HI

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Nalu

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HI
« on: January 15, 2020, 05:34:45 PM »
HI,

   I can not possibly express in words how incredible I find this website to be.  The gentleness and caring shown here by all or you is truly inspiring.

   Within a month of our first date my future Wife said to me, ďI have many problems(schizophrenic Mother, alcoholic Father) and needed you to know that so you can decide if you want to take me onĒ.  I did and everyday from then on I have loved her and did my best to provide a stable loving environment. It wasnít easy, but for 30 years I was proudly her ďrockĒ and I would not trade the gift of her presence upon me for the world.

   During our time together she suffered two life threatening events, attended al-anon, saw a therapist to help with one of those events then fell into the pit of despair after stopping, without her doctors permission, an anti-depressant cold turkey.  Sought counseling again and was diagnosed with PTSD. The following therapy ripped her apart.  Although I was not included in the therapy directly she shared with me into some of what she was going thru. She described feeling tremendous shame and numbness. I was always there for her if she needed warmth and support or just to talk or just to leave her be.

   6 months later in her eyes I became the devil and severed all ties to me. It has been 2 years since then and she recently filed for divorce.  This prompted me to say reach out to her, until then I just let her be as none of her actions made sense to me.  We did meet and talked about simple things for 3 hours.  All was good until I became more animated in describing a beautiful thing I had seen and then she shut down.  A few minutes later I realized that she has been suffering from PTSD, now I know it is C-PTSD, her entire life.

   And this revelation landed me here.  I still love and care for my Wife and would like to continue understanding what she is going thru. Eventually maybe we can talk again about deep subjects, but for now I hope you all will not mind if I ask a few questions to help me learn.

Thanks for reading

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saylor

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Re: HI
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2020, 07:49:13 PM »
Hi Nalu,

Thank you for caring so much about your wife as she navigates her way through the many challenges of CPTSD. Iím glad you reached out. I, for one, would be glad to try to shed light based on my own experiences, if you have anything specific you want to ask...

In general, Iíd say there are many ways that CPTSD can affect relationships. After all, itís a relational trauma. Its roots are in harmful interpersonal interactions, and unfortunately it can go on to haunt us sufferers (and sometimes the people who care about us in the present day) long after the worst of the precipitating traumas have ended. Iíve had relationships end ultimately traceable back to my CPTSD symptoms, or at least so I believe. Somewhat paradoxically, though, Iíve read in several places where experts in the field believe that an important route to healing (or at least improving) is through healthy relationships where the CPTSD sufferer (perhaps for the first time in his/her life) feels seen, heard, and valued. That, alone, can do wonders. In fact, itís something that I think plays a role in why many of us turn to online communities: we need to feel understood.

Iím still struggling a lot, but Iím extremely lucky to have a loving, steadfast partner who has seen me at my worst (e.g., emotional flashbacks... which a lot of us experience and would probably be a good thing for you to learn more about in order to try to understand where your wife is coming from) and still listens when I need to talk, mirrors what Iím expressing (another good thing to learn about), and of course, holds me when I cry. My partner was curious and engaged enough to even read a few of the big books on the topic, which included The Body Keeps the Score (an outstanding resource that I canít recommend enough). Sometimes I think my relationship is the only thing that keeps me going. It certainly has made a heretofore bleak life more worth living.

Iíll be the first to acknowledge that it can be difficult being in a relationship with someone tormented by CPTSD. However, it can also be rewarding. Our traumas often result in high degrees of empathy, being observant, being conscientious, etc. I donít want to paint with overly broad strokes here, as weíre all different (of course), but Iím hoping to offer some insight on the many textures of CPTSD.

Iím very touched by your concern for your wife. I wish you and her both the best, and I hope that you will be able to come to some workable solutions, whatever they may look like. Again, Iím happy to try to answer any specific questions if I can be of help.

Best to you,
saylor

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Nalu

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Re: HI
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2020, 04:35:31 AM »
Thanks for the warm welcome saylor,

Yes, we both suffered pains because of my Wifeís C-PTSD, but you are spot on when you mention there were plusses.  I accept and understand her need to find her voice, to be heard and valued.  That is something I always wanted for her and by extension us.  She was just taught to always smile and never complain.

Looking back I do see that we have been navigating life with her C-PTSD together.  It was occasionally bumpy, but it worked.

Then it all fell apart: she was having an affair, acting with no empathy, was at times outwardly cruel.  I was lost, but found many answers to what I was seeing on a site dedicated to people whose spouses were having a major midlife crisis.  Although I think of it as an identity crises.

Her affair partner is a younger version of her father in all ways and her actions mimic the actions of her father.  With the crisis they explain the person needs their affair partner to be like the one that caused them trauma in order to resolve the past.

So to my questions.

In my limited reading here I donít think I have read about such abandoning of ones earlier values, friends, spouse and loosing empathy for others.  So is such a major switch not part of C-PTSD?

The first sentence after admitting to the affair she said, ďHe makes me feel so good, let me tell you about itĒ.  Up until finding this site I always wondered what that sentence was about, but now I think, she truly wanted to share the information with me.  She was not trying to be hurtful, but all her empathy was gone, she had not a clue the pain that would have caused me. Does that make sense?

She texted me several times asking that we meet.  I was hesitant, but agreed to meet, on the way to see her she called my sister and explained how I was abusive and that she was scared of meeting me and why did I want to meet with her.  Another time she called offering me her rental as she was moving out, I accepted the kind offer, then the next day she tells the landlord not to let me know where sheís moving to as such info would be signing her death warrant.  Is this type of varied thoughts part of C-PTSD?

