Sunday, August 3, 2008
Post Traumatic Relationship Disorder (PTRD)
So as usual I am always talking to my friends about their relationships and such and it boggles my mind how many intelligent, beautiful, and positive women I know deal with such BS in their relationships. Like what thee F*CK?! At times I think I have dealt with some crap in the past with men but when I hear their stories I am blown. Now don't get me wrong, I understand love is a powerful thing. But when does love for self come in and stop you from dealing with BS?!
Essence had a good article in their August 2008 issue called "The Ghost of Relationships Past." It is crazy how many parallels I was able to draw from their analysis of black women who have dealt with relationship trauma in their life, to women that I know and myself. Like seriously, I deal with a lot of reservations and emotions with men based upon past experiences that I have had in relationships with men. However, I have never been in an emotionally abusive relationship. Men and women are both guilty of being emotionally abusive. However, I do not think women understand how emotionally abusive they are based upon the hurt they harbor from the past. The article went on to profile several types of black women who have issues with men based upon life experiences that often stem from childhood. It goes on to define relationship patterns that form from traumatic relationship experiences as Post Traumatic Relationship Disorder (PTRD).
Black mental health experts across the country attest to a trend so insidious and pervasive that Essence editors gave it a tag of its own: Post Traumatic Relationship Disorder, or PTRD. As with post traumatic stress disorder, in which the responses provoked by an extremely painful or disturbing experience are repeatedly triggered by everyday events, women who've suffered some kind of relationship trauma tend to replay that experience again and again. The original trauma can come in varied forms: a deep longing for a father who withheld affection, a distrust of intimacy instilled by a mother sorely mistreated by men, a sexual violation in childhood or adulthood, or an outright betrayal or abandonment.
Similar to PTSD, the symptoms of post- traumatic relationship disorder include anxiety, irritability, depression, flashbacks and fear or emotional numbness. Hypervigilance is another symptom: A person suffering from PTRD might feel that she can never relax; she has to be on guard at all times to protect herself from new assaults on her security. "When a woman has been emotionally traumatized, there's an effort to avoid the people, places and things that recall the trauma," explains Angela Neal-Barnett, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at Kent State University in Ohio, who specializes in anxiety disorders in Black women. "This is why a woman may push away good people or behave in ways that end a potential relationship before it even gets started."
Now don't get me wrong. I am not saying all my girlfriends with issues in their relationships are suffering from PTRD. HOWEVER, I can see how this cycle would begin based upon what they are currently dealing with. Talking to one of my girlfriends about what she has dealt with in her "committed" relationship over the last 4 years I found myself completely flabbergasted. I asked her why she continues to deal with this man and she says, "When someone new comes along I will let my man go." Like ugh why is that what it takes?! Many say too "I don't want him to change and then someone else gets the reward of getting the good man that I groomed." I shake my head at this. Man, you can not change him! And if the next broad does good for her!
Then I hear so many women, and often find myself with the same thoughts, saying things like "Oh I know he is hiding something" or "I am waiting for him to mess up." This attitude seriously plagues black women in their relationships. Also, why are so many women attracted to men who aren't shit?! It is a gripe that a lot of our male readers have vented about in response to past posts but it is becoming more and more apparent to me. Like you would rather stay with this NOTHING ASS NEGRO rather than to let it go, work on yourself, and learn from the experience so when the right man does come along you will be that much better. Honestly, I am a single woman just dating so I can not give much insight on how to navigate in a relationship, particularly a dysfunctional one. My advice is always LEAVE! However, I see that it is not that easy for whatever reason.