Relationship need perspective/reality check in C/PTSD marriage

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Sweetpea76

Moderator
Exactly... PTSD makes her symptomatic. How she copes or reacts to those symptoms is a different story. It’s not a license to lash out or spread the misery around.

A common question here in the supporter section is “PTSD or Ass”? People want to know if their partner’s PTSD is making them mean or abusive, or if it makes them promiscuous/cheat, lie, abuse substances, etc. The simple answer is no. PTSD may make somebody feel self destructive or worthless, or give them flight/fight/fawn, triggers and stress, and so forth. The behaviors people are asking about, however, are bad coping mechanisms or reactions to those symptoms and not symptoms themselves. For example, PTSD isn’t going to make somebody violent if they weren’t violent in the first place. It may make them feel rage, but somebody can feel rage and not resort to violence.

So PTSD or ass? Sometimes asses get PTSD. Sometimes otherwise good people need to realize they’re being asses and work on that. The real asses don’t care. There is still personal accountability for behavior.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
I am convinced she will not allow assessment, and if forced will just lie through it, she knows all the tests, she has both psychology and social worker degrees. She stated that she is more functional than I am. As I am the only one who sees this behaviour, no one will believe me
You might be surprised by how poorly psych professionals do when it comes to tricking the assessment.

I'm sorry, it all sounds like a very difficult situation. How would she feel about a try at relationship counseling?

It sounds like she has moments of lucidity - contemplating medication to help her manage excessive anxiety, for example - but that the majority of the time she's existing in an aggravated defensive state, which could be caused by a number of different kinds of issues, mental and physical.

If you're wanting to stick it out, at least for a bit, I'd strongly encourage you to get yourself into counseling, so you can have that help with developing communication strategies and your own boundaries.

Think of it as putting on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. One of the two of you needs to maintain a clear head, and it does not sound like it's going to be her, at least, not right now.
 

ms spock

Sponsor
@burnedout out this sounds like an emotional hostage situation. You are already bravely reaching out here. That's a great start.

I would suggest that you need to get therapeutic support immediately. Perhaps start off with style phone support? Is there some type of outpatient support that you can get? Even getting a midwife, or antenatal support?

Being cut off from work and your friends is a form of control that is part of Domestic Violence. Are there Domestic Violence hotlines or support services available to you?

You have given up your job to meet her emotional needs? This is total craziness! You can't see friends? This is controlling & abusive.

Having to be there at all times doing exactly what she wants at exactly the right time her right way, which is variable it's totally unacceptable.

Your partner may need to go into a trauma inpatient centre. You can't be there 24/7 for her.

As a sufferer who struggles really hard every day I sympathise with your partner. I really do. I am barely getting through the day at the moment but my partner, whilst supportive, is not responsible for me. I attend a psychiatrist and invest a lot of time in gaining skills, practising skills, doing exercise, CBT, DBT, Mindfulness, and I do monitor the impact of my PTSD on my partner.

There is a book called 'The Emotionally Abusive Relationship' by Patricia Evans. It helps to become of the mind games and the gaslighting.

If my PTSD impacts on my partner I make amends. I work on my issues.
 
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burnedout

New Here
@burnedout out this sounds like an emotional hostage situation. You are already bravely reaching out here. That's a great start.

I would suggest that you need to get therapeutic support immediately. Perhaps start off with style phone support? Is there some type of outpatient support that you can get? Even getting a midwife, or antenatal support?

Being cut off from work and your friends is a form of control that is part of Domestic Violence. Are there Domestic Violence hotlines or support services available to you?

You have given up your job to meet her emotional needs? This is total craziness! You can't see friends? This is controlling & abusive.

Having to be there at all times doing exactly what she wants at exactly the right time her right way, which is variable it's totally unacceptable.

Your partner may need to go into a trauma inpatient centre. You can't be there 24/7 for her.

As a sufferer who struggles really hard every day I sympathise with your partner. I really do. I am barely getting through the day at the moment but my partner, whilst supportive, is not responsible for me. I attend a psychiatrist and invest a lot of time in gaining skills, practising skills, doing exercise, CBT, DBT, Mindfulness, and I do monitor the impact of my PTSD on my partner.

There is a book called 'The Emotionally Abusive Relationship' by Patricia Evans. It helps to become of the mind games and the gaslighting.


Thank you.
I keep catching myself, thinking am I really just blowing my own insecurities and difficulties with boundaries out of proportion. To actually think she's this controlling, and as I believe, in total denial of it - unable to see it. It's almost fantasy to me. She won't listen to me if I try to advise her on any sort of treatment strategies for anything, it's an immediate threat. I definitely believe the inpatient path may be necessary, but for her it means the end of a possibly normal life due to stigma and feared loss of ability to practice counseling. Her whole self image is wrapped up in helping others to not go through what she did with an ineffectual system.
Just yesterday she approached me asking if "she could offer an explanation for my problems when she has a meltdown", being that I have a Brief Psychotic Episode. I wasn't interested in a fight so I refrained from answering that maybe so but in response to your behaviour. I'm so reluctant to start any process as it could spiral out control so fast, and I could so easily lose my daughter to her. I'm not worried about her burning me with friends etc., that seems minor to me. My first move I think should be local legal aid advice.