In short how or why did I go from being her ďRockĒ to being her ďDevilĒ?

Iíd appreciate any insight.

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saylor

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Re: HI
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2020, 04:53:17 PM »
That sounds like a terrible situation. Iím sorry youíre going through that. I can understand your pain and confusion.

Iím not a mental-health professional... only a CPTSD sufferer who has done a lot of reading and introspection. Furthermore, not knowing your wife, I canít really say whatís going on. However, a couple possibilities for you to ponder do come to mind (but please take them with a grain of salt).

I guess this behavior could be related to CPTSD, but I do think itís odd that she has only recently started acting  this way (which makes it seem like it could actually be due to something else?)

1) One of the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (and I think, to a lesser extent, CPTSD) is black/white thinking, where things are either all good or all bad. This pattern of thinking often bleeds into relationships in a phenomenon called ďsplittingĒ, in which the sufferer views people they know as either all good or all bad. They can go from adoring someone one minute to not being able to stand the person the next, based on factors that most well adjusted people might think trivial. It is possible that you (perhaps innocently or unwittingly) did something that angered or frightened her, and she pulled away because of it. Iím just speculating. I donít have enough information or expertise to know whether this could apply in your situation, but itís a thought.

2) Given that youíve been married for 30 years, Iím going to take a guess that your wife is middle-aged. Some of us women go through some pretty earth-shattering hormonal changes in middle age that can severely alter our behavior. And in some cases, they donít know that thereís an underlying reason for things theyíre experiencing, such as worsening irritability, depression, etc. and therefore donít end up getting helpóthus they suffer and those who love them may also suffer. Itís a biological reality for some of us, and it can be pretty awful (just ask me!!  :'( ) Some women find relief with hormone replacement therapy. Iím not advocating one way or another (and again, I donít know if this is whatís happening with your wife), but itís another thing for you/her to consider (if she hasnít considered it already).

Those are the things that come to mind. One other thing you said makes me think she may be experiencing paranoia. I think Iím a bit prone to paranoia myself, but Iím not sure Iíve ever seen it listed as a CPTSD symptom, so Iím not trying to say itís part of the ďdisorderĒójust throwing it out there for what itís worth.

Hope this helps in some small way...

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Nalu

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Re: HI
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2020, 06:05:04 PM »
 saylor,

Yes something more than C-PTSD is going on, what exactly I may never know unless she tells me.

I most assuredly trigger her and now realize that taking care of her after she crashed took a bigger toll on me than I cared to admit.  The result was for the first time in 28 years I allowed my frustration/anger to show. No violence or yelling, but I did let her know my boundaries on one occasion.  Soon after she was telling friends I was going to abandon her. I would never, but I can see now why she would think that.

I am sure the hormones are in play also.  I do feel for her.

Sadly yes to the paranoia as her Mom suffers from paranoia and my Wife was always terrified she would walk the same path.

What a messÖ. although I can't say I wasn't warned.
      Thanks for your help.

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Kizzie

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Re: HI
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2020, 08:03:03 PM »
It's difficult because we're not mental health professionals and don't know your wife Nalu, but Saylor has given you some good ideas I think.  Her behaviour doesn't sound like CPTSD, more like something else was/is going on.

One other thing I would add is that going off an antidepressant cold turkey is most definitely a bad idea, even decreasing the dose over a few weeks has been proven to be much too short.  The new thinking is that the dose needs to be reduced very slowly over a number of months.

One suggestion I have is couples therapy, preferably with someone who is knowledgeable about trauma. It might help you both to get at what's going on, why things changed seemingly so abruptly. 

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Nalu

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Re: HI
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2020, 09:39:46 PM »
Appreciate the reply Kizzie,

   Didnít mean to put the responsibility of diagnosing upon others.  I was hoping for and gratefully received input as it may or may not relate to C-PTSD.

   Stopping that drug cold-turkey was the catalyst for sure.  The sad part was that she wasnít taking it for depression, but because it alleviated nerve discomfort.  I am sure they were only treating the physical and were not aware of the mental issues.

   Agree couples therapy would welcome.

   Iíll close by saying I am very impressed by the caring and calmness of this website and I have gained much insight into C-PTSD.  Should my Wife wish to delve into ďusĒ in the future I shall be a better stronger person for stopping by here.

Best wishes and Thanks to all.
-Nalu

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Kizzie

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Re: HI
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2020, 04:58:20 PM »
 :grouphug:  All the best Nalu.

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Boatsetsailrose

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Re: HI
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2020, 09:56:13 AM »
Nalu
Hello and welcome
For me its been helpful on reflection of coming out of my last relationship to look at my part in choosing the person I did..
I was conditioned into being a caretaker in my family of origin and thus went out into the world I did the same..
It was a good way to feel wanted and needed. The more I loved hard the more I felt whole..
V gratefully I don't feel like that today and really work to avoid being a caretaker thus Co dependent..
This may or may not be your situation but just thought I'd share my experience..


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Nalu

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Re: HI
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2020, 02:55:33 PM »
Hi Boatsetsailrose,

Thanks for sharing your story with me.

YupÖI hear you.  I was the ďpeacemakerĒ of the family growing up, the one who tried to bring levity into tense situations . I was my Momís protector.  Then I was my Wifeís protector, although I very much wanted her to stand up for herself. In a sense she is doing that now, I do see that thru this mess.

I am still wrapping my head around ďco-dependencyĒ as it relates to us.  There is a bit of it there and I will give it some more thought.

Take care