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Secondary PTSD - What Is It In Relation To Spouses?

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by Jen, Dec 19, 2006.

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  1. Jen

    Jen Well-Known Member

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    Hi Anthony counsellor the other day said to a few of us spouses that a lot of spouses have secondary PTSD? I should of asked her at the time about it. But to my understanding PTSD is the effect of a trauma of some sort. Have you heard of it?
    Thanks Jen
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Jen, secondary PTSD is that which is spoken in relation to spouses, family and those who support a PTSD sufferer, or live with them. Secondary PTSD is that more often than not, those carers or those that live with a person with PTSD will get secondary symptoms themselves, in that some symptoms of the PTSD will be gained by those people because the sheer impact a PTSD sufferer inflicts upon those around us.

    When you hear of spouses mentioning depression or panic attacks, alcoholism to cope, etc etc, these are the symptoms of secondary PTSD. Spouses themselves do not often get PTSD as such from living with a sufferer, unless the sufferer of PTSD themselves are actually inflicting trauma to the highest degree upon the partner and the partner is putting up with it, living with it, accepting it. It is emotional abuse to put it simply. All spouses suffer it whilst PTSD goes untreated, and this is why I tell spouses they must look after themselves first, the sufferer second, otherwise it is a very real issue. You then end up with two sick people, not just one.

    Whilst it isn't as bad now with the current focus on PTSD, and in that spouses are very much a focal part of the healing process, those who have already lived with it 10+ years, are now coming to light that they suffer secondary PTSD. It is nothing to hear from spouses that they drink each night in order to cope from the days events, or depression sets in, or they too have become quite reclusive in nature because the sufferer fails to leave their safety sanctuary.

    Spouses MUST beware that this is very real, and has affected many already unbeknownst to them. This is why spouses often must get their own unique therapy sessions so they can cope with the crap. If a sufferer has healed, mended their way of living as such, then its not PTSD that causes the issues directly at that time, however; if the sufferer has taken 5+ years to sort their shit out, and have abused their partner / carer emotionally, verbally, etc all of that period, then it could take years for these symptoms to come out, because in a way, the carer / partner has also suffered trauma, and it is trauma, have no doubt. Being on the receiving end of a sufferer can be fearful at the best of times if aggression is the prevailing factor. Most often found in veterans because of their trained aggression, but can be found in any PTSD case realistically.

    This is why the sufferer must remove their head from their arse, and get themselves healed of their trauma and learn how to manage PTSD. If they truly love their partner, they will do this not only for themselves, but for their partner, because of the sheer impact they have upon themselves. A sufferer says they wouldn't wish this upon anyone, but by abusing their partner, they are doing exactly that, pushing it upon another person through another means of traumatic influence.
     
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  4. Jen

    Jen Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that reply Anthony it makes sense to me now.
    As you said the partner / spouse has to try and concentrate on themselves as well. I can see why a lot of spouses would go downhill.
    Jen
     
  5. hannah

    hannah Active Member

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    Anthony that post is so succint and to the point - went yesterday to a medical appointment for other reasons - work related too. However in my heart I know my husband's behaviour over the last 3 years has caused me emotional abuse - words I kept saying but had really no idea because of the confusion he was causing me. This site has given me clarity and like anti freeze is clearing the fog for me .... thank you for this and to all who contribute.
     
  6. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I take it this is most often a problem for spouses or others living under the same roof. Is it ever a problem for family not residing with the PTSD person?

    Jim.
     
  7. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    If you look at your case Jim, you have been searching for Batgirl for five years, so that has to off caused you some grief, stress and anxiety, yet if dealt with as feelings and emotions arise, it is not a problem.

    However, if you now look Jim at what you are enduring with Batgirl, and you have only been with her a month or less, expand this behaviour to someone who has lived with untreated, uncontrolled PTSD for 5, 10, 15 or 20+ years, and this behaviour, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, it has an impact on the spouse / carer / family.

    Its not a blanket statement I guess, but more something that individuals themselves must look at and honestly work out, "Am I carrying emotional baggage still from this abuse?" Sometime a sufferer runs from family, shows up ten years later, and whilst the family are suddenly over joyed with their return, they are also looking for answers, reasons, why did they do this, all unanswered. If the answers can be found or reasoned, the family do not carry any emotional baggage in regard to it, instead understand the reasons and accept them. If not, then this grows into spite, resentment and continues to spiral out of control.
     
  8. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    Whoa I never knew any of this about secondary PTSD. Actually I don't feel so bad for running off then, if it means my family was less stressed out by me.
     
  9. tig

    tig Active Member

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    Another thing to work on in counseling...

    Regrettably,I admit this hits way too close to home to be sheer coincidence. Subtract the alcohol then add "Cop" nightmares to the depression, panic attacks & agorophobia and you've got, well, me. We've been dealing w/ Terry's PTSD for >11yrs (episodically, not continuously). His behavior is far better now than early on, when I can truly say he was abusive. (Sorry, hun.) The main thing is that he saw what his behavior was doing to each of us, and he is not that person today.
    I have private counseling sessions & we are now going to be working on secondary PTSD.
     
  10. Jen

    Jen Well-Known Member

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    Yes Tig my hubby said to me the other day he often thinks about how he was at the start of the year when he was an asshole to me. I know he is sorry about it but it doesnt leave my mind easily there is hurt there and will be for a while I went and had counselling for a little while I do find it helps coming on to the forum for a whinge. Things are a little better with him since he did the PTSD clinic he is still tired all the time still sleeping in till lunchtime. But we are getting on a bit better his moods seem a bit better.
    Good to see you are getting counselling and working on yourself.
    Jen
     
  11. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    And this is why its so important for both parties to heal at once, not just the sufferer, because the spouse has been affected more than they often believe. They hold resentment, which means they pull up the past in an arguement, which means the sufferer just goes backwards, because their spouse carries a resentment not allowing them to move forward. This is offcourse on top of having some mild symptoms also... except a spouses symptoms are curable if counselled correctly, and the spouse is honest about themselves with the counsellor. Healing PTSD is very much a two way street when a relationship is involved.
     
  12. wildcritter44

    wildcritter44 Active Member

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    How do you get the nightmares to go away? (for the PTSD sufferer)
    How do you get the saddness inside to go away?

    ranger has nightmares, and is sad. how do I help him? I battle depression myself. We are both on meds, see DR's, etc.
     
  13. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    You have to chip away at the trauma. What you mention are the symptoms of the trauma. You can bandaid the symptoms all day long, but they just go and come back, often with more force, because you must treat the cause, not the symptom. The cause is the trauma, nothing else.
     
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