PTSD interference with grieving? Helping DH move past guilt from previous pet

  • 7 Replies
  • 462 Views
*

Perry1216

  • Member
  • 18
    • View Profile
I'm not sure how this is related or not and if this is the right board or not.

I adopted a cat and brought him home this week as an early Christmas gift. DH had told me that he had discussed what he used to do in order to keep a lid on things emotionally when he was younger and he said that his answer was that when he had a cat, he kept a lid on things better.

So, I really thought about it and couldn't get the idea off of my mind. My T also said that a pet would be good for our mental health. I meant to give H more of a choice in the matter and have him meet me at the shelter, but for various reasons, it just didn't work that way. This cat was just too friendly and sweet to take a chance on not getting him as he's a great fit for us.

Anyway, DH can't seem to get past not keeping the new cat in the bedroom with us all night. The cat wakes us up, which is just what cats do. But DH has emotional baggage here.

His old cat died right before everything "hit the fan" with BPD MIL. It seems like the cat was much more of a constant in DH's life than his mother, for example. The cat was over 20 when she passed a few years ago.

I think DH has unresolved issues in his grief. My M used to have over the top reactions to pets dying and act out a lot and I think it's because of her abuse from my ASPD or BPD grandmother.

It seems that DH has unresolved guilt about not letting the previous cat sleep in his room at night. His F let the cat sleep in the room with him, but DH said he just couldn't sleep if the cat was in the room.

I used to sleep with a cat in the room, but I know they get up and roam around in the middle of the night. So, I usually just opened the door at midnight or whenever and then let the cat out and went back to sleep. Not a big deal. It took forever to convince DH that this was a viable compromise. We can still cuddle the cat, but also get sleep with minimal disruption.

So, I know this is long. I'm sorry. I just don't know how else to say it without the backstory.

H still has guilt about the previous cat. Although I've had plenty of pets previously at my parents' house as part of my FOO, I've never actually had my own, but I was able to process my grief.

Is there something I can do to help DH process his grief?

*

Three Roses

  • Member
  • 2907
  • CPTSD is an injury, not an illness.
    • View Profile
You don't say if DH agrees with your assessment that he has unresolved issues. If he does and he's asked for your help, you could find some articles online for him to read, or a video or something.

If he disagrees or doesn't want to look at the possibility there is unresolved grief, I think you're better off letting him discover his feelings, if there are any.

Maybe just having your sweet kitty around will help him realize his feelings. IMO, it's probably best to let him deal with things as they come up.

*

Kizzie

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • 7295
    • View Profile
Mot of us with CPTSD have unresolved grief/trauma - he may/may not so it might be an idea to ask him as TR has suggested, and what might work for him with respect to the cat. You can let him know what you think and feel and then work through it together in an open, loving and respectful way.

*

Perry1216

  • Member
  • 18
    • View Profile
Mot of us with CPTSD have unresolved grief/trauma - he may/may not so it might be an idea to ask him as TR has suggested, and what might work for him with respect to the cat. You can let him know what you think and feel and then work through it together in an open, loving and respectful way.

Well, I've mentioned it to him already. I explained what I thought was happening and asked him if he thought it made sense that he was being triggered by the new cat / sleeping situation reminding him of old cat + being comforted and happy with the new cat. If that makes sense.


*

Perry1216

  • Member
  • 18
    • View Profile
You don't say if DH agrees with your assessment that he has unresolved issues. If he does and he's asked for your help, you could find some articles online for him to read, or a video or something.

If he disagrees or doesn't want to look at the possibility there is unresolved grief, I think you're better off letting him discover his feelings, if there are any.

Maybe just having your sweet kitty around will help him realize his feelings. IMO, it's probably best to let him deal with things as they come up.

I think he agrees, based on what he said, but it will probably take some time for him to process a bit more.


*

Kizzie

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • 7295
    • View Profile
Did he talk about what he'd like to do about the cat or his grief or both Perry? If he is grieving for example he may not be ready to tackle it just yet.  Or he may need a therapist's support to do so.  Or he's willing to give the cat some time to see how he's feeling about it in a few weeks.... lots of ways he could go but it's important to work out together what he would like to see happen (if anything as I mentioned), and what you'd like, that's the point I was trying to make.   
« Last Edit: December 22, 2018, 07:04:53 PM by Kizzie »

*

Perry1216

  • Member
  • 18
    • View Profile
Did he talk about what he'd like to do about the cat or his grief or both Perry? If he is grieving for example he may not be ready to tackle it just yet.  Or he may need a therapist's support to do so.  Or he's willing to give the cat some time to see how he's feeling about it in a few weeks.... lots of ways he could go but it's important to work out together what he would like to see happen (if anything as I mentioned), and what you'd like, that's the point I was trying to make.

Ok, but.... will all due respect, I am already trying to work through this in a loving and respectful way by asking for help.

I do see your point that it might take time and letting my H direct how to proceed, but if I have ideas as to how to proceed, then I can present my H with options depending on how heís feeling and thatís usually helpful. Otherwise, I tend to get frustrated as Iím not sure what to do.

*

Kizzie

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • 7295
    • View Profile
If your H does not go to therapy that may be something you could suggest to him.  We have resources here about trauma therapy, databases and forms that can help in locating one that is trauma trained and experienced.

You may also want to check out this online  group for partners of people with Complex PTSD. It's a free but closed group moderated by Heather Tuba, a trauma coach whose H has CPTSD.