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Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5zax97 wrote

Here's a longer list of what can cause C-PTSD:

> chronic sexual, psychological, and physical abuse or neglect, or chronic intimate partner violence, bullying, victims of kidnapping and hostage situations, indentured servants, victims of slavery and human trafficking, sweatshop workers, prisoners of war, concentration camp survivors, and prisoners kept in solitary confinement for a long period of time, or defectors from authoritarian religions [including cults]

And here are many of the symptoms that distinguish C-PTSD from PTSD. These were written about child victims (but the issues can last through adulthood):

  • Attachment – "problems with relationship boundaries, lack of trust, social isolation, difficulty perceiving and responding to others' emotional states"
  • Biology – "sensory-motor developmental dysfunction, sensory-integration difficulties, somatization, and increased medical problems"
  • Affect or emotional regulation – "poor affect regulation, difficulty identifying and expressing emotions and internal states, and difficulties communicating needs, wants, and wishes"
  • Dissociation – "amnesia, depersonalization, discrete states of consciousness with discrete memories, affect, and functioning, and impaired memory for state-based events"
  • Behavioral control – "problems with impulse control, aggression, pathological self-soothing, and sleep problems"
  • Cognition – "difficulty regulating attention; problems with a variety of 'executive functions' such as planning, judgement, initiation, use of materials, and self-monitoring; difficulty processing new information; difficulty focusing and completing tasks; poor object constancy; problems with 'cause-effect' thinking; and language developmental problems such as a gap between receptive and expressive communication abilities."
  • Self-concept – "fragmented and disconnected autobiographical narrative, disturbed body image, low self-esteem, excessive shame, and negative internal working models of self".

If you think you might have C-PTSD, I hope you can find a licensed mental health professional who can help you diagnose & recover. Treatments are definitely possible (I've done a few, and they help so so much — I've never felt so much relief!). You can also check out r/CPTSD for your community of survivors.


[deleted] t1_j5zd8ws wrote



poisonous_frog t1_j5zh8lb wrote

These things don't sound minor


[deleted] t1_j60nadh wrote



redheadedandbold t1_j6281pz wrote

The community is still debating whether C-PTSD is a separate thing, or if it should be classified as, example “childhood trauma + PTSD.”

A therapist explained C-PTSD to me this way: “Soldiers back from Iraq are here (hand held at knee height); C-PTSD, here ( hand held even with eyes).”


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5zhn83 wrote

> I've wondered if I have ptsd, but also feel like my experiences that may have caused it are so minor in comparison to most, that I feel silly thinking I have some form of ptsd.

This is really really REALLY common for people with PTSD, especially C-PTSD. That is precisely the "diminished sense of self" that's at the core of the disorder.

What you described is horrific and sad. I'm so sorry you went through all that pain. It would make complete sense if you remained traumatized from any of that.

But also remember: a diagnosis is never based on what happened to you, but rather how you came out of it. Different people are affected by things in different ways. A poor kid with nothing may walk away from a 10-car pileup with no emotional scars, while a rich kid with all the comforts in the world can get PTSD from a fender bender.

Diagnosticians don't ask care what happened, but rather how you've been affected.

I hope you can find some clarity & healing soon!


Merzeal t1_j60bqr0 wrote

>This is really really REALLY common for people with PTSD, especially C-PTSD. That is precisely the "diminished sense of self" that's at the core of the disorder.

Can confirm.


Sera6893 t1_j60y30m wrote

Can double confirm. It's mega worse if you are like me and are autistic. Even worse I got dumped after 7yrs by my narcissistic s/o.


Merzeal t1_j615thg wrote


Sorry to hear about your struggles. Hope you're doing alright now.


Sera6893 t1_j61fwm6 wrote

I appreciate the concern. Its been a few months but it hasn't gotten any easier but I'm taking it one day at a time. I'm only worried about the here and now.


Merzeal t1_j61ixh0 wrote

In the moment is the ideal place to be, so looking like your brain is leading you in the right direction. I know all to well what a struggle it can be.


redheadedandbold t1_j62bbfm wrote

Narcissists are one of the world’s evils. I wish you better days. [I use “her” in the following generically. I have no idea if your SO was male or female.] And, therapy! Because it’s important to, 1st, identify all the way a narcissist mind-f*ked you; “manipulated” is rarely a strong enough word to describe the experience. Then, 2nd, you need to absorb and accept that the narcissist abused you based on HER needs. Not on your actions, or your personality, or your “shortcomings,” but on her ego’s needs. You were just another object to help her meet her needs; her criticism was never about you—gaslighting or abusing you was done to make her feel good/safe/superior/etc. In other words, narcissists lie. Therapy helps you to accept and KNOW that the narcissist’s statements about you were lies, the sole purpose of which was to feed the vast, empty, neediness of the narcissist. I think I belabored that enough to pound home the point. Memorize it, repeat it when your confidence wavers. It will help!


Srynaive t1_j5zitdc wrote

Minor compared to what? Silly why? My man, those are pretty traumatic events, all in a short period of time. Have some compassion for yourself. If what happened to you happened to a friend of yours, would you really think their ordeal was minor? Sounds pretty fucking major to me. Only your whole life, and that of your family's, got turned upside down. This is not silly, nor minor.


TrialAndAaron t1_j5zldp1 wrote

Don’t compare your experiences to others. There will always be someone worse.

What you just wrote is insanely traumatic.

Get in therapy and start doing work. That work you do will translate to your kids, dude. It really will. I’m a work in progress but I’m working.

My kid is 6 and recently paused her tablet to talk about a silly argument we got in minutes prior. She literally paused it and said “dad I don’t like acting like this” and we had a good chat about what lead up to it and how we could’ve handled it differently. Most kids in her class cry, scream, kick, yell, etc (and mine does too) but she just not only had a full on grown up conversation about emotions but initiated it!

That wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been working on myself for over a year, making sure that I handle things as well as I can. It made me so proud of her and myself that I’ve been riding that high for days.

