Can you get PTSD From Spousal Abuse? The Shocking Truth

Can you get PTSD From Spousal Abuse?
How It Causes PTSD?
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Yes, it is indeed possible to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from spousal abuse. Spousal abuse, also known as domestic violence or intimate partner violence, can have profound psychological impacts, including the development of PTSD.

Spousal abuse, a traumatic event, can lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to the intense fear, helplessness, or horror it instills. Victims of such abuse might experience recurrent distressing memories, nightmares, or flashbacks of the abuse, causing severe emotional distress and physical reactions.

Over time, this repeated psychological stress can manifest as PTSD, with victims avoiding reminders of the trauma, experiencing negative changes in mood or thinking, and heightened reactivity, a state of constant alertness for danger.

Physical Abuse:
- Unexplained bruises, cuts, or injuries
- Frequent accidents or injuries
- Clothing that's inappropriate for the weather, possibly worn to cover up injuries
- Emotional and Psychological Abuse:
- Decreased self-esteem or confidence
- Signs of depression, anxiety, or PTSD
- Social withdrawal or isolation
- Fearfulness or constant worry about pleasing their partner
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns

Behavioral Signs:
- The partner exhibits excessively controlling behavior
- The partner exhibits extreme jealousy or possessiveness
- Frequent arguments or tension between the partners
- The partner threatens violence or harm
- The victim seems afraid of their partner

Financial Abuse:
- The victim has limited access to money or financial resources
- The partner controls their spending or financial decisions
- The victim is not allowed to work or is sabotaged at work

- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Prolonged exposure therapy (PE)
- Cognitive processing therapy (CPT)

- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
- Anti-Anxiety medications
- Prazosin
- Support groups
- Mindfulness and relaxation techniques

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a severe mental health condition that can occur after experiencing a traumatic event. Many people think of PTSD as something that only happens to those who have served in the military or experienced a natural disaster, but it's also caused by spousal abuse.

In this article, we'll discuss how domestic violence can cause victims to develop PTSD and how to seek help if you or a family member is a victim.

We'll also discuss ways to cope with the effects of PTSD after experiencing spousal abuse.

Does Domestic Violence Cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence is any form of physical, sexual, emotional, or financial abuse that occurs between two people in an intimate relationship.[1]

Unfortunately, domestic violence can have a devastating impact on victims, leading to physical injuries, emotional trauma, and even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). [2]

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur after someone has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. According to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), it's estimated that one in eleven Americans will be diagnosed with PTSD as a result of domestic violence. [3]

You can take this quick PTSD test to confirm if you have PTSD.

How Does Spousal Abuse Cause PTSD?

Spousal abuse causes PTSD

Spousal abuse can take many forms, including verbal insults, physical intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and financial exploitation. All of these can have a traumatizing effect on the victim. For many domestic violence survivors, the traumatic events may lead to the development of PTSD. [4]

Those who have complex PTSD may experience flashbacks, nightmares, extreme feelings of guilt or shame, panic attacks, and feelings of detachment from their loved ones. [5]

Furthermore, victims of an abusive relationship often suffer mental illness and psychological injuries, which can lead to severe depression, sudden inexplicable anger, and other mental health problems. [6]

It’s critical to recognize that PTSD is a serious condition and should be treated as such. With proper support and treatment, those affected by substance abuse disorders or by PTSD can begin their healing process and move forward with their lives.

Symptoms of PTSD from Spousal Abuse graphic

What Are The Symptoms of PTSD from Spousal Abuse?

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that may result from spousal or child abuse can vary depending on the severity of the abuse and the period it started. [5]

Generally, PTSD symptoms include trouble sleeping, emotional outbursts, feeling numb, suicidal thoughts, flashbacks, and avoiding reminders of the traumatic experience. [5]

We have provided brief explanations to help people understand the specific symptoms they are experiencing.

What Treatments Are Available for PTSD After Spousal Abuse?

Therapy for PTSD patients

Domestic abuse victims can find several mental health resources online.

