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  • Writer's pictureShannon Eastman

13 ways C-PTSD is leaked at work

This post was taken from my latest book, C-PTSD @ Work. You can get the PDF version free on the home page of this site.


I guarantee anyone interested in Human Behaviour will find something in this book to help them better understand their people, their colleagues, their board, clients, suppliers, or even a loved one.


C-PTSD at Work

C-PTSD is a disorder


C-PTSD is a disorder that appears in some people as a result of past trauma that has yet to be resolved. C-PTSD affects the brain and nervous system on par to a stroke leaving a lesion on the brain.


It can turn off regions of the brain needed to ensure one can integrate sensory stimuli to inform complete perception, or cause up to 30% less pre-frontal cortex, or impair the effective running of the hippocampus, amygdala and brain stem along with many other factors.


The result is an adult, unable to regulate brain and body, like their healthy peers, who will instead consciously and unconsciously conceal parts of themselves, only for it (C-PTSD) to leak at work.


What follows is not an exhaustive list, but a list that captures the majority of behaviours that arise in the workplace when C-PTSD is present in the individual.


 You may recognise yourself, or someone you know within this list. 


Here are 13 ways C-PTSD is leaked at work


1. It’s a fantasy, not a dream


So, what's being aimed for is unrealistic, unfounded and ungrounded!


We do this unconsciously by design, fulfilling unconscious limiting beliefs.

This can be compounded and confused when the intention is some version of "aim for the stars and hit the clouds."


2. Insecurity dressed up as ‘Ambition’


That insecurity will have us hypersensitive to almost everything. A look, a word, a tone. We will distort reality to fit our unconscious beliefs, that can leave those around us bewildered at the conclusions we draw.


3. Using an A-type personality to camouflage an inability to handle stress. 


A hallmark trait of C-PTSD is a lack of self-awareness, with very little, (if any) accountability on how one's actions impacts on others. "It's business, it's not personal" is a phrase that many hide behind, completely unawares.


4. Ms. No Boundaries!


Unable to respect the boundaries of others, and often without their own boundaries leaving an open door to conflict and no real sense of how to resolve that conflict, never mind prevent it from the outset.


5. Fear.


Fear of being seen, being found out, failing publicly, being rejected, or the idea of feeling exposed. Success is never within reach because our unconscious complex-trauma designed programming will not tolerate us being ‘unsafe’. When fear is present, the need to feel safe is amplified with the unconscious self over riding all logic and reason to ensure one does not take any action that isn't deemed 'safe'.


6. Need to Lead, Need to be Hyper Vigilant, Need to Control


This is often a front for the unconscious programme of “not safe, can’t trust” that runs the show with someone who has C-PTSD. C-PTSD is the result of a body trapped inside a physiological state of survival due to a past trauma that has not yet been able to successfully exit the body.


So you lead, leaving others behind. Your colleagues continue to have awkward conversations with you about the requirement to be a team player and to ease up on the micro management.  


7. Blinkered to any and all red flags, at home, at work and at play


This usually happens because, toxic has been (and continues to be) ‘normal’. When toxic is the norm, healthy is the dot on the horizon that doesn't get much notice.


8. Allergic to sustainable growth!


Impaired cognitive function inhibits memory, decision-making and attention that leaves others drawing unfortunate conclusions about your productivity and contribution. This happens because you forget things, are unable to concentrate, you show up as indecisive and difficult to manage... so instead, in many cases, you get managed out of the business.


9. Busier than the government with very little to show for it.


When past trauma has required one to suppress all feelings, we prioritise action over emotions. The ‘Busyness” is like the cold cloth on a fevered forehead that brings a bit of relief. Alas, that cold cloth does tend to the symptoms, but does nothing to solve the issue. 


10. Money is more foe, less friend


Someone with C-PTSD is likely to be in trouble with the Tax-Man. or selling themself too cheap so they can’t afford to serve clients in the way they deserve, or overpriced to the degree they can’t get repeat business, or living off credit.


All 4 scenarios are a perfect maze to keep one small (and safe). 


11. The industry’s best-kept-secret


Someone with C-PTSD, can’t handle being seen, so instead, they hide.


12. You are doing the jobs of three or more people,


and/or tout “If you want it done ‘right, best do it yourself”. A tragic paradox.



People with C-PTSD who channel their inner conflict into work, can easily find themselves outsourcing the very goals they themselves need to grow into, to realise the dream. They often do this under the guise of delegation, only it is not delegation. It is hiding. 


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