General When Does It Become About Us?

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My thoughts for this thread were prompted by Nam who has PTSD and her thread on '[DLMURL=""]Does It Ever Stop Hurting?[/DLMURL]'. I notice, even here on the spouse part of the forum the underlying tone that generally requests support, not for ourselves but for our spouses. How we can do things better to support them? I often ask myself that, when you think you have done everything humanly possible AND still it is not enough. When does it get to a point when it is about the support people? I don't know about others but I tire of constantly being wrong, of not doing enough, of not being the perfect partner of supporting when the support is rarely returned. Those with PTSD have moments when they just can't give anymore - the general difference is that many of them have people who are willing to pick up the slack. What about the support people? I wonder do those with PTSD ever consider that it is the same for us? Bigger reserves does not make us less human, it only means that it takes longer for the reserves to empty.
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I agree when does it become about us? I am not a spouse but have been living and caring for a man with PTSD for 2.5 years. In which time I stopped taking care of myself and now am trying to find myself again. He was beginning to recover (oh so I thought) only to find myself in a really dangerous and scary situation. I got angry and lost my temper and cannot be any good to anyone since I don't know who I am or what to do with me. My life is practically ruined: emotionally, financially, and spiritiually.
I am on the brink of financial ruin, my church turned their back on me (since I wasn't married to him but how could I marry someone with so many problems even if I loved him), and emotionally I can barley keep it together. I did everything for him he has no license so I drove him to and from work every day and to treatement 2 times a week (over an hour each way). I left work early and have become a very mean person. My hair started to turn grey prematurley. I simply don't know what to do or where to turn. Last week he moved out. Because he blames me for everything. Because he has put all of his past life and trying to please those people before trying to acknowldge the person who was emtionally and finacially supporting him. Even he says I was better to him than his family but he still left me after stealing money from me and trying to hurt me. I feel so alone and like my last chance for happieness was taken from me. I did everything to help him and lost myself. I tried to stop enabling him and still got hurt. I cannot stop crying and want to scream at him. But it will only make me look crazy. But now I realize that I am a little crazy after putting up with this. I want to believe he has PTSD but sometimes it seeems like he turns it on and off. He only has episodes when I am trying to enjoy myself or have to leave the house for work. But when he has something he wants to do like see his kid he acts perfectly fine. When one of my friends came to visit for one night he had a breakdown and I just didn't know how to explain to her what was going on. After that I had a breakdown and asked him to leave. I just couldn't take anymore. Now I wonder if he is ok. I want him to recover but I just cannot be the main caregiver anymore. It is endangering my sanity and my life. Thanks for listening. I actually feel better for the first time in 2 years.


i have read these posts and would like to share a poem with you..and maybe try reading allies in healing by laura davies....go through it with your partners together and discuss the topics hope it helps even if only a little..


When I ask you to listen to me
And you start giving advice
You have not done what I asked

When I ask you to listen to me
And you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way
You are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me
And you feel you have to do something to solve my problem,
You have failed me, strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I asked was that you listen.
Not talk or do
Just hear me.

Advice is cheap:
10 cents will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper.
And I can do for myself;
I am not helpless.
Maybe discouraged and faltering, but I am not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and weakness.

But, when you accept as a simple fact that id feel what I feel,
No matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you and can get about the business of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.

And when that is clear,
the answers are obvious and I don not need advice

Deleted member 3

Hi msphilip,

I am sorry to hear that you have had such a rough experience with your ex partner and his PTSD. Does he even acknowledge that he has PTSD and if so was he getting any treatment for that? I am not surprised that he only had 'episodes' at certain times, this is not unusual for those with PTSD. Although it is with them all of the time, it impacts sometimes more than other than others.......usually when the stress levels just reach too much. As for the rest of his behaviour that is PTSD in denial. He would blame everything on you because otherwise it was would have been necessary for him to face his own demons. Sounds like you were trying to help him but as you identified in a lot of ways you were enabling him to continue his denial. Just something that a lot of us do, unwittingly, until we learn better or get sick of the crap - whichever comes first.

