I have been curious throughout my whole journey with my husband is why do I see the rage and he takes it out on me but he can hide it from everyone else? I know that he has PTSD but why am I the only one who sees it? Anyway, I was hoping maybe someone could answer this question that is bugging me....
In 1983, for whatever reason, my 9 yr old son began that have violent tendencies. Over a the first year the problem escalated. After two years of this, my husband left the family...he didn't have the emotional strength to put up with the problem...so he decided to simply abandon me to it...and abandon our three children too.
Through the next 15 yrs I was the recipient of his abusive violence. No one else received it from him, ONLY ME!!
I understand now that it was because, 1) I allowed him to do things to and towards me, 2) while the rest of the family distanced themselves from him, I didn't, and 3) I was the only person in his life who didn't/wouldn't abandon him. I was his safe-harbor.
Yes this was a child, but the aspects of it do apply to a marriage or other type of relationship. Also, keep in mind I was programmed by my father to "take it" and not complain.
As you can see #1 and #3 are rather contradictory. I didn't want to abandon someone who was a violent abuser to me. Talk about a vicious circle.
For the first several years the rest of the world considered us a wonderful family. No one, not even my in-law parents, whom we visited each and every Sunday, had any idea of the horrors that unfolded within the walls of my home.
My son is now 33 yrs old and I am ONLY NOW beginning to not fear him intensely.
Thank you for your perspective I think you are totally right I am a "safe harbor." In his whole life I am the only one that did not abandon him. His mom, dad, and brother are so wrapped up in drinking that they really don't have time for him unless they need something or are drinking with him. He has said. "nobody has loved him his whole life and he does not need it now!" It is very sad and he has been abused so much. I have been the one to give him hugs, kisses and say I love you no matter what..... Now I have had to distance myself from it for awhile for my own sanity. Add the PTSD and drinking on top of everything else has been so difficult. I feel bad but there is nothing that I can do right now until he gets help.
I think that it is most likely a combination of both. He tried to end our relationship saying I would understand in 5 years. He said he wanted to end it because I was miserable..... Then a few months later he said he wanted to end it because he didn't know if he loved me or he didn't love me. Then he said a few weeks later that he wasn't sure why I was with him because he is a bad looking person?? Talk about confusing... I don't know what to make of all of this?? Anyone, dealt with this or understand this? It makes me worried because he seems to be making all of the decisions. Also, his dad told him to get rid of me because his dad doesn't like me... Is it possible that he is listening to his dad? Even though his dad is abusive and an alcoholic and not mention a control freek.... I am not sure what to make of any of this??? Thank you for your prospective
It sounds like your husband is approaching a break down of some description. His behavious sounds very similar to what I put my wife through two years ago.
Iíll try to address your concerns in order...
My family was always witness to the worst of my anger, to my eternal shame. My wife, and then when they were born, my children. Luckily ( if there is any luck about such a situation ) I was never violent, but I never overlooked the damage to them all that I was doing by being so out of control. Your first concern has to be for your safety. If there is a threat of violence, you need to make sure that youíre safe.
Often, I would spend all day at work or with others trying to keep a lid on things... To stop myself exploding in a very unsafe environment where the consequences of doing so would have been far reaching would take all of my mental strength. By the time I got home, I had none left to hold it back. Invariably, little slights and irritations throughout the day had built into a simmering inferno within me just waiting for the slightest trigger. Sometimes this would be something as innocuous as the wall of noise from the kids which greeted me on entering the house, other times it could be something in ďmyĒ seat so I couldnít sit down. It really didnít matter. In that situation, something would eventually trigger it. I cant remember any rational thought at the time, but I suspect that Orchard Lady is right. I know full well that I used to battle hard to control the rage outside of the home, but that resolve often crumbled once inside. I can only put it down to feeling that I could release it there and it would somehow be more ďacceptableĒ or ďsafeĒ. Of course itís neither, and I ended up hurting the only people that I really love, and who love me back.