For example, an Online therapist specializing in treating mental illnesses can help you heal since they have the knowledge and experience.

You will receive the following treatment plan from a board-certified psychiatrist:

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT helps you identify and challenge unhelpful thoughts and beliefs that lead to symptoms such as avoidance. As part of CBT, you can learn relaxation techniques and gradually expose yourself to distressing memories and situations. [7]
  2. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE): EMDR involves identifying areas of distress in your life and then using eye movement or tapping to desensitize them. In PE, you practice facing feared situations or memories without avoidance or distress and talk about the traumatic event in a safe haven. [8]
  3. Medications: The psychiatrist may prescribe antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications for PTSD. However, medications are not a cure-all, and they should always be used in combination with therapy. [5]
Domestic violence hotline

National Domestic Violence Hotline

If you're a victim or witness of domestic violence, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and they'll listen and provide confidential help anytime.

If you've been affected by spousal or intimate partner abuse, you should seek help as soon as possible. You can be provided with a mental health professional who can help you work through the symptoms of PTSD, develop healthier coping skills, and live a more fulfilling life.


PTSD is a severe consequence of domestic violence. Victims of spousal abuse often suffer both physical abuse and mental trauma, with some cases leading to PTSD.

Victims of domestic violence need to seek help from trained mental health professionals that provide effective treatments for PTSD.

With the right kind of support and treatment, those with PTSD after spousal abuse can find healing and begin to move forward in their lives.


Can you get PTSD from emotional abuse?

The short answer is yes - emotional abuse can lead to PTSD.

Emotional abuse is a form of psychological abuse that can cause significant distress and anxiety.

It involves controlling behavior, manipulation, belittling, and criticizing. Over time, the effects of this kind of trauma can be severe and long-lasting

How long does PTSD from abuse last?

PTSD is an emotional disorder that can arise in individuals who have suffered from trauma. It can be caused by several different types of abuse, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Victims of intimate partner violence can experience PTSD symptoms for months or even years after the abuse has ended.


  1. What Is Domestic Abuse?
  2. The Connection Between Domestic Violence and PTSD
  3. What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
  4. Domestic Violence
  5. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - Symptoms and causes
  6. Abuse, trauma, and mental health
  7. What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?
  8. EMDR vs Prolonged Exposure Therapy

Gaslighting: A Form of Emotional Abuse That Can Leave Lasting Trauma

What Is It?
How It's Implemented
How To Stop It
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Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic used by one person to make another person doubt their own perceptions, memories, or even sanity.

- Blatant lies
- Denial
- Discrediting your memory
- Confusing or contradicting information
- Shifting blame
- Isolating you
- Trivializing your feelings
- Using your vulnerabilities against you
- "Crazy-making" behavior

- They may tell blatant lies or distort the truth
- The gaslighter denies having said or done something
- They may undermine the victim's credibility or cast doubt on their memory
- Gaslighters provide inconsistent, misleading, or conflicting information
- They deflect responsibility for their actions onto the victim or others
- Gaslighters may attempt to isolate the victim from friends and family
- They dismiss or minimize the victim's feelings
- The gaslighter uses the victim's insecurities, fears, or weaknesses against them
- Gaslighters may intentionally withhold important information

- Trust your instincts
- Document events
- Set boundaries
- Seek support
- Educate yourself
- Avoid engaging in arguments
- Prioritize self-care
- Consider professional help
- Evaluate the relationship

Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse. It can make people feel confused, alone, and helpless. In this article, we will talk about gaslighting.

We will explain what it is and how to know if you are in an abusive relationship by paying close attention to your partner's behavior. We will also share some ideas for what you can do if you are being gaslit.

What exactly is gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that occurs often in an abusive relationship. It's when someone messes with your mind, making you doubt your thoughts and feelings. They might deny facts, tell lies, or blame you for things that aren't your fault.

