is my stomach and uterus after all.”. I slapped many people’s hands away, strangers all, but I really rather enjoyed touching their stomachs. I think it got the point across much more effectively.

Maybe that is what I should do to the few peeps who are my doubting Thomas’ When they start with their interrogations…Push their sensitive buttons on things they don’t want to share. Ok probably not but my evil twin mode thinks it would be fun. 😂. I do not mind sincere, well-meaning questions.

I share with my spouse
Well you are more trusting than I. I actively hide my therapy, let alone my diagnosis, from my spouse. However… that is another story. I trust my neighbor more than I do my husband with that information 😂

sometimes I can tell she thinks some stuff is BS.
I just started laughing at this because all I could think is, “Sometimes I think it is all BS too!” And I am the one living with it. 😂
 
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