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
That the due diligence… but be prepared to be “controlling/abusive” for pointing out the obvious. Stay calm, and don’t escalate or engage during that conversation if she gets confrontational. You won’t be able to defend yourself or make her see things any other way than what she’s already decided in her own mind. Just tell her what you need to tell her and listen if she is communicating.

If she is able to have a conversation, fantastic. She may not escalate into lashing out behaviors, but I’d be prepared for that possibility. If she does, you don’t have to be a target just because she is symptomatic.

That’s a good boundary to set for yourself as a supporter. “I will not tolerate being a target for lashing out behaviors (yelling/name-calling/crazy-making bullshit). If he/she starts, I will remove myself from the situation until they are ready to speak like an adult.”
I had to remove myself from a conversation with her yesterday. She quit a well paying job with a school district to work for a nonprofit. Like took a 50% pay cut.

She was telling me her mother would watch the kids, and I suggested that a 75 year old probably isn’t the best option for child care. I simply stated that 3 kids are a lot for a 75 year old and there might be better options to look at. I said I was able to watch the children in the morning until about noon and then we could find a nanny to possibly help out her mother. She insisted that her mom can watch the kids alone. I told her that I’m their father, and the next option to watch the kids would be me. It’s my duty as a father to be there for my children. She didn’t agree and said that’s why she can’t trust me, because I don’t have the best interests of our children in mind. I excused myself from the conversation telling her I need a little bit of time to process what she’s saying. That I’m fully capable of providing for our children’s needs and wants and we can discuss later. Two hours later she texted me saying she didn’t mean to come off that way, and she knows I can handle the children.
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
I excused myself from the conversation telling her I need a little bit of time to process what she’s saying. That I’m fully capable of providing for our children’s needs and wants and we can discuss later. Two hours later she texted me saying she didn’t mean to come off that way, and she knows I can handle the children.
yep.
Been here

We had to learn time outs because I would blow up at hubby because of whatever random nightmare was bouncing around in my head, then after I calmed down I could say ..."oops - sorry bout that" when I was finally in control enough to realize that A+B doesn't equal the smell of purple.

What I needed from him was to understand that I was fighting two things at once...
One was him over whatever we were arguing about
The other was my own brain dissolving into some kind of drama that I didn't understand.

And to not continue to engage with me until I was calmed down.

And what he needed from me was to learn when I was triggered so that I didn't make things worse.

Both of things were a long process. (ok, still is. But Im better at it!)

I think the hardest part to explain is the sheer panic that comes when that button gets hit. It's going to be different for everyone, but once that alarm goes off for me it's buh bye rational thought and hello escape plan

It's about the ptsd brain short circuiting - no matter what conversation is happening with whoever.
 

anthony

Founder
She didn’t agree and said that’s why she can’t trust me, because I don’t have the best interests of our children in mind.
That is PTSD. You thought it was about telling a therapist in a private session about her PTSD. She is in meltdown. Nothing you say or do will change anything. She will use any excuse, tell you anything she wants, confusing things, to not be having a conversation with you at all.

Therapists are a guide, do what you believe is in the best interest of you and your children. If you find she is unfit to care for them, ie. dump them on a 75 year old as full time help, then seek any intervention you believe is required. Whether that be to remove the kids from her to limit the damage, or just get her to wakeup and be a little rational about things, do what is best for you and your kids. Trust me on this.
 

throwaway13

Learning
I had to remove myself from a conversation with her yesterday. She quit a well paying job with a school district to work for a nonprofit. Like took a 50% pay cut.

She was telling me her mother would watch the kids, and I suggested that a 75 year old probably isn’t the best option for child care. I simply stated that 3 kids are a lot for a 75 year old and there might be better options to look at. I said I was able to watch the children in the morning until about noon and then we could find a nanny to possibly help out her mother. She insisted that her mom can watch the kids alone. I told her that I’m their father, and the next option to watch the kids would be me. It’s my duty as a father to be there for my children. She didn’t agree and said that’s why she can’t trust me, because I don’t have the best interests of our children in mind. I excused myself from the conversation telling her I need a little bit of time to process what she’s saying. That I’m fully capable of providing for our children’s needs and wants and we can discuss later. Two hours later she texted me saying she didn’t mean to come off that way, and she knows I can handle the children.
I was offering
That is PTSD. You thought it was about telling a therapist in a private session about her PTSD. She is in meltdown. Nothing you say or do will change anything. She will use any excuse, tell you anything she wants, confusing things, to not be having a conversation with you at all.

Therapists are a guide, do what you believe is in the best interest of you and your children. If you find she is unfit to care for them, ie. dump them on a 75 year old as full time help, then seek any intervention you believe is required. Whether that be to remove the kids from her to limit the damage, or just get her to wakeup and be a little rational about things, do what is best for you and your kids. Trust me on this
How do I try to get her to wake up? I saw the marriage therapist today and he suggested to ask her if she’s getting the help she needs. He said I’ve got nothing to lose is she’s triggered again considering my situation.
 

anthony

Founder
How do I try to get her to wake up? I saw the marriage therapist today and he suggested to ask her if she’s getting the help she needs. He said I’ve got nothing to lose is she’s triggered again considering my situation.
You can't do anything to help her. Only she can help herself. Unfortunately with PTSD, that can take years and even never.

Your therapist is bang on, you have nothing to lose any longer in upsetting her. She is off and running now with PTSD symptoms, triggers have nothing to do with anything now, symptoms are present and running her. Nothing you do or say is going to change this, not do or not say. You have nothing to do with her symptoms now.

You have to take care of you and your kids as you see fit, she is no longer a rational human being and PTSD is running her.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
Have you met with your attorney yet? This is a matter for your separation agreement. You have a say in the daycare situation. She doesn’t have custody established, so right now you both have the exact same rights.

Don’t be afraid to seek custody if you think she is unstable. There are probably a lot of people on the other side of this forum who grew up with unstable and unchecked parents.

Kiddos come before her feelings.
 

throwaway13

Learning
Have you met with your attorney yet? This is a matter for your separation agreement. You have a say in the daycare situation. She doesn’t have custody established, so right now you both have the exact same rights.

Don’t be afraid to seek custody if you think she is unstable. There are probably a lot of people on the other side of this forum who grew up with unstable and unchecked parents.

Kiddos come before her feelings.
Yes, met with the attorney today. She said to not bother with the separation agreement if she already has a divorce lawyer. Anything unilateral decisions she makes with the kids is just more ammunition for my case.
 

throwaway13

Learning
Just wanted to give an update. This morning when I went over to my in-law’s to take the twins out for a walk I had a few moments alone with my wife. I told her we needed to talk about what happened yesterday.

I told her that she may be fearful of me and I accept that. But she cannot be fearful of me with my children. That if someone needs to watch our children and I’m available than it’s going to be me. I’m their father, I’m their for the children, and they need to know that I’m there for them.

Honestly I was expecting her to lose her shit. No, that didn’t happen. She had the most somber look on her face and was teary eyed. She apologized for what she said yesterday and told me that she knows I’m always there for the kids. Could this be the start or her realizing what’s going on in her mind?
 

throwaway13

Learning
Nope. Just a moment of clarity because you stood up to her with facts. She had nowhere to go with that. It was about you and the kids, not you and her. Stick to focusing on you and the kids.
My next conversation with her is going to be about me bringing up the ptsd is marriage counseling. Marriage counseling is for both parties, and the only reason I brought it up was because it’s affecting our marriage. I didn’t do it to blame or embarrass her just that I feel it needs to be addressed. I’m banking on her losing her shit after that talk, but honestly I thought she was going to lose it this morning.
 
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