PTSD Fact Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions

National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
PTSD Fact Sheet: Frequently Asked Questions

What is PTSD?

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

It's normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it's been longer than a few months and you're still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.


Who develops PTSD?

PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person's control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make it more likely that a person will develop PTSD. PTSD is also more common after certain types of trauma, like combat and sexual assault.


How common is PTSD?

Here are some facts (based on the U.S. population):

  • About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
  • About 10 of every 100 women (or 10%) develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 men (or 4%). Learn more about women, trauma and PTSD.

Personal factors, like previous traumatic exposure, age, and gender, can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. What happens after the traumatic event is also important. Stress can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.

Learn more: How Common is PTSD?


What are the symptoms of PTSD?

There are four type of PTSD symptoms: reliving the event (nightmares, flashbacks, or triggers), avoiding situations that remind you of the event, negative changes in beliefs and feelings, and feeling keyed up (hyperarousal). Symptoms may not be exactly the same for everyone. PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. If the symptoms last longer than four weeks, cause you great distress, or interfere with your work or home life, you might have PTSD.

Learn more: Symptoms of PTSD


What can I do if I think I have PTSD?

The only way to know for sure if you have PTSD is to talk to a mental health care provider. Take the Self-Screen for PTSD (PC-PTSD-5), to learn if your symptoms suggest you should talk to a provider.

Read What Can I Do If I Think I Have PTSD? for more information on how to seek help and why it matters.


Will people with PTSD get better?

"Getting better" means different things for different people. There are many different treatment options for PTSD. For many people, these treatments can get rid of symptoms altogether. Others find they have fewer symptoms or feel that their symptoms are less intense. Your symptoms don't have to interfere with your everyday activities, work, and relationships.


What treatments are available for PTSD?

There are two main types of treatment, psychotherapy (sometimes called counseling or talk therapy) and medication. Sometimes people combine psychotherapy and medication.

Psychotherapy for PTSD

Psychotherapy, or counseling, involves meeting with a therapist.

  • Trauma-focused psychotherapy, which focuses on the memory of the traumatic event or its meaning, is the most effective treatment for PTSD. There are different types of trauma-focused psychotherapy, such as:
    • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) where you learn skills to understand how trauma changed your thoughts and feelings. Changing how you think about the trauma can change how you feel.
    • Prolonged Exposure (PE) where you talk about your trauma repeatedly until memories are no longer upsetting. This will help you get more control over your thoughts and feelings about the trauma. You also go to places or do things that are safe, but that you have been staying away from because they remind you of the trauma.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which involves focusing on sounds or hand movements while you talk about the trauma. This helps your brain work through the traumatic memories.

Medications for PTSD

Medications can be effective too. Some specific SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), which are used for depression, also work for PTSD. These include sertraline, paroxetine, fluoxetine, and venlafaxine.

IMPORTANT: Benzodiazepines and atypical antipsychotics should generally be avoided for PTSD treatment because they do not treat the core PTSD symptoms and can be addictive.


Who do I contact for help with PTSD? How do I locate specialists or support groups for PTSD?


How can I help a family member who has PTSD?

It is important to learn about PTSD so you can understand why it happened, how it is treated, and what you can do to help. But you also need to take care of yourself. Changes in family life are stressful, and taking care of yourself will make it easier to cope. Learn more: Helping a Family Member Who Has PTSD


As a professional, I need to locate a specific assessment instrument for PTSD. How do I do that?

Proper assessment of trauma exposure and PTSD is best accomplished with validated measures. You will find information and online courses about assessment tools and best practices on the National Center for PTSD website, here: PTSD Information for Professionals: Assessment Overview. There you will find information on a variety of measures assessing trauma and PTSD. These measures are intended for use by qualified mental health professionals and researchers. Measures authored by the National Center for PTSD staff are available as direct downloads or by request. Measures developed outside of the National Center can be requested via contact information available on the information page for the specific measure. See a list of all measures or see Using PILOTS for Assessment Information.

Posted on BrainLine November 28, 2017. Reviewed July 15, 2021.

From the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, US Department of Veterans Affairs. www.ptsd.va.gov.

Comments (224)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

There have been times I almost called 911 my crying and Fear with outburst were too great..

