Relationship Need support-spouse of PTSD sufferer

BrokenHeat

New Here
@Sweetpea76
what do I do if he wants to go???

I feel like he is waiting for me to tell him to go. He told me about 5 weeks ago while we were trying to sort some stuff out. That he had been waiting for me to tell him to leave. but we both knew that was scary and we can’t afford it. But now I feel like he wants to go but feels too guilty to say it.
I know, I know I need to calm down. But can’t help but wonder if that will be helpful for him if I give him permission to go?!!
Thanks again
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
Nothing screws with your own sanity like your partner’s mental health crises.

Just because he is in this state it doesn’t mean the relationship is over. It means he cannot make it a focus... meanwhile it’s *all* you can focus on because your whole sense of security just blew out the window. It’s rough.

You ramping up is going to ramp him up even more. He’s going to feed off your stress. That’s why I keep emphasizing to step back and breathe.

As long as he hasn’t said he wants to go, I wouldn’t tell him it’s OK to go, talk about breaking up, or give him any kind of permission to leave. He doesn’t need permission if he wants to leave. As cold as it sounds I don’t take a lot of what my partner says to heart unless he is calm when he says it, or unless he seriously starts to act on it. He has said a lot of stuff when he’s wound up - like he’s going to sell the house and move off grid by himself. He’s going to buy a homestead and milk cows etc. He needs to go be alone forever. He’s gonna blah blah blah. I always listen, but I’ve learned not to panic. Nine times out of ten when he’s symptomatic and talking like that he’s talking a lot of shit. If he put the house on the market or started buying cows then I would panic. If I were you I wouldn’t worry about him leaving until he says “I’m leaving” and starts packing a bag.

He seems unhappy because he is unhappy. It’s not you, it’s not the marriage. He’d be unhappy anywhere. Facing treatment for trauma is ROUGH. It’s not like other therapies where you feel better after starting. Everything goes to hell at first because they’re digging up a lot of buried stuff. He may project. He may blame or lash out. He may even run... but it isn’t you. The worst thing you can do is ramp up when he comes at you with that malarkey.

What will probably help you both is backing off relationship talks, stop asking if he’s leaving, and stop worrying if he still loves you. He’s still there, and the easiest thing for him would have been to leave. Staying is a good sign.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
You’re swimming with your husband out in a river. He gets sucked out into the middle with the fierce rapids and fast current. He swimming as hard as he can, going under, fighting to survive. You’re in the shallows dog paddling around yelling for him to join you.
I like the analogy, it must help people understand it all better.

Another angle on it from a seasoned river paddler (for real, I have had boats since the days you had to mail order a good kayak and shipping it cost more than a wal mart kayak does today):
people caught in rapids don't generally die from the rapids. They die being frantic, unprepaired and having no experience.

I know that if I am in cold water I will probably be hypothermic in seconds, minutes if I am lucky, but for the sake of the analogy lets assume it is August and I am well below the frost line. If you get thrown out in a rapids, knowledge and a life jacket will save you. try to spin so you can see where you are headed, try to keep your feet out in front of you to protect you from impacts, and above all-don't swim as hard as you can the second you hit the water! go with the current until you see a way out and then swim for it. Don't grab at branches that stick out into the river, we call those sweepers and bodies get collected in them. Dont try to clutch a rock and get beat up on the rock, you can do this without looking like you have been bouncing around in the back of a cement truck. Just go with the flow, and you will be spit out onto a beach if you are lucky, or be able to easily swim to one after waiting the few minutes in which you could have been grasping at straws and fighting an unfightable force until you are beaten.

It would be nice if my boating friends had meanwhile been running down the shoreline and threw me a rope to pull me into a nice sandy beach with a fire going and drinks on their way. this is where a supporter comes back into the analogy.

A good friend isn't hanging out in the shallows and yelling for me to swim, dammit, we love you , swim! A good friend is running down the shoreline keeping me in sight and ready to accept me back on solid ground in good time.
 

Freida

Sponsor
From the sufferer and used-to-be-a- dispatcher side?
He's a cop with ptsd.
That's a bad thing.
A really bad thing
Because having ptsd can devalue him as a cop -- in his eyes and the eyes of those around him

Unless he is in a seriously progressive agency, ptsd in public safety is often seen as the ultimate in weakness. It means you are broken, you can't handle the job, you are weak, pathetic, blah blah blah. Not being affected by what you see and do is often considered a badge of honor. The culture is changing, but it's a slow process

here have been 3 child welfare calls that he identifies as sticking with him and causing him concern. 2/3 children involved ended up dying.
Hopefully @Warrior Chicken or a couple other first responders will weigh in on this but ya, kid calls are the worst. There is no way you can prepare for them and nothing anyone can teach you about how to cope afterwards. You are expected to just suck it up and go to the next call. Some agencies have trauma teams that will work with you, but most don't. So you go home, get drunk, and try to forget.
an
You shut it down
You pretend you are ok
You use the job to distract yourself -- and you keep doing the same thing that gave you ptsd in the first place
Basically you end up with ptsd from your ptsd!

