I will never understand why everything seems to feel like learning to walk again. I hear that it’s pretty common for spouses to be forbidden to talk about PTSD. My husband has gone so far as to forbid me from joining support groups too. That means that everything I know is learned that absolute hardest way possible. Everything I share here, every lesson I apply to our life, it’s all from walking into disaster and then making it worse.
I’m sharing this because I need you all to know that it’s not easy. They are angry, they don’t like themselves, which means they can’t like you either and they probably have no idea what triggers any of their outbursts. This means that the spouse is the one left to care for everything and also to figure out what to do to diffuse the situation. This means that it’s been up to me to figure out what triggers his different behaviors, what works to stop an escalation and what doesn’t and it means that I’ve learned it all by doing it wrong a few times.
Whoever you are out there who might be reading this, I’m in this with you. I understand what it’s like to feel like you are blindfolded in a field of landmines. I know what it feels like to have no idea what you did this time to start a fight, nor what you are doing to make it worse.
I have grown incredibly frustrated with websites. They are full of invaluable resources, but so often, it feels to me like they make it look so easy. “All you have to do is work full time, take care of your kids and/or pets, pay all the bills, keep your whole life running, and create a plan that helps your spouse. “ I want to shout,”Oh, Is that ALL?” If I could, I would love to throw something.
It’s not easy. It’s not easy to feel like you have to hold it together, keep your chin up, be strong, and also take care of every detail of your collective life while also doing everything in your power to help your spouse. In fact, it’s the opposite of easy. I would equate it to walking over hot coals while trying to balance a tea pot full of hot tea on your head without using your hands and not being allowed to spill a drop. See, doesn’t that sound soooo easy?
Here’s what I can tell you about it all of these suggestions you will read on the various PTSD websites: They are worth your consideration. No, it’s not going to be easy adding one more task to your life, but when you do find those triggers, when you do find what works, that will be an even bigger stress that is now managed. It’s worth a try at least.
My husband didn’t respond to the various lists I created to remind him of things and he never checks the emails I send him, so I still don’t have anything to help him remember to clean the shower. But I did find what works to help keep him from escalating when he is angry. And I discovered that it often takes at least 12 hours before he will be ready to talk about the situation. That’s progress.
So don’t give up yet. I know that every day is a crap shoot. I know that some days I’m optimistic about things and some days I feel utterly hopeless. But I wake up each day and I keep trying. It’s not a short process, but it’s a process none the less and one without any quick fixes available.