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Need Help With My Wife - Are Her Actions PTSD Related?

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by fatherof3, Aug 2, 2007.

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  1. fatherof3

    fatherof3 New Member

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    Where do I begin. My wife is in break down mode and I am not certain it's all because of her ptsd.

    Here's a little background of my wife. She was sexually abused by her brothers when she was from 5 to 9. They were 5 yrs older then her and she thought she was damaged. I can not begin to even pretend I know what it was like for her. All I know is that it is still haunting her today. She was also emotionally and physically abused in a relationship about 7 years ago. I have not been the perfect person to her either but nothing that would be traumatizing. I was enough to push her over the edge. About 2 months ago she cheated on me. I was devastated, she was convinced in her mind that I would be done with her. The fact is that we were both at fault. We both have discovered what we did to get to this point, but she is so messed up that I am having a hard time understanding what she is going through, and what I can do to be supportive. My main concern now is that she is always going to the bars with her friends. And has been doing this for about 4 months now. She acknowledges that what she is doing is hurting our family. She says she does what she does because she is running away from her problems. My question is, if anyone can help me with an answer, Is my wifes behaiovir something that someone with ptsd goes through? If so, what can I do to help her?
    I know I have left a lot of detail out right now. If there is more that someone might want to know to help, I'll be more then happy to elaborate.

    Thanks for reading my problem.
    fatherof3
     
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  3. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    Hi Father,

    All I can tell you is of my experience with my PTSD... Yes I did the bar hopping, drugs, and inappropriate sexual encounters too. It's called denial, it's called being out of control, it's called I don't give a shit mode. At least that's what it was for me. I had to hit rock bottom(actually I was lower than whale shit) before I decided to get help.

    Your wife needs to get into therapy now. If she refuses then all you can do is keep suggesting it, but do not enable her to continue with her behavior.

    I would suggest do tons of reading on the subject, and as soon as you are allowed go into the carers section.....

    I wish you lots of luck...Keep hope alive...

    Wendy
     
  4. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    Welcome to the forum fatherof3. Lovely to have you here. My, it sounds as though you and your wife both are going through quite a time. Whilst going to the bars, I assume your wife is drinking? Yes, my personal feeling is this is PTSD behaviour. Out of control drinking is quite common when PTSD is not managed. Furthermore, your wife admits she is doing it to avoid problems. Avoidance is common in PTSD, the symptoms can be very overwhelming for the PTSD sufferer, so they will self-medicate in various ways, with drugs, alchohol, gambling, withdrawing, oversleeping, actually running off and so forth. This is likely her way of coping, though obviously it is not a healthy one.

    Is your wife in any sort of treatment? Therapy, support group, psychiatrist, anything? Is she open with you in talking about her problems? Is she able to hold down a job? Other than going to the bars frequently, what do her days consist of? I would like a little more information if possible. In any event, it may be beneficial for you simply to talk about things. So please feel free to share as much as you desire.

    Regarding helping her, she must first want to help herself. You can be there to talk with her, to support her efforts, to make her home life less stressful, to give her a push when needed and so on, however, the hard work must be accomplished by herself and she must want to do it. She must be committed to it. Unfortunately that is not something you can force upon her.

    Learn all you can about PTSD. Knowledge is power in dealing with this illness. There are many excellent articles in the Information section, I highly suggest reading them. Talk to your wife, try to get her to open up with you. This may prove a very slow process, but if you can get her to talk out her feelings with you or another trusted friend, it will be highly beneficial, I assure you. Do remember also to take care of yourself in all this. You count too, and so do your children. Your happiness should not be contingent solely on hers. And to continue to come here to talk and ask questions. You can learn simply by speaking with other carers and sufferers as well. Take good care, be kind to yourself and your children.
     
  5. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

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    Welcome fatherof3, I am a father of 7! ;-)

    You've come to the right place. There is good support to be had for sufferers and carers alike. Read as much as you can here, learn all you can. Arm yourself with knowledge as that will be your best defence. Your wife must be willing to do the dirty work. You can support her. However. The choice is ultimately hers. Agree with Wendy, do not enable her behaviour. And. Do give us more information. Take care.

    Jim.
     
  6. Cole

    Cole Active Member

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    Welcome to the forum
    You do need to take care of yourself and encourage her to seek therapy. learn as much as you can here as it will help you alot.
     
  7. fatherof3

    fatherof3 New Member

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    My wife and I do talk but we don't talk about what the underlying cause of the ptsd is. I know a lot of it is in response to how I treated her over the past 4 years of our marriage. I shut her out emotionally and I was not sure why I did. When she cheated on me it allowed me to open myself up to her and to express things to her that I was to afraid of before, I just wish it took something less then my wife cheating. I have fixed that now and I am more emotional now then I have ever been in my life. I am not afraid to open myself up to her. I can sense that she is having a hard time talking to me about certain subjects. The support I give to her is unconditional love. I treat my wife with the utmost respect despite what is happening to our family and the things she does to hurt me. I know that It's been a night and day experience. She went from wanting a divorce(that was in june) to wanting to be with me and the kids. She assures me that her heart is with her family. I really want to believe her, but I find it hard to do when she tells me that she has cheated on me again. She told me she is pushing me away because she doesn't want to hurt me and the kids, but that is exactly what hurts me(her pushing me away). She made the desicion on monday that she needs to move out for awhile so she can heal herself without hurting the family anymore. Does that sound like a good idea?? To me, even though it might seem the worst thing to do, if it allows her to heal herself and have the desire to change and get help, then in reality it is the best thing, right? She has recognized what she is doing to me and our kids, and allows me to do what I need to do to heal myself. She is very understanding with me, and I of her. But, I still can not grasp what she is truly going through, and I probably never will.

