Sufferer Complex PTSD following spousal abuse

Pythia

New Here
Hello all.

I've been diagnosed by my therapist as suffering from complex PTSD or similar, related to abuse from my ex and my current spouses. The abuse has been primarily controlling behavior and emotional abuse, though it was markedly more severe with my ex, who also raped me, stalked me, isolated me from my support systems (by bringing them to his side), and physically restrained me.

My hands have been shaking since I was asked to put my email address in to register because my ex used to stalk me online. Might still. When I was still living with him he would shake me awake to confront me over something I'd said. He would cover my mouth to stop me talking about something he was not interested in, even in front of other people. Our relationship began when I was 18 and he was a number of years older: I was unaware of the degree to which he was grooming me. He would force me to have sex against my will in compromising locations, such as in the dining room while family was in the kitchen, or outdoors, or in my childhood bedroom during daylight hours while my family was home. There is more, I don't want to dwell on it. After I'd left, he continued to access my digital life without my knowledge and, because he was a charming sort, he was able to engage a network of neighbors, friends, and family - including my own parents - to report on my location. He used this information to break into the home of a friend with whom I had taken shelter and later to show up pounding on the door of an apartment I'd rented and whose location I had kept a strict secret from everyone in my life (he was able to find it from an online order I had made to furnish the place). He continued to show up unexpectedly at my family gatherings and at my workplace for a long time, at which times the people around me would generally encourage me to talk to him and to "be reasonable' rather than protecting me.

My current spouse suffers from severe depression and anxiety and over the course of many years this has manifested in outbursts of anger or blame directed at me. This never has reached the levels of oppression and fear I had with my ex, but is has been rough at times, and I have become particularly sensitive to a long history of being called selfish, inconsiderate, or lazy with respect to cases where I took time for myself. I've been called upon to account for my time in great detail and have been punished with, for example, having my dinner thrown in the trash because I missed the first bus home from work and was late. They would also throw and break things. This behavior has largely dropped off with my spouse's use of anxiety medication, though there have been more recent less severe outbursts which I react to as though they were much more intense. We are in couples counseling and we are both in individual counseling.

I am now experiencing periods of helplessness, emotional flashbacks, and dissociation under even light pushback or strife. I freeze and I cannot, just physically cannot talk anymore. I experience feelings of humiliation and secrecy and I cover for them by trying to do things which are "above reproach" - cleaning house, doing chores, etc. When I am feeling secretive I am unable to admit to even boring, normal things like "I was planning to take a shower" and if my spouse or someone who I think will talk to my spouse sees me I view it as a potential confrontation and I will turn it into "I was about to clean the shower." In the course of writing this I have gotten up 5 times to go do a chore no one asked me to do. At times of severe stress this can also cause me to have some OCD behavior - doorknob touching especially - which I also attempt to hide.

I no longer have any friends with whom I can speak about this and I have never spoken freely to anyone about my experiences even when I had access. I speak with my therapist but I do not know how to talk to others, or even if it will help. It seems worth a try.
 

osiris

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @Pythia - welcome to the forum.
It sounds like you have really been through it, but it is good that you are trying to work out how to talk about this - and writing the post is a huge step in the direction you want to head in.

People here listen and some of them have been through and identify with the things you have written about. This is a safe space and I hope you find some peace here.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hiya @Pythia. Oh my god! It sounds like you've had a horrible time of it. I can relate to alot of what your saying. I also have CPTSD and it's affected my speech. I quite often find it very difficult to talk. I've also had 3 pretty severe head injuries which doesn't help. It sounds like you've never felt safe or had a safe place. Would it be helpful to report certain people to the Police? Maybe they can enforce a restraining order? Keep on posting, there are alot of experienced and kind people on this site. Hopefully the therapy will also help to support you. Best wishes S3 😊
 

Lotsoflove

New Here
Hello all.

I've been diagnosed by my therapist as suffering from complex PTSD or similar, related to abuse from my ex and my current spouses. The abuse has been primarily controlling behavior and emotional abuse, though it was markedly more severe with my ex, who also raped me, stalked me, isolated me from my support systems (by bringing them to his side), and physically restrained me.

