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Please Help - Girlfriend Has PTSD

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by WitsEnd, Dec 21, 2005.

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  1. WitsEnd

    WitsEnd New Member

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    Hi and thanks for being here. I was so releived to find a forum for the loved ones of persons with PTSD. I'm very new to all this but needed some help with my fiancee. I guess some background could be helpful.
    She's been diagnosed with PTSD and has almost all the symptoms of PTLS. Her PTSD stems from her being raped 3 times (12,17,21 yrs old) To top things off, last january, she lost her mother due to doctors poorly diagnosing her. If that weren't enough, she's got 3 kids from 3 different fathers. The first left her once he found out she was pregnant, second was abusive, and the third was very controling. (and still tries to get some sort of control over her) Now, when we got together, she told me about everything. Nothing in detail, but i was aware. I still dont know much about it but she has opend up a little with details. Now, however, it's coming upon the aniversary of her mother's passing. She's become very distant, angry at the slightest thing, doesn't want any form of intimacy, i'm lucky if i can give a brief hug. It kills me because i want to console and comfort her, to help her through it, but she doesn't want me to. She even went off one night saying she wasn't sure she even wanted our relationship, that it's not my responsibility to take care of her or her family. Either she dropped it or hid it, but she still says she's unsure if we'll make it. I'm just at my wits end trying to be patient with her and love her from a distance. Shes gotten into online games to "hide" and it really feels like she'd rather me not be there at all.
    I guess i'm just asking on a little insight as to if i'm doing the right things, anything i can do more, needing an ear to listen (eye in this case) Thanks for reading this, take care!
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Hi Witsend... and welcome to the forum. My wife Kerrie-Ann is probably the best person to answer this for you, considering I have PTSD myself. I must say though, your going to have your hands full. I think your fiancee is really going to need you, to just be their, love her, and let her work things out for herself, hopefully the in the best way.

    I'm quite surprised that some off us are even still around, considering the awe of certain aspects off our lives. Your fiancee has certainly had brutal actions against her, which I'm sure any decent person would never wish upon another. Hang in there, and just love her, thats all I could say really, as being male myself, I don't know how it feels, but I do know what she is going through in every aspect of her PTSD symptoms, actions and general livelihood. Its not going to be pretty....
     
  4. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Hi Witsend,

    Welcome to the forum. When Anthony told me we had another member called 'Witsend' I said to him that I couldn't agree more as I have felt like that on many occasions. Your fiancee has had a rough journey, no doubt. What terrible circumstances to find yourself in at such a young age. She really didn't have a chance to learn about trust and intimacy in a relationship as that opportunity was taken from her. That is going to make it tough for you. She has already had plenty of nasty and controlling men come her way and because you are offering her something different from that she will be frightened and distrustful. Very nasty cycle of abuse. You have taken a lot on and I give you full credit for that, not many would do it. Three children that aren't your own and a partner with PTSD.

    The best thing I have found with PTSD is to educate yourself and see if you can locate some support group for partners of rape survivors, at least then you may be able to talk 'face to face' with others like yourself. It helps to know that you are not alone and also with a greater understanding of PTSD you can often (but not all of the time) isolate what is PTSD behaviour and when they are just being an everyday pain in the ass. It's hard not to get the two mixed up. I find that with Anthony when I know it is PTSD acting up I give him a lot more rope and understanding but when it is simply 'pain in the ass' husband I just tell him straight up.

    As for doing the right thing, it is hard to measure with them. My husband is not a very emotional creature at all, in fact I have often accused him of being emotionally inept. Having said that he has made an effort towards contributing to our relationship on an emotional level but there is still a long way to go. Hard for you because you want to comfort her, and she won't let you. Has she ever received any counselling? Does she take any medication? Those things will certainly help if you can get her to try them at least. Perhaps you could address it from the angle of the impact that all of this is having on the children. Studies have shown that children of Vietnam Vets, for example, have a higher rates of adult depression.

    AND the online games. Yep, I used to have a real hard time with Anthony always on the bloody computer, he is not so bad now. When she says she is trying to 'hide' she is not lying. If you look at it from the perspective that a computer allows her to communicate with people or not, but there is no emotional interaction or intimacy and therefore no additional stress for her. I have found those with PTSD will go to enormous lengths to avoid anything emotional before they start dealing with their stuff. The expectation of having to deal with anyone on an intimate emotional level just seems to create too much anxiety for them.

    Hope some of this helps, even if it just makes it a little easier by getting online and chatting here, feel free. I am always up for a chat and if I can help someone in the process, so much the better. Take care of you.
     