The point I’m making is don’t compare your experiences to other people. Just focus on you and your family and start putting in some work. Get your kids in therapy too. Kids LOVE therapy. They just get to go play completely judgment free. It’s the best. I promise the work will pay off


velvetretard t1_j60m4hw wrote

That's wonderful! I'm sure your daughter is very proud of you!


a_common_spring t1_j5zy13s wrote

Doesn't matter if it was major or minor in some kind of empirical sense (which I don't even actually think is measurable). If you have it you have it.

I have cptsd I think, from my childhood. And I have spent years feeling stupid about it because so many other people had childhoods so much worse than mine. Like really. I wasn't even beaten. But I have it.

Maybe some brains are more prone to it? Who knows. But if you have it you have it, and you can get treatment and try to get better.

I'm also exmormon. I think that alone causes CPTSD in some people.


velvetretard t1_j60meet wrote

Your body isn't the only thing that can be beaten. The heart is our fragile source of strength. Knowing your wounds will help it heal, I believe in you!


newlypeaceful t1_j605v6h wrote

Many folks in the cptsd sun have gone through a similar process of feeling like their struggles aren’t “enough” to warrant the deep, lifelong impacts they’re experiencing, like the “should have just been able to get over it.”

That’s a LOT of trauma in a short time. Trauma is often described as too much, too fast, too soon, or too long. You had wayyyy too much, way too fast. You didn’t have time to process and heal before you got hit with another trauma.

Please visit us over at the cPTSD sub and see if you relate to any posts or if any of the resources are helpful for you. There’s a lot of overlap between ptsd and cPTSD, so there might be a resource that is helpful even if you don’t fully identify with cPTSD.

I hope these are the first steps for healing your old wounds 💖


apatheticmugen t1_j610qfk wrote

Whether if you think it’s minor or not doesn’t diminish the effects it had on you. Trauma for some, might not be trauma for you. Whether if you have it or not, the purpose to understand the effects and behaviors you’ve adopted. There’s benefits to recognizing them, and there’s also disadvantages. For many, the reason why people work on it is because it’s been debilitating. Act accordingly to what you want and what you want to learn. Just remember, if you brush off your experiences, it means you can brush off others too.


dressageishard t1_j61sqbw wrote

The symptoms you and your family are experiencing are not minor at all. It seems a lot happened at once to all of you.


awhq t1_j63ph9n wrote

Not even one of those things is minor. All of them in a short period of time is definitely not minor. I really recommend you try and get some counseling for your kids. Find someone who specializes in trauma if at all possible. If you can't do therapy, I'd find some ways to slowly build your kids trust in the world back up. Emphasise that even though some terrible things happened, you are all still together and you'll get stronger together. Daily rituals can help. Little things that reinforce their security every day can bring a lot of comfort.

One of my children was very anxious when he was younger. We did a "Magic circle" at bedtime every night. We made a popping sound (finger in cheek pop), and said "Here's a magic circle to protect you, keep you safe, and wake up with a smile and a laugh."

Make believe is a very powerful tool with children.

I wish you and your family the best.


blurry2o t1_j61yb5q wrote

I told myself for years that my stuff was minor too. I didn't start getting better until I could put to words why it was difficult for me.

Now, I describe how I've improved as having put all the memories that used to hurt to touch into little boxes made of words, and when I touch the memory, I only touch the words, not the feelings I used to feel.

When something triggers my PTSD, I think of the words - this happened in my past, and this is why it scares me now - and I have a sense of understanding about what is happening to me and that I am ok now. It's still hard to be in situations that remind me of the dangerous times, but I can deal with it.

Best wishes to you in getting to that point.


redheadedandbold t1_j627kqs wrote

As others have, let me assure you, you sure sound like you have ptsd. I’m not a professional, I wouldn’t attempt to diagnose—but I have my share of t-shirts, mugs, etc., so…

It is common among people with ptsd to think “compared to others, I didn’t have it so bad.” Think of damage in terms of bands—white, yellow, orange, red, purple. Once you’re inside that ptsd band, there’s no sliding scale. Everyone in the band is Orange. Period.

Religion: The “God’s holy love” schtick is a smoke-screen for some of the most horrible things done to humans. Mormonism can be mild—or it can attempt to control your every thought and action, which of course is grotesque abuse.

Group therapy, emdr therapy—you can see demos, explanations on youtube, check them out—can be quite helpful. I wish you and your family better days.


Crotean t1_j62l4az wrote

I feel you man. Hang in there. In 2015 I had three family members die, 2 from cancer, one from suicide. My mom needed emergency heart surgery and nearly died and it woke me up that I was in a cult and sent me into a terrible suicidal depression that lasted years as I escaped Jehovah's Witnesses, moved and had to learn how to live as a normal adult after 32 years in a cult. Trauma leaves a mark, you went through some serious stuff. Get the help you need. Death and cult escape leave serious marks on the people who experience them.


throwawayestates t1_j62u66i wrote

Trauma is very personal. What you've described could absolutely cause PTSD. Anything could be traumatic, and what's traumatic for some isn't traumatic for others. Post Traumatic Stress is a very normal response. When it's not dealt with, it can result in PTSD.


SaiTheSlain t1_j5zppti wrote

My girlfriend grew up in a very poor environment, with a neglecting mother and multiple narcissistic, control freaks as father figures over her childhood. The mother enabled the father figures' behaviors greatly, so they could get away with inflicting my girlfriend with emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse. Her current stepfather alone is the most controlling person I've personally met and is accredited to saying "I wish your mother's breasts were as big as yours" to her when she was a minor and essentially forcing her to cuddle him. This is all from the man that she and her brother said have been the best so far. She and I have been dating for close to two years, and she's been out of that house for around a year and a half. Neither of us have been too sure exactly what she has, but after reading this, she has most of, if not everything on this list. That, combined with the numerous times that she's had to ask if something that happened to her was "actually bad", has me wondering if she has C-PTSD. She's currently doing therapy through Betterhelp (she would have rather done in-person, but we live in a very small town with a crippling lack of therapists) and I'll ask her to talk to her therapist about it. Thank you for posting such a comprehensive list of symptoms and thank you for posting about this topic in the first place. You might be the reason I can help my girlfriend identify what she's been suffering through for so long.


