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When the Hunted Turn to Become the Hunter

Discussion in 'Supporter General Discussion' started by desert4now, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. desert4now

    desert4now New Member

    Anthony, I guess this one is directed to you. I am the spouse of someone with PTSD and often it feels like in order for him to feel some control over his life he becomes the hunter and aims flaming arrows (words) directed at me and my daughter for one purpose only...to hurt us and keep us demeaned and berated.

    All I'm asking is that, is that common? In order for the sufferer to feel in control, he has to become the "bad guy" he once feared himself and tried to escape from??

    D4N
  2. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Yes, it is normal to do this, however; it is not about control, instead frustration and unknown emotional boudaries being constantly pushed within.

    PTSD is literally like having someone tearing you up inside constantly, a fog comes in over your mind and hazes clear thoughts, your mind pulls at every inch of your body, returning little to the mind but distress and unclear messages.

    If your husband had never looked at the PTSD Cup or Iceberg of Emotions, I suggest you print them out and show him, talk with him and get him to understand what is going on within him.

    The cup demonstrates why he is flying of the handle about every little thing, thus by seeing this solid image called PTSD within the cup, that image is made up of his trauma, and then all symptoms surrounding that trauma. Heal the trauma, the PTSD block decreases, thus once again allowing him more room in his cup to cope and handle normal life daily stressors.

    The iceberg outlines what his anger is, and maybe might get him looking deeper within himself to explain his emotions, rather than showing his emotions as anger. Anger is not an emotion, it is an emotional response to underpinning emotions, ie. you get frustrated that something won't work, so people pickup the item and throw it in anger. Instead, the more logical solution when frustrated, would be to walk away, think about what you are doing, do you have the right tools, maybe go and find some instructions, then come back to the item with all the right tools, knowledge and know how.

    Get this through to him, get him practicing this constantly, and his anger will subside, however; if he doesn't want to actively smack his trauma head on, it will return again.
  3. cdunny

    cdunny New Member

    Hey D4Now. I cant tell you exactly what your husband is going through. I dont know his exact situation. But coming from this PTSD sufferer I will tell you that in agreement with Anthony that it is not about control. I can try to explain to you why I fly off the handle and say crazy mean things.

    Imagine a train in your head. Your train is your actions. What is around the train is that in itself, your surroundings (daily life events). The track the train is on is the emotions (twist and turns) in which you take to get through the day, or your (obstactles, surrounding, daily life events). Now, if you are with me so far, visualize now.

    A person without PTSD deals with life events in a very typical way. the track, twisting and turning as the terain changes, thus the train(actions), stay on track. ARe you with me now? Okay. A person with PTSD has a track that is all messed up. It is essentially in need of repair. So where there might be a big rocky mound up ahead, in a person without PTSD, the track switches and moves around it, then returns to its normal course. In a person with PTSD the track is broken and the train runs smack dab into the rocky mound. This leaves the train(actions)completely out of control because its track (emotions) are no longer guiding it in the right direction.

    This sounds really complicated reading it back. But to put it simple. When I blow up at my husband it feels like inside my head a train has hit a wall. Its like I have nowhere else to go and the train wreck inside my head comes exploding out onto the surface of my life, affecting everyone around me. I know its going to happen before it does, Im scared its going to happen all the time, I avoid anything that could cause it to happen ie. stressors, and after its happened I dont remember half of it and Im incredibly regretful of what I do remember.

    Its not about control. I can promise you that.
    kabeh394 likes this.
  4. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Well said CD... really well said. I wish, I want to even, say that I had control over things I have done in my past when PTSD was controlling me, but I honestly cannot say that I had full control. People think its to shift blame, and sometimes in cases it is, but not always. The mind and body is only capable of so much, then it breaks. Our body (we look fine to another) can handle the stress, anxiety and so forth at immediate looks, but it catches up with us through illness, looking older than we are, etc etc; our mind however breaks, and even many times daily when PTSD is for the most part, controlling the person.

    We have a friend who for the life of both of us, did not think had PTSD, but then we also don't live with him either. He has some telltail traits, but I didn't think enough existed, though again, we don't live with him to accurately assess it. He doesn't show the normal signs of someone suffering uncontrolled PTSD, but he has been diagnosed with it. Why? Because he snapped, out of the blue, nearly killed a lady with his bare hands and anything he could find around him.

    Afterwards, he has little memory of pieces, and broken in other areas, though he remembers he did actually do this, just not all the pieces. He went to the shrink, and he was diagnosed with PTSD from obviously what he had said to do with his past, as he was also on some of the same operations I was upon, same time, same places.

    My wife actually used to live with him as flatmates, and where when I met her, and she said he changed when he returned home from a deployment, though he slowly got better. This happened to me on the same deployment actually, then bam... it caught up with me years later. We had what we thought was the normal response to abnormal situations, and we slowly healed, or so we thought, then I went down bad, and he is now going that way also.