I got "diagnosed" with PTSD for certain symptoms I was having though I think I was just lacking medication. I don't have flashbacks or triggers or nightmares. Nothing really seems related to my trauma. Everything I tell the therapist its replied to as "that's the trauma " I had issues before trauma happened. I feel I'm not being listened to and they're just forcing the PTSD label on me.

I was simply browsing in another desperate effort to hopefully find some sort of information on the way my life has been turned so dramatically upsidedown and how or why I feel the way I do and act/react to things. Almost as if there are so many issues and symptoms I experience now, that I have no clue how to even pinpoint
or even narrow down any one "diagnosis" leaving me not knowing where to turn for any type of help or understanding. It seems that I fit the prognosis for so many different yet in some instances related mental and emotional disturbances, that I don't know how to tell anyone the truths about my despair out of fear of
rash judgment and scepticism as I've been told my entire life that "only I can control the way I feel or how I allow things to affect me and react". So I now feel as though the horrible truth of the matter is that everyone I ever trusted or could, or thought i could, turn to for emotional safety and stability, were in fact not concerned about my personal well-being at all. I've been shunned by my entire family and every "friend" I thought I ever had. Now I'm quite literally completely alone and only leaving my apartment maybe 2 or 3 times a month in an shakey, sweaty, anxiety ridden state only when absolutely necessary to take care of an errand and even then, I may completely shrug the responsibility altogether and go without necessities or blow off obligation. Other than that, I no longer even answer the phone and regularly do not even eat for days at a time out of fear of having to go to the store for groceries. I'm at a total loss. I do not know how to trust or believe anyone or even myself any longer. I can honestly say, if I died, it would go completely unnoticed until I was sought out for discontinuing bill payments.. Now I have simply shut down and don't attempt reaching out to people all. An entire week may pass before I even receive a text or phone call from anyone and it's never more than a quick, "haven't heard from you, are you still alive". If I respond or not, that's the end of the 'conversation'. Not even a follow-up if there's no reply from me to really see if I'm ok or not. I don't even believe that any person is ever genuinely concerned about others unless you benefit their needs or there's some sort of martyr type pleasure they get out or telling others how they're also concerned, but once you become seen as just a problem or an annoyance, you are left to suffer in complete solidarity. I don't know what to do about the way I feel or the thoughts, emotions and fears i experience and how drastically they have intensified in recent years. I feel that there is absolutely no one that would ever understand or believe me because no one has ever paid enough actual attention to see the negative changes in my behavior because no one ever took the time to actually notice my actions or listen to the literal begging for some sort of help , much less attempt seeking out information or ways to help me cope or heal from this personal hell. My life is compiled of absolute numbness, anger and agitation, sorrow, overwhelming fear, obsession and negativity. I'm closed off from the world, experience many many dramatically varying and/or conflicting emotional fluctuations and thought patterns.. I don't even know who I am anymore, if I ever have.

I stumbled upon this page and your post,by accident. Reading it though, I truly hope you have been able to find some kind of help at all, and you aren't feeling as down as you were when you wrote this. I'd like to give you my email, if you ever need anyone to talk to, and have no one else. If not, that's okay and I understand as well. My heart goes out to you. I've been in your shoes, however, I made myaelf and my life, much worse when I decided to self medicate with drugs, instead of continuing therapy and my prescribed medications. I've gone through the ringer since then, but can finally say that I am much better than I once was. My email is TiffGroover -at- gmail -dot- com if you ever need someone to simply listen. I hope you are okay though. Again, my heart goes out to you. Sincerely, Tiffany

I’m so sorry you are in so much despair. Mental health is complicated. I see in your writing your intelligence, resourcefulness, and desire to feel better. I hope you’ll consider contacting a mental health practitioner. I wish you the best of luck with turning things around.

Please go to 22zero.org
It’s an amazingly easy process that lets the negative emotions separate from those traumatic event

Informative article about PTSD and it symptoms. Keep sharing such content to keep people informed

I currently have PTSD (PISD) after my wifes infidelity. I never knew I could be hurt so bad by something. Its awful.

There is a science that proves if a man is in love with a woman. My husband who has PTSD since l met him has never displayed any of those scientific signs that show a man loves a woman. He claims to love me but l kinda don't believe him.
Does having PTSD make love look scientifically different?