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5zsxbu wrote

oh my god, this brings tears to my eyes. If my post helps even one person on the path to recovery & relief... then it's probably the best thing I'll do all year.

I am so sorry your girlfriend went through that awful awful stuff and that she's still suffering from it. I hope she finds relief soon. <3


newlypeaceful t1_j606typ wrote

Omg your girlfriend VERY LIKELY has cPTSD. Just a heads up that it’s currently not in the DSM, so she may not be able to be diagnosed with it, but it’s in the ICD10, so it’s internationally recognized and will likely be in the DSM soon


MoneyLoud1932 t1_j6059uz wrote

Took till I was 40 to get a diagnosis and the right kind of help and I've been in some sort of therapy most of my life, from early teens. Once you can understand it you can start to rebuild your life. I highly recommend a book by Pete Walker ~ Complex PTSD, From Surviving to Thriving.


WinterWontStopComing t1_j5zjrbq wrote

It’s amazing how PTSD and in utero developmental disorders can have such overlapping symptom manifestation. Like I was diagnosed as having ASD and PTSD among a few other things (not CPTSD) though some potential recovered memory fragments since would possibly suggest chronic would be a fit

But I often wonder if the ASD could be a misdiagnosis of how CPTSD interplays with my other issues as I have what seems like some very obvious tells that I am on the spectrum but even understanding what is meant by spectrum there is a little cause for pause.

I dunno, random thought I felt like sharing


newlypeaceful t1_j6068ew wrote

My therapist had me watch some Gabor Mate as part of my cPTSD healing, and his video on attachment and brain development discusses in utero impacts and childhood trauma. I think it also delves into implicit vs explicit memory. You’re spot on.


WinterWontStopComing t1_j60kxjh wrote

Thank you for sharing the link. And thank you otherwise. I must have been paying attention during the several years of intense therapy 😂


Pseudonymico t1_j60rqe3 wrote

I’m pretty sure my autism caused the horrific bullying in school that gave me my cptsd.


WinterWontStopComing t1_j60shyh wrote

Childhood bullying is such a long-standing pervasive thing. I still deal with emotional outbursts time to time over stuff from sixth through twelfth grade.

I’m sorry you had to go through what you did though. It had to be pretty bad I’m guessing


SeladorSmith t1_j60aq60 wrote

The symptoms of Asperger's syndrome are very close/identical with the supposed symptoms of childhood trauma, and in fact the original suspected cause of Asperger's and autism was childhood neglect (Google the term 'refrigerator mothers')

Eventually it became politically insensitive to suggest that autism could be caused by childhood abuse and neglect, and suddenly we have so called diseases like C-PTSD cropping up describing a similar set of symptoms


dog_of_society t1_j61zjv7 wrote

I've heard the same, but with cause and effect reversed - they're not inherently the same, but that autism is so linked to a traumatic childhood (whether it be bullying for being "different", abuse, harmful ABA therapy, etc) that nearly all autistic people also present with signs of trauma, and researchers can't reliably tell what's the autism and what's the trauma.


WinterWontStopComing t1_j60lg18 wrote

There is always overlap though. Look at a Venn diagram of ASD and ADHD.

And I didn’t downvote you just fyi. I don’t exactly agree with what you said completely as I think you are insinuating ASD to be an artificial construct to a degree but I don’t see it as something worth a downer.


[deleted] t1_j616gi8 wrote



Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j61a7np wrote

> It ended up bringing me back to places I thought I was over. Ended up in a lot of crying fits.

That's really common, and pretty necessary in the process of healing. The only way past it is through it.

It's very very very hard.... but often better than alternative.

I hope you get some rest in between the tough parts! That's necessary too. Much love and much luck on your journey. <3


aimeeerp t1_j616xm8 wrote

I had a university professor inform me—after self-disclosing a diagnosis I had been given of C-PTSD to the class—that it was just a more politically correct way to identify Borderline Personality Disorder in women. I had a bit of a crisis about how uninformed and unintelligent I was, then had a fit of worrying about how terrible it is to diminish those with BPD in my mind, and ended up settling on not needing to waste the doctor’s time with trying to sort out something so small (that I thought about for a few months).

For me, I have such intense waves of dissociation when things become too intense or stressful. I’ve also never been able to quite articulate the disconnection I feel from my body: when I look into a mirror, I can only see components or sections of myself. I can only see my eyes, my teeth, my left arm, my right elbow, but I can’t look at my whole self as a person. Seeing pictures of myself is a different experience than looking at a reflection. I have never had a mental health or other medical professional provide any insights when I’ve tried to describe it in the past. I am typically told I likely have C-PTSD based on my experiences combined with living with PTSD for nearly 20 years.

Thanks for posting this. The first time I read the list of symptoms, I was definitely surprised.


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j61az2b wrote

ugh, I'm so sorry your professor said that. Even if that's a professional opinion, there's no need to minimize someone publicly like that. So gross and harmful.

But also, they're wrong. There's a whole section on the CPTSD wikipedia page about how it's often confused for BPD, but is distinct enough in such fundamental ways that it's def its own thing.

I'm sorry your mental health professionals haven't been helpful. There's definitely a lot of shit doctors out there that do more damage than good. I hope you're able to find the good ones though, because no professional has been more impactful on my life than my therapist.

However you get there, I really hope your future includes relief, comfort, and rest. You deserve it all. Much love, friend. <3


Crotean t1_j62kx5j wrote

Fuck, I knew I was messed up from being raised and spending most of my life in a religious cult, but thought I just had depression and ADHD. But this makes me wonder if I am even more messed up then I realized.