    He went to court, and he pleaded guilty, and got a suspended sentence. Now knowing this man, he is the most gentle giant you could come across, never hurt a fly. Chances are this female on the receiving end could get PTSD as a result, because she ended up in a pretty bad state apparently. Scarlette has just finished being arguementative about this exact thing, believing people have total control, that their actions should not be forgiven by people; where in fact its quite the opposite with PTSD, and in general most mental illnesses. The person could have 90% control vs. 10% PTSD controlling one moment, then it changes to 90% PTSD control vs. 10% actual control in another moment.

    PTSD can be a very nasty disorder to be on the receiving end, and one never to be taken lightly. This is why I can't stress enough that the sufferer must take efforts to get themselves better, surpassing just sitting back and thinking it will happen, because it won't happen. PTSD can make a person lose total control, then honestly ask what just happened because they dissociated the entire incident.

    Sure, some people could play it up, but hopefully those with some sort of moral backbone, would never take advantage of such a thing. Realistically though, some people will, and do.
    kabeh394 likes this.
  5. Kims_Man

    Kims_Man New Member


    Anthony, you bring up 2 points that might give you an insight into the lives of us spouses. First, you mention that sometimes, but not always, PTSD us used as an excuse, when it really had no influence on your actions. It would only be human nature to find a logical excuse, one that is ready made, for undesirable actions. My issue with that is, how do we, as spouses, know when it is real and when it isn't? Just the fact that it can be used once as a scapegoat puts question marks over every other outburst.

    Second, when you say that the mind and body are only capable of so much, then they reach the breaking point, please remember that goes for us as well. We endure our own "living hell" each and every time we are faced with dealing with what we see as irrational, of making a mountian out of a mole hill. We don't get to see the turmoil going on inside of your head, we don't experience the feelings coursing through you, feelings of anxiety, of dread, of fear. And being faced with this unseen evil that has it's grip on you all is taking it's toll on us spouses as well.

    We only ask that you all keep that in mind when you start accusing us of not being as supportive as we need to be, or perhaps not being there when you need us.
    kabeh394 likes this.
  6. desert4now

    desert4now New Member

    He has yet to make a move toward dealing with the PTSD. He has located a VA clinic not far from us and is thinking about checking it out for other physical problems but I don't know if he'll go through with checking into the PTSD. He had started when we were living in Hawaii but since we moved, won't talk about it.

    The reason I used the hunter scenario is because he is stalking us in a way. He is very subtle in the use of his words and almost sneeky. He likes it when I am feeling unbalanced due to what he says to me. He looks at me with empty eyes...no feeling...total apathy. He says things that do not make sense but in his own mind make total sense. He can't understand why I don't "get it". He gets very cocky where he can say or do no wrong. I notice this when he talks about his coworkers. He has this ability to explain away any personal responsibility and also in explaining something he acts as though he is the sole authority and knows all.

    Cdunny, Anthony, this is a good man. I've seen him. He's the one I married. He's the one that was so generous with my kids. I swear, its a Jekyl and Hyde situation. Thank you both for your comments and I hunger for more insight and I continually try to educate myself. Keep the advice and education coming!
    kabeh394 likes this.
  7. Andrea42

    Andrea42 New Member

    My husband is like that now as well.... and its weird because when i met him he was such a kind person...but i know its not the "real" him who says and does all the mean things but sometimes its hurtful and i wish he could realize what he says and does..........
  8. Delita

    Delita New Member

    Sounds like my father. He was severly abused as a child (had a criminally insane father, among other things). At work or church he would do anything to help others, hiding his torment to dump on his family at home. Sometimes he was so nurturing and tender, while at other times my existence was a reek to him and I knew he wanted to kill or abandon me, even though he never physically abused or threatened me in any obvious way. I understand very well the kind of bizarre, subtle emotional abuse that you have described, desert4now. I have always felt "demeaned" in his prescence. I really don't care that he was suffering from PTSD. The facts are that I was entirely in his power, that he new he was hurting me, and that he did it for that very reason. I have so much rage inside of me towards him that if I ever lose control I will rip him apart with my bare hands. I've been there once and fought it and won, and sealed all that hate and murder back in there. That's PTSD, but I won't hurt him, not like that--not the way he hurt me. I'm civil, rational, detached. My choice. I will destroy myself before I hurt anyone else... unless they try to torment me.
  9. desert4now

    desert4now New Member

    Wow, nice to be understood but yet sorry you understand so well. To me it all just gives birth to a vicious circle. If we give in to the same level of sickness, then the circle just continues. You can't live with someone for years of this abuse and not have it affect you somehow. Anger starts to eat at me but some light switches and he goes back to this great guy. How do they do that and not have memory of or claim to not really remember what was said that caused us so much pain? This PTSD baffles me.

    Thanks for the responses my friends.
  10. jods

    jods New Member

    Hi Desert4now

    Sorry your having a rough time at the moment.

    I don't know how to do the quote thing but when you said about him saying things that make sense to him but come out different I understood what you mean.
    My hubby got me to read some of his diary of thoughts out aloud to him last week. Tell you what it was an eye opener! He was told to write what he thinks & feels what happens in his day. He had events & days all out of whack & while I was reading it I kept thinking to myself "That didn't happen on that day etc".

