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What Surviving Complex PTSD Can Help You Learn About Life

Complex PTSD Skills Learn From Trauma

2. Being more responsible

Survivors’ guilt is an outcome of trauma that makes us feel extremely guilty or assume responsibility for the traumatic event. This helps us make better sense of our negative experiences and feel more in control of our life. However, trauma also teaches us to be responsible for our loved ones and our own selves. Although a traumatic experience is never your fault, healing from it is always your responsibility. And this is what C-PTSD helps us realize. 

This is especially true if you had experienced a traumatic event in your childhood or adolescence. As trauma puts us on survival mode, we learn how to endure, take charge, find solutions and take action to overcome adverse life experiences. It makes us more persistent, consistent, and reliable in life by turning us into responsible family members, professionals, romantic partners, friends, and human beings.

Related reading: Can Trauma Cause Memory Loss? Understanding The Link Between The Two

3. Learning to be more empathic

Researchers have recently observed that surviving traumatic events during childhood can help to boost empathy in adulthood. People with complex PTSD tend to be better able to read people and situations and hence, are more capable of appropriately responding to others’ emotions. According to a 2018 study, “on average, adults who reported experiencing a traumatic event in childhood had elevated empathy levels compared to adults who did not experience a traumatic event.” Childhood trauma can also “lead to posttraumatic growth, including increased compassion and prosocial behavior.

The researchers suggest that traumatic childhood experiences also help to boost our perspective taking abilities so that we are better able to understand the cognitive and affective states of others and respond to them appropriately. Trauma makes us more intuitive, kind, caring and empathic.

Related reading: Coping With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

What Surviving Complex PTSD Can Help You Learn About Life
What Surviving Complex PTSD Can Help You Learn About Life

4. Developing competence

Adults with a complex trauma history tend to be more competent in life than others. When you are dealing with complex PTSD, it makes you feel isolated from others. You feel no one understands you and there is an invisible force field that stops you from asking for help from others. It seems like you are the only inhabitant of your trauma-ravaged world. And this is when you learn to rely on yourself to meet your needs, to heal yourself, and to survive. 

You develop a can-do attitude by default and find your way through life’s challenges by being creative, courageous, and focusing on the solutions. Trauma teaches you that there is always a way out and forces you to figure your way through the mess you face in life. Trauma gives you strength that happiness and comfort never can.

Related reading: Emotional Flashbacks Due to Complex Trauma

5. Valuing relationships more

When you have been broken by neglect, abuse, and trauma, you learn to appreciate genuine connections and mutual support. Complex PTSD can leave us feeling alone and lonely which can result in social withdrawal and isolation. But once you learn to cope with your trauma, you are more inclined to seek connections with people who matter to you. This makes you put more effort into nurturing and nourishing your relationships and friendships. You make others feel comfortable and welcome as you realize the value of belongingness and connection. As a result, you are motivated to build and maintain more positive relationships.

Related reading: Do I Have PTSD? Self-Test

From Trauma to Growth

What Surviving Complex PTSD Can Help You Learn About Life
What Surviving Complex PTSD Can Help You Learn About Life

Experiencing complex PTSD can be undoubtedly devastating. But it can also lead to posttraumatic growth and optimism. But this growth can only be experienced when you let go of all the pain and past memories and focus on healing yourself. However, to reach that point where you can learn to heal yourself, you will have to go through the suffering. 

When you know how to use your trauma for growth, you will be better able to find meaning in life and understand the lesson that life wants you to learn. Sadly, this transformation into an evolved individual will come through suffering, sacrifice, effort, and patience. 

So make sure to trust the process. Don’t rush the process. Let the skills learned from trauma guide you into the light of healing.

Related reading: Suffered Trauma? 7 Keys To Unlocking Post-Traumatic Growth

If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD or complex PTSD, make sure to seek medical help from a mental health professional as early diagnosis and treatment can help you manage symptoms and live a healthier and more satisfying life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is there a difference between complex PTSD and PTSD?

PTSD typically occurs due to a single or multiple traumatic experiences within a short span of time, like a car crash or a natural disaster. Complex PTSD develops due to a series of traumatic events that take place repeatedly over a long period of time, like having abusive parents during childhood.

What are the 4 R’s in trauma?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),  the trauma-informed approach is based on the “Four R’s”, namely – Realization about trauma, recognizing the signs of trauma, responding to trauma, and resisting re-traumatization.

Why is it important to process trauma?

When we don’t process trauma, it can lead to several physical and mental health issues like PTSD, anxiety, depression, diabetes, heart attack, stroke etc. Processing trauma allows us to grow as human beings by developing empathy, resilience & effective coping mechanisms. 

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What Surviving Complex PTSD Can Help You Learn About Life
Complex PTSD pin
What Surviving Complex PTSD Can Help You Learn About Life
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Theo Harrison

Hey there! I am just someone trying to find my way through life. I am a reader, writer, traveler, fighter, philosopher, artist and all around nice guy. I am outdoor person but heavily into technology, science, psychology, spiritualism, Buddhism, martial arts and horror films. I believe in positive action more than positive thinking.View Author posts