Relationship I think I triggered my wife’s PTSD

throwaway13

Learning
I’m pretty sure I triggered my wife’s ptsd a month ago. When we first starting getting serious 7 years ago she told me she suffered a trauma when she was a young adult and was diagnosed with ptsd. She said she was better but went to years of therapy.

Fast forward to June of this year. We are having a rough patch in our marriage. I’m pretty sure it’s due to several layers of stress in our lives that’s not being handled properly. We go to marriage counseling and I’m being portrayed as a monster. Even the therapist said something to my wife about that. I figure that the time to bring up her ptsd would be in front of a trained professional like a therapist. Big mistake, wife shuts down and now there’s a wall around her.

What’s my next steps to help us heal? Give her space? She is refusing to go back to marriage counseling.
 

throwaway13

Learning
This is a big issue for supporters, and it will make you question your own sanity.

A lot of times we’re the designated asshole in the relationship. We’re the target for lashing out. We have issues projected onto us. We get the blame for their dysregulation. We are the closest, easiest target. It’s easier to blame us than to work on their PTSD, so shit tends to roll downhill when they’re symptomatic and working through something.

One minute they love you, the next minute you’re a toxic, betraying motherf*cker who is out to ruin their life.

It sucks. This is where you have to learn to not take that shit personally. You know you aren’t toxic or that you aren’t trying to ruin their life etc. Do not take on the responsibility for doing something you aren’t doing. That’s just fueling the fire.

I think I just hit a zen space in my own head. I am at peace with my relationship and I love him madly, but if he leaves me because I refuse to be a target then so be it. I’m not spending my life like that.
You just exactly described what I’m going through! “Designated asshole”…. That’s what I feel like these days, lashing out for no apparent reason. We’d be having a normal conversation and she wouldn’t like my opinion and just lose her shit. One minute could be different from the next with her just like you’re describing. Love and hate within minutes. She described me as a pendulum to the therapist, but now that you have me thinking she is the pendulum.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
I know I’m not perfect, and I’m sure I have irritating habits and legitimate flaws, but I’m not a horrible person. Sometimes you to tell yourself that.

Own up to your actual issues and work on them, but don’t be a doormat to assuage your partner’s PTSD. Being a martyr isn’t romantic or loving. *That’s* unhealthy behavior.

Had she been symptomatic before the instance with the marriage counselor?
 

throwaway13

Learning
I know I’m not perfect, and I’m sure I have irritating habits and legitimate flaws, but I’m not a horrible person. Sometimes you to tell yourself that.

Own up to your actual issues and work on them, but don’t be a doormat to assuage your partner’s PTSD. Being a martyr isn’t romantic or loving. *That’s* unhealthy behavior.

Had she been symptomatic before the instance with the marriage counselor?
I want to say for the last 8 months she’s not been herself. And the tipping point was maybe 6 weeks ago when we had an argument. The marriage counselor incident put her over the top.

She went from let’s work on our marriage to I’m never living with you to I need to see change to getting a divorce lawyer to walking back talk of dissolution. Her logic makes no sense this past month. Even the marriage counselor said to give it some time it was only 2 sessions. And what I don’t understand is that she’s a school social worker so she knows therapy is going to take time.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
I would just let the storm blow itself out honestly. It’s all talk until she takes actual action.

That’s another thing that sucks about being a supporter. We’re just along for the ride. We have no control, which sucks when you share a life. It’s your life too. We make the choice to stay or leave, but that’s the extent of it.

That’s one thing that sufferers never understand. They’re wrapped up in their own survival and don’t see the bigger picture that we’ve built a life with them. Of course what happens with them concerns us too. That’s what a relationship is. It’s not two people doing their own damn thing in the same space. It’s a partnership.

It’s not “being needy” to worry about your home or life as you know it… your actual living situation, your finances, your children, etc. Of course losing your love is the biggest concern, but the whole “what am I going to do now” thing is a big factor too.

I’m telling you, every long term supporter here has had these same thoughts. You can love somebody but be very exhausted with this shit at the same time.
 

throwaway13

Learning
That’s one thing that sufferers never understand. They’re wrapped up in their own survival and don’t see the bigger picture that we’ve built a life with them. Of course what happens with them concerns us too. That’s what a relationship is. It’s not two people doing their own damn thing in the same space. It’s a partnership.
Right, so her survival brain takes charge and can’t see the big picture. Her thinking brain just shuts down and all she can perceive are threats. Which is why the marriage counselor was saying she’s portraying me as a monster. This makes so much sense now about what I’m going through. I just hope her individual therapist can see the big picture.
 

throwaway13

Learning
Got it, this is all so new to me. I knew she had ptsd in the past and now after 7 years it’s rearing it’s ugly head. I see the benefit in me continuing my individual therapy, and I’m being supportive every way I can so she can continue hers. I’m just wondering about her isolating now, it seems like there’s a very thick wall around her and I don’t know how long it will be up or what to do to get it down. She keeps on bringing up “trust” like she can’t trust me anymore. Like not trusting me because of infidelity which is not the case. It makes no sense for her to go on and on about trust issues right now
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
She keeps on bringing up “trust” like she can’t trust me anymore.

Yep… trust. That’s another self-preservation thing. They’ve been traumatized by other people, and they’re waiting for you to traumatize them too.

I’ve had mine “not trust me anymore” about 60 times. That seems to go along with the projection. It’d be different if I was maliciously betraying him.

It’s almost like predicting a trigger. You can’t. You’ll never know what they’ll consider a betrayal.

Getting irritated with him, not engaging in arguments, enforcing boundaries, going to work, choosing to go to a child’s sporting event instead of staying home to watch him wallow and ignore me… all things I’ve done that have made my partner “not trust me.”

Did you maliciously betray her? No. You were talking in marriage counseling, to a counselor, about an issue that is negatively impacting your marriage.
 

throwaway13

Learning
Yep… trust. That’s another self-preservation thing. They’ve been traumatized by other people, and they’re waiting for you to traumatize them too.

I’ve had mine “not trust me anymore” about 60 times. That seems to go along with the projection. It’d be different if I was maliciously betraying him.

It’s almost like predicting a trigger. You can’t. You’ll never know what they’ll consider a betrayal.

Getting irritated with him, not engaging in arguments, enforcing boundaries, going to work, choosing to go to a child’s sporting event instead of staying home to watch him wallow and ignore me… all things I’ve done that have made my partner “not trust me.”

Did you maliciously betray her? No. You were talking in marriage counseling, to a counselor, about an issue that is negatively impacting your marriage.
How long do these triggers usually take to blow over? Right now it seems like two steps forward one step back
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
Honestly, there is no telling how long it’s going to take. Everybody is different. You’ll start to notice your wife’s particular patterns over time, but she’ll deviate from those patterns too.

It’s a learning curve.
 

throwaway13

Learning
Honestly, there is no telling how long it’s going to take. Everybody is different. You’ll start to notice your wife’s particular patterns over time, but she’ll deviate from those patterns too.

It’s a learning curve.
Like I’ve had enough. I’m trying so hard to cope with her ptsd but the wall is so thick around her. She wants to divorce and be friends since she can’t trust me anymore. That’s not how it works and she can’t understand it. She isn’t thinking clearly and it shows. The day before she told me she wanted a divorce we went to my sister’s wedding. She was smiling, happy, laughing, wearing her wedding rings and engagement ring. Next day she leaves me a letter saying she wants a divorce because her trust is broken.
 
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