I would take him at his word. It’s hard to show affection when you are thinking of horrible things. He needs treatment and it will get better.

I have PTSD and that does make me avoid people. but if I love someone, you can tell. The same way is you can tell when someone is afraid of something. One of the biggest signs is if he wants you to be ok. Not even happy, safe:). Which is a big topic for PTSD. I for example have a hard time recognising carring and that gets me in trouble...

I'm not clinically confirmed to have PTSD but as I've been having flashbacks, triggers, recurring depression and anxiety (for years) I kind of just accepted the possibility. I have a psychologist who helps me and noticed that their method is relatively similar to curing PTSD and I just felt kind of happy that I have an explanation for these things (as mentioned above). It's really scary not having anyone to understand and be willing to listen when I'm constantly breaking down both mentally and emotionally.

Until now I don't know how to forgive that person who ruined my life. Like, where's your conscience? I was only a kid and yet was condemned to ruin. Nobody believed me when I was telling the truth and they never listened. I was pretty hopeless and I still feel terribly sensitive and burst into tears whenever I remember what kind of life I've lived as a kid. I hate myself for reliving it all over again but I can't control it.

My environment was s**t and everyone I thought could be trusted were traitors. They're all horrible and I hate every single one of them. I contracted serious trust issues and took me a decade to finally tell someone. I was immediately helped out and I've never felt so liberated. The environment under my 'family' was so suffocating and toxic. No one can be trusted.

At least I escape from those abusers. I hope I recover soon

I can relate although I was left maimed, permanently disfigured. I keep thinking that if I could only get what was taken from me back, I could maybe recover. But, there are medical limitations. It would take a miracle.

I don't know where to go from here, honestly. Every day is a struggle to get out of bed as I feel both mental and physical pain.

I pray and pray and pray, but honestly see no way out. I can't accept what happened or my disfigurement. It altered my life. I could've had a beautiful life. Instead, it was full of sorrow and despair.

Hello I don't really know what to say other than I love you and I don't know you or you know me but try to keep the positive thought I know that helps me and of oi can help one person today it helps your friend and brother forever love jack w

Beautifully said Jack!!!

Can PTSD occur over a period of time or is it only caused by sudden traumatic events? I entered the most stressful work situation I've ever been in, plus my marriage ended, plus I had a major health scare (cancer) all in the space of 12 months.
It was several years ago and I've never been the same since. Just can't seem to move on.

Yes, it can happen over a period of time. I have C-PTSD which means I have survived trauma after trauma, until I finally I had a melt down or 'nervous breakdown.' Throughout my entire life, I've felt like I was on the outside looking in, shame, different, and I've always had poor boundaries and low self-esteem. People pick up on this and abuse me more. Being part asian has a lot to do with this. Watching multiple deaths, financial struggles, illness, and most of all, lack of support. I'm trying EMDR therapy but I've already lost so much of my time and confidence due to ptsd. I didn't know that I had it until I started reading about narcissistic abuse and so on...

Yes! I endured abuse from my mother my whole life. It wasn't ONE single experience. It was years of gaslighting, lies, manipulation, and abuse. What you're referring to is called Complex PTSD.

I have complex post traumatic syndrome and associative disorder. You definitely have ptsd! Or cptsd! Any shock or trauma is considered ptsd! It doesn’t matter if it is considered a small thing by others it’s how your body reacts! There are small traumas and big traumas they are still classed as ptsd. Watching the news and being shocked by what happened to another can cause ptsd. A violent movie. Whereas big traumas are more threats, of death , sexual violence etc. what you have gone through is something that has been a very traumatic experience. The only way you really can get through it is to see a psychologist! Acknowledge it and work on ways to get better. And even then it may not be a quick fic. The loss of a marriage is like a death , your marriage died and you can’t just get over it’! Please get some professional help!

PTSD is from a event like a car crash, getting shot, plane crash, ect! However there is C-PTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which can occur from long lasting events such as abuse for example and even what you are describing but do note, PTSD isn’t worse than C-PTSD. Experiences vary person to person.

Hope this helps!

C-ptsd is when you experience trauma for a long period of time. Ptsd usually is a sudden traumatic event.