Zonerdrone t1_j62l0ii wrote

There was a long time when I wondered if I had ptsd. What gave it away for me was when I read the symptom "exaggerated startle response". If you sneak up on me and scare me I get like unreasonably upset. I immediately go into fight or flight. The same thing happens with loud sudden noises. Loud motorcycles on the road make me irate because of the noise.


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j63sk6h wrote

Interestingly enough, I had the exact opposite experience. I have almost no startle response — it used to be a game with my friends to try and jump out and scare me. This convinced me I didn't have PTSD!

Interestingly, startle response is high in PTSDers, but not C-PTSDers. I think it's not even on the list of qualifying symptoms —but it's not exclusive! people with C-PTSD can still definitely have the startle response. We're just talking statistical significance.

It has something to do with C-PTSD causing numbness due to prolonged overwhelming situations. Instead of always being on guard (that the bad event is suddenly going to happen again — i.e. PTSD), you're just completely shut down, because the "bad events" are constant & inevitable. It's called learned helplessness and even reading the studies are very very sad. (CW: dogs were harmed)

I'm glad you finally figured out what's been plaguing you! I hope your path to recovery is easy & full of rest & love <3


goodtimesforachange6 t1_j62vj66 wrote

Thank you for this information, so bizarre, I literally just sent an email to my doctor 30 minutes ago saying I think I've been suffering with PTSD and was feeling silly about it.


sweet-n-sombre t1_j6368sa wrote

Basically it kills you on rhe inside and you live hollow a shell.

Relatable ( to an extent. )


GiantAxon t1_j64aekb wrote

Putting slavery, human trafficking, concentration camps and bullying on the same list makes no sense to me at all.

I really hope they come up with some sort of clinical severity cutoff because otherwise this reads like "adverse events are bad" when I'm sure it is meant to relate to a severe form of PTSD that results from serious adversity.

Even "regular" PTSD definitions likely would reject simple bullying as a cause because there is rarely a severe safety threat.


sweet-n-sombre t1_j64ogtb wrote

Bullying for a child can be terrifying. Especially when there's no out and it's continuous. It's not 'simple' bullying always.

How would you put a scale between sex trafficking / plain sexual abuse and bullying?

Note, It's not about the safety threat we perceive as adults, taking into consideration facts we know, but how the receiver percieves it. A child may not realise the difference between being trafficked or facing very strong and consistent bullying. They don't have that much knowledge. They can only experience what they feel, and that could be terror.


GiantAxon t1_j64tq63 wrote

You know, I'll have to disagree. I may be totally wrong on this, but it's very difficult for me to believe that a child would have trouble differentiating bullying from being trafficked.

Bullying may involve an element of fear and intimidation, certainly. It involves elements of rejection and isolation, for sure. It can even involve an element of threat. But you would have to be very young to not understand the difference between a situation when your peers are bullying you and when you get kidnapped, moved to another country, involuntarily confined, sold, moved again, and eventually raped repeatedly or sold into slavery.

To make the argument that both can be scary is one thing. But to make the argument that a child can't differentiate those experiences is to argue a degree of naivete that few children would have by the time they're old enough to experience actual bullying (at least school age).

If we are going to do that, I'll take it a step further and say that an invalidating environment at home can also be seen as similar to bullying, and we can just expend the definition to "adversity". While we are at it, we can look at the criteria for cptsd, compare them to borderline personality pathology, decide that they're effectively the same down to diffusion in sense of self, and pat ourselves on the back for renaming borderline personality disorder cptsd.

But that still leaves the Holocaust survivors and victims of repeated rape and slavery in a position where they share a diagnostic label with a child who was on the receiving end of bullying at school. As someone who was on the receiving end of severe bullying in their youth, I'll put my two pennies in by saying "that's excessive". We need to draw the line somewhere.

To answer your other question: >How would you put a scale between sex trafficking / plain sexual abuse and bullying?

I would probably start with the sexual abuse component. Bullying doesn't involve penetration or other forms of sexual abuse. If it does, I say we focus on the sexual abuse - which would then obviate the need to focus on the bullying. To me, "simple" bullying doesn't involve sexual abuse. If it does, it's bullying and also sexual abuse, in which case we can use our normal definitions of PTSD and move on without diluting diagnostic categories.

It's like saying: what if I'm being bullied and someone sticks a gun in my mouth. Well, then what you've experienced is severe intimidation with a weapon. Not bullying.


sweet-n-sombre t1_j650e27 wrote

Again you are using adult metrics. And extrapolating based on false premise. Let me give you some reality.

I was both sexually abused and bullied. For me the bullying was tougher because it was day in and day out. Harsh and unrelenting. The abuse was temporary, short lived and I was even made 'comfortable'. Too naive even yes, to realize extent of what was happening.

Don't want to go into the details but penetration is not the worst thing about sexual abuse, there's too much psychological loss of power and violation of body integrity that precludes that. The lasting trauma is not the physical component but the mental fuckery.

Regarding trafficking:

You're thinking of sex trafficking as something they show in movies to scare you. It always isn't like that. Its often some schmuck enticing you with a reward, making you feel cared and finally given attention, promising you great things and then finally delivering you to a place where you are used. Even then they may promise to get you back. Or convince you it's a better life than what you'd have had back 'home' in poverty.

They're all fucked up situations. How scary you think of them from impressions from outside through news reports and imagination isn't what is going to decide how f'd up they are in the mind. Let the psychs figure out that from actual observation and study of victims. Your disagreement doesn't change the science. If you actually want to understand why they seem to be put together, perhaps taking some time to read the actual research papers, might give a better understanding of the things involved.



GiantAxon t1_j659ywk wrote

Look, I see your point and I understand that not all these experiences are as depicted in movies. I am sorry to hear that you have first hand knowledge of these things.

Patients are as heterogeneous as anything else, and everyone experiences and perceives different things. But this is precisely why our definitions of things matter and why we need to, in your words, let the psychs figure it out.