Another factor in this is hyper-vigilance. The state of constant red alert that our minds put us through when we have PTSD. It means that our bodies are constantly at a higher level of anxiety arousal than ďnormalĒ people. Each stressor that happens pushes it up the scale a little more, and dumps a little more of the stress hormones into our bloodstream. Eventually, we cant take any more, and the slightest thing will push us over the edge, triggering a fight or flight response. Often itís the fight response thatís triggered, and again, we are in a rage, directing it at anything around us.
There are a few things Iíve found that can be done to help alleviate the things above... Firstly, recognising it... The person with PTSD has to recognise and understand the things that are happening with his / her body. With this recognition comes the ability to remove yourself from the stressor if possible, or even adopt a different train of thought about the stressor itself to prevent it causing the anger reaction.
Secondly, learn to identify triggers. After each rage, try and think about what set it off... Itís likely that the thing which did so is not actually the thing you rage at. For example, I found out from a very old vet I met at Combat Stress that he was triggered badly by noise, to the extent where heíd black out. That made me think about the things that set me off. I would tend to flip out at the kids when in the evening for the slightest thing. Taking that a step further back, I thought about what it was that made me so angry at that time. Every night, Iíd walk into the house just as the BBC news started in the evening. Iíd get hit by this wall of sound as the fanfare heralding the news blared out of the TV, and it totally overwhelmed my senses. I was literally unable to think, concentrate or function, just because of a noise. From there, itís a small step to over-reacting at the slightest thing the kids did. Simply turning the TV down a bit helped enormously. The noise one is a strange one, because I often enjoy loud music, or films at the cinema where the noise is much louder... My wife says I have hearing like a bat... but that goes for all my senses. Hyper-vigilance will give a person uncanny levels of sensual perception. Itís just that the brain cant process them due to other things going on in there...
Drinking is a common problem for PTSD sufferers. Docs call it self medication. I never thought I had a drink problem, until I realised that I mainly drank at home when I felt low. It was a way of numbing the pain. People without PTSD think that we have no emotions. Itís not true. Weíre full of them, and unable to cope with them, so often we turn to drink, drugs, overwork, extreme sports... you name it. Anything that numbs the pain and stops us thinking. Realising thatís what your doing is an important step. If youíre using alcohol, then why not use prescribed medications from the doc to do the same thing. Alcohol is an easy and available alternative unfortunately. So are drugs, and more than a few of the ex-forces people I know have a real problem with both. The down side is that though it makes you feel better for a while, it very soon just masks the symptoms, before intensifying them. Itís too hard to treat PTSD when someone is always drinking. Thatís what Combat Stress state that they will not admit someone without a no drinking contract in place.
Now the emotional problems.
PTSD affects the way we relate to others, and the way we experience emotions. From my perspective, it totally killed my capacity to love while I was at my worst. Iím learning again now, but for a long time, I appeared to have no feelings about anyone or anything. I felt certain that I would die young ( donít think I qualify as young any more ) which also contributed to my efforts to drive away those who loved me. I longed for someone to understand me, which led to a number of painful internet ďrelationshipsĒ where I sunk what little emotional energy I had into fruitless and pointless online things... Eventually, one became so serious I almost left my wife over it. At that point in my life, I was totally unable to make a decision. I felt I should love my wife, and be with her, but I couldnít feel that love. I wanted escape from the children, which was totally stupid, as they are the two people in my life who love me totally unconditionally... ( Iím sure my wife does too, but my thinking was clouded at the time ). I wanted to be with this other woman, who also had PTSD, and experience the love and understanding she could offer. I couldnít make a choice. I was totally paralysed. I tried to push the choice onto my wife. Luckily she pushed it right back at me... So I remained in stasis. Blaming everyone for the pain in my head, and the inability to make a decision. I was angry at the world and drinking like a fish.
Eventually, someone else made the choice for me. My kids. I couldnít leave them. I resolved to stay and make my marriage work and try my hardest for my wife and kids.