Luckily I’m blessed by having both that just surfaced in the last 20 years and to this day I’d effecting my life in so many ways. Lost my very best friend from cancer, year to the date my father to the same he was our rock when he died it just got even worse both my grandparents within 6 months and the following year my most protective sibling that took his life ! Didn’t ever see that coming and at that point the horrific realization of what our childhood was really like that was so traumatic everyone of me and my siblings and totally blacked it out they began to surface!! Our family that was so close and happy and enjoyed every minute of it together has never been the same only to finally find my calling and doing the single mom thing and rocking my life as a medic in my community and very respected after a nasty divorce 10 years later found someone whom made me so happy completed or family and then expanded it with the birth of our daughter and was so full of life all of us when 6 short very short weeks later after her birth we were laying her to eternal rest next to my dad and brother we then had a son and separated due to him finding another family to join which lead to my diagnoses of Breast cancer with mastectomy and chemo now I am alone with the fear of dying never being good enough for anyone’s unconditional love and alone due to my ugliness and the ups and downs are killing my career and my relationship with my youngest my oldest that I’ve had to beg for his love since my narssastic sister yanked him from my life during my fight won’t talk to me let me see my grandson recently came took my car in which I paid for working two jobs my entire life and gave to his in-laws like I’m a little kid and he’s never even ever given me a hug in life I can’t get passed how anyone thinks this ok behavior but if I stick up for myself and express my feelings I’m toxic wth!! I want my daddy back and I’ll be 50 next week I’m normally one whom gets back up and proves to all my enemies that I’m a better person than they portray I just can’t I’m tired and how can it be I’ve seen it all the good the bad the ugly the really ugly and most of it alone and that’s fine but I’m done with it I just want happiness and by that I mean love and peace of just living life as best I can without all them hateful pepole and memories because I know I can but it’s a fear now I can’t shake !!! PTSD IS NOT EASY AND I JUST WANT YOU ALL TO KNOW THAT I LOVE YOU AND THINK YOU CAN DO EVERYTHING AND OBTAIN ALL THAT YOU DESERVE IN LIFE CAUSE WE ARE ALL HERE TALKING ABOUT IT AND THAT MEANS WE ARE NOT ALONE SAD BUT ENCOURAGING AT THE AAME TIME GOD BLESSS YOU ALL!!

All of those events could be considered traumatic. Often PTSD symptoms are not noticeable until much later. The only way to be certain is to be evaluated by a doctor or therapist.

I was a first responder in the late 1990’s. I recovered a little 4 year old girl from a lake and I did cpr on here it seemed hrs with the parents and grandparents yelling. You know they’re upset. I lost the little girl. I have noticed over the years I have done something to run my family off like I distant myself now than go through that pain. Then my daughter had a baby girl and when she turned about the age off that little girl the ptsd really took me over the edge and I tried suicide. I think of that little girl almost daily. My wife got me a dr to help with all the depression and that’s when I was diagnosed as a c-ptsd patient. I take medication for it and my wife tries to keep me “happy” always worrying. Even with medication I can go into a deep depression like what’s going on now I’m trying to type through tears. I should’ve added that the fire department that I worked for was volunteer and has since become tax funded. We had no “debriefings” after an incident nothing.

My story is somewhat similar. My nephew was the drowning victim in 2007. I wasn't there when it happened but family can and got me. I can remember the world slowing down. I could hear and see everything but it was just an odd out of body type feeling. My nephew actually lived. I resuscitated him after an estimated 9 minutes. Then another 8 minutes flat line in life flight. 15 more minutes on the OR table. A lot of people might feel like that's a miracle. My nephew has a traumatic brain injury so he lives in super anxiety. And a lot of health issues.
In 2019 I had a baby and 4 days afterwards my 14 year old daughter attempted suicide. It's hard to describe to people how you can go from this bright determinate person to a deteriorating person in the blink of an eye.

I can relate to you. I am deteriorating. I don't know who I am. I have had bad relationships one after another. I have had to learn to love myself. But these past 4 years I am lost. I am in physical,mental and spiritual pain. I haven't been to work I. 2 months. I have no one. And I have always taken care of someone or given my all to helping others.