The psychs (I'm sure at least some of them prefer to be called psychiatrists) have chosen not to include cptsd in the DSM for the time being. I think there might be good reasons for that, some of which we are discussing right now. The line between subjective experience and standardized diagnoses is hard to draw, but important nevertheless. It affects things like research protocols, and translates to how we understand and treat disorders. For example, how we define depression can translate into guidelines about pharmacology and therapy techniques. Before you say it, yes I know the DSM isn't the end all and be all of psychiatry.

For the time being, psychiatry as a field seems to recognize that there is a syndrome that results from prolonged repeated abuse, but some classify it under attachment disorders, some under trauma, and some prefer to stick to personality disorders due to the similarity in symptoms.

I don't know that it's helpful for us to argue about labels online because we aren't about to start flashing credentials and throwing papers at eachother. I take your point for what it's worth, and I hope you consider mine - I feel that we need careful definitions or else we risk blurring diagnostic boundaries to such an extent that everyone feels included when its time to self diagnose, but at the same time few people are helped by therapies because they are researched and delivered under highly heterogeneous research conditions.

When I ask myself if psychiatry has a bigger problem with diagnostic labels or with validated therapies it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation, but I lean towards poor therapies as a result of broad diagnostic categories for heterogeneous conditions.


sweet-n-sombre t1_j65f4p8 wrote

Yes I agree with you that psychiatry has a broader labelling, and finding relevant treatment for the individual problem.

And people self diagnosing is a problem too, but I don't think the solution is to disregard some possible experiences from the understanding/context of these labels.

Yes the definition need be cleaner, and I think the actual fully defined criteria for C-PTSD must be so.

Note that the above quoted text was not a definition for C-PTSD, but context of possible experiences that might result in it. The actual evaluation would (should?) ofcourse be done by a professional who'd evaluate exhibited symptoms and not just go on history.

People self-diagnosing simply from the context are hurting themselves, true. And should probably seek a professional for more trained evaluation.


GiantAxon t1_j65g32y wrote

Couldn't have said it better myself. I like that we can have a discussion, disagree on some things, agree on others. This has been very fun and I learned some things too. Cheers!


sweet-n-sombre t1_j652c6n wrote

To add to my other comment. I am sorry to hear you were at the receiving end of bullying.

I don't want to draw a line between simple bullying and _(?) bullying. But that feelings of body violation and lack of control etc can also happen with some cases of physical bullying that need not be sexual.

Again, glad that you don't seem to have had as bad of a reaction and felt not as distressed chronically from it. But it's not the same for everyone.
(Note that There are people that are driven to suicide by bullying. If that's not proof that it is perceived very intensely by some then i don't know what else I can say).


lostmonkey70 t1_j5zllok wrote

Hmm maybe... But thanks to the low self-esteem it's literally nothing I would ever seek treatment for..yay?


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5zme5r wrote

That's definitely the hardest hurdle to get over, by far.

I can say with 100% certainty that you deserve care, comfort, and calm in this world. I know I'm a literally anonymous stranger on the internet, but I know it's true because it's true for everyone on the planet (yes, even people who do bad things)... but especially for those that are in pain.

I hope one day you get the help you need. In the meantime, communities like r/CPTSD are great. A genuinely wonderful community of people going through what you're going through. Even just reading some random posts has helped relieve the pain for me sometimes.

Much love to you, friend.


GeebusNZ t1_j5zg4gh wrote

I've been diagnosed as having c-PTSD. I was raised in a severely emotionally neglectful environment, where I had to figure life out for myself because although I had two parents, in a practical sense, I really didn't.

It's tough trying to identify what's wrong, since the symptoms also resemble other afflictions, like Asperger's and ADHD. It's also tough to get appropriate help, since what I've been through makes me severely distrustful of the same people I would need to seek out for help.


Jacob2040 t1_j5zhpb8 wrote

I'm in a similar boat. It's also hard since it's not in the DSM-V, so it's not a diagnosis like ADHD or Depression. It's a weird 'if you know you know' diagnosis. Either way it's nice to have something to describe how I feel.


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5zitid wrote

Same here, friend. I'm sorry you went through that. I've been in therapy for most of my 30s and still struggle to recognize what I'm feeling, much less describe it, much less take it seriously.

But I'm doing SO much better than I was before. I hope you're able to find the care you need. It's never too late to start. I've never made a better investment in my entire life — it changes everything else. I believe it'll be great for you too.

Much love, friend.


JackFunk t1_j60ke6g wrote

I grew up in a horrifyingly violent home. Both parents. Being the oldest male child made me the primary target. That coupled with being on fire at 7, left me with CPTSD. My brother, and best friend, was murdered in 2000, which further broke me. It's been a long journey for me. I'm 56 and doing as well as one could hope. That said, I still have suicidal thoughts most days (though I'm not suicidal at all), hypervigilance, startle response, and serious attachment issues that makes it nearly impossible to maintain friendships (the one exception being my wife, who is an angel).

The last 20 years or so, I have really worked on treatment. Therapy, medication, weight lifting, prayer, meditation and focus on diet have helped tremendously. Dealing with it constructively really is a life style. If you can fully commit, you can get your life back.

My kids, now young adults, grew up without violence (never been hit) and with a very present and engaged dad (and mom). It was a major struggle at times, but I'm mostly happy with the way things went. Just recently, I had this thought pop into my head "I'm the dad that I never had". It brought me a lot of peace.


dinkdonner t1_j60rx1j wrote

Thank you for sharing that!! I grew up around LOTS of abuse, dysfunction & addiction. It’s really REALLY hard to break those cycles. Helps me have hope knowing you’ve put in the work & have seen good results. Keep going!!!! The world needs to see that this sort of healing & transformation is possible!!!


