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Could I Have PTSD from Emotional Abuse and Online Harassment?

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I’m sure it’s strange to see a 15 year old on this website. As of right now, I am questioning if I should seek a professional to see if I may have illness. The trauma may have not been physical, but it hurt nonetheless. About a year and a half ago I had some trouble with my 2 “friends”. One was notorious for talking about me behind my back and the other would bend me to her will and ignore my demands (in a way I was trapped in the friendship.) After a while I had the 2 meet each other. That is when it went down hill. Within a month they began to ignore me, and this hurt, as they where both close friends. I would outcry to be included once more, and they would put me down. I felt invalid and unloved, and one day, I came to realize this was true. I asked one how they truly felt about me, all these years… only to be told that I was annoying and was given a rude remark on the relationships I’ve been in. I went crazy, and I now notice this was a panic attack. Then another bombshell; the other friend began to ignore me, and when I asked the other friend if they where ignoring them as well, they said yes. Only an hour later did I send the friend a message while the other was streaming, only to see ” __ messaged me again..”. I felt my heart crush under unbearable weight, and it is burned in my mind. after 2 months, I quietly cut ties with one, and after overcoming my fears, cut ties with the other. At that time, I had a 3 hour long panic attack. 2 months later I found myself in an abusive relationship. They intervened once more, teaming up on me on my social media, their intent to kill me. During these events as a whole, I practiced self harm and had suicidal thoughts. I thought it was all my fault, even if I’d been told it wasn’t. I would like to know if this may have caused PTSD. I am still having flashbacks and panic attacks, as well as hypersensitivity. The symptoms are getting worse. I feel the sting every day. I’ve seen symptoms of it online and I match all of them, it’s scary. (age 15, from US)

Could I Have PTSD from Emotional Abuse and Online Harassment?

Answered by on -


Whether or not you have a diagnosable illness or disorder, I do suggest that you seek the help of a professional. To diagnose Posttraumatic Stress Disorder there typically needs to be a life threatening event, however, many events in life can be “traumatic” and can create lasting effects, such as the case of bullying.

You are at an age that peers have a huge impact on your daily life. Unfortunately the lines of friendship and loyalty can change like shifting sand and a friend can quickly turn into an enemy during the teen years.  It is hardest to heal from betrayals that come from those whom we trust and confide in. However, identifying that these folks are no longer your friends is the first step to healing and getting your distance.

The fact that you were so deeply affected by their betrayal that you hurt yourself and contemplated suicide is an indication that you need help getting through this. Please speak to your parents, school counselor or doctor to help connect you with a therapist who works with teens.  Someday this will all just be a blip in the story of your life but you need to give yourself the chance to get to that day! Please reach out!

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts

Could I Have PTSD from Emotional Abuse and Online Harassment?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2018). Could I Have PTSD from Emotional Abuse and Online Harassment?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 4 Aug 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.