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I Need Some Support - Husband A Desert Storm Veteran

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by allgirlusa, Aug 21, 2007.

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  1. allgirlusa

    allgirlusa New Member

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    I have been married to my husband Dave for 18 months. He is a Desert Storm Veteran who not only suffers from PTSD but has several other medical problems from his service. I love him tremendously and when I met him he had all but given up on life. He is a true hero in every sense of the word and everyone who meets him is drawn to his outgoing personality, good looks and sense of humor.

    Dave comes across to most people as the person he was before the PTSD, because he doesn't like to let it show. He was so up front about his condition when I met him, I assumed he was in therapy and had told me he was on meds.
    He is considered disabled by the VA and receives a small pension every month. He has been fighting with the SSA for almost 4 years now for benefits. When we met he was very up front about his financial situation. Me being somewhat of a 'superwoman' myself I was happy to take on almost all of the financial burden. I make good money and in the last 3 years I have paid off all our debts and we bought our first house together.

    Because I grew up around a mentally unstable family I understood the implications of PTSD. I understand anxiety and depression and I suffer mildly from both now. I do not take medication for my anxiety or depression and have always managed to work through it.

    The last 18 months have not been happy and have been some of the hardest of my life. Dave is on meds but none of them seem to work very well. He has never gone to therapy and has just started a group session this month finally. He is super sensitive and super critical. If he over-racts or puts me down, he justifies it. I feel like I'm always wrong, and fighting back makes me the bad guy. I stress about our finances but can't talk about the stress because he feels that I'm making him feel guilty for not having more income. He tries to cut down on our expenses by making me coffee to bring to work in the morning and packing my lunch. But then it seems like he he just wants to lay around the house doing nothing and leaves the housework for me. Or if he runs an errand and loads the dishwasher he is exhausted and describes his day as so 'busy'. He acts like the 40+ hours I put in are nothing and I feel like he doesn't understand how hard it is for me to be responsible for our financial well-being.

    I have encouraged him to try volunteer work or to start a home based business- even as a hobbie, but he says I'm putting to much pressure on him. Sometimes I feel like I married a man who just wants to be taken care of, but I know his health is poor and would not be able to work for a regular employer. I've started to resent him and view him as somewhat lazy. I'm not sure where the PTSD ends and the person begins.

    I found this site and am writing tonight because we just had a fight and I'm still confused about what I did 'wrong'. He says he hates the sound of my voice and will agree with me just to get me to shut up. When he gets really mad now he calls me names. If I say something he doesn't like he'll call me names in public, not loudly but in a hostile voice. I know people can overhear and it's embarassing and hurts my feelings. Sometimes if I walk away it seems like he waits to see if I will come back to confront him. If I try to talk to him I'm confronting him, I'm crazy, I'm a B****, I'm a C***. If I stay away then it seems like he will seek me out to confront me like he wants to fight.

    I am so confused. And I do love him, but I'm miserable and I don't want the rest of my life to be like this. Sometime tonight or tomorrow he will apologize and say he is sorry for acting like such a jackass and that he loves me and he may even genuinely cry, but it's gotten to the point where it isn't enough and doesn't make me feel better. I don't know what to do and neither one of us has any family or friends to talk to. I am hoping this site will help me gain perspective and give me strength.

    Andrea
     
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  3. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    Welcome to the forum Andrea. It is lovely to have you.

    Your husband does sound quite ill, however that does not mean you should have no expectations of him, and or that you should allow him to abuse you, verbally or otherwise. Calling you names is abuse, and should not be tolerated. Apologies quickly become meaningless, if he continues to do the same things over and over again with no attempt to change.

    I would encourage you to ponder what behaviour you are willing to accept, and what behaviour you are not. Can you accept that perhaps one errand and loading the dishwasher is all he can accomplish in one day? He may truthfully not be capable of much more at present. However, I would NOT accept being called a c--t or other names, under ANY circumstances. That is most nasty and should not be tolerated. When he does it, tell him it is hurtful and walk away. Refuse to argue with him. It is difficult yes, but stand firm.

    Examine yourself as well. Are you doing something to provoke him, such as constant nagging or laying guilt trips on his lack of activity? That is an easy habit to get into, and considering that someone with uncontrolled PTSD is in a constant state of stress, such nagging may very well be sending him over the edge.