  5. WitsEnd

    WitsEnd New Member

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    kerrie-ann and anthony,

    Thanks a bunch, your words help calm my nerves a bit. I wasn't sure if all i was doing was right or not, but i guess it is :/ As for her couneling and medications, she was going to counseling but never found one she felt comfortable with, and the medications helped a bit, but made her other physical ailments worsen, so she stopped taking them as well. I wanted to bring up the thought of her going to find other counselors or groups and possibly me attending as well, but i have no idea how to bring it up. I know now isn't the time, but later in the year i will. Any suggestions on how? Just catch her in a really good talkative mood? Thank you again for your support, i really felt like i was sitting in a dark room watching life going on on the other side and couldn't do anything. Now i know i'm there just ....still can't do much! I think i'm your avg guy, so patience and the ability to let things go and have others work them out are a couple of my weakest traits, so i may be back quite often to keep my head straight.
    I think i'm starting to learn the difference between her PTSD and "pain in the ass" naturethough. So i havn't hit any triggers lately, and as for the gaming, that's very comforting because though i played alot and still do occasionally, it's a different feeling for me when i play. Anyways, I guess time, patience, and love are my route,huh? Thanks again, see you next time.
     
  6. WitsEnd

    WitsEnd New Member

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    Hi all, i just figured i'd drop by and give you an update on things. We havn't talked to much about things due to the fact that it's the aniversary of her mother's passing. Aside from that shes become a little more like she was when i met her. Still very distant and can (and has) become totally isolated from me at times. She did open a little of how she was feeling so hopefully it'll keep getting better and i'll suggest seeing someone together to possibly help us further. I gave in and joined her in the computer games. I think that helped because i'm able to spend time with her, but we've got a buffer for our interactions. She still said she's very confused right now, so i am still giving her her time and space as best i can, it is definately hard though. My work's sufferd a bit but so far all in all things are going good. Just thought i'd share, and hope the same or similar to you all. Till next time.
     
  7. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    That is great to hear mate... congratulations that some positives are happening. It is always give and take in a relationship, as you know, but I guess with PTSD, the sufferer tends to stop giving, which causes a lot of problems. It is quite positive to hear that your spouse is beginning to give a little again, which should hopefully begin to develop more and more as time goes on. Congratulations.... great work on your behalf to still be hanging in there, as most would just give up, thus giving us sufferers our own way.
     
  8. WitsEnd

    WitsEnd New Member

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    Thank you anthony. I certainly hope it keeps going on this path, but i know it wont all the time, but i'll stick with her. It's been a long last few months and i'm sure i'll be running into alot more down the road. Honestly though, even with things getting better for the time being, i'm still so frustrated at the fact that there's so many things that i would like to talk to her about and feel we need to talk about and adress, but i know she doesn't want to deal with them. I know i have it in me to wait, but i was wondering if you had any suggestions that might help? How have you two gotten through everything? With help i'm sure, but she's not had much luck with them so i dont think she'll even give that a shot again just yet. Anyway, gonna go for now, was a long day and it's bed time! lol. :)
     
  9. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Well, I think the key to it is, is that both parties want to continue with it, or else it has a high chance of failure. It really is quite hard actually... It really is a good thing that your willing to tuff it out and give it a go.
     
  10. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Hi Witsend,

    Uncommunicative buggers aren't they? If you can get them to talk you have to pick the right moment, the only trouble is that you can never quite guess when the right moment is. Not to mention the fact that you don't want to spoil what good moments you have together by talking about things which are likely to lead to an argument. I empathise with your frustration as I feel that with Anthony on a regular basis. I just run the gauntlet sometimes and hope the aftermath is not going to be too bad. You just have to be able to talk about somethings in a relationship and often you can't with someone suffering from PTSD. I have often made myself physically sick worrying about something that I should be able to talk with Anthony about but I got that way that I wouldn't say anything. This walking on eggshells is just bs. I sincerely wish that they could walk a mile in our shoes for a day. It feels to me often that I am carrying the burden of a relationship and dealing with a child at the same time. It certainly doesn't feel like a partnership.

    As for us two getting through things, it is a daily struggle for both of us. I can't speak for Anthony but I find it difficult to trust him with the deeper levels of me. There has been quite a lot of hurt over the period of 4 years and everytime I have given him another opportunity he manages to stomp all over it. I am not keen to keep getting stomped on. So we go through the motions of a relationship but it has only ever felt (on two occasions) what I imagine a functional, adult relationship would be like. It remains to be seen where to for us. Although we are trying to work through some stuff now and I remain optomistic.
     
  11. WitsEnd

    WitsEnd New Member

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    Kerrie-ann,

    Thank you so much for sharing that! I've felt exactly like that for the majority of our relationship. I've been physically sick from all the stress of it too. I've gotten to the point where i'll start a conversation and usually get enough of a conversation out of her to, hopefully, get her to see somewhat of where i'm coming from and get a little out of her so i'm not driving myself totally crazy. It does hurt again and again when i'm pushed away or stomped on when all i'm trying to do is help in anyway i know how, or just be there.