Now add the people who love you and want to help.
Nope. Nope. Nope.
That just adds pressure because it means you have to keep pretending you are ok because you don't want them to see you as a failure.

The problem is you can only hide it for so long - and the harder it gets the more numb you become. Until the easiest thing is to just bail.

I don’t take a lot of what my partner says to heart unless he is calm when he says it, or unless he seriously starts to act on it. He has said a lot of stuff when he’s wound up - like he’s going to sell the house and move off grid by himself. He’s going to buy a homestead and milk cows etc. He needs to go be alone forever. He’s gonna blah blah blah
Yep
My goto was to take off. Antarctica was usually first on the list, but I'd take Europe or Canada. Or maybe just drive till I run out of gas and then stay there. Hubby would smile and nod and say 'ok hunny" and ride it out. Did he think I was serious? Sometimes. But he knew there was nothing he could do until I got myself back to reality. Eventually we worked out the Rules of Running--things like I had to tell him I was going, where I was going and how long I thought I would be gone.


What will probably help you both is backing off relationship talks, stop asking if he’s leaving, and stop worrying if he still loves you. He’s still there, and the easiest thing for him would have been to leave. Staying is a good sign.
this! this!!! this!!!!
So much this

I have learned a tremendous amount from the long term supporters on this site. The biggest surprise? That my taking off negativly affected my supporters. Seriously - I didn't have a clue. I honestly thought (and still do sometimes) that I was helping them by leaving. It took a while for @Sweetpea76 and @LuckiLee to get me to see I was actually doing more harm than good.

Meanwhile homeboy is 100% focused on keeping his head above water. He can’t pay attention to you because he’s fighting to come out of the current alive. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you... it means he’s trying not to drown.
Yep

There are some really good websites out there that might help him see it's ok to have ptsd and how other LE and first responders are dealing with it. These are two of the best....

Copline It's by retired cops - so it's people who get it

Maybe it will help?
 

BrokenHeat

New Here
From the sufferer and used-to-be-a- dispatcher side?
He's a cop with ptsd.
That's a bad thing.
A really bad thing
Because having ptsd can devalue him as a cop -- in his eyes and the eyes of those around him

Unless he is in a seriously progressive agency, ptsd in public safety is often seen as the ultimate in weakness. It means you are broken, you can't handle the job, you are weak, pathetic, blah blah blah. Not being affected by what you see and do is often considered a badge of honor. The culture is changing, but it's a slow process


Hopefully @Warrior Chicken or a couple other first responders will weigh in on this but ya, kid calls are the worst. There is no way you can prepare for them and nothing anyone can teach you about how to cope afterwards. You are expected to just suck it up and go to the next call. Some agencies have trauma teams that will work with you, but most don't. So you go home, get drunk, and try to forget.
an
You shut it down
You pretend you are ok
You use the job to distract yourself -- and you keep doing the same thing that gave you ptsd in the first place
Basically you end up with ptsd from your ptsd!

Now add the people who love you and want to help.
Nope. Nope. Nope.
That just adds pressure because it means you have to keep pretending you are ok because you don't want them to see you as a failure.

The problem is you can only hide it for so long - and the harder it gets the more numb you become. Until the easiest thing is to just bail.


Yep
My goto was to take off. Antarctica was usually first on the list, but I'd take Europe or Canada. Or maybe just drive till I run out of gas and then stay there. Hubby would smile and nod and say 'ok hunny" and ride it out. Did he think I was serious? Sometimes. But he knew there was nothing he could do until I got myself back to reality. Eventually we worked out the Rules of Running--things like I had to tell him I was going, where I was going and how long I thought I would be gone.



this! this!!! this!!!!
So much this

I have learned a tremendous amount from the long term supporters on this site. The biggest surprise? That my taking off negativly affected my supporters. Seriously - I didn't have a clue. I honestly thought (and still do sometimes) that I was helping them by leaving. It took a while for @Sweetpea76 and @LuckiLee to get me to see I was actually doing more harm than good.


Yep

There are some really good websites out there that might help him see it's ok to have ptsd and how other LE and first responders are dealing with it. These are two of the best....

Copline It's by retired cops - so it's people who get it

Maybe it will help?

@Freida
Thank you-you all have been such an amazing support to me!!
One question; I’m from Canada and I have seen the term “LE” profession twice now in these posts. What does that stand for? I assume it means first responder type work. Just curious!
 
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