    She does have a job and she really enjoys it. She does not go to any kind of therapy because she doesn't want to do it right now. She is on some medication, but has had a tough time taking it. So took over and make sure she remembers to take it, which she really likes. It has not been long enough to show any signs of improvement.

    Her typical day consists of sleeping in the morning until work, she gets home at 7 and sits on the computer until I get the kids ready for bed, sometimes she is sleeping in bed after work. Once the kids are in bed she usually leaves for the night. A few nights she has told me she was coming home, and never called and never came home until morning. Those nights are horrible for me. I try to sleep but it is impossible. A day off will usually consist of more sleeping and maybe she might do some of her laundry. She has not done any kind of house work for about 4 months or so. So her day consists of her dealing with herself. She has checked out emotionally from the kids and myself. I can deal with myself but I am worried about the kids. They are six, four, and two. The six yr old has started taking her mom's place. She has become very bossy and disrespectful with me and my wife. I am trying to give her some responsibility so that she can still be a kid, and still fulfill her desire for control. I am trying to be very optimistic despite the horrible reality that my life has become. I can see what lessons can be learned and what I can do to change myself so that when my wife is well enough, she will still have a loving husband to care for her and love her.
    I appreciate every response to me post. I will take all of the advise I can get.

    I know there is sunshine behind the storm, but the storm still reaches the horizon.
     
  8. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    I am sorry that you are going through this right now.

    What I see after reading your post was this.

    1) your wife is in denial.
    2) she is heading for rock bottom, but not quite there yet.
    3) it won't be long before she hits.
    4) she NEEDS therapy.
    4) she is self medicating
    5) your children and YOU are suffering.
    6) medication will only cover up or smooth over her symptoms, it won't make her problems go away. Only she can make them more manageable.
    7) You are enabling her to continue with her behavior. She needs boundaries also. She needs to have some kind of accountability for the things that she is doing.

    I'm sorry if I sound harsh. I am looking at it from the person that was in your wifes shoes. I too, did the very same things she herself is doing. My husband allowed it too. I wished he hadn't.

    Take care of YOU and YOUR children too. You all need help. Possible I think that you also need therapy, or go to a group to help you deal with your wife.

    JMO

    Wendy
     
  9. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    Very well said Wendy.

    Fatherof3, have you ever considered going to Al-Anon? It is a group primarily made up of spouses of heavy drinkers and alcoholics. It has nothing to do with PTSD, however it may personally help YOU in living with someone whose drinking is obviously out of control. Al-Anon teaches a person to care for themselves and their loved ones and not enable the drinker. It is free as well, and there are meetings everywhere. I believe you would be most welcome there, and would receive some of the much-needed support you require.
     
  10. fatherof3

    fatherof3 New Member

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    I pretty much agree with what you have said about my wife. Except I am not sure how I am enabling her. Yes, I don't physically stop her from leaving at night to go party. I have told her what I feel when she does go out. Her attitude towards her whole experience has I hope hit rock bottom this week. She told me this morning that her and her freind met some guy that just lost his friend in a car wreck, they thought the were doing the right thing by befriending the guy because they felt horrible for him. Well the guy wanted to drive after a night of heavy drinking, they told him that he could sleep on there floor.(he lives out of town) Well, the guy insisted that they have sex. My wife told him no many times. He finally gave up and they both passed out. The next thing my wife remembers was being raped by the guy. She of course put herself in a bad situation but that doesn't matter. She told me this morning that she is done going to the bars. She told me when she moves out she is taking all of her painting supplies and cross-stitch stuff and having alone time. The reason she does not stay home is because being with me can bring up some issue's for her. I was emotionally cold to her for 3 years. I understand she needs time away from me for awhile. The environment that she will be moving into will be less stressful for her. I hope that she can do a lot of personal reflection when she is gone.

    As for me I probably do need something to manage my feelings. I have taken anger management classes in the past and I still use the techniques I learned then. I have a lot of anxiety during the day that sometimes it is hard to even brush my teeth. I also have a lot of depression, and feeling of wanting things the way they were. They probably never will be the same. I do have a very optimistic perspective about my whole experience. The lessons that I have learned so far have dramatically changed who I am for the better. I am more open to my wife more then I have ever been. It has forced me to talk about what is going on in my head. Something that I never really knew how to do. My father was the same way to my mom. Anyways, I appreciate the time it takes for your response. I have told my wife I have been discussing our problems on this forum, and that it has really helped me. I told her that if she ever wanted to talk to other people that have gone through what she is going through that this forum is the perfect place for that. She took my suggestion very well. I hope that she can find the courage to talk about herself in this forum. I have posted but 3 times and read only a few responses and I feel a lot better. I feel I am in a community. I don't feel as alone with what we are going through. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

    Dan
     
  11. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    I am delighted you feel comfortable here Dan, and so you should! People really do care, this is a good place, for you, and also for your wife should she decide to visit sometime. I am pleased you are speaking openly with her, talking is very important and will only help.

    That is good that you don't enable her. Simply for your information, here are some examples of enabling a heavy drinker or alcoholic:
    • your partner comes home drunk and makes a huge mess. you clean up the mess before they awaken in the morning so they don't see what havoc they have caused whilst drunk.
    • your partner has a hangover headache and you and the children are purposely very quiet and otherwise cater to your partner.
    • your partner doesn't want to go to work because of drinking the night before. you call her boss for her, lying and saying she is ill.
    • your partner was supposed to come home for the evening meal however does not show up. you postpone dinner and everyone is hungry and upset.
    And so on.. you get the idea.
     
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