How To Help Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Be Helped

June 27, 2014 Michele Rosenthal

Dear Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Caregivers,

Most of the time those of us in the PTSD healing community focus on survivors. Today, I'm focusing on you (survivors, share this with the caregivers in your life!) because supporting you helps you better support your survivor.

I know the PTSD journey is tough for you. It's hard to live and cope with, endure and anticipate PTSD symptoms, plus support someone who at times behaves in a crazy manner. You and your life can get swallowed up in the process and so it makes total sense that you want recovery to happen as quickly as possible.

The truth is, anyone struggling with symptoms of PTSD wants to heal as quickly as possible, but that's not always an option.

A Note to PTSD Caregivers: 3 Ways To Help

As a woman who struggled with PTSD for 24 years before I was diagnosed, and then another few years of healing, I saw first-hand how tough taking care of me could be. Frequent emotional meltdowns, running out of money and the need for long-term professional help was a real drain on my family and friends.

What strained our relationships even more were those times that my caregivers tried to force me to do things in recovery that I simply could not, or would not, do. There were valid reasons for my resistance.

This month's audio is all about how three ways to help someone you know needs help but just flat out won't accept it. I hope the ideas clear up some problems and mysteries and help you - and your PTSD loved one - find a little more peace in how you relate to each other along the way to healing.

What's contained in this audio are things your survivor would like you to know but may not have been able to express or tell you. Take a listen....

Michele is the author of Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity. Connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and her website

APA Reference
Rosenthal, M. (2014, June 27). How To Help Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Be Helped, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 22 from

Author: Michele Rosenthal

Debra Towle
November, 10 2018 at 10:46 pm

my husband thrives on his PTSD. It enables him to drink, to lash out at me, my son, n others. he's verbally cruel, financially cruel, has been a terror at my cancer drs n others. I can't leave becuz I have no money to pay for insurance. There is nothing good in this house. He sleeps most days and nights n gets up to drink, be beligerant. He smells, his room smells. He is a split personality....mean then nice, then drunk, then asleep, repeat. No one helps, no one intervienes, his family thinks it's me. He's very manipulative...Last 2 yrs has been the worst. He doesn't take his meds, he lies to everyone. I'm so lost....I have my next cancer screening in a few days and I'm scared. I want off this roller coaster...please.

sarah blake
July, 22 2018 at 8:55 am

My son has ptsd following a brutal unprovoked attack on him 9 months ago. He suffered multiple stab wounds and our family are just falling apart more and more. He has just cried for the first time and has expressed the deep pain and trauma he feels however refuses any professional help. He has serious injuries and constant physcal pain.

February, 8 2016 at 12:29 pm

Friend with PTSD no longer associates with me. I have tried to help him but he asked me to stop trying to help that it is making it worse. I feel like I have been stab in the back. I have always tried to help him and have been very generous.

June, 29 2014 at 6:41 pm

I have an adult son who is mentally ill and I believe he has PTSD. He has been shot 5 times in 2 separate incidents. The last incident is the one that I believe started the PTSD. Someone sneaked up on him at work and tried to shoot him in the head because he said my son thinks he's "all that". That was eight years ago and started a descent into a hellish nightmare that I couldn't have fathomed before it happened. He is resistant to treatment and refuses to take his medication most of the time. He just came out of an involuntary commitment(one of about 15 in the last 8 years) where the doctor would not release him unless he took a shot, so he did. He has already informed me that he will not continue with the shots.
That is the short version. Any advice?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 22 2014 at 5:11 pm

As a trauma-sensitive counselor and expressive arts therapist as well as a psychedelics research assistant to a pioneering researcher from the original studies in the 1960s, please allow me to offer clarity, resources, & hope.
So sorry to hear of your son's traumas and family's suffering. You are a very caring mom to reach out for help for him and to enquire. Please know that the #1 factor in healing trauma is a commitment to consistency over time by at least one close friends, family member, therapist, or clergy with whom your son has a trusting relationship and can count on to always treat him with consistency, compassion, and love. He will not trust those who fight, nag, or push at him but rather must embrace him with love & compassion, providing presence & tools.
Sorry to say, as he's been shot 5 times he almost definitely has PTSD. There are increasingly great resources available, certainly if from a traumatic childhood, as is usually the case (not at all assigned fault, just sharing info). Which city and state would your son need services if he is indeed willing to get help, not sure re title of article? Please know that PTSD is caused by memories that didn't have time to consolidate (process entirely) bc of the sudden shock of the moment, such as being shot from behind. Therefore, flashbacks are memories trying to process and not flashbacks. EFT, EMDR, and DBT are very effective to heal PTSD & the emotional dysregulation that comes from using these skills. The GREAT news is that the pentagon and MAPS are completely funded for studies using the most effective treatment, therapeutic use of psychedelics and a trained counselor and guide. Legal studies are being down in several countries and locations that he may qualify for, so just enquire as per below.
Contact me at mina underscore williams at icloud dot com with questions. Bless you all and may your loved ones and families find support & resources to heal.
Best national resources and links to local resources follow:
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~ as well as
~ & ~ &… & and to apply for the current study in Charleston, NC with Psychiatrist Michael Mithoefer and his wife and clinical partner, psychiatric nurse Annie Mithoefer, call (843) 849-6899. For all participants out of town, travel, food, and lodging expenses will be fully covered. The study is mainly geared toward vets but civilians may be welcome too & these very friendly, knowledgeable, and world-class experts may advise.
Prior to, during, ad after treatment online resources & chat groups provide essential connection, community, normalizing, and support from isolation and traumatic stress. It can be quite reassuring to share resources w/like others.

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