Relationship Please, can someone who has dealt with being married to a rape victim help me?

enough

MyPTSD Pro
I have to state upfront that I am a victim posting in the supporter's section because that's where I think I will get the answers to my questions.

I know I am pretty much limited in how I can help my wife, that she has to heal alone and I can at best be supportive of her and patient with her. At least that's how I see it, that's what I have been told before.

But it has been 5 years, and i am living with a stranger in many ways. We are getting older and there isn't much time left for either of us. Covid has stolen some of that.

She has been seeing a counselor but from all i have heard and seen, her caregiver is not much help, more of a paid friend to share her misery with. The ONLY push I give her is to try another source, just to explore the help available to her.

Things are accelerating due to our ages and her health deterioration, we don't get many more years and these could be great years, it is hard to just patiently support her.

I feel guilty for even hearing my counselor tell me "you can't change her, just you, divorce, pay alimony, and live whats left of your life the best you can in the situation you find yourself in". It tears me apart to even listen to that and then go back the next week and hear it again. But that really is my only way to actively change the situation, isn't it? Every other course of action is a strictly adhered to lack of action. Patience, support, all of the rest of our lives if it never changes, and we are running out of time for changes.

Anything, any advice, any stories of success, any coping strategies, anything. Maybe I have insight because I know PTSD from the inside, maybe it clouds my vision, like I know my healing is only done by me (with counseling) so i assume that it is all up to her and I have to take the back seat and wait for it. That my only allowed intrusion into her trauma is to suggest getting better counseling. Thanks for even reading this far, and thanks to anyone that will take the time to respond.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
that ship sailed away when we had a family together and I was going to be the parent I wish I had
Not on the supporter side, but I was in a codependent marriage with children and extended family and a mortgage. I thought my only way out was death (of me or both of my abusers.). Turns out that the captivity (ship leaving me on an island) was self induced.
we all need to "take care of our own mental health and decide how much you can realistically handle".
Sometimes saying “we all need” when someone says, “you need” is a way to deflect from your own needs.
my efforts to enforce boundaries are just being seen as being too controlling.
Sounds like a dismissal of your autonomy and agency as a person.
Too late for boundaries, unless the reality is that I will leave
Sounds like you see a fork in the road: live without boundaries or leave.
in another reality, the boundary is truly an act of kindness for a prerson that knows no bounds
In this reality it is. That’s a powerful thing to realize.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
@OliveJewel
That name of yours makes me think emeralds? the tree makes me think fine olive oil in a clear bottle?
I wil address the points you raised in order:

first, again, thanks.

You are of course correct, I am making this a prison for myself, and derscribed in that way it sounds like something it is not. That ship that sailed was wished bon voyage when it left, the ability to decide to give up and go is just as real now as it was when the ship sailed. Farther from my mind at the time for sure, but just as real a possibility as ever. I choose to try to make this work. Absolutely a choice.

We do all need to take care of ourselves, and I do include myself in that group. I make my needs as basic as possible, the minimum enough is still by default enough. I am Ok and should be that way whether I am speaking of me or we, it's going to be alright. But thanks for the concern.

And I was wrong, there is no need for an ultimatum for the boundary to be made clear, and I don't have to have every boundary respected to keep me from
bolting. That's BS and I should have heard it when I said it. How many boundaries do I respect without the sword of total cut and run hanging over my head? and how many do I cross once in awhile without any harm? As in all things, respect for boundaries is on a spectrum, there are some you don't cross because the result would be swift and severe and others we can fudge once in a while with just our conscious to keep us in line. More on that later

If there is a fork in the road, I have chosen my path. That's not to say I don't look off the trail into the wilderness once in a while and get tempted to say screw it to the whole trail system but thats not me and I know where my forks lead me without thinking about it too much.

and finally, yes. Boundaries are a gift to those about to trespass.

My one and only crime ever was criminal trespassing. I had entered the property the same way I always had and the new owners (the Mormon church) didn't know that way in so when they put up dozens of no trespassing signs I was on the inside looking out and thinking " it must be election time, look at all the new signage". The cop walking down the trail was a new thing, so I rode my bike right over to him to see what he wanted. What he wanted was a criminal trespass arrest and he got it, released on my own recog at 16 yrs. old. Evidently I didn't warrant the courtesy of a clear boundary. It would have been a gift even though I was losing acres of great riding trails, pretty valuable.