I won’t go into many details. I somewhat understand your trauma - not the same details. Wanted to offer a suggestion because YOU CAN GET TO THE OTHER SIDE! Counseling and SSRI if you are not on a one. Maybe add on another one to it. If all SSRIs fail, try MAOI. Psychiatrists do not like to use these because of numerous diet restrictions. If you are in hell like I was it’s worth it. Had to do a lot of legwork. Lost a lot of my friends, etc. Please don’t try to commit suicide again. First, you may end up in a physically (and mentally) worse position! Second, God has more in store for you. I’m not a “religious freak” but I learned this. Never thought I’d make it through. Now things are so much better. Push through! What made you “respond to the call” is still there deep inside. Reach deep down, pull it up, and carry on! Best wishes and God bless you!

I would like to make a suggestion regarding SSRI's & MAOI's that help with depression, anxiety, & functionality, for some people, but SNRI's may also be a better type of medication for some that dont feel as if those other medications are helping or if they are having more issues from the fore mentioned meds. I know I do not & can not take SSRI's & MAOI's arent the type of meds I need for my MDD & PTSD MH. Also, just being treated with medications is not going to do much good without having Psychiatric talk &/or some group Therapy to establish a regimen/plan to phsyically work through the ups & downs of Our disorders. It has to be the full treatment or it'll be just taking meds to just keep running/hiding from the problems & not get any better or stronger. & Unfortunately, People with MH issues cant just halfway or sometimes just work on the issues, We have to do it EVERYDAY of the rest of Our lives. Just saying from my own personal experiences & many years of so much dwelling in the darkness, not actually even feeling like I was alive. So maybe I have given somebody(ies) a little bit of hope or info that can truly help?!?!? I wish for Everybody/Anybody who may read this post the best of luck & Happiness in your endeavers & treatments to be able to one day say they are stable & feel they have achieved the impossible!!

Emdr is simply a theory. It is by no means proven, yet on this site it sounds like it is. It’s just an idea that sure didn’t work for me and that Psych students readily believe.

Hi
I had undiagnosed PTSD for 13 years before I finally go diagnosed, I had EMDR and it took it away completely. It really works!

I have been dealing with treatment resistant C-PTSD for 24 years, and I did EMDR, and it did nothing but make my anxiety kick into high gear during each session. According to the 2013 World Health Organization (WHO) practice guideline: "This therapy [EMDR] is 'based on the idea' that negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are the result of unprocessed memories.. based on an IDEA... I'm glad that it worked for you, but for a lot of us it doesn't work at all, and in some cases causes a heightened state of hyper-vigilance.

I tried to kill myself via overdose last fall and can't physically look at the bottle the pills came from without feeling nauseous. Whenever I think of a white pill my body feels wrong and I get stressed out. It's not because the pills are a trigger for self harm or anything but the volatile emotions and the physical and mental trauma of what happened are too uncomfortable to block out. I've had other events that I can't look at remnants of or think about without shutting down. When I was 17 I ended up in the children's ICU where the baby across from me was dying. It started crashing and the doctors and nurses kept on going over it but it wouldn't get better. I was being discharged so I was removed from the room before I could see whether or not it lived or died. I spend most of my time dissassociting in what's basically a fantasy world to cope with being alive, but when I kept thinking that the baby's vitals would magically go up, they didn't. I don't think it lived. Why do I live in a world where babies die for no fucking reason. Why was it even born in the first place if it was just gonna be like that. Now it's parents are just going to be filled with grief and expensive medical debt.

so...ive been sexually assaulted thrice during my childhood. its been over 8years since the first time i was assaulted but nothing gets better. Im fighting PTSD, severe anxiety, depression, insomnia and anger issues. i do burst out in anger at times and the person in front of me gets upset. but guess what? i always cheer them up. i tried talking to my friends about my prob. i told them what everyday feels like in detail. they could do nothing but break down into tears in front of me. and i dont really have many friends. everyone says the same thing for the 1st day and then they just forget about it. i tried talking to my mom about my anxiety but she just laughed and made fun of me. its a dark lonely road and its been 2years since i hugged someone and let my tears out. after my bf dumped me twice i havent cried in front of anyone. i feel like a soul trapped in the body of a girl filled with fingerprints and filth. no matter how many times i take a bath, those fingerprints wont fade away. its the worse feeling to be forced to surrender your body to some monster for his satisfaction.

Hazel, you should look into microdosing psilocybin. Im sorry for all you've been through. I know you are strong <3 please consider researching microdosing.

