What is reasonable to expect from my husband?

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rebelsue

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What is reasonable to expect from my husband?
« on: August 30, 2019, 02:54:07 PM »
My husband is affected negatively by  my flashbacks. He gets scared he's going to be attacked again and he shuts down at the times when I need him the most. When he shuts down, it's actually even more triggering and it makes my flashbacks worse. I've tried to tell him this, and so he tries not to show that he's shutting down but I can tell because I'm very acutely aware of other people's feelings.

I think it's unfair of him to have this reaction. He has the option of not being in pain and sad if he wants to. I don't have that option. He thinks I don't treat him like a human being, but I think that he doesn't respect my PTSD at all. I wish he would become happier, more loving, and more gentle and more compassionate when I go into flashback mode instead of getting all weird and acting like I am a criminal. Why can't he do this? Does anyone here have partners that can do this, that can successfully turn ON nurture when you're flashing back instead of shutting it off? Am I making unreasonable expectations of him? And if I am, how do I get my needs met during flashbacks if I can't get them met by him?

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Kizzie

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Re: What is reasonable to expect from my husband?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2019, 06:39:08 PM »
Quote
I think it's unfair of him to have this reaction.

It's difficult to be the one going through a flashback but it can be upsetting to witness it and not quite know what it's about or what to do.  Trauma doesn't just affect us, it affects those we love and recovery means working together, getting on each other's side so everyone can lead a healthier, more positive life. Toward this end, one resource survivors here have found useful is Pete Walker's Lovingly Resolving Conflict. I also like his Human Bill of Rights (which of course is not just for survivors but everyone).

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Anjulie

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Re: What is reasonable to expect from my husband?
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2019, 08:36:09 AM »
 My husband is affected by my flashbacks, too. He cannot be there for me fully because he is reminded of his childhood, where he had to be there for his mother unconditionally.  As a result, he tends to lose his sense of self when he's too close to me while I have a flashback. So I have to deal with those intense feelings more on my own then you would think when you are in a marriage.  But I find that since I acknowledged that he can't react otherwise, he finds ways and steps closer to me, he experiments what he can do for me without losing himself. But that needs time.
I don't know what feelings you husband is dealing with, but maybe he can't choose to react differently, maybe he, too, is stuck in some pattern, that was established when he was a child.
 I think that when your husband tries to not show that he is shutting down shows that he wants to make the situation better, which is good. Maybe you could talk about how to be together when you have those feelings and find another way and be creative about that.
My husbands and my solution is that I go to my room for grieving (a strong trigger for him) and only come to him when I have a concrete question, e.g. please take me into your arms, please listen to me, please make me tea etc.
That is sad maybe, but it is not his fault, nor mine.
So what I had to learn over the years is to take care of myself and nurture myself in flashbacks. I found this list from Pete Walker hugely helpful in this:
http://www.pete-walker.com/13StepsManageFlashbacks.htm