• 💖 [Donate To Keep MyPTSD Online] 💖 Every contribution, no matter how small, fuels our mission and helps us continue to provide peer-to-peer services. Your generosity keeps us independent and available freely to the world. MyPTSD closes if we can't reach our annual goal.

Sufferer I get triggered by my spouse

Status
Not open for further replies.

BeCalm

New Here
Hi, I found this place after a bad trigger and feeling the need to learn more about what's up and how to move onward.

I have among other things PTSD (could be CPTSD; not sure) as a result of domestic abuse.
Normally I flinch whenever there's a loud noise or unexpected touch, especially coming from behind me,
and when I get triggered while I'm not doing well, I freeze and hyperventilate which can lead to panic attacks.

In the process of preparing for my wedding I had to spend a lot of time with my family including the abuser
(who had apologized a few times already and wrote that they were sorry but hasn't made any effort to change since)
and the stress + repressed emotions + abuser assaulting me took a BIG toll on my mental health.

Since then in random times I get triggered by my spouse, even though they never mean any harm.
It could be anything from a slight touch, a playful tap to even simply breathing.
Once my brain thinks they are going to attack me, the thought gulps me alive and I freeze in fear.
I start crying and shaking, sometimes I self-harm, and I flinch whenever my spouse comes near me or tries to reach out.
In some occasions it took me days before I could feel safe in their presence again.

It happened today and while I was still trying to calm down I flinched away when they were walking behind me.
They told me that they felt hurt by that and that comment hurt me as well.
They didn't mean to trigger me, and I didn't mean to hurt them by being afraid of them.
I just want a hug but the person from whom I want that hug is also the person who I cannot even approach right now without tensing up.
Them triggering me doesn't happen that often, but when it does it leaves us both shook and hurt and we feel stuck and clueless.

We plan to get couple's therapy but I'm hoping this forum will be of help to us in different ways.
I showed the forum to my spouse as well, I hope they'll look into it and get help from other supporters.
 
Hi, I found this place after a bad trigger and feeling the need to learn more about what's up and how to move onward.

I have among other things PTSD (could be CPTSD; not sure) as a result of domestic abuse.
Normally I flinch whenever there's a loud noise or unexpected touch, especially coming from behind me,
and when I get triggered while I'm not doing well, I freeze and hyperventilate which can lead to panic attacks.

In the process of preparing for my wedding I had to spend a lot of time with my family including the abuser
(who had apologized a few times already and wrote that they were sorry but hasn't made any effort to change since)
and the stress + repressed emotions + abuser assaulting me took a BIG toll on my mental health.

Since then in random times I get triggered by my spouse, even though they never mean any harm.
It could be anything from a slight touch, a playful tap to even simply breathing.
Once my brain thinks they are going to attack me, the thought gulps me alive and I freeze in fear.
I start crying and shaking, sometimes I self-harm, and I flinch whenever my spouse comes near me or tries to reach out.
In some occasions it took me days before I could feel safe in their presence again.

It happened today and while I was still trying to calm down I flinched away when they were walking behind me.
They told me that they felt hurt by that and that comment hurt me as well.
They didn't mean to trigger me, and I didn't mean to hurt them by being afraid of them.
I just want a hug but the person from whom I want that hug is also the person who I cannot even approach right now without tensing up.
Them triggering me doesn't happen that often, but when it does it leaves us both shook and hurt and we feel stuck and clueless.

We plan to get couple's therapy but I'm hoping this forum will be of help to us in different ways.
I showed the forum to my spouse as well, I hope they'll look into it and get help from other supporters.
I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through such a difficult time, and I'm glad you found this community. It takes a lot of courage to share your struggles, so thank you for opening up.

It sounds like you've been through a lot, and it's understandable that you're struggling with triggers coming from different places. It's great that you and your spouse are planning to get couples therapy - that can be a really helpful resource for working through triggers and building trust and safety in your relationship.

In the meantime, it might be helpful to practice some grounding techniques to help bring you back to the present moment and manage your anxiety when you're triggered. Some examples of grounding techniques include focusing on your breathing, using your senses (such as touching something with a different texture or smelling a soothing scent), or repeating a mantra to yourself.

It's also important to be gentle and patient with yourself as you work through these triggers. Healing from trauma is a process, and it takes time and effort. Remember that it's okay to take breaks and focus on self-care when you need to.

Take care and know that you're not alone in this.
 
hello becalm. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

way back when people were still smarter than phones and combat ptsd was still being called, "shell shock," i learned a technique called, "trigger management." the first step in trigger management is separating the trigger from the trauma. in weaponry, most triggers are benign. you can pull the trigger on an empty gun all you want and nothing will happen until you put a bullet in the gun. with a ptsd trigger, the reminder is as benign as the trigger on an empty gun. the repressed trauma is the bullet which the trigger sets off.

it still upsets me mightily when the love of my life becomes my trigger. no fair to the max, for either of us. we cope by increasing our social distance until each of us have had an opportunity to accept and process the no-fairness of the event. how great is it that i have a partner who is willing to do that for me? it isn't easy, but it is entirely possible. our 43rd anniversary is around the corner.

but that is me and every case is unique.
steadying support while you find your own way through. welcome aboard.
 
Hello @arfie, thank you for sharing you experience. Simply knowing that I am not alone in such experience helps a bunch.
Till now I've been rather stubborn and I tried to convince my brain that this trigger is stupid and that there's nothing dangerous about my spouse, instead of taking my distance and time to process. I'll have to communicate what you explained with my spouse and try it out.
For us we'll be celebrating our first anniversary this month and as newlyweds there's still much to figure out, but I love living with them and I want to be brave enough to face the difficulties and grow.
Thank you for the welcome and I hope you'll have a lovely time on your 43rd anniversary.

