Learn About Secondary PTSD – How Family Members Become Traumatized by Living with Loved Ones with PTSD

by | Aug 26, 2012

http://www.familyofavet.com/secondary_ptsd.html  Quote from this site…

The Many Faces of Secondary PTSD
“The signs, symptoms, and effects of Secondary PTSD are just as varied as the ones 
exhibited by Veterans with “primary” PTSD.
 It really is hard to explain, unless you’ve lived 
it.  However, I’m going to try!

Basically, when you’re living with a veteran who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, you 
become his (or her) caretaker.  You slip into a role, without even noticing it, that has you 
constantly watching for people or circumstances that might “set him off.”  You’re trying to 
make sure everything stays in line – that nothing aggravates or upsets your vet – that 
everything is “perfect.”  Despite your best efforts, you’re still getting screamed at and 
berated by the person you’re trying to help on a much too frequent basis.”  

Secondary PTSD often takes a backseat because it develops from the close relationship of a caregiver of a person with “primary” PTSD.  After long exposure as a spouse or as a child of a parent with PTSD, secondary PTSD can kick-in and become a life-long challenge.  Family members are focused on the loved one who is readjusting to cilvilian life after war and rarely pay attention to how living in the environment or culture of PTSD will transfer like bad genes to others who live in the toxic culture connected with PTSD symptoms.  I can say from my own childhood experience with a father who suffered severe and complex PTSD that we siblings and our mother were traumatized for years.  It is my goal with this posting to make family members more aware of the implications of secondary PTSD.  Be vigilant early and start taking care of your own needs to stay on top of the risks of developing secondary PTSD as a caregiver.

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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