PTSD and OTRD are Common, But Not Mandatory

A few days ago, I found an interesting article in New York Times about a veteran without Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She believed something was wrong with her, as she’s been through multiple traumatic events (deployed to combat zones twice and losing her husband in an avalanche in Colorado) and yet, she wasn’t suffering from PTSD.

Many people wrongly assume that PTSD is inevitable for anyone exposed to trauma or that having PTSD would validate military experience. In reality, only 8% of American citizens have PTSD, while in veterans the percentage is a bit higher (11% – 20%).

The author of this article had taken part in a study regarding a potential treatment for PTSD. The fact that researchers are studying healthy people without PTSD, but who were traumatized is amazing. It certainly makes more sense than only studying those with PTSD. You are more likely to find successful treatment this way.

While different, there are a few similarities between PTSD and Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Disorder (OTRD).

PTSD or OTRD are not inevitable for anyone exposed to trauma. From my years of experience, there are a number of factors which help avoid them, such as absence of childhood trauma and having a close circle of family and friends.

Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Disorder (OTRD)

I am happy to be part of our MeetUp group, “Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD”, because one way our group survives and copes with OTRD, is BY offering  community and open discussions about the stress of this lifestyle. There are many members of my group who do not suffer OTRD and who have found ways to maintain a healthy life and distance themselves from the stress.

I wrote an article about surviving unremitting grief. There is the grief over the lost dream of a relationship with an emphatic partner. There is the grief from chronic verbal abuse. There is the grief of raising your children in the chaos of the relationship. There is the grief of never being able to have a voice in your life.

If you want to work 1-1 with a therapist and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment. You can also go to my website to schedule through the online calendar. Online therapy is also available, if that works best for your busy schedule.

2 Replies to “PTSD and OTRD are Common, But Not Mandatory”

  1. Most trauma therapists believe a client with a PTSD cannot heal while yet remaining in contact with his or her abuser. Separation from the abuse and abuser is key to therapeutic success.


    1. Why in the world would anyone CHOOSE to remain in relationship with an Aspie if he or she is traumatized by the relationship? Such a choice appears highly reminiscent of female domestic violence victims who choose to remain with their severely abusive husbands.

    2. Why would a therapist actively support the decision of a PTSD or OTRD client to remain with an abusive Aspie? Would not such support preclude healing?

    1. Healing from trauma at the hands of an abusive partner is never easy. The scars can last a lifetime. One of the reasons I wrote my latest book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you,” is to tackle these tough issues. Personally I didn’t stay with my abusive partner, but it was not so easy to leave an abusive child. Then there are other mitigating factors. With “Aspies” those mitigating factors may be that even though they lack empathy, they don’t always lack heart or motivation to change. Good trauma therapists may separate a couple and help them establish strong boundaries, but they may still work on reconciliation if possible. Healing from my own trauma, has taken many years . . . and many books to write.

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