Welcome @BeCalm ! I like your name. 😊
Thank you! It's based on a song title by the band FUN. I interpret it as a song about panic attack, and it helped me through high school.
I like your name as well :-)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
I tried to convince my brain that this trigger is stupid

triggers are stupid by nature. there is not a single thought process to their capacities. they have no more intelligence than the chair i am sitting on. it's not the chair's fault when i trip on it in a distracted moment. i'm certainly not going to expect the chair to get out of my way just because my hands are over-full.

i shoot to provide the brain to the process. i try to be smarter than the trigger. the chair, too. sometimes i even succeed. . .
happy anniversary. may the union grow stronger as you learn.
 
I just want a hug but the person from whom I want that hug is also the person who I cannot even approach right now without tensing up.
I think this is very astute and well articulated, if you could tell them that it's probably helpful. Also humour about it if you can. And that helps too. Or even code words.
 
Hi, I found this place after a bad trigger and feeling the need to learn more about what's up and how to move onward.

I have among other things PTSD (could be CPTSD; not sure) as a result of domestic abuse.
Normally I flinch whenever there's a loud noise or unexpected touch, especially coming from behind me,
and when I get triggered while I'm not doing well, I freeze and hyperventilate which can lead to panic attacks.

In the process of preparing for my wedding I had to spend a lot of time with my family including the abuser
(who had apologized a few times already and wrote that they were sorry but hasn't made any effort to change since)
and the stress + repressed emotions + abuser assaulting me took a BIG toll on my mental health.

Since then in random times I get triggered by my spouse, even though they never mean any harm.
It could be anything from a slight touch, a playful tap to even simply breathing.
Once my brain thinks they are going to attack me, the thought gulps me alive and I freeze in fear.
I start crying and shaking, sometimes I self-harm, and I flinch whenever my spouse comes near me or tries to reach out.
In some occasions it took me days before I could feel safe in their presence again.

It happened today and while I was still trying to calm down I flinched away when they were walking behind me.
They told me that they felt hurt by that and that comment hurt me as well.
They didn't mean to trigger me, and I didn't mean to hurt them by being afraid of them.
I just want a hug but the person from whom I want that hug is also the person who I cannot even approach right now without tensing up.
Them triggering me doesn't happen that often, but when it does it leaves us both shook and hurt and we feel stuck and clueless.

We plan to get couple's therapy but I'm hoping this forum will be of help to us in different ways.
I showed the forum to my spouse as well, I hope they'll look into it and get help from other supporters.
Your post seems to reflect my lovely man who I am estranged from. He flinched when I raised my hand to scratch my face, he doesn't like people coming up behind him, even an unexpected touch makes him freeze, the last hurt was when we went to bed for the second time and he clung to the edge of the bed as far as he could get from me. I asked what was wrong and he said he didnt want any 'confrontation'. Since then he has distanced himself from me, from texting every day it stopped completely, he said he was always angry and needed to be by himself to cope with his anxiety. This is now May. Since last November he came off his medication and is not receiving therapy of any kind, saying he does not like the side effects. I still love him but cannot have a relationship with him without itriggering his anxiety and anger, which comes out in hurtful remarks. It broke my heart but your post shows me that he really does have CPTSD, very much like yours. Your post shows me that there is hope and there is definitely help. I am so glad you and your spouse are seeking help, it really does sounds like CPTSD, please don't lose your loved one like I have, look for a trauma counsellor and read books on self help, all I can do is send self help books to my 'ex' - during a brief visit he said he was recognising 'triggers' and has decided to go back on his medication again. Whether we can ever be together again I don't know, perhaps the hiatus in our relationship has changed his feelings permanently.
 
Welcome to the community! 🤠

In the process of preparing for my wedding I had to spend a lot of time with my family including the abuser
(who had apologized a few times already and wrote that they were sorry but hasn't made any effort to change since)
and the stress + repressed emotions + abuser assaulting me took a BIG toll on my mental health.
The day of my wedding, after months of being stress sick, & 3 days of not sleeping… the thought popped into my head… NEXT time? I’m going to elope!!!

At the time I just took it as ‘lesson learned; don’t be talked into doing something you don’t want to do’ (big wedding, with all the stress, & months of planning; when “all” I wanted was the dress, a few witnesses, & the honeymoon). This was before I knew I had PTSD, I just knew I had a finite capacity for stress & had wildly exceeded it.

((Later? It finally occurred to to me that it was a last ditch attempt from my subconscious telling me to run far / run fast. I made a terrible choice in husbands. But at the time I was so used to NOT trusting my own judgment? That I went along with far more than I should have. In pretty much every area of my life.)).

^^^ Which is NOT my saying/intimating that you also made a bad choice. I don’t know you, nor him. What I DO know? Is the waaaacky ways stress effects PTSD (see StressCup), and that triggers/stressors (oooh! Look! Another link!) are both a SOB, and will happen regardless of whether you’re wih the best of people, the worst, or entirely on your own. My 2 last KATHUNK triggers/stressors? Running through the woods, after someone I loved AND bubbles in a puddle. Yeo. That freakishly random/specific. Triggers & stressors? Happen. Not because anything “now” is wrong. But because things one were.
 
Triggers & stressors? Happen. Not because anything “now” is wrong. But because things one were.
Thank you for the warm welcome 😄

And thank you for this comment. It really hits home. I will explain to my spouse once they're home that they should not feel guilty about my triggers, but instead acknowledge with me that it's frustrating. Hopefully that'll prevent them from taking it personally when I have to take some distance from them after a trigger.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top