PTSD And Marriage: Guide for the couples who face PTSD or CPTSD.
Relationship Tips for Each Spouse
Sometimes you feel like giving up. Why does everything have to be so hard? Other times, you wish someone would just give you a manual for dealing with all aspects of PTSD and CPTSD. Your PTSD and Marriage Guide will help you gain the control that you desire so badly. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Doctor gave you a handbook when they gave you or your spouse the diagnosis of PTSD?
Because, the worst part is that you have no real idea of how this new diagnosis will affect your relationships. However, there are a few tips available for you regarding your PTSD and marriage.
PTSD, Marriage, and Love
You and your spouse did not elect to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Complex PTSD (CPTSD) enter your marriage. Although you cannot control what has happened to you doesn’t mean that you cannot have a stronger marriage. This PTSD And Marriage Guide will give you the tips, resources, and encouragement that you need.
Anyone can search for “PTSD and marriage” all over the web. But, what they usually find are a number of websites and articles listing discouraging divorce statistics. Most of these sites and articles are dreadful to read. This is due to the fact that they can influence you in losing hope for your relationship.
Although what you read is disheartening for couples facing PTSD, you do not have to be a part of these statistics at all! I’m not. And my journey with my husband who has CPTSD has not been easy at all. Furthermore, our marriage is stronger than ever before. However, there was a point where I did not believe that we would make it. Now, don’t get me wrong. I was motivated and very hopeful for a long steady time after my husband’s diagnosis.
Despite overcoming challenges and having persistency, more challenges developed. After about a year and a half I really lost all hope. Then, I ended up becoming extremely depressed. In fact, my psychiatrist diagnosed me with Major Depressive Disorder.
Partner’s Vicarious PTSD
Surprising to me was my next diagnosis of Vicarious PTSD. In most situations where PTSD and marriage don’t mix well, the non PTSD spouse can develop Vicarious PTSD. Essentially, this type of PTSD evolves from exposure to the trauma that takes place in the midst of your spouse’s PTSD episodes.
PTSD Marriage Guide: First Steps to Take
Listed here are the very first steps to take if your marriage is facing PTSD. I have separated out steps for each partner. As a matter of fact, there are steps for each of you to take and some that will be a joint effort. Of course, I am not a medical professional, but I have learned a lot over the last couple of years.
In addition, what I have found is that PTSD and marriage do mix. Comparatively, a couple wouldn’t divorce for the reason of one partner losing an arm, or having cancer. So why would a couple separate when a behavioral health issue surfaces? Not to mention, the U.S. already has high enough divorce rates without presence of a mental health illness. Let alone comparing PTSD and marriage statistics shows that rates for divorce increase.
Spouse with CPTSD Or PTSD
First and foremost
If you are not in therapy please find a local therapist who specializes in trauma. It cannot be expressed enough just how crucial treatment is for PTSD and marriage, let alone PTSD.
If you are self-medicating, find help. When you are interviewing potential therapists ask if they are qualified to treat both trauma and substance abuse. In addition, do not be embarrassed. It is not uncommon to find PTSD and alcohol or drug abuse paired together.
Find relative articles to read surrounding PTSD. There are so many wonderful resources online with content including techniques to self-manage your symptoms. Then, try a few of them. But, try the techniques a few times. Because consequently, trying anything new can feel uncomfortable at first. Soon enough you will have your own personally selected grounding and calming tools in your arsenal.
On The Good Days
When PTSD symptoms are not active, do something thoughtful for your spouse. By all means, your genuine act of love and kindness will reassure the safety, appreciation, and the stability that your spouse needs.
Let go of any guilt that you are holding onto, pertaining to your PTSD and marriage. After you experience a PTSD episode you may have feelings of guilt or shame. In spite of these feelings, harboring guilt distracts from your relationship. If you remain in this “head-space” you will furthermore miss out on precious time living “in the moment” with your spouse.
Agree to be in the “moment” & forget about all past events or anything in the future. Think only about the current day and how you can enrich the next 24 hours spent with your partner. In the same fashion it is very healing for you to be centered and in the moment as often as possible.
Join a few PTSD support groups. Facebook has several groups for this facing PTSD. Additionally, these groups offer encouragement, privacy, and a large support system. Some of my favorites are “PTSD Buddies”, “Women With PTSD United”, and “Complex PTSD Recovery”.