My partner has PTSD from a car wreck and was sexually assaulted by an ex-friend. He has gone to many counselors and on anti-psychotic medicine for 10+ years. We have been together for 7 yrs and his PTSD has become worse since we moved and he began weaning from his medicine. No matter what I say, he doesn't believe the dosage of medicine is the reason why he is experiencing these intense changes. He has expressed his anger by hitting the wall, refrigerator, and window of our car. He never hits me, but I am always wary about when he will snap. What can I do to help him when he is getting all of the help prescribed for him?

I'm no medical expert so do not hold all your weight into what I'm about to tell you. I was in the situation your man is in a couple years back and I knew I was losing my marbles but thought the meds weren't the ones I needed or they served their purpose. it was a costly lesson for me but I think he definitely needs to tell his doctors and be honest about what he's doing or you need to. It could save his life.

When I was young my father was abusive to my mother and I saw it with my own eyes. I was scared so bad I hid in the bathroom. I was abused severely after in some years because of his mental illnesses. My Biological mother left. My step mother verbally abuses me sometimes. And she told me to just get over the fact I have PTSD and need to stop freaking out and crying when he yells or gets in your face. Does that mean I can really just stop being scared. Or do I have to do counselling for another year or so?

I dont know I'm broken too

Please get out of there! You can't work on yourself to any positive end in such a toxic environment. It took so long for me to realize that I'd be happier homeless. I was homeless for a few months living out of a car. It was worth it and you're stronger than you think without thwm bearing down on you. I believe in you.

There are centres for PTSD for the ones suffering from it.However how dos a family member realise or understand that the person is unders stress and its not a normal one but a start of a disorder? What are the basics that need to chanage within the society to accept PTSD as an issue that need to be paid attention to?How to overcome the social stigma from the society?We need reforms and training centres for these as well . If taken care of at the start itself,PTSD can be take care off within the society as well. I am writing this as I have seen the clack attitude of the society on people having stress and depressive disorders.Any opinions on this???

It’s been years since Some guys left me stranded in a forest about an hour away from town and I still have ptsd every night and I try to ignore the fact that I got stranded in the middle of no where at 3am when I was underage and almost got raped ( that’s why they left me stranded ) & I just want the guys to go to jail now that they are already 18+ that can help my ptsd but idk if the police would even care because they didn’t care when that happened to me and they didn’t want to do anything to them because it was my fault for going with those guys and they were underage so they didn’t want to lock them up but if someone can plz help me and tell me what I can do :(

We will all face different situations in our life that could leave us feeling vonerable and helpless and sometimes even self blaming. Often times simply putting blame in the right places and being self praising can be benifical. You are a survivor and should really see yourself as a survivor. So often people have been rape and sometimes injured and left for dead. You were in a bad cituation and you must have done something to defend yourself for not being raped of injured. Empower yourself by using your stong innerself. I think your handled yourself extreamly well because you did not allow yourself to be anything but a survivor. Maybe others should be asking you for help.. i dont know you. But im giving you a big big hug right now and i want to tell you, im so proud of you!

@Areli
I am sorry for what you went though! You sound like you need some therapy and some understanding sympathetic friends. It is not a crime to hang out with underage kids you don’t know driving around. It is however not safe and the reason cops don’t care because they are dealing with the investigation of rapes, assaults and murders of people from those situations. It doesn’t mean it isn’t traumatic what happened whatsoever. Hopefully the boys also have learned from this situation. It sounds like they were being bullies. Not ok.
Minors don’t have harsh punishments often because the part of their brains that help them make good choices isn’t fully developed yet sadly.
Therapy might help you forgive them and yourself to begin to move beyond this traumatic event. Forgiveness is for you not for them!