Your husband is in a very difficult place right now. Heís experiencing the rock bottom low that comes eventually. He needs to make a conscious choice to want to seek help. Until he does, heíll be at the mercy of his family and their drinking. Your plight is even harder. I truly empathise with you. There is nothing you can do until he seeks that help. Perhaps show him this as a way of making him think for a moment ? I really donít know what else to say. Iím sure he feels alone and scared. He needs to know that there are others, and though itís scary, itís not a sign of failure to seek help. I know thatís what I thought for a long time. ďIím a strong person. I should be able to deal with this myself...Ē Itís not true. You cant. You can hide it, but you cant cure it, and sooner or later, it will prove stronger.
Thanks again Mark I am understanding things a lot better now. For the longest time I thought that I was the problem because he was always "picking" on me... Every little thing that I did, I mean every little thing. My husband lies to get his way. He even blames lying to me on me. He says that "I never let him do anything!" That is another question that has been bothering me. Is that go with the PTSD or the alcohol or both? I am not sure? I don't know if you have experienced this or not. Or if anyone else has on boards?
Corina.......If I didn't welcome you please forgive me. I ahve really been out of sorts physically lately and it's affecting my mental skills. So what else is new LOL As far as the lying goes I would put my money on alcohol. Most of us here with PTSD have a hatred for lying. In fact lying usually goes hand in hand with drug/alcohol abuse.
How are you today? Your husband doesn't seem to understand his own feelings at all. I think with some people, the less they understand themselves, the more they blame everyone else. At some point, if this is going to get better, your husband is going to have to step up and face the music. No one person can fix a relationship - he's going to have to do his share of the work. Is he even at the point where he wants to try to fix things? How much of yourself will you have to compromise in order to make things work with him? In the meantime, please make sure you keep yourself safe emotionally and physically. Also, you've spoken of the "support" he receives from his family - who do you have to support you right now? Do you have family around that can help? Try to keep a strong hold on anything positive right now - you need whatever you can get that will remind you that you are a good person, worthy of good things.
Take care of youself,
ps - I agree with ICC on the lying and alcohol combination.
Last edited by beka6; 05-21-2007 at 10:44 AM.
Hey, Beka glad you are back I am not getting that much support from anyone except one friend and he is leaving for the Marines in 8 days... My family all thinks that he is crazy and a "jerk!" with a capital J. My sister has even said to me
'I am glad that he is not my husband because he is crazy." They don't know why I even put up with him. My Dad and Grandmother say give him his walking papers... He is just an expense account... Everyone around me tells me to let him go. That he is not worth the effort. For a long time he has been hurting me badly. It is hard to be with someone that treats you so bad and I am a really nice person. I mean, I get mad when poked at for so long, but I think that is everyone. I have made mistakes in my marriage and he keeps hanging them over my head, when I am suppose to accept his drinking. I think that it might be a mind game that has to do with the drinking though??? It has been a relief to not see or talk to him for awhile. He has been draining me physically and emotionally for a solid year. In the back of my mind I am afraid that he is going to forget about me and that is the scariest thing. Or have an affair because I am not there and he has already been on the prowl from what I understand... Like I have said before, sadly, his family supports it. I did have a conversation with his mom last week telling her that I love my husband and I want my marriage to work. In true alcoholic form she was mad at me for even mentioning that her son could be the problem.... I have some responsibility in this, I know that, in our marital problems... But is she blind? How could the whole family not see and I am the only one that could see that he has a major problem??? She asked me what the truth was about the night he put me in the hospital and I told her the truth, even though I am pretty sure that it did no good. Even his "best" friend just wanted to party and drink since the break with me... Come on people didn't anyone see..... It just makes me so angry that so many people are trying to tear apart my marriage and are so focused on that they didn't see the big picture. It is so hurtful. Nobody in that situation even gave me the time of day because I didn't support all of the drinking habits.. So now I am the "bad guy." Sorry everyone I am so out of sorts today. My husband has even been avoiding our daughter and that is making me the most angry of all... She was in tears saying,"I just want my daddy home, he has to come home now!" I guess my heart is breaking even though I shouldn't let this stuff bother me anymore... I should realize that it is the PTSD but it is so hard to do and the alcohol and anger is just fueling his reactions. It is just so hard to do... I know that its his decisions and it is out of my control, but I am just so hurt. To top it all off I am pretty sure that I am suffering from PTSD and I am awaiting those results because I have all the symptoms. Sorry about the rambling I am having an off day Thank you everyone for your support You have all been great