    Please do continue to post here, ask questions, and learn as much as you can about PTSD. The information sections of this forum are very helpful and a good place to begin. Above all do take care of yourself, your happiness counts and whilst you can support your man, he is the one who must heal himself, you cannot force him into that. I hope this new group he has begun will be helpful. Take good care.
     
  4. allgirlusa

    allgirlusa New Member

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    I am at work this morning. I woke up early after not sleeping much. My eyes a super puffy from crying. My husband slept on the couch- maybe because he's still raging at me or maybe because he's raging at himself.

    I read through the post "Understanding PTSD' last night. If I don't have PTSD then I must be one of the non-PTSD people who's cup is always brimming. I can't handle anymore than I'm doing right now and I don't get much help dealing with our day-to-day life.

    And I must say, maybe it's just because my cup of stress is overflowing this morning, but it's very discouraging to see that my post generated no interest. Maybe I just don't know the secret handshake around here.
     
  5. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    Andrea, you should not be offended that not many have responded to your post yet. They will, simply give it time. Twelve hours is not a long period as far as this forum goes. Everyone here has busy lives, and threads are not often responded to immediately. Do please remember that everyone here is also someone caring for a PTSD sufferer, or is a PTSD sufferer themselves. Myself, to give example, I spent most of last night awake with my 23 year old who has severe PTSD and also is receiving cancer treatment at the moment. Besides which I have an unruly 16 year old, a husband, and we live on an acreage with animals that need caring for.

    I am not saying this to make you feel badly; only please realize we are all here for the same reasons, we all have stress and please do not take it personally if you are not responded to immediately.
     
  6. allgirlusa

    allgirlusa New Member

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    Thank you, Kathy.

    Kathy,

    I do sometimes nag- what wife doesn't? And yes, an errand and the dish loading, are great examples of the type of 'help' around the house that makes my responsibilities more bearable.

    Once upon a time, he used the c* word infront of me referring to a woman who cut us off while driving. I was offended and told him that I considered it the worst thing you could call a woman and asked that he not use the word if front of me. Well, it's gotten to the point where he uses it against me as easily as the word 'stupid' or 'a**hole'. Both of which I don't like and he may not mean them but I can tolerate them.

    The other thing I don't get is that while he may not be able to deal with stress at all, he has no problem going out and buying the newest xbox game and staying up all night playing. It like he can't handle anything and from what I'm reading of PTSD his lifestyle needs to be in permanent 'vacation mode' ??? At least that's what I would consider it. And not I;m reading that the condition is not cureable- so I've got a 200 lb toddler to take care of the rest of my life??

    I love him, but he treats me like crap, no sex, I do all the work and he gets to sit back and relax?? What kind of life is that for me?
     
  7. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    Oh my yes Andrea, we all nag, that is a given. :wink: However, when you are dealing with a PTSD sufferer, it is best to keep nagging to a bare minimum. Their stress levels overflow much more quickly than do a "normal" person's. If you've read Understanding PTSD, you will have a sense of this already. We simply cannot expect them to behave the same as someone who does not have PTSD, as far as stress goes. This is why I often say, choose your battles. The name calling - that is something I definitely would not tolerate. I would concentrate on that at the moment, rather than household duties, which can always be left for later on. In the grand scheme of things, a few dirty dishes is far preferable to verbal abuse and the stress and low self-esteem you will suffer as a result.

    Regarding the XBox, this is likely your husband's way of dealing with his stress. I know my Evie is an avid video game player as well. She does it to relax, and it does help her. Is it healthy if he's playing all night long? Absolutely not. However, do consider the reason he is doing it. Playing Xbox is not at all stressful; it fact it is a calming activity, and likely a means of escaping bad feelings and memories for a time.

    If he has never been in therapy and is only just beginning a group, he is at the very beginning of his healing process. Things will improve if he is willing to work upon himself, however you must also support him and learn as much as you can. PTSD sufferers can learn to manage their PTSD very well, but yes, it is a permanent condition, there is no cure at present. If you stay with him, you must accept that you are in it for the long haul, as my husband would say.

    I find it interesting that you call yourself a "superwoman". Do you see yourself as the saviour in your husband's life, the one who takes care of him and solves his problems? If so, you must accept that you cannot solve his problems. That is something he must do for himself. And truthfully, you should not be married to him for any other reason than you love him dearly and want to spend the rest of your life with him. You cannot save or change any person. You can only change yourself, your behaviour and your thinking styles.

