Mental health professionals have recognized that PTSD may not only result from a one-time, immediate disturbance. According to the Journal of Taumatic Stress, Complex PTSD results from:
“the psychological impact of subordination to coercive control and has many common features, (with PTSD), whether it occurs within the public sphere of politics or within the private sphere of sexual and domestic relations.”
What is Coercive Control?
Coercive control is present in all forms of domestic abuse whether violent or non-violent, and can include manipulation through minimization, denial, lies, promises, excuses, rationalizations, blame, sexual abuse, reproductive coercion and a host of additional behaviors.
PTSD is an alarmed state.
Just as you would never tell a soldier, “It’s all in your head,” or “PTSD is not real,” one should never tell a survivor of the behaviors that create complex PTSD that their symptoms aren’t real either. To recover, sufferers need to reset their self-regulation. In a nutshell, Psychology Today provides these seven steps to control complex PTSD:
- Concentrate on the important and positive things you value in your immediate life.
- Be aware of what triggers your fear or sense of danger.
- Try to focus on positive emotions like joy, hope, pride, love, etc.
- Distinguish between the powerful alarm you feel and the more sustaining beliefs that are part of your core values.
- Define your goals so that you act in accordance with defensive or offensive awareness from your brain’s defense system, and your core values.
- Make choices that help you achieve sustaining goals rather than using defensive options unless your survival, or the survival of others is threatened.
- Contribute to the well-being of yourself and others.