This is all going to be about me and my patience, probably from here on in. I am wondering if the same coping skills I have learned for surviving some pretty awful stuff are not being applied here, because I don't think being able to face a mutiple injury MVA is anything like being able to face a marriage that I wasn't really signed up for. It is the same "do the job in front of you" that will get me from here to there. I think we all expect our marriages to be a prettty level give and take, a balanced sheet. But that isn't the reality for anybody and I have to face that maybe in the end, she has been my supporter a lot longer than she has been my sufferer, things may be closer to even than I want to admit.

I wish she would get better help. thats what I came in here with, that may be what I go with too.
 

Friday

Moderator
We do all need to take care of ourselves, and I do include myself in that group. I make my needs as basic as possible, the minimum enough is still by default enough
So that’s one of the things that changes when it’s not just dealing with my own PTSD, but someone else’s.

The minimum ISNT enough. Not by a long shot.

Very similar to how the minimum amount of sleep? Or being functionally buzzed/drunk? Is fine in your personal life. But would you have still gone to work that way, unless it was an emergency? The ROE change, when it’s other people’s lives in your care, in addition to your own.

Dealing with someone else’s trauma/PTSD is a helluva lot like dealing with a toddler. Most of the time they’re lovely. But there will be days (and months) where you want to put your head through a brick wall, where you’re crying-exhausted, where you just need a few minutes of peace to not lose your ever loving mind… and where continuing to act/live your life as if you didn’t have an emotionally volatile black hole level energy suck in your life? Is. Just. Plain. Stupid.

So, in order to not be a dribbling moron of a parent? An infuriated, exhausted, burnt out shell of a partner? …IME… You’ve gotta get smart, and proactive, and build in a lot of support for yourself. The whole “put your own oxygen mask on first” thing. With time away, and boundaries you can bounce a quarter on, and fall-back options, and, and, and, and (anything/everything you can think of.) Or you quite simply will not only not have enough …anything (patience, time, love, energy, excitement, passion, purpose, calm, strength)… for anyone. You or them. Cue nuclear meltdown. Even for people without stress-reactive-disorders. The toddler years, and loving someone with PTSD? Are brutal motherf*ckers, for anyone. Add in a stress-reactive-disorder (your own PTSD)? <low whistle>

It’s a radically different ballgame, with totally different trials/troubles/problems to find solutions for …having PTSD versus supporting someone else (without ending things, or going mad).

You’re smart. So you’ll figure out how to best f*ck the minimum. As long as you can really wrap your head around the different requirements between sufferer/supporter. My money is on “yes”.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
I have my stuff. I am a new owner of a life long want/need tractor to make maintaining this place easier, at least able to walk at the end of the day easier. I own a bucket list guitar that makes MY arm hair stand up (whats that CALLED? gotta be a word for it!). I get out on road trips although lately thats been all about retrieving craigslist attachments for the tractor involving miles with a 22' trailer and hours of near white knuckle, not what most would call a road trip but it is probably good for me, exposure therapy for my biggest triggers (traffic makes me want to just stop and build a cabin somewhere). Going Tp Put The Boat In The Water This Year. Thats going to happen.
I get enough to go on, but I have to expect less than I thought this marriage would be, especially now. Enough sleep, enough sanity, enough enough enough.

