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Topic: Friend with PTSD

10 posts, 0 answered
  1. SallyS
    SallyS avatar
    6 posts
    1 May 2018

    Thank you to all that have posted before, each is enlightening, sometimes sad, sometimes a story of spirit or courage.. but your stories are helpful for me to try and understand PTSD.

    I have a newish friend with PTSD and I am trying to understand it so that I can be a good friend for her. I know every experience is going to be different and every person is different but what can i do for her or what should i keep in mind?

    Lately I have felt confused with what she wants from me, how she wants me to treat her. She is changing her mind constantly on what she wants to do, what she wants me to do for her and about what upsets her. The last time we talked she said to me you have to come and get me to go to dancing lesson I really like it and it is good for me. I asked her that if I did do that would she actually do it given she had said the same to me about other things and then says no and to leave her alone. How she likes me to contact her keeps changing. And recently she said i offended her when i laughed at something that is causing her anxiety but I pointed out that she was laughing about it too and that I thought this was a way she liked get some of this stuff off her chest. She also swings between whether she wants a reality check friend or someone that just sits and listens.

    I want to be a friend she can rely on and trust. Please help me understand PTSD and help me put together a tool box so that I can be that.

    In appreciation


    and the last time we talked I said that to her and as she was at that time getting offended by the way I was reacting to something she said, I was laughing but so was she and we had laughed about this topic before. She mentioned other things that were pissing her off and I said but this is the first time you have mentioned this, you actually told me that this is what you wanted (that she was not a morning person

  2. CJames
    CJames avatar
    80 posts
    1 May 2018 in reply to SallyS

    Hi SallyS,

    Welcome to the forums.

    It's terrific that you're looking to support her, in the best way possible. Well, firstly I suggest you do some research into the disorder yourself if you haven't already, especially the signs and symptoms. It's not going to be an easy journey and can get tough.

    It's vital that you remember to look after yourself, then your friend second. The harsh reality is you can't look after someone if you're not okay yourself.

    You will find any friendship can turn into a rollercoaster, PTSD or not. In this situation, it's determining what's PTSD impacted or casual teenage friendships, which is extremely hard to do over a forum :(

    Have you discussed with her, why she has been diagnosed with PTSD? What is she like talking about it?

    If you haven't also, try and have a good read through some coping mechanisms here:

    Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Complex PTSD - What is it and how do we cope?

    Bit by Bit Sally, that's all you can do.

    I wish you the best of luck; I hope this has helped in some way, I wish I could help more.

    There will be plenty of others with experience regarding an issue like this; they will point you in the best direction.

    Keep us updated,


    1 person found this helpful
  3. SallyS
    SallyS avatar
    6 posts
    2 May 2018 in reply to CJames

    Thanks for the response CJames.

    She has been open with me about it and has told me the cause. Each time she does speak about it, I try to understand but I can't imagine what she has gone through and continues to go through. I want to be someone she can feel that she can trust, offload onto and that I am not judging her.

    I think sometimes, when her expectations, wants, needs change and she reacts negatively to something I have done, I fear that she will lose her trust and confidence in me.

    I am trying to learn and understand her triggers. To know when she needs to be just listened to and when she needs a nudge. everyone has days when they need one over the other but, correct me I am wrong please everyone, I feel that there is so much to lose if it is wrong. She is rightly and understandably defensive.

    Thank you very much for the link, I will add it to my reading material on PTSD.

    And thank you for telling me to look after myself. I have thought that I need to recognise that the constant change is not personal criticism, it just is what it is.

    I think she is amazing, so courageous.

    Thank you everyone for sharing your stories.

  4. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10547 posts
    2 May 2018 in reply to SallyS

    Dear SallyS~

    I'd like to join with CJames in welcoming you here. I can relate a bit to your friend as I have PTSD anxiety and bouts of depression too.

    One thing I know is when I was in a bad place I was not consistent, also I tended to be bad tempered, plus of course specific things or pressure made me worse.

    If I was in your shoes I'd have to realize - as CJames has said - that you need to make sure you are OK long term. One of the ways of doing that is not to try to try to accommodate your freind's every mood change but simply try to steer a sensible constant course. If you can get across the idea that you are going to be there for her that is a very big thing. My partner did this and it made a world of difference to me. What I'm saying here is based on my experience with her.

    If you simply do what seems reasonable your friend may come to regard you as a stable thing in her life. If she criticizes unreasonably develop a way of letting her know you will not accept it. Not by being nasty or cross, but calmly saying that's not right (or something like that) and let it go. If she keeps on give her space.

