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Spouses Get PTSD?

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by desert4now, Aug 8, 2006.

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  1. desert4now

    desert4now Active Member

    Kerrie -Ann,
    I guess I'll direct this to you but can a spouse of someone with PTSD get a type of PTSD also?

    The reason I ask is that my first marriage was to an alcoholic and I feel because of the learned coping mechanisms i developed while living with him definitely affect my decision making and actions in this marriage. I mean, I always lived in a sense of fear with my first husband. He never physically hurt me, but he made sure I was bruised inside out. He said terrible things to me and made sure I was never good enough. I could hear his truck coming for miles and I would get chills and anxious at the thought of him walking through the door, not knowing what he would say to crush me.

    That is why, with my hubby now, when he withdraws and clams up, or says things that hurt, I get in fear mode. My hubby now does not drink, won't even take aspirin...one great attraction for me, but the words that come from PTSD...well you know what I mean. I just have an overwhelming fear sometimes. It freezes me and I physically get sick sometimes. It affects my concentration. It hurts.

    Any thoughts on this?
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  3. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Yes, spouses can form a type of PTSD, because basically living with someone with uncontrolled PTSD, tends to be a form of mental ongoing abuse. If it was for long periods, ie. a couple being married for 10+ years with uncontrolled PTSD, most definately. Not only can you start to show signs of some symptoms, you can end up with PTSD yourself. Spouses need counselling when living with uncontrolled PTSD, so they don't get it themselves, or atleast minimize the risk to very little.
  4. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned


    Apologies for the late reply, I still off work due to illness and spent the best part of the day travelling to, seeing and returning from the doctor. Nothing major, still getting over that nasty flu that we all had. In answer to your question most definately yes. PTSD in its various forms can be quite stressful to live with, I imagine, like Anthony said that you would have to live with it for a while but there's no doubt that secondary PTSD can result from that situation.

    As for your first marriage, it is likely that you developed coping mechanisms that don't unfortunately disappear because the marriage has ended. Add them to a PTSD partnership and well you know the rest. Have you ever received counselling for the abuse in your first marriage? Perhaps this might be a good place to start. It certainly can only help in the situation that you are in.

    I am speaking from some basis of experience here, my step-father was an alcoholic and growing up in that environment I developed mechanisms that do not sit well in adult relationships. When Anthony was at one of his lowest points he would drink alcohol to excess which used to frighten the hell out of me. I constantly lived with the anticipation of what I knew would happen and what I thought was going to happen. I already knew the patterns as I had seen them before, he was just so deep in denial that as far as he was concerned he had no drinking problem.

    I really understand what you are saying with the nasty words, Anthony used to say some things that could cut you in half and not think twice about it. You wouldn't think that you could get physically sick from it but I used to as well. Plenty of times I would get that wound up that I would be almost vomiting and did on occasions. Thankfully, Anthony pretty much doesn't drink anymore. We rarely have alcohol in the house and he doesn't drink much on the rare occasions we go out.

    Perhaps dealing with the trauma of your first marriage may be a good way to heal some of the wounds......making you stronger to deal with the 'now' stuff. Warm regards,
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