Hi. I don't really know what to say haha. I don't think anyone will see this. I feel what I went through is not as bad as what others went through. Like it's not a big deal, you know? But I have no one to talk to so um that's why I'm here. My life is not exactly normal compared to a lot of peoples. My family world travels, I'm usually surrounded with only my sisters and my mom and dad. I don't have close friends, we usually leave places before I can make any. And I think you'd expect my sisters and I to be close but most of the time we just want space. We're not rich, despite what many would think, we live in small apartments with usually two beds. It's hard to get space. But that's beside the point. A year ago my family had a falling out. A lot of things happened, they've always been pretty strict. My sister went to a party with some people she met. My parents found out, she had some alcohol, not really that bad. Despite it only being her their anger (my dads) was taken out on all of us. At the time we had our own room and were staying in an apartment for a whole year to make some money from English teaching. My dad took all of our stuff into his room, and when I say everything I mean everything. He locked all the doors in the apartment and made us sleep in the living room. The doors were locked every time they left the house. The only time we could go outside was when they wanted us to make dinner for them (chores) so we had to get food. There were fights every day. I struggle with adhd and with this happening all the time it just got so hard. A lot of things happened. they're buried somewhere in my brain, I'd rather not relive them. This is dragging on a bit long, isn't it? There was no abuse. well, I at least not physically. We were ruining their relationship, we were horrible children, we always miss behaved, they didn't love us. Remarks like that. My dad wanted to send me off to a boarding school, he only wanted to be with my mom. The reason my dad disliked me the most is that he is a naturalist. Meaning he walks around naked all the time and expects, no, more like force(ed) us to the same. He wanted us to literally be the perfect family, that's what he said. The second we entered the house our shoes, and clothes must be at the door. I hated this. If we did not do this our stuff would continue to be taken away, we would not be able to go outside, etc. My sisters accepted naturalism out of fear. One of them wasn't allowed to go to college unless she followed his rules. And who were we to call for help? The police? We didn't speak the language, and what was happening to us, it wasn't that big of a deal compared to things others have gone through. Despite being afraid I was so uncomfortable. I've always hated being naked, I don't know why. And this made everything so much worse. I was bullied for not accepting their way of life. I must do my schooling and nothing else. my dad took my bras and underwear and hid them. He thought the way I was acting was hilarious. I was terrified of him, still am. When I went to sleep, since they took away my bras I found my swimsuit and slept in that. My dad told me to take it off. He was really angry. I stood up for my self and I told him no. He said that if I didn't he would force it off me. But I still told him no. He grabbed me and forced off my swimsuit. I kicked him, but he wouldn't get off. He left some burns and rashes in the process. I wanted to die. This is it. This was the rest of my life. I went to the store by myself and hid there. When I came back home they told me they were setting some rules. that I have to take off my clothes, no matter what. I had to be a naturalist, or they wouldn't let me go outside (although I was used to this) I was painfully aware that if I didn't run they would take my clothes off for me. I was so scared, I can't even describe it. It's hard to even write about it. My dad saw me reach for the door. He grabbed me but I got loose, I sprinted barefooted to a store nearby and locked myself in the bathroom. I love locks so much. When I locked myself in the bathroom at home my dad took them out of the door. I just wanted to be alone but I wasn't allowed. I suppose I should've just accepted naturalism. Life would've been easier. But whenever I thought about it this horrible feeling washed over me. I was going to try to kill myself, to get away from him, but I was too scared to do that as well. Because this really wasn't that bad if you look at the big picture. After this experience though, unexpectedly life got better. My dad decided to leave and go back to America. He was done living with us. This is where the whole "you're ruining our relationship" comes in. It happened so quickly. He just left. My mom cried every day. I avoided being at home. My moms not that bad. I don't know if I can forgive her for trying to make me become a naturalist. For making me change in front of her even though she knew how uncomfortable I was. For letting him make me feel like I was nothing. But I know she was trying her best to be a good mom. She just was sucked into his horrible way of "living". He was gone for a year. He's back now, despite all the threats he made in his emails to her. I can't say we're living happily, we don't talk very much. I hate that he's here. But whenever I try to mention the past to my mom she gets mad at me as if it was all my fault. So that's why I'm here. I'm sorry for such a long message. I don't think I have ptsd. I have nightmares about being naked sometimes but don't we all haha. You know, forgetting to put your clothes on and them leaving the house? So yeah. so yeah that's it. That's my long and complicated story. All in all just wanted to talk to someone. It gets awfully lonely. ok bya

I've got what I consider to be an extreme case of PTSD Laura, and yours is exactly as valid. If anything, it's me sitting here thinking that I've had it easy. Your father is a horrible man. You are right to fight him. What he is doing is intolerable and unacceptable on a baseline level, a level so baseline that I fully understand how it can feel like you're wrong for feeling the way you do.