Anyone can be a victim of this behavior - it happens in different types of relationships, including romantic ones. Gaslighting is harmful and can lead to mental health issues. It makes people question their memory and judgment, making it hard for them to see that they're in an abusive relationship. The constant doubt and confusion can cause severe stress and anxiety.[1]

Gaslighting Techniques and Tactics

Gaslighters employ various tactics to manipulate their victims, including:

Effects of Gaslighting on Mental Health

Gaslighting can harm a person's mental health. Victims might feel anxious, sad, or suffer from PTSD because they are constantly manipulated and made to doubt themselves.

Gaslighting in Different Relationships

Gaslighting can happen in different relationships like dating, family, and work. It's essential to spot and stop this abuse early.[3]

Signs someone is gaslighting you

To recognize gaslighting behavior, pay attention to the following signs:

How does gaslighting work?

By Lying

People who engage in gaslighting often lie a lot. They never back down or change their stories, even when you show them they are wrong. They play games with the victims' memory by saying: "You're making things up," "That never happened," or "You're crazy."

By discrediting you

People using gaslighting tell others false stories about you. They act concerned but say you're not stable. This can make others believe them, not knowing the truth.

They distract you

When you ask an abusive partner a question or say they did something wrong, they avoid answering. Instead, they ask you a different question. This can make you confused and unsure of yourself.

They minimize your thoughts.

When someone is gaslighting you, they try to make you feel like your emotions or thoughts are wrong. They might say things like "Calm down," "You're overreacting," or "Why are you so sensitive?" By saying these things, they are trying to take away your power.

They shift the blame onto you.

Another way people try gaslighting you is to control you by making you think everything is your fault. They twist every conversation, so you take the blame for everything, even if it's not your fault. For example, they might say that if only you behaved differently, they wouldn't have to act as they do.

They deny that they've done anything wrong.

People who bully or emotionally abuse others often deny that they did anything wrong. They do this to avoid taking responsibility for their poor choices. This denial can make the victim feel unseen, unheard, and unimportant. This gaslighting tactic makes it very hard for the victim to move on or heal from bullying or abuse.

Their compassionate words are weapons.

Sometimes, when people are caught out or questioned, they try to improve the situation by saying kind words. They might say, "You know how much I love you. I would never hurt you on purpose."

What can you do when someone is gaslighting you?

The Role of Therapy in Overcoming Gaslighting

Therapy can help victims of gaslighting regain their sense of self and heal from the emotional abuse they have experienced. Online therapy platforms like can be a convenient and effective way to access support. [7]


Experiencing dissociation in the workplace can significantly hinder your efficiency and concentration, making it essential to remain attentive and anchored. We've touched upon the triggers, indicators, and manifestations to be vigilant about, in addition to offering guidance on handling dissociation.

If the sensation becomes too intense or unmanageable, don't hesitate to consult a therapist for assistance. We invite you to share your insights on online therapy in the comments section below, and let's foster a constructive, English-language conversation around this vital topic.


How can gaslighting affect your mental health?

It can affect your mental health by causing feelings of confusion, anxiety, low self-esteem, as well as depression. Recognizing the signs of gaslighting and taking steps to protect yourself from becoming a victim is essential.

Is gaslighting always intentional?

No, it does not have to be intentional for it to be damaging your mental health. It can also happen unintentionally, and the person doing the gaslighting may not even know that they are gaslighting you.


  1. Gaslighting: Recognize Manipulative and Emotionally Abusive People--and Break Free
  2. Gaslighting How To Recognize Hidden Behaviors
  3. Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths Use to Silence You.
  4. Psychological Manipulation Techniques
  5. The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life.
  6. Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse
  7. Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved

⚠️Disclaimer: The information provided on this health blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Breaking the Silence: Recognizing the Signs Of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is when someone makes another person feel bad on the inside, like how physical abuse can hurt on the outside. It can be hard to spot because it doesn't leave visible marks like bruises. Some people might not realize they are experiencing emotional abuse, so they don't seek help.

It's super important to know the signs of emotional abuse, like when someone always puts you down or tries to control you. Learning about these signs is the first step to get help, talk to someone about it, and stop the abuse from happening.

