C-PTSD results from repeated interpersonal experiences of fear, shaming, or control in relationships with others. It can also result from ongoing systemic abuse that is relational (toxic workplace, high-control religious situations, breakdown of the justice system), cultural (racism, sexism, religious abuse), and intergenerational.
Symptoms of Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder look like:
Re-experiencing trauma (flashbacks)
Avoidance of trauma triggers
Heightened hypervigilance to possible threats to safety
Interpersonal problems (difficulty feeling connected to others, acting out or avoiding relationships altogether)
A negative self-concept (a fierce inner critic, belief that you’re worthless, shameful, or bad)
Self-abandonment (not being in touch with or sacrificing your needs)
Difficulty with emotional regulation (feeling out of control of your body and emotions or dissociation)
Loss of faith
Healing from C-PTSD is complex. The pathway to healing symptoms of C-PTSD includes learning how to trust in relationships, self-care, self-protection, a clear sense of identity, connecting with others and drawing comfort from it, understanding your emotions and engaging with them effectively, working with your internal negative self-talk, and learning to navigate triggered trauma responses.
All of these healing tasks are supported by a strong foundation of self-compassion and a commitment to loving and healing yourself by listening and responding to your needs in every moment.