Post Traumatic Love Syndrome


Hey everyone!!! Can we just take a moment to celebrate that I’m being somewhat consistent with blogging again? Lol. Anywho, this topic has been on my heart for some time. Probably for almost a year. I think we all can agree that love can be a beautiful thing. The idea of having someone to love you unconditionally seems like a dream for most. The sad truth remains that the idea of love is not exciting for everyone. I wrote on this once, check it out HERE.

While some are excitedly dating and enjoying the anticipation of love, others are scared to death due to their previous experiences with the concept. There are people are petrified at the thought of trying to love again. For some people, getting to know someone almost feels traumatic. It triggers off feelings of being hurt and unsafe. This sounds eerily similar to a well-known yet misunderstood mental health diagnosis called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

When someone has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), they have a combination of symptoms that were triggered by a traumatic experience. These experiences can be but are not limited to war, car accidents, natural disasters, sexual assault, the sudden death of a loved one, etc. After working with many clients, talking with friends and looking at my own love life, I am realizing there may be an event we have left off the list. That event is heartbreak. If you’ve ever been heartbroken, I mean hurt to your soul heartbroken, then you know how traumatic that feels. It is something you hate to even remember. I describe it to clients as the kind of pain that you feel in your mind, body, spirit, and soul simultaneously.  It’s something that once you experience it, you never want to experience it again.

With that said, we can see how this starts to look similar to PTSD. There’s a traumatic event that then triggers off a series of symptoms. The symptoms often associated with PTSD are re-experiencing of the trauma, nightmares, avoiding thoughts or feelings about the trauma, hypervigilance, anger outbursts, etc. When I really started looking at the symptomology, I came to the startling realization that heartbreak was traumatizing people. Not in some overdramatic way, but truly to the point their lives are being disrupted. Their trust for love is buried under the fear from the trauma of heartbreak.

Think about it. We know people who are easily triggered by the thought of heartbreak. Let me make a point to highlight that I said heartbreak, not love. It is not love that scares people, it is heartbreak. The fear is in the failure of love, not the presence of it. The truth is, they want love, but they fear they will not be able to keep it.

Many people think that people fear they will never get someone. I disagree. I think many people know they have the capability to get someone. I think most people fear they will get love and mess it up. Which in turn creates heartbreak, which creates trauma. One of the symptoms of PTSD is distorted feelings of blame and guilt. How many people have blamed themselves for the heartbreak they endured? Since they carry that blame, they also carry the fear that they will bring the heartbreak on themselves again.

Another symptom of PTSD is avoiding thoughts or feelings about the trauma. How many people have we seen avoid thinking about their time of heartache like it was the plague? They don’t do it in an “I have healed and closed that chapter,” kind of way. They do it in an “I cannot mentally handle assessing those feelings,” kind of way. Feeling tense and on edge is another symptom. We see people who have been heartbroken like this all the time. They can barely enjoy a conversation with someone because they are so on edge. You constantly have to tell them, “just relax and enjoy getting to know them.” But that’s easier said than done for them. They become hypervigilant; constantly looking for a reason to be on the defense and jump ship for safety and security.

Why am I writing about this? Because I want us to be more patient with these people. We often get frustrated with people because they seem so guarded. They self-sabotage and they get in their own way. Yes, it is frustrating when you are the one on the other end who they keep pushing away. It’s frustrating when they seem to get cold for no reason. It’s annoying when they shut down out of nowhere. The truth is, there are people who have been hurt to a point of crippling fear. They want to get out of their head, but their fear keeps them locked inside of the mental prison created from their trauma. People like this need as much love, patience, and support as possible.

Now, let me come to the other end of this. Dear people suffering from Post Traumatic Love Syndrome, you DO NOT get to use your trauma as a get out of commitment-free card. *taps mic* Can you hear me? I hope you didn’t think I was just going to let you slip by because you’re hurting. Look, I get it. You have been hurt so bad that it shook you to your core. You vowed that you would never let yourself feel that low again. Good!!! But that should not be at the expense of the people who are trying to love you. At some point, you have to work through your trauma. Get in counseling, journal, pray, fast, process, HEAL. You can work through this trauma. You can get what you want which is love without experiencing what you fear which is heartache. You can’t though if you continue to look at love through the eyes of your past pain.