The definition of emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is when someone hurts your feelings on purpose. It can happen with words, when someone makes you do things you don't want to do, or when someone doesn't let you interact with people close to you.

If you learn to recognize these behaviors, you can start to protect yourself from them. [1]

Types of emotional abuse

A table with four columns highlighting the types of emotional abuse, their impacts, the most likely abusers, and how it's executed.

Recognizing Emotional Abuse

The Subtlety of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be sneaky and hard to notice. It unfolds gradually, so the people it affects might not recognize it immediately. Others don't take it seriously since it doesn't leave any bruises. That's why it's essential to know and remember the warning signs.

Signs that someone is emotionally abusing you

They act superior to you

They try to control you

Emotional blackmail

They create chaos in your life

The impact of emotional abuse

Research shows that emotional abuse can be just as bad as physical abuse. An emotionally abusive relationship leaves invisible wounds;

Long-Term Impact on Mental Health and Well-being

The long-term effects of emotional abuse can be severe and impact a person's mental health. Victims may experience depression, anxiety, and even PTSD. It's essential to recognize these effects and seek help to heal from the damage caused by emotional abuse.[4]

A teen girl showing signs of emotional abuse

Emotional Abuse in Different Situations

Emotional Abuse in the Workplace

Emotional abuse at work means that someone is being mean or hurtful to others, making the workplace unhappy. It can manifest as bullying, belittling, manipulation, excessive criticism, financial manipulation, or even isolation. This abuse can make people stressed, depressed, and not want to come to work.

Because of this, companies need to pay attention to and stop emotional abuse. They should ensure everyone is respected, people can talk openly about their problems, and everyone supports each other. This way, the workplace can be a happy and safe place for everyone to do their best work. [5]

Emotional Abuse Among Friends

Emotional abuse between friends means that sometimes a friend can be mean or hurtful, and it's not always easy to notice. They might criticize, use mean words, lie, or purposely leave someone out. It's important to recognize when this occurs so the person experiencing the hurt can learn to stand up for themselves and seek kind and supportive friends.

This kind of mean behavior isn't okay. It's important to recognize when this occurs so the affected person can learn to stand up for themselves and find kind and supportive friends. Every person deserves friends who help them feel happy, safe, and valued. [6]

What to Do if You Are Being Emotionally Abused

Finding Support and Building a Safety Net

Finding support is vital when dealing with emotional abuse. Confide in trusted friends or family members, join support groups, or seek professional help from a therapist. Establishing a strong support network can make a significant difference in the healing process.

One option for seeking professional help is online therapy. It provides convenient and accessible support for individuals experiencing emotional abuse. To learn more, visit our affiliate partner's website: Online Therapy.


Knowing the signs of emotional abuse is essential to stop it from happening. If you or someone you care about is going through this, it's okay to ask for help and support.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on getting help - you can tell us in the comments below. Let's discuss how online therapy can be an excellent way to deal with emotional abuse.


How can I get help if I'm in an emotionally abusive relationship?

If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional abuse, it is important to reach out for help. This can include talking to a trusted friend or family member, seeing a mental health professional, or contacting agencies like the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

What are some coping mechanisms for dealing with emotional abuse?

Coping with emotional abuse can include self-care activities such as spending time outdoors, engaging in creative projects, or connecting with supportive people. Also, creating boundaries and maintaining open communication can be essential for protecting yourself from further harm. We also recommend seeking professional help.


  1. Springer Link: Beyond Correlates: A Review of Risk and Protective Factors for Adolescent Dating Violence Perpetration
  2. Research Gate: The Impact of Psychological Aggression on Women's Mental Health and Behavior: The Status of the Field
  3. Science Direct: Reconstructing the Risk–Need–Responsivity model: A theoretical elaboration and evaluation
  4. Research Gate: Awareness for Emotional Abuse
  5. Faculty Experiences with Bullying in Higher Education
  6. Research Gate: Overt and Relational Aggression in Adolescents: Social-Psychological Adjustment of Aggressors and Victims

⚠️Disclaimer: The information provided on this health blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.