What is Post Traumatic Relationship Syndrome?

Post Traumatic Relationship Syndrome (PTRS) is a fairly new mental health condition to be discovered in which the individual may have suffered trauma in an intimate relationship. Trauma being any physical, emotional or sexual abuse suffered in the context of the romantic relationship.

It is less severe than Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as it doesn’t include the array of symptoms which characterise the complex syndrome such as dissociation or change in identity.

Here are some signs that may show up for the sufferer:
Suspicion. Relationships in which there is emotional abuse, lying, narcissism, sexual abuse or alcoholism can leave chaos on a partner’s emotional state. This can cause people to have a heightened lack of trust and a constant state of paranoia. Especially if one of the partners has the power to control the other.
Flashbacks. If one has suffered extreme emotional distress in a relationship they can then experience it all again in flashbacks. Some being quite vivid to the point of being able to experience it as if it’s just happened. The flashbacks can come across as auditory hallucinations; in which you can see, hear and smell the event all over again.
Nightmares. Similar to the flashbacks if you’re having vivid and frequent nightmares about events from the relationship, it could be a sign. Having dreams about your ex shouting at you, cheating on you, beating you or trapping you in small places could be signs of PTRS.
Obsession. Obsessing about a relationship, whether you’re in it or waiting for it to happen, could mean something is wrong. It is fine thinking about it if it needs work but it’s not necessary to constantly think about your relationship. Constantly wondering whether you could have done something better and blaming yourself about your past. Obsessing is like drinking poison and expecting someone else to die. The reality is they are probably not thinking about you as much as you are about them.
Crying. Constantly crying on a daily basis when what happened was a very long time ago. For example, if it’s been three years and you’re still mourning then it is probably a sign of PTRS. In general, healthy people tend to grieve for one month for every year of their relationship.
Weight gain/loss or other health problems. When people’s emotions aren’t where they are meant to be, their appetite can change. Rapidly losing or gaining weight can be a sign that there is a problem. Your health, in general, can go downhill after a distressing relationship. You may experience symptoms such as migraines, high blood pressure and feeling physically sick more often.
Sexual promiscuity. Women who have suffered sexual assault can take sexual encounters as a way of getting their power back. They will see sex as a way of getting the love and affection they deserve which causes women to turn to casual sex. Which is fine however most times they just need time to heal and sex will only make them feel better temporarily.

If you think you are or someone close to you is suffering seek help. I hope this was useful information.

Grace Hemphill x

3 thoughts on “What is Post Traumatic Relationship Syndrome?

  1. Not totally correct unfortunately.. The comment about this being ‘less severe’ than ptsd is not something you can decide on yourself. In fact, in some cases it could be more severe, it just depends on the person and the severity of what they are suffering, whether that be ptsd or ptrd. Ptrd is actually ptsd. I think that this ‘ptrd’ is just some new phrase for something that many people have been suffering from for a long time which would actually come under ptsd. It’s actually quite offensive to try to determine the severity of what someone is suffering. Ptsd and ptrd are incomparable.. When suffering from either one (just like when someone is suffering from any other disorder etc.) they can be of verging severities. However, trying to catagorise someone’s suffering from a relationship as ‘less severe’ than suffering from something else is not okay by any means. In fact, it adds to stereotypes, stigmas and opinions that people may assume regarding suffering from a relationship as being less extreme or more ‘pathetic’ and not take seriously.


    1. I never told anyone I was a psychologist. I research on things as best as I can and I then write about the things that intrigue me. I don’t suggest to people I am right on 100% of the stuff I say. And you’re right it does depend on the person and situation, but that’s with any mental illness. I figured people would understand. Unfortunately I wrote this piece almost a month ago and so some of what you have said I don’t remember writing. But if I did offend anyone, I’m sorry no one’s perfect after all.


      1. Just say I regret any confusion or I’m sorry. The way you end your apology sounds like gaslighting…after all.


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