    When I asked him about it he said "Look that is how I remember things now, you see how foggy my brain is now. Don't confuse me & tell me what DID happen because it will confuse me more"

    Don't know if that helps you much but it made me realise just how screwed up the mind can be & how hard it is for them to try & function some days.
  11. Kims_Man

    Kims_Man New Member

    Wow, that would explain so much of what goes on in Kim's mind. I'll hear her try and relate a story to someone and think to myself the same as you, "..that didn't happen like that!" Now I can see why/how some of that is happeining. Also, it could explain the whole memory thing. That is an issue that really tears at Kim, her forgetting things that she had recently been told.

    Thanks for sharing, you have brought me one step closer to understanding this deamon that has my loved one so wrapped up!
  12. jods

    jods New Member

    Hi Warren

    Memory? Hubby & I joke that it's a goldfish memory. I have to admit my memory isn't that good at times either!LOL!

    I know that some days my mind is going 100miles an hour just working out how to help/deal with hubby if it's a bad day.

    After reading hubby's diary for him, I wonder how he can function through the day with all that extra crap that wants to try & consume his thoughts. At least we have the luxury of being able to control our thought patterns (sometimes).
    Imagine how hard it must be not to be able to control that deamon while your trying to put on a brave face for the rest of the world just so they can feel comfortable around you. I take my hat off to my man everyday just to be able to try & do that just so he can be in my life. That is truly a loving gift that he gives me.
  13. Kims_Man

    Kims_Man New Member

    Jods, what a beautiful way to look at it. And what a noble way to put it. It is so easy to forget what is going on behind their loving eyes. It is also very beautiful reading the words you choose when describing your husband. He is so lucky to have someone like you at his side. And his choices when dealing with PTSD sound very determined and focused. You two keep it up, sounds like you have found the right combination in dealing with this terrible disorder.

    :claps:
  14. veiled

    veiled New Member

    Jods you really have the right attitude to make it work! My hubs has moments where he can't take it anymore, but they are short lived. He is truly selfless as a whole and that seems to be what it takes to get going down the right path once we are actively addressing the issues. Ignoring them and not trying to get better is another thing. But my husband is now looking at the long run and our future, not how I act today working through it. And yes, at the moment I may not be more than an emotional leech on him and not giving back, but I think he knows, I try to let him know, I am grateful and don't mean to be. The only thing I can do is work through this and get to a better place so I can give back . But the process is slow and long and it is all take on my end from him.

    Look at it like an investment. It may not do anything for you now, but in the long run it will pay off big to have a somewhat normal person around that can return the love again once it is sorted out. Someone a lot closer to who they were before and that can/wants to do things again. And I know I can never repay him for all the crap he has dealt with. And it took a while before I saw how much crap I gave him. Now we both know I give crap all the time but at least I am working to get to a good place in myself so I can be good to him again (not medicated good either, which will be new), and he wants me there because he loves me. He is willing to wait it out and help me where he can until I get there. Y'all do a lot. Don't think we don't know, we do and are grateful when you are there catching us.
  15. jods

    jods New Member

    Thanks Warren & Veiled

    I'll admit I'm not perfect & can be a selfish cow at times & think that some days are just too hard. It's on those days when you see the lost look in your loved ones eyes, how can you not want to stand beside them & help them fight this.
    I know my hubby will never be the same & I've grieved for that man he once was. I know he loves me & he tells me everyday. I don't mind being his rock at the moment because I know that if the tables were turned, he would be there for me. Isn't that what you do when you love someone?!?
  16. anthony

    anthony MyPTSD Admin Staff Member Premium Member

    Funny about the goldfish memory (7 seconds), is that Kerrie used to ensure I never forgot it; now Kerrie has the goldfish memory being pregnant. Amazing how things always come back around.... he he he
  17. jods

    jods New Member

    mmmm I'm not pregnant so whats my excuse?!LOL! Must have given my memory to my little guy. He's got a good memory & can remember things I've forgotten about. Ahhh kids, gotta love them!
  18. Kerrie-Ann

    Kerrie-Ann New Member

    Jods,

    My Mum reckons that once you have one baby, your memory never really comes back. My excuse was pregnancy, breastfeeding (he was sucking all of the smarts out of me), pregnancy again and you guessed it breastfeeding will be next. Then I think I will resort to my Mums theory.
  19. Kerrie-Ann

    Kerrie-Ann New Member

    Its a control mechanism D4N. PTSD or not I don't think there is an excuse for being so hurtful. Words hurt, just as much, if not more than fists. As far as I am concerned if you have that much inner turmoil, anger, frustration, whatever ......go for a walk, punch a punching bag.......don't take it out on those closest to you. We are all guilty of venting inappropriately at our loved ones, some more than others, but there comes a point when it is not venting anymore but abuse. This is a very nasty and vindictive weapon.

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