    In any event Andrea, there is some food for thought. My opinions only, and what has worked for me in my life. I am certain others will give you their take as well, just give it time, as I mentioned, we all are rather busy. Do take good care. Do something nice for yourself today, you deserve it.

    Oh and by the by... I am also a military wife, my husband is a lifer who recently retired after 40 years in the armed forces! There are a few military wives here, or wives whose husbands have been in the military at some point. You are in good company in that respect.
     
  8. Damiea

    Damiea Well-Known Member

    hello Andrea.. I'm sorry things are so hard for you. I'm know a bit about what you are going through from seeing almost the same stuff in a round about way. Although I didn't deal with the situation personally I do know it won't get better fast and easy. If living the way you are right now is damaging you to much emotionally and physically then you need to consider yourself first. You can't MAKE the person change while still enabling them to continue on the way things are. What are the bounderys you need to in your life to be able to continue on this way? The name calling seems to be a huge thing. So I agree with Kathy.. start there. Don't argue about it with him.. let him know straight out what will happen if he calls you a bad name. Decide for yourself what you will do.. even if its something like go spend the night in a hotel room if he starts name calling. Don't sit and get in a fight with him while he is yelling and upset.. just go! or do whatever it is you decide you will do if this happens. He has learned he can get away with it.. and so will continue to do it if there are no set rules.

    We are here to give advice when we can! just sometimes we can't give a definate answer only offer support and a place to vent... we do understand but every situation is different. Sometimes people need to take some time and think about what they want to say to respond also! Don't feel like no one is out here! we are and we care!
     
  9. allgirlusa

    allgirlusa New Member

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    I know I cannot work on anyone's issues but my own. However, I call myself 'superwoman' because I feel that I am able to handle just about anything that comes along- at least up to this point.

    I don't want to fix him and I know I can't but I do want to and am able to provide an environment where he can focus on himself without having to worry about the stress associated with working, paying bills or running a whole household! I am trying to provide a stable secure foundation from which he can work on his problems. However, I do want him to be trying to work on them.

    Why am I trying to provide this environment for him? Because I love him and I know what it's like to have to work through tough issues by yourself, supporting yourself with no help. I love him and I can do it for him but I want to be respected and treated kindly, not slapped in the face.
     
  10. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

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    Welcome Andrea. This is a good place with good people. Agree with what's already been said to you. The verbal abuse - totally unacceptable. Tackle that issue first, and the lesser things later on. And. Remember to take care of yourself, as you count too.

    Jim.
     
  11. Alienne

    Alienne Member

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    Andrea,

    I´m married to a veteran myself and I can relate to a lot of the things you wrote about in your posts. You´re feeling frustrated, lonely, scared, angry and all the rest of it, and all those feelings are completely understandable, as living with a spouse who´s got ptsd can be a true nightmare. I think you were spot-on in saying

    "I'm not sure where the PTSD ends and the person begins",

    which obviously means that you already have a good idea about what you´re dealing with!
    Unfortunately, you cannot expect too much activity nor initiative from him at the moment, as he´s got his hands full. I know, living with a full-time couch-potato isn´t easy, it can drive you absolutely nuts.
    You´ve received some good advice/opinions from people here, and hopefully you will find some strength in yourself to "put up" with some of your husbands faults for the time being, as he is indeed very unwell and in need of professional help. It´s positive that he is in therapy and although no changes are going to occur overnight, that´s at least a start.
    Remember that you´re not alone!
     
  12. Nicolette

    Nicolette ♡ Supporter Admin ♡ Supporter Admin Sponsor $100+

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    Hi Andrea. Just wanted to say hello and welcome.
     
  13. 2quilt

    2quilt I'm a VIP

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    Desert Storm

    I am a Desert Storm vet too, and female, and I posted somewhere around here how I managed to get SSD in 30 days after applying for it. I can tell you all about that, and I can offer support with your husband's PTSD, and you have come to the right website for support! This is a wonderful website! I am now 100% service-connected disabled from a laundry list of medical problems, I got a medical, honorable discharge, from the Army. Oh, honey, get you a cup a coffee and sit down! We have a lot to talk about.
     
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