Help Your Spouse
They need to find a good therapist that has experience with trauma victims. They will be able to teach your spouse the tools that they need. Hence, PTSD or CPTSD symptom management. Of course, when your loved one is able to manage their symptoms, your relationship will take a turn for the better. There are self-guided practices that they can do to reduce the symptoms’ severity. And the same thing goes for minimizing an episode’s duration. Educate yourself on these practices so that you can help them out of their PTSD episode so long as it is safe for you to do so.
Let go of any Resentment
Forgive your spouse. You may not even realize that you harbor feelings like this. Because of your spouse’s condition and symptoms you may be angry or hurt. But, please keep in mind that they did not ask to develop PTSD or CPTSD. The person they become during “PTSD mode” is not their true selves. That person is someone who temporarily took over your spouse’s mind and body.
Contrary to this though, it is especially relevant that your spouse learns to take ownership of their symptoms. Meaning, acknowledging that PTSD and CPTSD symptoms are vicious and that they can be managed. When managed appropriately, there will be less of an effect on you.
Make Time For You
First, take care of yourself. Equally important is nurturing yourself in order to keep a positive mindset and peaceful heart. Naturally you most likely have taken on the role of “Caregiver” for your spouse. With that being said, a caregiver’s role is never easy. Moreover, it is easy to lose yourself and end up on auto pilot as your spouse’s caregiver. If you do not take care of you first, then you can’t really care for anyone else the way that you want to.
Build a Support System
You need to connect with others for your own peace of mind. Due to caring for a spouse who suffers from PTSD and marriage challenges, it is equally important for you to find enrichment. Perhaps you can make a new friend. There are few online platforms for the spouses of those facing PTSD.
With that being said, here is a couple that are helpful and designed with YOU in mind. Furthermore, these Facebook groups provide a private place where you can get advice, connect with others in your situation, and find encouragement.
- Spouses and Family Members PTSD Support Group
- PTSD Spouses/Family Support
- Spouses Living With Military PTSD/TBI
Get familiar with your spouse’s triggers. By doing so, you will be able to help prevention of a PTSD episode. Talk about the triggers with them. Find out why someone, something, specific behavior, or sensation is triggering. By all means, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to speak about the traumatic event or series of traumas. But, you simply want to help avoid or work through a trigger so that it can be eliminated.
Research the best case scenarios, and, worst case scenarios. Do not wait until something tragic or until their symptoms get so out of control to start researching all things PTSD. Learn now, and continue to educate yourself so that you can always be prepared. Learn what signs to look for regarding suicide and self harm. Additionally, having tips to show support in the front of mind will ensure that you remain supportive. Consequently, your partner will feel secure and comforted causing symptoms of anxiety to subside.
Show You Love Marriage
Be sure to express your love and appreciation for your spouse in an unbridled way. Remind them that they are wonderful and that you love them. Due to their depression that accompanies PTSD and CPTSD their self-esteem has plummeted and they need reminders that they are needed, wanted, and admired.
Read Helpful Books
“PTSD Marriage Guide: Marriage, Children, & PTSD. What Next” (available on Amazon and on Kindle). Reading this book will give you a new perspective and act as a pivotal turning point in your role of your spouse’s PTSD and marriage.
PTSD Relationship: Hope For The Future
The two of you deserve the most enriching, loving, and strongest marriage. Many prospectors will say that PTSD and marriage do not mix. Certainly they would agree that the statistics surrounding PTSD and marriage are extremely high. Notably so, they have not been in your shoes. It is very hard for someone outside of your marriage to understand what the two of you really go through on a daily basis.
Due to this alone, you and your spouse should continuously work on creating stability, strength, and an impenetrable love. Your marriage, family, and each of you will find the peace that you are desperately seeking. I hope that this article has been helpful. If you would like to share additional tips that have worked in your marriage please post a comment below. Before you leave, check out these valuable articles on PTSD relationships:
- Taking A Timeout Could Save Your Marriage Facing PTSD
- PTSD’s Supportive Spouses Are The Unsung Heroes in Our Community
- The PTSD Survival Kit Everyone Needs To Manage Stress
Go for it, and leave a comment below with a few pointers on what not to do. Your bit of advice will be helpful to everyone facing PTSD and marriage issues.
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