For over two years I had a secret. I had a deep secret that my home life was a battlefield. It was a constant fight to keep my life together. A constant struggle to smile out in public, with our friends, or at work. For two years, I had been told that I couldn't talk about what was going on, and my husband was just a bad husband.
I knew the truth.
Deep down in my heart, I knew what was really going on.
But my husband was in denial. He came home and was told he had PTSD, but he chose to ignore it. They were wrong. I was not to speak of it. We were not to talk about it. It was not there. So, he pretended the giant elephant in the room was not there. I tiptoed around in hopes to convince myself it was not there.
But it was. It was a giant, 500 ton elephant with bright pink polka dots that could take down a city in one stomp.
So, I fought against the grain. I pushed and screamed and struggled against something I couldn't control, let alone fight. I spent years battling a foe on the wrong terrain.
A few weeks ago, I sat my husband down. I had hit my breaking point. He didn't care that we were facing a divorce. He didn't seem to care that I had a divorce lawyer lined up, or that I told him I was going to move out. I sat him down and I told he had to admit what was going on and get help. I am willing to do what it takes to help him, but he has to admit that this is the problem.
He entered treatment.
No, things aren't perfect. But a funny thing happened. He still won't use the term PTSD for what is going on, but he has admitted that he has "some stuff" to work through. And my attitude changed. I can look at him now and be less angry (though still angry a little). I see him and know that he is trying, but he is struggling. I can't expect him to be the man I married, that man is gone, and now I can move forward with trying to learn about the man I have now. I don't have to fight to make him the man he used to be anymore.
Suddenly, I can move forward. We have been stuck for two years. We have been stuck in an un-winnable battle, unable to move forward in our life. I have felt stuck swimming against the tide, exhausted and unable to get anywhere, fearing that I will be swallowed whole by the abyss that I was struggling to stay afloat in. But now, I can swim with the tide and see where this life takes us.
It doesn't mean life is not struggle, or that this life is not a struggle. But now, I can have compassion, instead of frustration. I can look at my husband and know that this is his battle, not mine.