Peer support subsequent to trauma contributes to full recovery

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) -- including complex trauma (cPTSD) -- is debilitating, breaking down the body through anxiety and stress, and it poses a significant suicide risk in sufferers. MyPTSD seeks to help and inform those who are directly or indirectly affected by these conditions through peer-to-peer support and educational resources.

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Emotional Detachment Brought Me Here

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by LilBird, Sep 1, 2009.

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  1. LilBird

    LilBird New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I see, right away, that I am not alone. PTSD sufferers and the loved ones both have concerns and they are all wholehearted, and I appreciate this right now.
    I can use insight from PTSD sufferers, how you have managed to build from where you started with diagnosis, and how some of you cope with the all important personal emotional aspects. I can use the support from spouses to help me adjust and learn new ways of coping with matters, especially concerning the symptom "emotional distance" and a ton of other ways it is described or titled.


    I live in Oregon, and I have been with my husband for 4 years, and, we were old high school sweethearts, coming together, after all these years.
    He is 100% disabled from a career Military career in the Army, for PTSD.

    I am a psychology major, believe it or not, struggling with the symptoms he has with Anxiety, issues with problem-solving & communication, but especially, the emotional detachment....................

    I love deeply, completely, and I am a huge romantic. I am also needy, according to a few, and need a lot of affection. I am working on this, trust me. I am carrying some baggage of my own that makes my hole too big for one man to fill. I am recently in therapy for myself, and starting a PTSD support group attendance at the end of this next month when it begins again, for spouses.

    He is also back seeking therapy. He left it behind when his psychiatrist retired, as he has trust issues and didnt want to begin again with a new person, again. I totally understand.

    Since the last few moths, we have been becoming distant, lacking a connection that really feels real and close. I have mourned for this connection for a long while. Long story short.... we hit rock bottom and we became physical, me initiating and breaking down.

    We now live apart, him across the street, and are TRYING once more to make this work, one week at a time, both continuing therapy. It's hard for me, and I cry and cry every day.... for all I have contributed in my misunderstanding of his situation, not fully "getting it" and my letting myself break down like this... and, mourning for an emotional connection that I am scared to death may never come. I love him so much, and I need to know what to do to help encourage a closer bond we both need.

    We have a great life together otherwise, like best friends... who love each other dearly, but... I think you know what I mean......

    Thanks for reading.
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  3. amethist

    amethist The Mystic Duck

    Hi LilBird

    Welcome to the forum

    It is so sad when marriages and relationships collapse because of ptsd. It is hard to handle when the one who loved you unconditionally is not there anymore. I fully understand what you mean about losing the emotional connection this is the biggest hurt from this as far as carers are concerned, my husband said to me not long ago when I asked him about this side of things, his response was " whats your problem we are fine aren't we, I haven't got a problem with this ". The reason being this is one of the easiest stresses for the mind to cut out while it is trying to deal with the others.

    Unfortunately the intimate side of a relationship with ptsd is the first to go and one of the slowest to return. You cannot force the close bond back you have to wait for it to return, if it is meant to it will but with patience and understanding from your side. I don't mean to sound harsh I am just being as honest as I can, but you have to be prepared for the closeness to never be the same again.

    Good for you in having therapy yourself and to him for trying to find a new therapist.

    The best advice I can give to you right now is to look after you first, then you will be strong enough to help you husband.

    It does take a while for us carers to "get it " and even when we do we still make mistakes.

    Take care and stay strong for yourself first and your husband next.

  4. ISupportHer

    ISupportHer Supporter Member
    Premium Member


    I am glad you found this forum.

    There is much information and support here. I have felt the same, when you refer to needing sufferers' insights. Both from posting questions to those who feel they can answer as well at the things they have already posted.

    Carers help carers, sufferers help sufferers, carers help sufferers, sufferers help carers.
  5. SunnyBrookFarm

    SunnyBrookFarm I'm a VIP

    Lilbird -

    We don't distance ourselves to hurt you. We distance ourselves to protect us.

