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What is Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

What is chronic post traumatic stress disorder


PTSD is a severe reaction to a horrifying event, such as abuse, an accident, a rape but it is usually referred to in conjunction with prisoners of war. If your symptoms last at least five weeks, the disorder is referred to as Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Victims of abuse usually fall in the latter category.  For them, CPTSD is the not-so-sweet icing on the much less than tasty cake.


Flashbacks or Triggers

One thing I have dealt with in my experience with CPTSD is Triggers.  As a survivor of Narcissistic Abuse, one of my problem areas is dealing with someone who displays narcissistic tendencies such as self-centeredness, selfishness, and entitlement.


I had a family member severely injured in a horrific accident forty years ago, and, to this day, still refuses to talk about it. Like this person, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder victims would prefer to pretend the incident never happened.

Degradation in thoughts or mood

The triggers mentioned above often trigger thoughts of gloom and doom while, at the same time, causing me to feel angry, anxious, or extremely sad.

Transformations in Physical and Emotional Response

Because Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder changes how the brain functions, this also affects how the brain will cause the body to respond to that trauma. Since my abuse, it does not take much stress to cause my body to become tense which affects my heart rate and my fibromyalgia.

Blame, shame, or guilt

Often survivors of a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder incident will be consumed with guilt or shame.  They will have low self-esteem and feel like they are undeserving of life itself.  It will cause them to become more of a glass-half-empty type of person as self-doubt and cynicism settle into their psyche.

Difficulty Concentrating

I can certainly vouch for this as Chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder turned my mind into mush.  In fact, I was demoted from a position because I lacked focus and I still struggle with dissociation.  Every day when I travel to work, I must make a point to look for landmarks or I do not remember the trip. Yes, every single day.

Easily startled

I don’t think this is quite as bad as it used to be.  My one co-worker loved to be able to scare me and thought it funny when I would skyrocket to the ceiling.  Nowadays I save that reaction for when I am working directly below a fire alarm that the administration decides to test.  I wonder if CPTSD is the reason my doctor often told me I am hyper-reflexive.

Feeling tense or on edge all the time

This tends to cause a lot of problems for me.  The abuse I endured caused me to be hypervigilant.  I often knew as soon as I or he entered the house, and something was wrong.  I can feel when others are stressed.  In fact, my body feeds off it.  This causes a tenseness throughout my entire body which causes my fibromyalgia to kick into overdrive and my pulse to hit one hundred B.P.M.  If I happen to be working with an anxious person, it never ends well, and I walk out at the end of the day exhausted.  It is, unfortunately, a symptom of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I could easily do without.

Outbursts of anger

This is not usually a problem with me unless I get triggered by a narcissistic person, but the family member with PTSD that I mentioned earlier struggled with this.


The nightmares I had after my abuse were terrifying.  Toward the end of my marriage my abuser googled strangulation.  After that I would have nightmares that he broke into my house to strangle or rape me…. and I would open my mouth to scream, and nothing would come out.  I would be unable to move. As my daughter’s wedding approached and I knew he would be there, the nightmares increased until my psychiatrist gave me some medication for it.  I knew I had overcome this Post Traumatic Stress Disorder symptom when I started fighting back in my dreams.

Traumatic Events for $500″


Throughout my thirty-year marriage I experienced financial, physical, psychological, sexual, and emotional abuse where he controlled, gaslit, watched porn and lied about it, accused me of things he did, alienated me from friendships and family, spied on me by reading my journals, phone records, texts, messages, and personal files, cheated on me and belittled me whenever he could.  Of course, abuse lasting that length of time would easily cause massive post-traumatic stress.  It wasn’t over when I separated either because he proceeded to stalk me every chance he got.  When he moved a half block from my apartment, I knew I had to take my children and move out of the town that I had spent my entire life in.

When he moved a half block
from my apartment,
I knew I had to take my children

and move out of the town that
I had spent my entire life in.


As previously mentioned, any type of accident can cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Whether it be a fire or an accident involving a car, train, plane, or boat, the ending result can paralyze the strongest person.  This can cause them to either lash out or shut down.

Terrifying Events

This can include physical assaults, rapes, terrorist acts, shootings or anything that would frighten a person a great deal.   In fact, if you interviewed people who survived the attack in New York City or Washington D.C. on 9-11, you would find a common denominator of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It’s complicated

There are several complications from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder including Depression, Anxiety, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Eating Disorders, Loss of Life, and many more.

If you are considering suicide,

  • call 911
  • contact your spiritual leader
  • dial the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • connect with a close friend or loved one
  • call a psychologist or counselor
  •  text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741)

Hey, check out my post on the risk factors of CPTSD 10 Risk Factors of CPTSD That You Need To Know here!

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