I just wanted to shed more light on this situation. I know there are frustrated people on both sides. People are tired of being bound by their previous heartache. People are also tired of having to pay for the trauma inflicted by someone else. I think the key is to be patient with others and be patient with ourselves. We have to be willing to acknowledge that this form of trauma exists and be patient as we all try to maneuver through it. I just want us all to get the love we desire. The key to that is healing and patience. I hope this helps. Happy healing!!!

It Doesn’t Have to Work

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Well, I would start off by apologizing for the wait, but I feel like a broken record. So instead, I’m just going to ask “did y’all miss me?” Well I missed giving you all content. I honestly wanted to write something for a while. I just didn’t feel inspired enough by any one topic. Well, today I realized it was time to end the drought, but I still didn’t know what I wanted to say. So, I asked myself, what message did I want to get out to the people? Then it spilled off my lips “it doesn’t have to work.” Ah, the phrase I recently discovered that has changed my dating life forever.

In my recent exploration of myself and the mess that had become my love life, I realized and stumbled upon a powerful phrase. A phrase that would help me and many other people be set free from the bondage of unhealthy, unfulfilling, and unfair expectations of relationships. That phrase was “it doesn’t have to work.” By now, you’re asking what is so powerful about this phrase. You want to know how five little words can do so much. I’m glad you asked.

For years, many of us have entered into relationships with the heavy burden of making it work. I have even written blog posts about how we give up so quickly in relationships. While I stand by the fact that we have to be willing to put in the work, I realized there can sometimes be an unspoken rule that binds us. The idea that no matter what, this has to work. Still not following?

Okay, say you meet someone. They’re great, they’re cute, they’re what you’re looking for. So after a few dates and conversations, you start thinking how you have to have them and this has to work. Or maybe you kept it cool initially, but now you’re in the relationship, and you feel like you have to put up with anything because “it has to work.”

We put so much pressure on ourselves when we fall for this lie, because that’s what it is, a lie. There is no where that it states anything has to work in dating and relationships. I’m about to say something that may mess you up, but, IT IS OKAY IF IT DOES NOT WORK OUT. It’s okay if the relationship doesn’t make it. You may be gasping for air but let me explain.

We always like to say quotes like “it’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.” Yet we forget about the “loved and lost” part. Sometimes we lose in love. That’s a part of the gamble. Everything in love is a risk. And sometimes, you try with people, and it doesn’t turn out like we hoped. Whether it ended on good or bad terms, it ended. That’s okay, because other times, we go for it, and we completely win in love. The trick is, you never know which one it will be. Yet we try to convince ourselves that we have to win in love because we’ve become afraid of losing.

It’s like going to a casino and telling yourself you have to win that night. While that sounds optimistic, what happens when you start realizing you’re losing to the point of no return? Do you step away from the table or the slot machine, or do you keep playing in hopes you can turn it around? While some people end up lucky and get back everything they lost and then some, many end up losing more than they originally planned to invest.

We do the same in love. We can be tapped out, but because we refuse to admit the loss, we will keep gambling with nothing left, in hopes to turn it around. If you get nothing else from me, know that it doesn’t have to work. Be okay with taking losses.  Because truth is, with this mindset, they won’t feel like losses. If you can learn to be okay with that concept early on, the better chances you have of not getting into relationships bound to fail later. How? Because you’ll be more alert, less pressed, and ultimately more relaxed, which will lead to clarity, which leads to honesty with self.

When you realize it doesn’t have to work, you can relax and be your authentic self from the beginning. You don’t feel the need to perform because you aren’t pressed to make them want you. You aren’t trying to do everything right so they will choose you. You won’t be so willing to look over the fact she hates kids or that he doesn’t believe in your goals. You will be more comfortable in walking away sooner. You will be ok when you recognize it’s just not working.

Now let me make this clear. This is not a scapegoat for those of you commitment phobes out there. Don’t go around using this as an excuse to not commit to anyone. “Yeah Tish said this doesn’t have to work so I won’t be committing to you.” No….. I’m simply giving you freedom from pressuring yourself to make things progress beyond stagnation, not run from progress altogether.

This also is not an excuse for people to just up and hop out of relationships or cut off the person who you were trying to ghost. Relationships are work. PERIOD. There is no perfect relationship. This is not permission to be lazy, or give up. When the relationship is worth it, you fight for it. You are going to have to put in work either way. Again, this is about keeping you from forcing something, not jumping ship or half performing.