JackFunk t1_j610w15 wrote

Thanks. Stay strong and keep moving forward


foul_dwimmerlaik t1_j615q9g wrote

In trauma-based therapy, you learn to re-parent yourself, being the parent you didn't have.


thealphateam t1_j5zo422 wrote

Anyone with this NEEDS to read The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk

It was literally life changing having c-PTSD. What happens is your body makes coping mechanisms to deal with the trauma. The books helps break down what happened and how to better deal with it.


Orcwin t1_j615n8g wrote

Here to share this same advice. I've heard from people with the condition and their professional help that this book is one of the most valuable resources available. If you suffer from (C)PTSD or are close to someone who does; read it.


supercyberlurker t1_j5zgio8 wrote

r/raisedbynarcissists and r/raisedbyborderlines are good support reddits for much of this.


InsuranceToTheRescue t1_j5zmdi0 wrote

What does a diminished sense of self mean?


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5zn69r wrote

Great question.

It means you feel that your feelings, your actions, and your entire existence are all less important than others, and that you don't deserve love, care, praise, or an easy time. It often leads to dissociation, and can even get so bad that you think you don't exist (or shouldn't).

And it's not just a matter of opinion — many people (like myself) have a hard time even recognizing that they're feeling anything, much less identifying what that feeling is, much less communicating that feeling to others, much less taking those feelings seriously.


wesg2 t1_j5zogfr wrote

Bro its so difficult. I didn't experience feelings other than rage and sadness until I was about 25 years old. Now I have to figure out how to realize THAT I'm feeling something, then WHAT I'm feeling, and then HOW to express that and then finally express it. It's the fkin worst.

I regularly think that I have no idea who I am, because I don't know how I feel about anything. Feelings direct your beliefs and decisions and if you just base all of your decisions off of logic and vague goals that society says are good, then you end up not really having any firm beliefs (at least that's my experience).


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5ztsas wrote


I hope you're able to find a steady course in regaining your sense of self. It's a really difficult road (and definitely not linear! Don't worry if you "slip back" into old habits — it's not a failure on your part, it's completely normal).

If you haven't already I recommend working with trained mental health professionals. I was able to do a lot on my own with personal research, but nowhere near what I accomplished with professionals, in a fraction of the time, with wayyy less collateral damage.

It's like if you tried to build a shed with no power tools, starting with just a tree in the ground... and you have no hands. You could probably do it eventually, but it would take forever, be way harder, and you could really hurt yourself in the process. Better to just get a professional.


wesg2 t1_j61rm3n wrote

Yeah I feel that. I've done a lot of work with professionals getting up to this point. Will definitely continue. Thanks for your lovely reply.


InsuranceToTheRescue t1_j5zpjbn wrote

>It means you feel that your feelings, your actions, and your entire existence are all less important than others, and that you don't deserve love, care, praise, or an easy time.

Fuck me . . . *sigh*


nancylikestoreddit t1_j5zu6qz wrote

I feel like that. I’ve given up on trying to get help because help just feels worse.


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5zuwwi wrote

I hear that. But I can say that, without a doubt, you 100% deserve care, love, help, and ease from your pain. Every single person on the planet deserves it (even the "bad" ones).

I hope one day soon that the weight pressing down on you lifts juuuust enough for you to ask for help. But it really is the hardest part, so of course I don't blame you at all for delaying it. That's completely natural and doesn't make you deserve it any less.

In the meantime, I recommend checking out r/CPTSD. even just reading the posts on there has sometimes brought me immense relief. I hope it speaks to you to.

Much love to you, friend <3


SeiCalros t1_j5zlhgq wrote

complex ptsd can occur from simple incidents that simply happened before a person was able to form coherent accessible memories

you can get recurring nightmares or general anxiety or any other symptom of PTSD but not be able to remember what caused it - because you were too young to understand the incident

your brain keeps the memory but its a memory of something you didnt understand at the time - so when your brain retrieves the memory its just nebulous trauma


ontour4eternity t1_j5zlabq wrote

CBT- Cognitive Behavior Therapy for 2 years helped me cope with my PTSD from child abuse, domestic abuse, and severe neglect as a child. It is the only therapy that I have tried that worked and helped alleviate depression, anxiety, and self-loathing/insecurities.

Therapy can be expensive, but many places offer it on a sliding scale. I found an amazing therapist (monitored grad student) at our local college Psychology department that charged me $5-15 per session (whatever I could afford) and waived the fees for 6 months when I couldn't afford even $5. I was on the waiting list for 2 months before being accepted, but it was worth it.

I hope everyone reading this has a wonderful day and will treat yourselves with kindness and compassion. The struggle is real.


magic-girl-certified t1_j61orls wrote

CPTSD sufferer here caused by childhood physical abuse, sexual abuse and torture.

Personal daily struggles include, sensory overload, panic attacks, chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, hyper vigilance, social anxiety, disassociation and executive dysfunction.

Every day is a challenge living with an “overactive nervous system” imagine every one of your senses being turned up to overdrive. Just the lights in the grocery store, or the smell on the bus can be overwhelming.

I have come a long way with Drs support but recognise that I will never be “normal” per say but am happy taking the good days where I can :)


krumpettrumpet t1_j63578p wrote

For those struggling with executive function caused by CPTSD, there are a lot of crossovers with ADHD/ADD and using some of the techniques generally used to improve excessive function for them can be very beneficial. The way to set up using rewards, trackers and reminders can be super helpful for sufferers if CPTSD.


Maccus_D t1_j5zhhpb wrote

Lucky me. I got that normal PTSD from watching my best friend commit suicide by stepping in front of a train, and then spending an hour with his corpse until the ambulance got there.


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5zid0e wrote

I'm so sorry. That sounds so so awful. You deserve all the comfort and space in the world. I hope you're able to find calm soon. I recommend reaching out for professional help if you haven't. They really can help anyone— no case is too small, too big, or too far gone.

Many people have experienced similar things as you, and been plagued with the same emotional scars for many long years... and were still able to reduce the pain after getting the care they needed. I believe you can too.

Much love to you, friend.


Maccus_D t1_j5zlpa1 wrote

I have been and I really appreciate the kind words.


