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Can't Do Anything Right - Female Fiancee With PTSD

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by ashen555, May 17, 2006.

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  1. ashen555

    ashen555 New Member

    hi everybody,

    my fiancee has been diagnosed with Complex PTSD. It is an absolute nightmare for her, of course. She is currently undergoing therapy (we have just changed her therapist to one who is more specialised in trauma and PTSD issues - our first one was a bit too "fluffy" for her issues) and has been on Prozac for a little less than two weeks. The meds are starting to work but there's still at least another two weeks before they really kick in.

    It's really hard right now. She has been quite badly depressed for the last six months and only began therapy about 6 weeks ago. It started well, but as with all therapy, the returns began to diminish. After one session she started to doubt the ability of the therapist, and I agreed with her. She then got very angry for agreeing with her concerns. This was confusing; however we did find another therapist, who we will be seeing next week (it can't come soon enough!)

    She blames me for a lot of things, some of which are more valid than others. She has been neglected in some form or other all her life, and (unwittingly) I am repeating a lot of those patterns. I have a problem with honesty, and she was lied to constantly by her mother - her mother promised her many things and never delivered. I have promised her things too, and I have also not delivered a lot of the time. She claims that I do not care for her (if I did care for her, why would I do all of these hurtful things?, she says), that I am very self-centred and only do things for her if it makes me feel good.

    Right now I'm typing this after yet another big blowout. The background is that she threatened to break up with me this past weekend - go back to America (from New Zealand, which I would have to pay for). I begged for, and got a second chance. She gave me three weeks to change my behaviour. After two wonderful days (where I felt like a completely different person, happy, smiling, loving and caring) I made the near-fatal mistake of lying about.....her upcoming birthday plans. The fact that I lied about them is far worse than the details. I know I shouldn't have lied - that is a character flaw that I have to sort out by myself.

    At any rate, her demeanour changed completely - she went from being happy and hopeful for the future to terribly depressed and frustrated with me again. Today has been no better - I have managed to put every single foot wrong again. Just a few minutes ago, after coming back home from work, I sat down with her to start to chat. She got up to do something, I got up to do some breathing exercises (very important - I'm very stressed out!) and when she got back she accused me of ignoring her, standing and doing nothing. I had to withdraw for a few minutes, being very taken aback. She called out to me, again accusing me of ignoring her. I came over to her side, and started to try to make her feel better (and failing of course). She immediately launched into me, demanding to know why I was just standing there doing nothing. Basically, she caught me in a minor deception (something about breathing versus stretching exercises), yelled at me very loudly and told me in no uncertain terms to get out of her face. And that's why I'm typing here right now.

    I have issues to sort out for myself - therapy sessions and Lifeline phone counsellors (and my partner, when she's feeling okay) all tell me that I need to take care of myself first, otherwise I'll be no use to anybody. And right now, I do feel useless and hopeless. I love my fiancee - when she's feeling good, she's the most wonderful person in the world - but all it takes is just one misstep for everything to come crashing down. I feel absolutely awful about this - making the mistake, being unable to stop the situation spiralling downwards. I have hurt, and am hurting my fiancee too much. But I'm hurting too, and I really don't know how to cope. All the love in the world is not enough. I need tools as well.

    How on earth do I make things better?
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  3. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Hi ashen, and a big welcome along. :hello:

    You don't make things better, in fact; nothing you can say or do will make things better for her. She has to make things better for herself, and trying to force her, persuade her or any other method will most likely backfire and just make her dig her heals in harder.

    She is obviously going through a very tough time at present, but unfortunately, whilst medication is a little relief in the early stages, its certainly not a long term goal. You need to get her on here and let her chat about her issues. We have a private area for those with PTSD, so we can chat in private, if that helps you when telling her about the place.

    All you can do is exactly what your doing, support and just be there for when she comes to her senses again. PTSD is ugly, and it only gets worse. Us with PTSD have pretty much one chance at living some sort of normal life, though still with restrictions, in that knowledge is the key. Medication is a great bandaid to the situation, and it certainly helps a person control things initially, basically gives a person time to try and sort themselves out, but soon enough the body will become immune to the medication and everything goes back the way it was, generally with the person taking more medication because they no longer get the same effect.

    You need to get your partner to start learning about PTSD, signs, symptoms, triggers, and techniques to identify, react and conquer when symptoms popup constantly. Lets not tap dance around this, its not going to be quick, nor is PTSD curable, so your in for the long hall. PTSD can be controlled, not cured, but definately controlled to the point of a fairly normal existance, though the person MUST want to control it, or else learning fails before it begins, so to speak.

    If your partner won't come onto this board and chat privately with us, with people who actually do know what she is going through, what she is suffering and those off us who all suffer the same things and battle day in, day out, then you need to start printing techniques off from around the web, go to veterans support and get information, and start learning with her, because your role in helping her identify symptoms is just as important as her role of identification and application is. The problem is, is that sometimes we need someone to tell us things, because we are so focused on trying to keep something down, apply techniques to controlling PTSD, that sometimes we lose sight of other facets of the illness.

    It is life threatening, don't be fooled otherwise, and it will kill a person if left unchecked, not treated or through ignorance and denial of the person suffering.
  4. ashen555

    ashen555 New Member

    thanks Anthony, your insight is amazing. It's likeI was walking around with both my eyes shut before I read your words.

    I'm not sure if she'll come onto the message board (to be frank, I'm afraid to ask), but we have had a therapy session with a psychologist who actually knows about PTSD which is really promising. We've been given a workbook written by our therapist and have a few new things to try out.

    I'm sad to say that I really am a big part of the problem here - I have some issues of my own (a lifetime of anxiety, low self-esteem, a desperate need to please others and problems with lying). It's grossly unfair on her that she has to deal with me as well as her problems. Of course, I've got to figure out how to take care of myself without turning that into neglect for her. Geez, who knew that a little balance could be so difficult to find?

    It'll get better though. In some ways, it already has.
  5. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

    Hi ashen,

    Wow you really are in the thick of it right now. You seem to be a little hard on yourself though. At least you can recognise that you have your own issues which are contributing to your environment. Where it gets more difficult is understanding that fine line between what are 'relationship issues' and what are personal issues. Anthony and I have found, and I still struggle with it a lot, that this line gets blurred quite easily when you add PTSD to the mix.

    ** Baby calls, continue this later **
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