aaaand, this week she gets a probe into her hip looking for possible infection lurking, she got a blood test today looking for white cell counts and bugs, aaaand then, she gets a new hip to replace the one that was taken out a year ago because she smoked while recuperating and lost the battle with the ever present bacteria we all carry around and our bodies take care of best they can.
This could be a better outlook on life in the making, mobility will do that for a gal.
I am a dangerous man, I own property and a back hoe. I will bury that wheelchair 6' deep and plant a tree over it.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
Boundaries are what will save your sanity as a supporter. They don’t have to be all or nothing, as in the end of the relationship. Sometimes they’re as small as “I will not engage or stand here while you lash out. I will walk away/hang up every time.” Or “I am an adult, and I alone get to decide where I will go.” It’s about what you can and cannot tolerate. With no boundaries, or wishy washy enforcement of boundaries, your sufferer can suck the life out of you.
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
for the longest time my then counselor told me that avoidance wasn't healing, like the only thing that would make anything better was sitting alone thinking or reading books about what to think. These days I choose avoidance, and it is my best way out of a hitting slump by far. As long as I can keep my mind occupied I am getting from here to there and thats really the goal at the end of the day for me. Did I spend any time working on being better at having PTSD and all of the shit it describes? In general yes, almost every day. A little time for a pat on the back, doing better today, alright. Did I lose any time thinking about the stuff I wish I could get over and past? Yep. thats basically what this is. In between did I stay focused on a task? Hope so, it was a good day if I did. Did I sit and think about the unsolvable mess? Hope not, don't have a lot of time to waste anymore.
So, if thats the truth and the way from here to there for me, can it work for my wife? What if I take on the mundane stuff she expects herself to do and encourage her to do more stuff other than be in a wheel chair and pissed at her situation? Telling to do something is as impossible as telling her not to, just like me a lot of the time. Doing anything that gets her angry focused on me is never going to work. Enabling the ability to do things she enjoys doing is maybe the only way to get her at least on the same path as me, avoiding the hell out of being bored and consciously thinking about being a member of this awful club we are in here. A way out provided by someone that knows which way to avoid and which way to go, no signs, no pushing, just a few boundaries and the time to explore a little.
And I am looking hard at what gets me some self help and I keep coming back to staying busy.
Now, to the lumber shtore! And maybe later a Mel Brooks movie!
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
End of the rope. I have been off work and home with her for a week and at the end of the week I am farther from wanting to help her than ever. Caught her smoking last night, after all we went through getting her health back after a post-surgical infection last year. All this comes right before her next surgery,
we have gone through two hip replacements, and a removal of the one that was infected. We have gone through the recovery from her infection. Every time we face these things together I end up being the one that has to deal with her needs and the one that sees all of the crap. I have to admit it, I want to be in love with her but it may be too late. She lies to me like a cornered teenager, I feel like I am dealing with about that level of reasoning especially where it concerns cause and effect.
I have 5 grandsons ranging from almost 2 to not quite born, there are many many reasons to keep this place and stay married, but I am getting tired of dragging my feet waiting for her to hop aboard. After seeing her smoking again and lieing about it so fluently, I think she has turned the other direction and I am headed on alone.
Not suicidal, but that's probably only because I know what that looks like and how it affects those left behind. First she changed, and now the marriage has changed, and after last night I think I have changed. Sad is not a descriptive word anymore.
 

Joenot1368

New Here
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End of the rope. I have been off work and home with her for a week and at the end of the week I am farther from wanting to help her than ever. Caught her smoking last night, after all we went through getting her health back after a post-surgical infection last year. All this comes right before her next surgery,
we have gone through two hip replacements, and a removal of the one that was infected. We have gone through the recovery from her infection. Every time we face these things together I end up being the one that has to deal with her needs and the one that sees all of the crap. I have to admit it, I want to be in love with her but it may be too late. She lies to me like a cornered teenager, I feel like I am dealing with about that level of reasoning especially where it concerns cause and effect.
I have 5 grandsons ranging from almost 2 to not quite born, there are many many reasons to keep this place and stay married, but I am getting tired of dragging my feet waiting for her to hop aboard. After seeing her smoking again and lieing about it so fluently, I think she has turned the other direction and I am headed on alone.
Not suicidal, but that's probably only because I know what that looks like and how it affects those left behind. First she changed, and now the marriage has changed, and after last night I think I have changed. Sad is not a descriptive word anymore.
We are here to listen and give thoughts and support. Clearly you are well positioned in your own mind to be able to
articulate as you do and unfortunately you already realize there are no easy quick answers. You being here sharing as a supporter is helping/will help others, so that may ease some frustrations for a moment.
There are obvious and logical responses that will be and should be shared, but we all know this is quite possibly the biggest challenge all of us have or will face (or else we wouldn’t be here). I applaud your sharing as a supporter (and sufferer).
 
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