My hands have been shaking since I was asked to put my email address in to register because my ex used to stalk me online. Might still. When I was still living with him he would shake me awake to confront me over something I'd said. He would cover my mouth to stop me talking about something he was not interested in, even in front of other people. Our relationship began when I was 18 and he was a number of years older: I was unaware of the degree to which he was grooming me. He would force me to have sex against my will in compromising locations, such as in the dining room while family was in the kitchen, or outdoors, or in my childhood bedroom during daylight hours while my family was home. There is more, I don't want to dwell on it. After I'd left, he continued to access my digital life without my knowledge and, because he was a charming sort, he was able to engage a network of neighbors, friends, and family - including my own parents - to report on my location. He used this information to break into the home of a friend with whom I had taken shelter and later to show up pounding on the door of an apartment I'd rented and whose location I had kept a strict secret from everyone in my life (he was able to find it from an online order I had made to furnish the place). He continued to show up unexpectedly at my family gatherings and at my workplace for a long time, at which times the people around me would generally encourage me to talk to him and to "be reasonable' rather than protecting me.

My current spouse suffers from severe depression and anxiety and over the course of many years this has manifested in outbursts of anger or blame directed at me. This never has reached the levels of oppression and fear I had with my ex, but is has been rough at times, and I have become particularly sensitive to a long history of being called selfish, inconsiderate, or lazy with respect to cases where I took time for myself. I've been called upon to account for my time in great detail and have been punished with, for example, having my dinner thrown in the trash because I missed the first bus home from work and was late. They would also throw and break things. This behavior has largely dropped off with my spouse's use of anxiety medication, though there have been more recent less severe outbursts which I react to as though they were much more intense. We are in couples counseling and we are both in individual counseling.

I am now experiencing periods of helplessness, emotional flashbacks, and dissociation under even light pushback or strife. I freeze and I cannot, just physically cannot talk anymore. I experience feelings of humiliation and secrecy and I cover for them by trying to do things which are "above reproach" - cleaning house, doing chores, etc. When I am feeling secretive I am unable to admit to even boring, normal things like "I was planning to take a shower" and if my spouse or someone who I think will talk to my spouse sees me I view it as a potential confrontation and I will turn it into "I was about to clean the shower." In the course of writing this I have gotten up 5 times to go do a chore no one asked me to do. At times of severe stress this can also cause me to have some OCD behavior - doorknob touching especially - which I also attempt to hide.

I no longer have any friends with whom I can speak about this and I have never spoken freely to anyone about my experiences even when I had access. I speak with my therapist but I do not know how to talk to others, or even if it will help. It seems worth a try.
I’m sorry
Hiya @Pythia. Oh my god! It sounds like you've had a horrible time of it. I can relate to alot of what your saying. I also have CPTSD and it's affected my speech. I quite often find it very difficult to talk. I've also had 3 pretty severe head injuries which doesn't help. It sounds like you've never felt safe or had a safe place. Would it be helpful to report certain people to the Police? Maybe they can enforce a restraining order? Keep on posting, there are alot of experienced and kind people on this site. Hopefully the therapy will also help to support you. Best wishes S3 😊
I can also relate similar things my child’s father did to me. It is terrible to feel compromised, used, abused, abandoned, having the police and cps called, lies made up and being walked on. Especially hurts when charms causes family and friends to be blind to the abuse and damage it has caused. We moved over 5 times. Time has helped me heal. It was over a decade ago. Exercise,work, focus on hobbies and talking about it had helped a great deal. And having an order of protection gave me comfort. Unfortunately the state went after him eventually for child support in spite of the danger I felt. The state was supposed to protect us and not contact him. That was over a decade ago.
 
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lil_fighter

Confident
Welcome Pythia ☺️ first of all thank you for sharing, I can imagine it would not have been easy typing that and reliving those memories. I understand your inability to talk sometimes but want to say your post was very clear and you described your situation so well that I am sure many of us here who have had similar experiences can relate to much of what you have described. You will find your voice and keep telling your story as much as you feel you need to, as you have the right to no longer be silent or isolated. I am so glad you have your therapist to talk to and that you have also found this forum. I hope you find it therapeutic and useful. I am glad that you are able to identify your current spouse's behaviour as abuse and recognise it for what it is. I hope that you will be able to process your thoughts and feelings here and in therapy and that it will give you peace of mind.
 
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