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Dr. Palfy shares her insights on male abuse, sexual abuse, PTSD and more.

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Melissa Brown 119

Recognizing Male Survivors & PTSD

What are the symptoms and behaviour to look for?

Men who were abused as boys may suffer long term consequences that might seem innocuous at first until you learn their trauma histories. 

What is PTSD?  

PTSD is a brain injury that can affect anyone.  A number of factors can increase a person’s chance of developing PTSD.  Most of these are outside of your control.  One of the main factors include feeling alone or unsupported, and helpless before during or after the events. 

Other factors include: having been exposed to intense, re-current or long-lasting traumatic event(s), having previous traumatic exposure, your developmental stage and supports etc. can affect whether or not a person will develop PTSD. Lack of support can make PTSD more likely, while social support can make it less likely.

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

  • Re-experiencing the trauma or feeling as if the traumatic event(s)were happening again in the present time
  • Being physiologically and emotionally activated – or experiencing a surge in your emotions and other physiological responses when reminded of the traumatic events 
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep or having re-occurring nightmares
  • Feeling more irritable or having outbursts of anger
  • Feeling constantly edgy or “on guard” or feeling like danger is lurking around every corner
  • Avoidance of places, things or thoughts that remind you of the traumatic event(s)
  • A loss of interest in taking part in previously important and/or fun social activities 
  • Feeling numb or having difficulty experiencing positive feelings

Signs of developmental PTSD in males include behaviour that includes:

  • Persistently avoiding engaging in higher states or emotional intimacy and/or intimate conversations – many victims avoid intimate subjects and times lest they become vulnerable and accidentally disclose.
  • Avoiding engaging verbally in fights – for the same reason, out of fear of accidentally disclosing.
  • Having unexplained anger, low self-esteem, lack of a sense of self-worth and unexplained shame.
  • Struggling with sleep issues – many men still have nightmares about their abuse which makes falling asleep unpleasant. 

If this is the case…try and open the doors toward reasons he might not want to discuss things and work on creating safety. Reading Men Too: Unspoken Truths About Male Sexual Abuse –will help you understand why boys and men don’t disclose abuse. Leaving it on the nightstand can be a great conversation starter.

Dr. Kelli Palfy is a registerd psychologist, speaker and the author of: Men Too: Unspoken Truths About Male Sexual Abuse, available at bookstores and on Amazon.

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Melissa Brown

Melissa Brown

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Melissa Brown

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