I truly hope this helps. It has helped me in so many ways and I’m still getting used to it. It’s freeing and it helps to keep emotions down. It makes dating fun and enjoyable. No longer do you have to weigh yourself down with the false ideology that something has to work. The only time that applies is after you say “til death do us part.” But if you adapt this philosophy now, you won’t feel pressured to say those vows to just anyone. It is okay if things don’t work out. So relax, have fun, and take a gamble but keep your limits in mind. Above all else, enjoy it😉

Does Getting Closure Really Help?

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First off, let me apologize for the wait. Life is real, LOL, but I’m back nonetheless. I just thank you all for your patience. Now, to the point of this post. For years I have heard people say phrases such as, “if I can just get closure,” or “if we can just talk one last time then I’ll be ok.” I think many people believe closure is the magic answer to healing. I believed in this notion for years. Over time though, I realized this idea of closure may not be the answer to getting the healing one desires.

One of the things that people misunderstand about closure, is that it comes with answers. We then believe those answers are going to help us move on from the situation. We typically envision this movie like scenario in our heads. We meet up with the person and we have this amazing conversation. We ask every question that has crossed our minds since our last encounter. They answer every question with complete honesty (and to your liking), then you walk away feeling great because now you know “the truth.”

The truth is, sometimes, having that conversation will leave you with more questions than answers. Sometimes you leave aggravated and frustrated. Sometimes they say something that gets on your nerves and reminds you why you two didn’t work out. Sometimes you don’t like what they say. In other words, sometimes trying to get closure through them, leaves us more hurt than healed.

Now, if you’re anything like me, I just like to ask the question. I don’t care what the answer is because I already know 9 times out of 10, they don’t have one. But there is something about never getting a chance to ask. The idea of never asking even though you always wanted to know. If that is the case, if you just have to ask the tough questions, you must be willing to receive whatever answer they give. You even have to be willing to accept if they don’t have one. The harsh reality is they may not have a clue why they never committed or why they broke up so abruptly. They can’t give you an answer they don’t have.

Because honestly, you’re not seeking answers you’re seeking healing. You want to stop hurting. You want something to make the pain go away. You want to make sense of what happened. You want understanding. The harsh reality most people must face though, is that those words may never come. Or the opportunity to see them may not happen. Does that mean you just never get to heal? Does that mean you just stay hurt forever?

Let me be clear, I’m not saying having one last conversation isn’t beneficial. Some people can have a conversation and it is extremely healing. They are able to bring clarity to things previously. They talk like mature adults and they both leave with a clear understanding of what happened, what went wrong and apologized for any hurt caused. This does exist. This result though, requires for both parties to be ready to have this conversation and willing to be honest in a respectful way.

The other option people tend to forget, is having a conversation after you both have moved on and healed. I know it seems redundant to some, but sometimes to get the mature conversation I spoke of, you need to have already healed. “Well if I healed already, why do I need to talk to them?” Great question. You may realize you don’t need to. For others, they just want to address any unfinished business that may have come from the situation. Either way, when or why you have the conversation is completely up to you.

What I want you to understand is, closure does not have to come through contact. You never have to say another word to the person to gain the closure you desire. A question I have posed countless times to friends, clients, and myself is, “what if you never get the answer or apology you’re looking for?” I don’t ask this to be negative or spiteful. I’m asking to help them see they are taking a chance on not getting healing. I want them to see healing doesn’t have to come through the person who hurt them in the first place. It’s like asking the person who left the door open on their way out, to come back and close the door after they are long gone. Yes, they left the door open, so it seems only fair for them to close it. If they never come back though, are you just going to keep staring at the open door? Or, do you finally get up and shut the door yourself. Yes, they hurt you, so you want answers. You think it’s the least they can do since they left. If you keep waiting for them to come back to close the door to your broken heart though, you may be waiting forever.

To bring it all full circle, can getting closure help? Absolutely. Closure is freeing!!! Does closure have to happen a particular way? Absolutely not. There are multiple ways to get closure, and some of them don’t have to include the person you are getting closure from. Check out some HERE. If you just want to take your chances and connect to them for the sake of closure, then go for it. Just know that can go multiple ways. I just want you to know that healing does not have to be placed in the hands of the person who hurt you. You can take total control and get the closure you need without the risk of hurting yourself all over again.  Even if that means healing first and talking to them later. So, for anyone seeking closure, you got this!!! Happy healing😊