    You will in time get to know some of the things that trigger her, and of course these can often be avoided. This does not mean you will ever know them all. After many years I still cannot anticipate all of mine (though their effect is much less nowadays.)

    I guess your friend is lucky to have someone around who is prepared to take so much trouble and care.


    1 person found this helpful
  5. SallyS
    SallyS avatar
    6 posts
    6 May 2018 in reply to Croix

    Dear Croix

    Like CJames, you offer some great advice and have really given me some great things to keep in mind and to remind myself of particularly when things aren't so great.

    I am glad you have such a wonderful and caring partner.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond.

    Stay well.


  6. SallyS
    SallyS avatar
    6 posts
    6 June 2018

    Just a quick update. The last month plus has been very hard. Consistently, without any triggers, my friend has been making unreasonable demands and been very aggressive. Then when I called it, in a calm and reasonable way, she accuses me of being mean. I was already thinking that I needed to back off but I was honestly ready to walk away when she told me that she did not think I cared

    I understand now what you were both saying about looking after myself and being consistent. That is what I keep foremost in my mind, along of course with being reasonable, caring and empathetic.

    She called on me to help her recently with an ex, I think expecting me to stand by her side and gang up against him, but instead I tried to mediate as I found her behaviour mirrored the same aggressive and unreasonable behaviour I had experienced, only much worst.

    I do believe that I need to step back, I will be there if she really needs me and if she can behave reasonably. But her behaviour has really been having a negative effect on me.

    I really hope she can manage this better, I want to see her happy, but she needs to do it.. with the support of others.


  7. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10547 posts
    6 June 2018 in reply to SallyS

    Dear SallyS~

    It does not sound good at all, being called in as an ally for outrageous behavior is not only unrealistic of her, but unfair, plus it places you in a very difficult position. Responding that "you do not care" is not an adult way to deal wiht things.

    I guess I'd have to ask myself if this was a friendship or a support service. I'd expect a friend to contribute and care for me, not just take. Do you think I'm misunderstanding whats happening?

    When someone we know is not well we do tend to feel responsible, and try hard to make things better. There are a couple of things to consider though, is it doing any good, and what effect is it having on me? I mentioned my own situation, it was hard on my partner but it did make a big difference, something we both knew. Also I really did try to look out for her, not always successfully I admit, but she was aware of this.

    The other thing of course is medical support, I had a lot and this stops any one person from feeling totally responsible. Does your friend have medical support too?


  8. SallyS
    SallyS avatar
    6 posts
    7 June 2018 in reply to Croix

    Dear Croix

    You are right.

    There is a pattern that is emerging with my friend's relationships. she has admitted that the only person she will let call out her bad behaviour is her mum. And then she puts down others for the way they have not been there for her.

    It used to be more of a friendship but lately I come away after seeing/speaking with her feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Other than being someone she can offload onto and a punching bag, I dont know whether my friendship is of any use to her. I suggested she should move back to be near her mum but she doesnt want to.

    She is under medical care but her comments on it are varied.

    If I am sensing that she is trying to make me responsible for any of her behaviour or bad things in her life future, present or past, I am calmly refuting it, which I usually cop criticism for.

    there is something I have not quite put my finger on, she has made negative comments about others who have problems in their lives "I cant deal with that" "... was meant to be stable and look after me" or if she perceives that someone has a good life she questions why they are not looking out for her more and being good friends.

    I am distancing myself, i check in to see if she is okay but I keep withdrawn for self preservation.

    I think that is best for both of us for now, it's not that i dont care, I can only do so much.

    Thanks again.

  9. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10547 posts
    7 June 2018 in reply to SallyS

    Dear SallyS~

    I don't wish to appear overly critical but it sounds as if your friend is a very self-centered person who expects others to look after her as some sort of right while excusing herself from care in return. I suspect this is an ongoing thing and when people fall sort of her expectations she denigrates them, abandons the friendship and moves on to the next.

    The way you describe her remarks about others plus your treatment leads me to think this.

    I do think it is wise for you to keep more of a distance, as far as I can see you cannot be responsible for her and as I mentioned before it is a very one-sided relationship.

    In situations like this it is very easy to mistakenly question oneself and feel guilty and lacking. You do deserve better friendships, and as a person with common sense and empathy to offer I'm sure they will come


    1 person found this helpful
  10. SallyS
    SallyS avatar
    6 posts
    9 June 2018 in reply to Croix

    Dear Croix,

    Thank you for your advice, I think you are right. I have reciprocal friendships in my life that I would prefer to enjoy and nurture than expend so much energy on something that is negatively effecting me and questionably doing any good for my friend.

    I appreciate the advice and support this forum has given me during the last few months.

    Please take care in your own journeys.


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