Thank you everyone here, so far this is the only place I can discuss this with any sense of freedom. I realise this may not be strictly a case of PTSD, so I'm extra grateful for the support.
 

Sideways

Moderator
I haven't chimed in previously.

There's a lot of speculation going on here. She may have C/ptsd. Therapist or not? History of trauma or not? That's pure guesswork. She can't self-diagnose. You can't diagnose her either. And no one here has even spoken to her!

She's a matter of months post-giving birth. So there's a big possibility of post partum mental health issues going on. Incredibly common, doesn't always present as depression. And there's excellent treatment available for many of those. May not require hospitalisation.

The upshot of that? Is speculation and assumptions about what's going on for her, or what treatment will be required? Doesn't help anyone. Tbh, what I'm seeing here is a whole heap of hysteria building up in a forum where your audience is people who come with inherent bias. We are either sufferers of ptsd, or we're people who have found that supporting someone with ptsd is difficult enough that they've sought out peer support.

But...you don't even know if she has a mental illness (as opposed to a whole range of potential other health issues that present like mental illness), or if so, what that mental illness is.

Please don't take this the wrong way, but for me, the only person here who's behaviour we can actually influence is yours (because she's not participating in this conversation). You've referred to co-dependency issues, and 10 hour talk-fests - either you were contributing to that going on for 10 hours, or you elected to listen for 10 straight hours.

Either way, let's work with that, yeah? 10 hours talking it out hasn't seemed to have helped either of you. And if you're worried that there's codependency issues going on, then absolutely you could work with a professional to make this a much healthier relationship.

You're right that getting CPS involved is a nasty outcome. But the status quo sounds pretty unsustainable, and definitely it's going to have a negative impact on your child growing up. Bub can't talk yet, but is already having their brain development influenced by what's going on with parents. And bub deserves better, right?

So, what can you do? As alternatives?
You're living in your house, yeah? Even if it's just the 2 of you, that doesn't stop you leaving with bub, perhaps staying with friends/family for a while to give the relationship time out.
You could go to your doctor and talk about getting a referral to a specialist to help you.
The reference to you (her?) having psychotic episodes - is that based in reality? Having you experienced periods of psychosis? Loads of medication options available to get that treated. And bub needs that to be addressed pronto.
Do you have any parent support groups in your area? That would potentially inject some external support from people who understand the pressure of being a new parent. Often your local doctor is a great place to get a referral to those, and sometimes they're available from local hospitals. Home nursing visits etc. Get some outside support into the home.
Is childcare available? That would give both of you time out.
She's currently on maternity leave. If work was a stabilising factor for her, perhaps talk about that. Maybe you could take parental leave and she could return to work?

What I'm getting at, is getting hysterical about this? Not helpful.

If the situation is abusive? Stop and get your child out. Pack a bag today, and go somewhere else. Because you have an obligation to keep that child safe, and failing to do that is neglect, which is abuse.

If there isn't abuse, look at your options, and get some support for you.

If you have conversations about getting support for her, or maybe even her returning to work? Remove all the guessing about whether she has complex ptsd and what kind of treatment that would require. Speculating on what health issues she may have going on gets you nowhere.

Because she hasn't been diagnosed by someone qualified to do that. So for her? All that her health requires at this point? Is going to a doctor. That's the first step. Her life doesn't need to be this hard.

If she's currently being knocked about by an utterly treatable post partum mental illness, all that requires is a visit to a doctor to get treatment in motion. Delaying that because of worry about 'what if she has illness X, and illness X requires hospitalisation, and, and, and'...not helpful!

Most people who are diagnosed with a mental illness don't require hospitalisation (like, by an overwhelming majority). And unless she's an imminent danger to herself or others, hospitalisation is extremely unlikely to be the first step a doctor would take.

Take a breath, and then start doing. Do what you can, to get qualified, appropriate support. Get help figuring out what you need, then get that help.

Most likely? That may start by packing a bag and going to stay with a friend. But it definitely includes visiting a doctor, to talk about your situation and what support you need to make meaningful change.

The 2 of you don't need to do this alone. There's loads of support options for new parents. There's loads of support options if one of you has a mental illness. It doesn't need to be this hard. Asking for help? Isn't a betrayal. It's the first step in improving life for all 3 of you.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
@Sideways I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but I don’t think anybody is being hysterical. While we’re sympathetic to the OP’s wife, in this area we’re here to support the supporter first... and he’s in a tough situation. OP has already stated he sought help and medication for his anxiety issues, and he acknowledges his codependency. The problem lies in that his wife is a counselor herself and refuses to seek any help whatsoever. She “treats” herself, and she is using her training to gaslight and manipulate him in a very skilled way. She also threatened to take his child and run.

Whatever her issues may be, with her refusing any treatment and not acknowledging her toxic behavior, he needs to worry about his baby and his own mental well being at this point. It may sound horrible or cold, but that’s the reality of being a supporter. We cannot make our partners get treatment, take medications, seek medical attention, or work on their issues. Sometimes all we can do is watch helplessly why they spiral down, doing what we can to protect our families and our own mental health in the process.
 