    I realize how hard that is to understand but it's the simple truth. I have had PTSD symptoms my entire marriage, it's only now (19 years later) that we know what is going on with me.

    Now as a carer, you have to decide what you will and will not tolerate. Personally, I think Abuse of any kind is unacceptable as well as outright dishonesty. Everyone has their own "breaking points" though.

    It's a great step that you are both in counseling and that you are going to a support group for carers. (This says alot to me about your commitment btw.)

    It's still hard though, I'm not going to lie. It's a bumpy ride for both those of us who have PTSD and those who care for us.
  6. malibran

    malibran Member
    Premium Member

    Hello Lilbird,
    Yes I understand you and I suppose there is only time and finding a way day by day to remain next to each other to try to work things out. To not give up.:smile:

    Frankly I sometimes feel that the more I think I know about PTSD the less I really do know about any of it. I guess that sounds strange but sometimes I just wonder why everything has to be so difficult. Small tiny things that ought not be major in any ones life or in any ones day, take on a vast size and can just overwhelm. To me with out any reason at all.:dontknow:
    And he can not tell me . Usually he does tell me when he can, but that comes later on, after I have either fretted, or resolved to take care of myself and let it go.(a better idea and I can do it 99% of the time now)

    The man I am involved with is so capable of this intense closeness and love, more so than anyone I have ever met before. Then he sort of detaches, but he always comes back into contact. These withdrawn times are getting shorter between events thank heavens.

    Do you sense he is trying to protect you from his strange states of mind? My bf does this all the time to shield me from whatever he believes is so totally damaged and wrong with him. I don't think I can change anyone except myself and tell him this. Then I tell him I think he is wonderful and he asked me last time;
    "With all the beautiful apples on the tree why did you have to pick the one with the worm?"

    I replied that we all have worms nobody is perfect and love the apple accept the worm but that the worm does not have to ruin everything. That he is not the only one on this planet with a lot on his plate. That he has much to be grateful for and much to contribute to the world and to others.

    Thanks to the powers that be, he is in PTSD veteran groups twice weekly and in private therapy and on meds too. His illness is 42 years old but his treatment is only during the last 4 years. Another thing I can't understand is how he went so many years without help. Nobody seems to have seen his anguish. (He is now divorced 5 years after a 28 year marriage).

    So its yet another thing I don't get. How can PTSD not be noticed? It is so totally disabling. I think we are all of us in up to our ears here, no matter as a carer or as a sufferer. This forum is the best thing I have found and a real blessing.

    I hope you find a way to stay and not at your own expense of health and morale. I just log on here nearly every day and it really helps me get a bit more of a handle on this disease, and my part in it. Do a nice thing every day for yourself. It will cheer you and show him by your example that self worth is a thing we live daily by our choice to be constructive.

    Good Luck,
    MELGI likes this.
  7. Pam

    Pam Active Member

    My C and I also live apart. Partially due to work location, partially due to too much closeness. C worries about what he calls his "cold heart". However, his skin relaxes to my touch. His hands and feet like to be touched. And I can kiss his face without him drawing back. His heart does not like to be touched. I think what he worries about is why he can't feel "in love" when the physical part of his mind and body has desires. I think it makes him feel like a user. And he hates users. It helps him not to have 24/7 contact with me. So even if we lived next to each other, we would still only live next to each other instead of under one roof. I have come to accept that and look forward to our weekends together very much. I guess I have learned to pace myself to his pace. And accept the fact that I am head over heals in love with my C but he does not feel that same intense emotion. I think that for men, PTSD affects emotions, causing them to grow cold, to a greater degree than it does women. My sister has ptsd and also struggles a bit with cold emotions but not nearly as much as my C does.
  8. anthony

    anthony Master of none!

    Hi lilbird, welcome to the forum.
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