Trust is always being held in a very delicate balance when your spouse has PTSD. I know that I often find myself not able or willing to trust my husband. I don't trust him because he doesn't always give me the full story until it's too late. I don't trust him because even when he does tell me the full story, he often goes and does the opposite of what we agreed behind my back. And I don't trust him because it's very hard to trust a person who shuts you out and can't or won't support you.
My husband doesn't trust me. He doesn't trust me because he doesn't think he can be himself around me. He doesn't trust me because three years ago I was angry at him and wasn't in a position emotionally to be the support he wanted.
There are a lot of very valid reason why we don't trust each other. Three years ago, he came home, but didn't come home. How do you trust someone who isn't really here? And his reasons for not thinking he can be himself around me are just as valid.
Trust is always a very delicate thing that is not easy to maintain when PTSD is involved. Trust is a two way street, but even when one of us is trying to trust the other, the other is always on guard to be let down. It becomes a cycle that can't be broken. My husband shuts me out, so I don't trust him and can't share with him, I can't share with him so I withdraw and I withdraw so he shuts me out. There are about 100 different ways that we repeat this cycle in the various areas of our life that we can't trust each other in.
The sad part is that not trusting someone begets not trusting them. My inability to trust him makes him not trust me, and every time I don't trust him, I am less likely to want to try in the future. But at the same time, it is painful when you try to open up to someone and trust them and they do stuff behind your back, they lie by omission, or generally dismiss you and your feelings. So we each have a wall built around us. This wall has become a way to survive for both of us, we are both aware of that. But how do you break down that wall and learn to trust again?
The only way to gain trust is to give it. My husband is likely to break my heart time and time again, but it's not likely to stop me from continuing to try. I may be more cautious each time, and my trust is often trust with a hint of pessimism, but I do keep trying. My husband needs to try, but he is not ready and I have to accept that. That is just this life sometimes.
It is hard, and it's not what I want, but it is likely that I will have to be the one holding us together for a long time. I will be the one continuing to try to trust, I will continue to try to communicate and I will continue to fight for us. But I know that that wears me down and lends a hand into why I don't trust. This whole situation feels like a giant cycle of defeat. All I can do is trust that he is working as hard as his therapist wants. I have to trust that he is going to eventually try to break down his wall. I have to trust that someday, it won't hurt when I try to trust him.
You earn trust. He doesn't trust me. And I know that it will be a long journey of me putting myself and my heart on the line to trust him so that, someday, he can work towards trusting me again. And I just have to pray that I can continue to work towards trusting him wholeheartedly again, not trust with pessimism, not trust with a backup plan, but honest to goodness trust in him.