Sideways

Moderator
@Sweetpea76 - I see what you're saying, and absolutely I could be reading this wrong.

But reading the OP's posts, seperately to the replies:
- the OP saying they've had fights lasting up to 10 hours has been reframed as 'she's going off at the OP for up to 10 hours', which are 2 very different scenarios;
- the OP needing a new job to work more effectively with now being a parent, got turned into a 'domestic violence' situation where she is isolating the OP from their supports (needing a new job isn't DV, and the couple are living with the OP's father, so, saying she's isolating the OP sounds like a bit of a stretch - it isn't even clear that the OP needing a new job was her idea, and the OP's difficulty starting a new job due to 'red tape' doesn't exactly sound like her doing);
- her getting EMDR once a month has been translated as "she's refusing treatment" (my sister is on a disability pension, and she doesn't see her T as often as that, so it's not unheard of for treatment to be that far apart; especially when there's financial pressure like there is in this situation).

There's a reference to the her suggesting the OP has had a brief psychotic episode, but it isn't clear whether that's her gaslighting, or whether the OP is acknowledging that they've had a psychotic episode.

So, like I said, if this is, in fact, an abusive situation? Then the bub's needs come first, and that likely means getting the hell outta there, and dealing with formalities later.

But, if it's not, then the suggestions like getting out could save your life, and not having a job means this is a domestic violence situation? Seem to me to be a little extreme.

I definitely think that the OP should get more support. More medical support, more counselling support, and more assistance with being a new parent and looking after bub. Potentially also some assistance getting new employment happening for one of them may be in order.

The OP's partner sounds like she could do with more support. But while she may be resisting the OP diagnosing her (not unreasonable - I'd be resistant to that too, especially if I was working with a therapist already), it's a case of increasing her existing support, rather than persuading her to get support in the face of her refusal to get support (because if she's having EMDR, she hasn't refused to get support).
 

LuckiLee

MyPTSD Pro
I have to agree with Sweetpea76. I'm fairly certain this isn't ppd. Her behavior and manipulation started before the pregnancy and the marriage.

This relationship has made you suicidal and your mental health needs attention. She's isolated you from everything. This isn't a healthy loving relationship. You and your child need to be your priority right now.

You're in a very tough spot @burnedout. I would seek legal advice as soon as possible and start planning an exit strategy. I think she will make this very difficult for you so you need to get your ducks in a row and document all that you can. Your therapist might be able to help you with this too.

What scares me the most is she is a therapist!! Wth is she doing to her patients?? It's awful to think about. I feel she should be reported to the medical board. Maybe that's just me but she could be causing horrible damage to her patients. It's frightening.

Good luck and keep us posted. Whatever you decide to do it will be incredibly difficult. Do you have any IRL support?
 

burnedout

New Here
Hi All,
I appreciate all the perspectives going on here. Yes, @Sideways I have used different words to reference the fights/freakouts. Any of them lasting more than 4 hours (or 1 hour for that matter) involved getting to a point where I've felt so attacked that I either freeze outright or try to defend myself and then freeze after things escalate more. I don't let them go on as long anymore (the last year or so), I've learned coping strategies to control myself, and things to avoid to keep escalation from occurring.
As to her affect on her patients @LuckiLee , this behaviour is reserved for her intimate relationships apparently. To the rest of the world she is in complete control. I've seen it, been on the other side, was friends with her for 15 years before we got together (and heard about all the drama and freakouts "caused" by her previous husband - admittedly not a very sensitive guy, but very good at setting boundaries which I think (in retrospect) made things more frustrating/explosive for her), and I see it still in how she deals with her friends.
I really appreciate the support, advice, and validation.
 
Something feels off here to me. I think Sweetpea is on the money from my POV. What concerns me most is that she seems to be blaming her outburst of awful behaviour on her self-diagnosed C-PTSD without apologising for it.

I know that when I'm triggered I can be a bit verbally aggressive to people to get them away from me to give me space, but I also am very aware of my actions and what I say. It's not like I black out during these episodes. I feel miserable afterwards because I can see how the things I say may be completely unfair. That fact that she doesn't apologise makes me think the self-diagnosis is more excuse than genuine reasoning.
 

Deanna

MyPTSD Pro
Something feels off here to me. I think Sweetpea is on the money from my POV. What concerns me most is that she seems to be blaming her outburst of awful behaviour on her self-diagnosed C-PTSD without apologising for it.

I know that when I'm triggered I can be a bit verbally aggressive to people to get them away from me to give me space, but I also am very aware of my actions and what I say. It's not like I black out during these episodes. I feel miserable afterwards because I can see how the things I say may be completely unfair. That fact that she doesn't apologise makes me think the self-diagnosis is more excuse than genuine reasoning.
I have angry out burts without medication. Yell and tell someone they are piece of sh#t or a pain in the a%s. Usually someone new that walks into my life. I also hate people so this agitates everyting. I have to have medication and no, I'm not BPD, i'm PTSD.
 
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