Such-Track5369 t1_j60mzid wrote

I was at Union station when I saw a man get dragged by a train by his backpack and pulled under the wheels.

An hour though? Wtf? Why an hour? Why didn't the cops at least show up?


Maccus_D t1_j60pj3r wrote

Three of us went to a beach a hours walk up the track from town. On the way back he decided to do it. 1 person freaked out and ran all the way back to town. I walked up towards the now stopping train to tell them they had hit my buddy. They were well aware. So I sat with him for an hour while they radioed into town. Cops & ambulance got there together

Northern Canada. The bush.


Sera6893 t1_j60xd14 wrote

Try having this and autism and boy are you in for a depressing ride. Source is myself


DragonOfThePit t1_j6bwy1m wrote

... Shit. TIL I may have complex ptsd...


AnnieAbattoir t1_j5zos1v wrote

Damn, the motor skills one explains so much.


CowboyLikeMegan t1_j6210s3 wrote

My best friend died suddenly in a very severe car accident when we were close to graduating high school. I was supposed to be in the car with her, but decided to catch the bus instead as she was running late. I don’t know if it was because it was this occurred during such a transitional time in my life, but I swear my brain broke that day. I was hardly functioning for a year or two after and despite it now being over a decade since it happened, I still have intrusive thoughts when I’m in a car and have full blown panic attacks if I can’t get ahold of a loved one; my brain goes straight to “they’re dead on the side of the road!” It gets so bad sometimes that I’ll run to my car and retrace what I think might have been their route so I can make sure they haven’t crashed. I’ve always wondered if maybe I have PTSD.


ElGerble t1_j622bxt wrote

I dated someone with CPTSD for almost 3 years, it was very difficult, to put it nicely.

At first, she gave the impression that her CPTSD only meant she didn’t like fireworks (or other booms) and violent scenes with blades. Easy enough, and our relationship blossomed at first. I find it somewhat funny to read about “diminished sense of self” since it had such a detrimental impact on our relationship. She needed constant affirmation, it didn’t matter how small or how common/normal the thing she did was, she silently demanded it. When I didn’t give it to her, because I didn’t notice it half the time, she would be upset. I tried to explain to her that she should not be doing nice things to receive praise from me or anyone else, she should be doing it for herself. I knew this would not take immediately, but I tried to patiently meet her halfway. She’s been in therapy and has been on medication for years, so at least she was proactively working on it, so I thought.

Things got worse when we moved in together. Almost immediately, the relationship was over for me. Right after moving in, after weeks of telling her no to sex and to give me time due to a resurfaced sexual trauma that she accidentally triggered, she forced herself on me and sexually assaulted me. When I let her know the next day, she cried and was distraught, not due to her assaulting me, but because I didn’t want it. I decided to give her some time to process it and thought she would apologize to me on her own time once she understood the gravity of her mistake, as she was someone I used to consider to be emotionally intelligent. She did not. I thought to bring it up again, because the assault had serious impacts on my mental health, but whenever I wanted to, the timing was not right. She was always upset by someone or something that happened to her and needed support and comfort. After 9 months, she always needed to be comforted and was always on edge, so I couldn’t bring it up. When we finally broke up, she cited as me being cold, distant, and rude, a total 180 from who I was before, as why she no longer wanted to be with me. I reminded her of the assault and that it impacted me greatly, and never having had the time to talk to her about it and process it properly had serious consequences. At this point, I was ready to forgive her because I wanted to move on and wanted peace. However, instead, she chose to deny the assault. To her, it wasn’t assault, rather, it was a normal thing couples did, initiating sex without explicit consent and she behaved as if she was owed sex. I disagreed with her completely, I reminded her of how many times I told her no, and how that time she cornered me in my room by barging in, closing the door behind her, and presenting herself, creating a ‘gun to my head’ scenario since she got progressively more upset every time I said no, and the last time got ugly. She also tried to downplay it by saying that she experienced worse in the foster system, so mine wasn’t a big deal. Anyways, in the end, she denied any wrongdoing of rape or sexual assault, which made things far worse for me. She also refused to acknowledge how any of her mistakes and problematic behaviors impacted our relationship, since I should have taken the responsibilities of doing more research on CPTSD and attended support groups, something she never brought up. I became her scapegoat for everything and created an echo-chamber by telling her friends of all of the bad things I did, but refusing to mention her assault or other contributions to the decline. I gave her everything I could, grew distant from my friends, lost at least one, and had almost no more free time to myself, and this was the thanks I got. I was so caught off guard by this narcissism, but I also began to realize she never respected any of my boundaries in the first place, and it was never her fault, she just had different needs that stemmed from her CPTSD that I needed to respect. At this point, I realized she was not as emotionally intelligent or empathetic as I thought.

It’s been a couple of months since the breakup, and things are far better. I was on edge pretty much the whole time we lived together, and now I can breathe. I’ve found my own peace when I realized that she wasn’t trying to deny me closure, or was dangling peace in front of me. Instead, I realized that she is simply incapable of accountability, and there was no closure to be found with her. I noticed a lot of the toxic behaviors she exhibited in the end, she had complained about dealing with when her mom, who was far worse, and how she did it to her before, and things clicked for me. I cannot stay mad at someone who suffered severe traumatic experiences for many years, across her childhood and adult life, developed CPTSD, but also had narcissistic tendencies since she was partly raised by a narcissist. I wish her peace and luck in the journey she still has to go on. My hope is that she realizes what she has done during our time together. No, not to get an apology or to say ‘I told you so’ (I’d rather not ever hear from her again). But rather it would mean she has grown from this experience and won’t hurt, or sexually assault, others in the future. I also decided that for at least my next relationship, it would not be with someone with CPTSD or any other severe mental disorders. I apologize if that’s rude, but I don’t think I can do that again, I lost so much and I already had my own problems that she made worse at the time.