Don't apologize for your post! It's good to get that stuff out - and it REALLY needs to come out! First of all, he put you in the hospital?? Was he drunk? And you have a daughter? Is he violent towards her? Corina, I can't judge the situation and tell you to get away from him, because I don't know all of the details of what is going on. I can tell by what you've written in your posts that you love this guy, even though it seems like he far from deserves it. Please remember, though, that NO ONE deserves to be abused. You have an opportunity to teach your daughter that, as well. She'll learn from watching how you deal with this situation. Your family is probably so opposed to your husband because they love you and don't want to see you hurt. I know I've said it before - but keep yourself emotionally and physically safe. You might love your husband, but he sounds like a ticking time bomb - and that is pretty scary!
Hi corina.........beka is right. A time bomb. He sounds like my ex-husband. No one hears what you're saying or sees it becuase they are also dysfuncional and like the way they live. Manipulation all the way around. I still will say JMO is that the alcohol IS the problem. He can get no help for PTSD nor can you as long as the alcohol is in the picture. Please don't let him abuse you. You don't deserve it. It's not your fault that he is ill. You can walk a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Read up on co-dependency and it might help you out of the situation or at least to understand it better. God bless.
Thank you Ladies for your support I am trying to understand everything that is going on and I probably never will.. My husband doesn't deserve me, I know that for a fact. I am safe from him... I have changed all of the locks and there is a restraining order. He is out of town most of the week and he doesn't have a drivers permit yet. He lost it for a DWI the same night he hurt me and I had a trip to the hospital. I have never talked about this only to his mom a few days ago because I was sick of being called a liar. I came home of that night after working both my jobs and going to college, and taking care of our daughter. His brother was there and they had drank a better part of a case of alcohol in 2 hours and they were mixing drinks. I got upset as soon as I walk through the door because who was taking care of our daughter? We started a verbal argument I quickly backed off because I knew he was drunk. He ended up hurting me anyway. I never laid a hand on him because I was too scared. I hid in the bathroom after I had passed out after he held me by my neck and called the police. He took off and got caught a few blocks from our house. He spent 4 days in jail and is still awaiting charges. He finally got diagnosed a week ago with PTSD. But I still feel that he is responsible for his actions. He had been lying for months, things like, "My phone doesn't work so I didn't call you last night." When he was on the road. I found out he was at the bar and partying all night. It makes me so angry even repeating that.... I see where everyone is coming from in leaving him. The military is working with us to get the whole family treatment and they think things will workout but I am not so sure. My husband has always been kind of a jerk when he was around his family, but he was a loving man not that long ago. Just a year ago we were at a way better place. He has never hurt our daughter, thank the lord. He treats anyone with the same blood better than me including her. Right now, he is not being a good dad. He is being whatever he is, I don't even know. I don't trust him with her and I probably never will again. I don't know what will trigger him, so I am not taking that chance. My daughter is my whole world and you are right Beka I am worried about what this is doing to her. I don't want her to get herself in the same situation as I am. Anyway, this has been built up for along time... Thanks you everyone for putting up with me you all have been great and this is the best that I felt in a very long time I can finally get things out that I need to....
Dear Corina.........you are making the right decisions. sounds like you're living my life of 22 years and 3 little girls. I could never trust my ex to babysit as he would get drunk . It scared the daylights out of me. Keep yourself and your daughter safe. that's all that matters. I have PT early this morning but will be back later and we can "talk".