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Your girlfriend is experiencing emotional preoccupation that is the result of trauma. When we are involved with high anxiety/emotional situations our brains attempt to cement the experience into long term memory. This is a survival mechanism that is useful to recall experiences that are a part of our control. But, when the circumstances are not, and it is the results of abuse, the emotions and memories stay with us, often in a dysfunctional way. This is the same mechanism that creates Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and although I do not believe your girlfriend has the full disorder, she is showing many of the traits.
What should you do? Trauma of this nature is causing her to feel inaccurate feelings. She is not longer in love with him, for certain, but the emotional memories are still present, causing her to dwell of the feelings and thoughts of this relationship.
Fortunately this is treatable and medications are not the total answer, although they can be of some help in the short run. Instead, she needs to see a counselor who is familiar with trauma based treatments such as EMDR and similar. These techniques are used to desensitize the events and lessen the impact of the trauma. The techniques are safe and effective and many counselors are trained in the process. Your family doctor should be able to refer you to a CBT (cognitive behavioral therapist) who will either practice this or know those who do.
In the meantime I would highly suggest an excellent and inexpensive resource: The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms by Mary Beth Williams and Soili Poijula (Paperback - May 15, 2002)
This book will open up a great many options for your girlfriend and help her to reprocess the feelings she is unable to resolve. The book is available on amazon.com
With trauma oriented counseling and the book I recommended, she will be well on her way to getting over this problem. Steven
Hi, I'd like to help you with your questions.
I do agree with Steven Olsen. It does sound as if your girlfriend is experiencing PTSD symptoms. She was traumatized by her experience with this former boyfriend. She may also be depressed because of the abuse.
When someone is abused, they go through the same type of trauma as someone who witnesses violence. But they also have the additional issues of shame. They could not stop the abuse and had to give part of themselves to prevent being hurt further.
Your girlfriend needs treatment. If she is willing, she should see a therapist who has experience with abused women. She can talk with her doctor for a referral or try the local community mental health center.
Also, you can help her by letting her express her feelings about the abuse. Give her opportunities to talk without judgment or comments. If she can, help her to avoid the areas where the trauma took place and most of all, she should not be talking with this individual at all. She is only going to re traumatize herself. She can also attend a group that is for people who have survived abuse. Here are some sites that might help her as well- http://helpguide.org/mental/domestic_violence_abuse_types_signs_causes_effects.htm and http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org/dv_learnthefacts.htm?gclid=CLOK6Y-GwqYCFQQ65QodsSZJJQ.
You can be the most help by being as supportive as possible. Ask her what she needs and be there for her.
For a homeopathic option, she might want to try supplements to help her mood stabilize. Please let her know to check with her doctor before trying this, since the supplements can thin her blood and cause problems depending on the medications she might be taking or any health issues she has. Try taking Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) in 1,000 mg, 100 mg. Magnesium glycenate, and 10 mg. zinc once a day. This will lift her mood and help her cope.
I hope this has helped you,