One last note: I liked what I read in the thread about trauma not being what happened to you, but rather how you came out of it. My ex condescendingly recommended therapy for me since I ‘clearly had issues’ (not an exact quote). At first, I agreed as I had already thought that. Over time though, I feel okay now. I don’t feel anxious anymore, my libido is back, and I feel happy again. Granted, I may still go to see if I can get further insight on attaining more inner peace and forgiving her, but it is night and day compared to what I felt right after the breakup. Life is good, and I know my dog notices how much happier I am too, cuz he is quite happy to have more time with me again. :)


KingDarius89 t1_j64bjnl wrote

My dad probably has this, though his official diagnosis is just PTSD. he's willing to accept that he has ptsd due to being my disabled mother's primary caretaker for the last 15 years of her life, spending practically every waking moment with her during that time. He absolutely refuses to accept that his childhood had any lasting impact on his mental state.

Once I was old enough to think critically about the stories my father told me about his childhood, it frankly fucking horrified me.

And it's also the reason why I don't bother pointing out the flaws I noticed in my grandfather from those stories (he died a little over a year before I was born) due to the fact that my dad idolizes his father. The only result of doing so would be a fight between us.

The closest that I've come is suggesting that the reason why he became a long haul trucker after leaving the marine corps was to get away from my grandmother. Which my dad agreed was a possibility. I simply didn't bother finishing the thought that if he had been worth a damn as a father he would have divorced her and insisted on full custody of my dad, and possibility the rest of his siblings.

To be clear, from the stories that my dad told me, my grandfather was largely guilty of neglect. The abuse came from my grandmother and my dad's six brothers. Which my grandmother did nothing to stop.


Plurgasm0285 t1_j5zbvnj wrote

Welcome to my life but I don't have the motor skills issues.


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5zd7ft wrote

I don't have cognition issues but I definitely have C-PTSD. Like most disorders, you don't need all the symptoms to qualify for a diagnosis. In fact, it's really rare for someone to have 100%

I'm sorry you're suffering, friend. I hope you have the ability to get the help you need. It's hard work, but nothing is more worth it, imo.


Ennaleek t1_j5zt1ue wrote

Indeed. It sucks.


DirtyDanTheManlyMan t1_j5zt6j9 wrote

How do you treat this without going into therapy for like 3 years


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j5zucej wrote

I really recommend therapy, there's nothing wrong with it and almost everyone I know says it was the best investment they ever made in their life.

But if you really want something shorter term, EMDR is shown to be very useful, and it doesn't need to be coupled with talk therapy (though it works great if it is).

But make sure your EMDR practitioner is familiar with Complex PTSD. The treatment was developed for regular PTSD, and so it helps a lot with singular traumatic incidents, but prolonged trauma requires a slightly different approach (basically just slower and easier).


Lileowastaken t1_j61k0r5 wrote

Self therapy. Building a support network around you. Figuring out your symptoms, triggers, and so on and working on them.

It worked to help me, though I have recently started counselling. Still too early to say how helpful counselling is though.


[deleted] t1_j6038cz wrote



DirtyDanTheManlyMan t1_j60kakq wrote

Therapists don’t prescribe you pills, that’s what a psychiatrist does. I know this because all my family members are pillheads who’ve been tricking psychs since I was a baby


User2079 t1_j60b8ti wrote

Is C-PTSD in the DSM-5 yet?


Pfeffer_Prinz OP t1_j60bmqe wrote

no, hopefully DSM-6, though. There's a huge push from within the mental health field.


[deleted] t1_j61ibkr wrote



wiinds0fchange t1_j6204fb wrote

from the research i've done, it seems all of cluster b are a result of cptsd. i'd even go as far as saying some of the ASD spectrum is also apart of cptsd. being raised by videos, in order to understand behavior, might also contribute.


dressageishard t1_j61u5kk wrote

This is all so sad. I know of one person with PTSD. It is horrifying for this person. Bad dreams. Debilitating headaches. There are a lot of sensitive issues and any number of triggers. Fortunately, this person has sought help and is on the path to healing. Please know there is no judgment here.


Viperbunny t1_j627dhf wrote

Hi! That's me! It isn't easy, but therapy can really help. It has taken me years to get to a place I feel secure in myself. I don't know if I will ever love myself, but I can like myself well enough.


redheadedandbold t1_j628zja wrote

I believe C-PTSD isn’t so much hard to spot, it’s that almost no one in the psychoanalysis community is looking for it. Heck, they’re still debating if it’s actually a separate thing; the argument is that it’s [just] childhood trauma + PTSD. As such, I am thrilled that Reddit has a sub-community for it. Initial information—hearing it exists—is as important as Education at this point, I think.


Top_Barnacle9669 t1_j62v1uo wrote

Its infuriating that they wont recognise developmental trauma disorder as a separate thing. The CDC study around ACE's is clear on the effect that these have into adulthood, but childhood trauma, especially around the effects of bullying are still massively downplayed. It does infuriate me even more that bullying isn't even considered in The Body Keeps its score or the CDC ace study. I get that it primarily focuses on the effects of neglect and abuse by primary caregivers etc as a source of trauma, but verbal and physical bullying by peers is totally ignored yet triggers the same trauma responses.


dzzi t1_j6301s9 wrote

I have this. It fucking sucks and I'm basically going to be in therapy for life, but I'd rather deal with it head-on than ever take the anguish from my traumatic past out on other people. I recently learned to stop taking it out on myself for the most part too, which is huge progress.


XPW2020 t1_j606o1c wrote

Highly highly recommend this book/(especially audiobook ) to foster understanding of childhood PTSD. It is written and told in a way that can also help family members of PTSD victims better learn how to support, cope and heal over time. "What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing"


redheadedandbold t1_j62cezq wrote

Thank you, all of you, for sharing here. I know —exactly—how hard this was to do. Don’t EVER doubt that you are courageous—and strong-willed. After all, you’re still here. You had the guts to speak up.


BHisa t1_j5zebpq wrote

What My Bones Know