He's distorted the very basics of reality, and used your alienation and inability to speak to anyone around you to do this. But you are not wrong, Laura. It is despicable for him to force you to be naked, to steal your things, to hold over you and your siblings' heads even the possibility of escaping and going to college. I would completely ignore any and all incentives that he offers to you, because I highly doubt he will ever send you or your sisters to college, no matter how much you give in to his demands.

You say that he removes the locks to the bathroom when you try to lock yourself in, yeah? I would imagine he keeps the screwdrivers under lock and key, but if you can find a way to sneak one in, some moment where they aren't immediately ready and waiting to strip you the moment you enter the door, you can do the same to the front door lock. You and your sisters can escape.

Depending on the country, there may be battered women's shelters around. It will be difficult without knowing the language, but if you can find one on the internet then the people there will likely be able to read the situation just on the way you and your sisters look. If the country you're in doesn't have them, then my suggestion would be to research nearby ones that do and try to manipulate your next move to one of those countries. Ideally an urban city in one of them. Maybe find one with a city that has shelters plus nudist beaches or something, pretend that you're coming around to naturalism but want to do it with your family in public. It's a sickening thing, I know. I'm only speaking from what I would do, and I chose to do whatever I had to to escape.

Your mother will never be your ally, and however pitiable she might be she is an enemy to you and your sisters. Do not let her in on any plans you make. Don't expect her to take your side with the police, or with any other governmental body. She's the good cop, and your dad's the bad cop. But neither of them are on your side, or they would have proven otherwise by now.

That's all the advice I can offer, Laura, except this. That part of you that wants to fight, it's not wrong. It's something you will want to let go of once you're free of your mother and father, but in this moment it's survival and you're right to trust your instincts. The hypervigilance of PTSD is only maladaptive once you're out of that situation and into normality. Right now, it's your greatest ally. Believe in your feelings, and trust your instincts. If things ever feel off, believe it and take whatever action you can.

Good luck, Laura.

Hey Laura. I know you may not be checking this email. However, I have to tell you that what your father is doing is abuse. He is sexually abusing you by forcing you to remain unclothed when it is not your desire to do so. You should really report him to the cops, or find yourself a different living situation. I hope you and your sister are ok.

I feel sorry that you had to go through that kind of behavior I'm sorry to tell you this bit your father is not a naturalist. do not accept this if you have to report them its child abuse your mom should be ashamed God bless you dear girl

Honestly You Should never belittle your situation if it makes you feel a certain way Maybe people have had “worse” Pending on what you consider is worse than that Put in my personal opinion your situation does matter I know it feels little and stupid to talk about but I promise you It’s not I don’t know if you’ll ever see this again but know that you matter and that if something makes you feel distressed or distraught it dies matter the key to relive your “ptsd” Or strong emotions from what happened in my opinion is to talk about it there’s several different ways to get through it although they might not be a cure it is a treatment keeping things bottled up and never talking to anyone won’t help I promise you that I recently went through an accident which was life-threatening and I’m about a week out The feelings are terrible at first and trust me they don’t ever really get better but the key is to make them happen less often and stay in a good routine for me what works is is a really good support base therapy/counseling and oddly enough I know it’s hard to go back but if you avoid the very thing that’s causing you to feel this way in the first place it’ll never get better you got a face your issues head-on and beat them the first few days I was OK mostly still in shock but other than that I was OK couple more days went by and I started to feel anxious about certain things or events related to the accident and that caused me to stop sleeping and stop eating but lately I’ve been trying to think as positive as possible it’s been working I’ve been sleeping and eating and all of the such I still feel the emotions here and there but that’s normal for the first month or so but slowly and slowly They fade as well as the fear that was created from that accident I promise you

...call the cops on him. That's what you should do.

i haven't even read everything you said because it's so much. you are going through alot . this does seem legit and the way your dad treats you is kinda not good. i think you should be treated better. we all love our parents but you know there is an extent where you should be mistreated you know. you may be young i don't know but if you are a young adult that can provide for yourself i would move out make some boundaries with your parents, but in a respectful way, and hopefully get some family counciling. they may not want it but getting help for me is a sign of respect for your family you know you just want the best but if they still treat you bad then.... live your life without them but keep in contact show that you still love them. hahaha i don't know... but yeah hopefully all goes well and wish you the best

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