As for you not faring so well, there is a thing called secondary PTSD which can be acquired from being the support person of someone with PTSD. Although that is at the extreme end of the scale it still impacts deeply on an emotional and psychological level. Have you thought about counselling for yourself to relieve some of your burden and to put some of it in perspective? A good counsellor who is familiar with PTSD would be the best as they will understand everything that you have to say. I have found that counsellors with little understanding of PTSD usually are not much help. Please don't beat yourself up because you cannot continue to support him. Perhaps this is the wake up call that he needs to get help and then on the other hand perhaps it will do nothing. You have to take care of you first. Just because he has PTSD, which is undeniably a nasty and debilitating mental illness, does not excuse his crappy behaviour. You have to draw the line about what you will and won't accept and make it clear to him. Sure he has PTSD, sure you care about him but he is an adult and responsible for his own actions. Those with PTSD (and I am sure it is not exclusive to them), in fact most human beings, would rather blame someone else for their behaviour when they are in denial. Doesn't make him nasty, just makes him human but still responsible.

Hope this helps. I have been living with PTSD for almost six years, three of that we have been married. Although it is really tough sometimes and I really think I deserve more support than I actually get, hence the first post in this thread, I do love him and continue in this journey in the hope that it will be better for us - together and as a family.

Deleted member 3

doobie said:
i have read these posts and would like to share a poem with you..and maybe try reading allies in healing by laura davies....go through it with your partners together and discuss the topics hope it helps even if only a little..

Thanks Doobie. I am sure between the two of us we have done plenty of PTSD reading, although not the book that you have mentioned. I might have a look at it but discussing it with Anthony? Anthony doesn't do deep and meaningful well.


I thank you so much for sharing that poem...I've read it somewhere else...still I enjoyed reading it again!!! Just as the first time that I read brought tears to my eyes...touching...very touching.....PEACE........wildfirewildone


Thanks for the beautiful poem doobie, I cried after reading it because it made me realise that although i thought i was listening to my hubby, i wasn't listening the way i should be. thanks again


Geez Doobie... you kinda just hit me over the head with a spade with that one... being a male and all, and hence try to solve everything in regard to my immediate family and wife. Only just yesterday kerrie pulled me up on it again, when she said something and I tried to solve it, at which point I then left it alone as just being her getting her feelings out. Us males are often blind to these simple listening skills, as we are inbuilt to fix things, not analyze them. Strange... and it hits home. Thanks Doobie.


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I feel the same way.

I feel the same way. Wife has PTSD. When will it be about us the providers. I feel like I give and give. Then give some more. There is no return. WIfe does say thank you. But she keeps pushing away or is always tired because of the meds.

And sometimes I am just tired and fed up. I am at the point now where i do as much as possible. And If I cant do any more. Than that all I got. If the laundry does not get done. Or the shopping or the house cleaning or any of the other stuff I do. Well that is just tough. It takes two to make thing work and I am tired of all of it.......

I dont have someone to help out with my wife. My kids (teenagers) do what they can. Folding clothes etc. But it is all on my back.

:angry-fla :wall:

Deleted member 3

Hey Kurfbird,

We don't have any other support here either. It does make it hard, I think harder on the spouses as we need a break from the PTSD, marriage and children thing to. Even if it is just to replenish ourselves. I know where you are coming from with the work, work and more work thing. It frustrates me at times but I am learning to do what I can and what is important, the rest just has to wait. Having said that, Anthony is pretty good as far as the physical support is concerned i.e. he does clean the house (more often than I do in fact), will cook and feed the kids but all of this goes to custard when he is not well. I have come home many a time to nothing being done and even cats not fed!! It is hard to avoid feeling resentful but then I just try and focus on the stuff that he does do when he is well.

The other thing that I have found helps if Anthony is a little off colour is to ask him to do the little jobs that take the burden our case hang the clothes on the line, shower/bath the baby, unload/load the dishwasher. Maybe you could leave a list of a couple of little jobs for your wife to do during the day if she feels up to it. If she gets to them good, if she doesn't you have to let it go. Just be careful with this tactic that it does not become another reason to fight. Can you afford to get a cleaner in once a week perhaps or twice for a couple of hours? They are reasonably cheap and would allow you a little free time to recharge. Yeah, I know your wife is at home and she should be able to do it but sometimes they just can't. Anyhow food for thought. Take care of you, chat soon.
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