Life with PTSD can often seem unbearable, uncertain, and out of control. However, PTSD self help practices can make a significant impact on a family facing PTSD.
There’s recovery just around the corner through PTSD self help support, and determination. Although your loved one suffers one of the most challenging diseases does not mean they cannot control their PTSD symptoms or behavior. I felt helpless months ago as the storm of symptoms infiltrated my marriage. It wasn’t until my husband learned and truly believed he had 90% control over his symptoms and behavior that things started to get better.
It’s a hard pill to swallow to think someone can control much more than they realize. Yes, control over outbursts of rage, dissociation, depression, anxiety and more. Especially, the way they treat you and other members of the family. The biggest barrier to this is that most of us give excuses for the behaviors of their partner who has PTSD. By the same token, they make excuses too, only to compound the issue. Often times, someone fighting PTSD will remain in a “victim mindset”. Thinking there’s no hope for recovery and will always suffer in the same way as their current state. In reality, they are choosing to remain in this hell. Whereas they can absolutely make a huge difference. However, the choice is theirs and theirs alone.
PTSD Self help Support, and your Role
Self help begins with relieving your loved one from all crutches. Forcing accountability may seem like tough love but it’s the only way enable them to embrace their journey. PTSD self help, therapy, support, and resources are at your loved one’s finger tips. Then see just how strong they’d be walking on their own two feet. Caring for your spouse and acting as a crutch are two separate things. Although caring for your loved one is instinctive, you may actually cause more harm than good if you coddle them. Another hindrance is making excuses for them. At this stage, most likely there aren’t many boundaries set. As spouses, this comes naturally and with good intentions. Boundaries need to be set if your honey has any chance of recovery.
Once boundaries that suit your relationship have been established you can start taking better care of yourself. In turn, your loved one will do the same. The role you play in PTSD self help support is crucial for their recovery. In brief, recover will bring a reduction of symptoms, and less frequent PTSD episodes. In fact, when symptoms are triggered, someone taking recovery seriously will be able to prevent a full-blown episode.
A few Healthy boundaries include:
- Set a bed time for yourself. It does no one any good to stay up all night with your significant other. You may feel that you are helping them through their symptoms. Contrary though, you are neglecting your own needs.
- Call a “Time-Out. It’s admirable to be loving and supportive. On the other hand, it’s bad to allow stress to escalate your own anxiety during a PTSD episode. During a non PTSD attack, discuss with your spouse what the time-out and it’s importance during PTSD. Allow your partner’s input so a joint decision is made, respecting one another. My husband and I agree to a ten minute time-out when things get out of control. Now, your loved one will be in PTSD mode and will need to feel safe and reassured. Tell them the two of you need a ten minute time-out and where you’ll be. Go to a separate area or room out of sight. Reassure them that you’ll come back together in ten minutes, calmer and supportive.
3. Quick note on Taking Space: If things are getting hostile, loud, or aggressive, the best fix is to separate for a short period. Not doing so can risk both partners lashing out. In fact, proving counter-productive. Due to you yelling back, reacting with rage, or completely losing your temper on your spouse with PTSD. This will only make matters worse. Increasing severity of their symptoms and prolonging their ability to bounce back. This is a vicious cycle to break once developed. Keep in mind, no one plans on this but the supportive spouse can hinder their loved one’s PTSD recovery.
4. Implement communicating that you have obligations to take care of and the days and times you will be taking care of things. This sets them up to care for themselves while you are gone. Which in turn shows them just how independent they really are.
Starting with three small, yet impacting changes, is significant when working towards improving a relationship affected by PTSD. After all, your ultimate goal is to build an enriching and strong marriage. Hang in there and keep in mind that you can only control yourself. You can’t control what your spouse chooses, says, or how they behave. However, you CAN control how you’ll let it affect you. As well as how you’ll choose to react. Needless to say, take the control over your life back and enjoy your partner once again. Because, recovery and symptom remission is truly a beautiful experience. Then, before you leave, visit the articles below. You’ll find them very valuable.
- Healing Time-Out For Marriages Hanging on By a Thread
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Remission
- Residual Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
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What challenges are you facing often? What do you worry about most right now? Leave your answers in a comment below. I read each one & am eager to help you find answers, new perspectives, and give advice based on my own experiences with (C)PTSD.
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