    As for them putting thierselves in our shoes, that'd be great, though i sometimes i know she thinks about it. One time she actually opend up some and appologized for the way she'd been treating me, but then she started pushing me away saying i should find someone better for me. I ofcourse denyed that i should go else where and tried to cheer her up some, but it helped a little to think that she does really care. Along the same lines though, I've always been a very emotional person so knowing all she's been through, i've thought many times and tried to mentally put myself in that position to get an idea of what she might feel. Unfortunately it's all theoretical and i cant really share that burden or those memories. But i hope that in doing that, maybe i can help her by not being oblivious to her situation/feelings.

    As for the rest, i feel you on that too. She's got 3 kids like i said, and that's a handful. Couple that with housework and working, let's just say i've become much more grumpy at work lol. I broke on the Online-gaming thing though, and joined her in it. I think it helped because now we can be together in the room and talk somewhat, but be elsewhere on the game. Though i feel differently about it, she can, you know? Since then, it's somewhat better, we dont fight nearly as much. Now, the big stresser is her Tubal (dont remember what i shared on that so i'll share again). After her 3rd child she got her tubes tied and since then has had bad cramps, heavy periods, moodswings, along with a plethera of other ailments. I did a little research and it sounded like Post tubal ligation syndrome. Almost all the cases of relief from the symptoms was when the women got thier tubal reversed. So, now we're trying to get it reversed so that she's not in pain all the time. Sadly, she's "allowing" me the pleasure of taking care of it all and when i want or need to talk to her about it (it's a surgery for cryin out loud!), she doesn't want to talk about it! :mad: All i can hope is that it'll take one of those feelings of hopelessness and frustration away so maybe she'll look a little at the rest of it. *shrug* We'll see.

    Like you though, there've only been a few instances where it felt like a real relationship, i'm just holding on hoping that another such instance will come along and maybe stay awhile. Off to work with me for now though, take care and talk to you later!
     
  12. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Dear Witsend,

    Well at least we have a couple of things in common. It really does help to see that you are not the only one and sometimes it even allows you a little bit of humour. What a bloody shambles!!! Kids certainly add to the stress, we have a little one 14 months old (ours) and Anthonys' 14 year old has just moved in with us. What a treat. A toddler, a teenager and a husband with PTSD! Maybe I am the one who needs the psychological help. The fact is that I do love Anthony but sometimes I could easily strangle him, it is the frustration and the fact that I just want some semblance of normality sometimes.

    I am sorry to hear that in addition to your partners PTSD she also has hormonal trouble as a result of tubal ligation. Me, personally, I think that is a really nasty operation for the return of contraception. I can empathise again with these problems as I have had personal experience with ongoing 'girl' troubles. My saviour was acupuncture combined with herbal medicine (Traditional Chinese Medicine). I cannot even begin to tell you the difference that has made to alleviating, and in most of the cases getting rid of a lot of the problems I was having. In addition to all of the obvious medical problems associated with the tubal, I suspect that she will also be suffering quite severly from hormonal imbalance - this is enough to drive her insane and make you think that you have taken up residence with a monster. Really, if you can convince her to get some help for this problem and her hormones get balanced, it may make a world of difference to both of your lives. Don't get me wrong I am not pushing alternative medicine but I know from my own personal experience that this can help.

    Good on you for sticking with her. PTSD is hard enough but hormonal imbalance as well .........what can I say. If you can help her sort this out first and then try and tackle the PTSD stuff. Also you may want to consider that she might be very frightened of having another operation. Those kinds of operations (anything to do with girls bits) take a while to recover from and are really hard to deal with emotionally. To make matters worse, if she is frightened, the PTSD emotional crazies will probably not let her admit it to you - too much feeling and too scary. I have seen Anthony from time to time ignore real emotion and cover it with alcohol or cigarettes or anger, worse still he is a blokey, bloke and his pride sometimes is so big he couldn't jump over it. Hope some of this helps you, take care of you, talk soon
     
  13. WitsEnd

    WitsEnd New Member

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    Kerrie-ann,

    Yea it helps a bit, but you got one thing right, it's very trying. There's more going on too but i'd rather not post it publicly like this. All in all i just keep saying time will tell. I do plan on fixing the hormonal issues first, i think that'll alleviate alot of the stress and frustrations and then maybe we can get help. I know she's nervous about the operation, and i feel bad for pushing her to it, but i blame it on her ex who wanted her to do it in the first place! :) That makes it a little easier. I just wish i could talk to her about it, about the feelings she has about it and what not. It's a big thing and she's playing it like she doesn't care and it's all my ordeal. Time....my friend and my enemy lol.... I'm a bit out of it for now, so i'll go, but definately thank you. It Really helps to be able to talk to someone about all this. Till next time!
     
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