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Readers Respond: How Do You Cope with a Family Member's PTSD?

Responses: 86


Updated June 25, 2009

Know How It Feels

I am also dealing with a man who has PTSD. I have dealt with this for 41 yrs.I had to have surgery. I have had quite a ordeal with what I went though. Besides dealing with his issues, I also receive no affection. After years of this treatment you wonder what you are doing wrong.I am just sick of feeling like housekeeper and cook.As long as I don't say anything I am fine. I wanted some one to come help me with my housework I couldn't do after surgery and he blow up.I have a lady come in 1 hr. a week to vacuuming I can't do. I feel I deserve that hour of help.He has never done any housework believes that is a woman's job! He also is absorbed in TV.Watches westerns all day.Won't go to church. I have went 38 yrs. alone.Maybe went 5 times to see kids plays after they begged. Kids grown.Grandkids almost grown. We only travel if it is some where he wants to go. Doesn't seem to matter what I want out of last few yrs. of life. He is 65. I am 57.Life is too short to spend it like this. Any Advice?
—Guest M In Ohio

Anyone can beat PTSD

I've been through lots of trauma's and I am beating the symptoms of PTSD. The best advice I can give anyone who suffers it, to 1. Don't touch drugs of any form, or Alcohol. 2. Keep active, find a hobby that's fun. 3. Tell yourself they are only in your thoughts and it's not happening today. 4. Hang on to those who love you and are supporting you. Don't abuse those who are helping you, remember their not the one's who've hurt you. 5. The biggest thing of my survival is understanding the Panic, anxiety, question my feelings, and when I identify the reasons that's causing the symptoms, I reassure myself it's okay they can't hurt me anymore. 6. Believe in who you are. 7. Stay away from manipulating people, abusers, mix with good people who understand what it feels like for you. 8. Look at yourself, and say I'm Over it and I'm going to live my life to the fullest, and say all the time to yourself I'm Well and I'm Happy. Yes it can be beaten, I do it everyday on no medications. Hugs to all.
—Guest Michele63

They're not doomed

To read previous messages is quite scaring! A lot of people tend to say that persons with PTSD are... doomed!! Is it just because cases where it goes well don't come here to write about it? I'm 26 and on the go to get married with a girl diagnosed with PTSD and there is always that feeling of a Sword of Damocles over my head but I have faith in her! The roller-coaster ride is getting... less frequent, at least, and we're working on that. I can't believe there's no hope of recovery for people suffering of PTSD!
—Guest Jeff85


Hi, I have realised that a mental strategy that I have used and could help both the sufferer and the support system is sling-shotting... enjoying the good times while they last then using the visual of these times for sustaining you until the next.

Strategies I have found...

My husband is 32 and have PTSD (or what I believe is CPTSD) since childhood -- violence with continual abuse in all forms and a constant change in living environments. I realized that he was ill when I married him yet believed that we could resolve this. So far it is getting better though in very, very small steps, and I have yet to understand what boundaries I need to place up to get my and our children’s needs met/for our house to be a ‘safe or shit free zone’. I have in the 4 years we have been together had two boys (oldest nearly 4 and other 2) and been trying to complete a degree in Education… this I have so far taken off a year for each of my children (including my husband) as I didn’t have any emotional energy left. Living with PTSD feels like living in a domestic violence relationship and at times it is… it is very emotionally draining… I am lucky to begin to counter these effects.

Violence and Alcohol

I suffer from PTSD and I want to say to the family members here who are faced with alcohol abuse and violence: It's awesome how many are understanding (I didn't have so much luck with most of my relatives... or friends) but don't take it too far. Alcohol is no help and it may make the anger worse. And please, please don't let yourself or your children be hit and stay, because you want to show support. Understanding and support is great but not at the cost of your own health, physical and mental, or that of your children. So starts a new trauma. It is hard to admit, because I tend to do that, but if there is someone who takes on all your burdens, it doesn't really help. all it will do is cement the status quo. Try constuctive criticism and working problems togehter, encouragement. You can find places for help, but your partner must do his own share to get better. You're worth the effort and you don't deserve to be punished for loving someone.
—Guest Orphea

I suffer with PTSD!

Hi, I have personally been through a lot of trauma, child abuse, rape, and my story would disturb anyone who read it. But today I will not let the PTSD ruin my life. When I turned 44 I wrote and recorded my first song, "Don't push my button" and I've co-written others, and got other artists to record them. I have a real insight into PTSD now, that I'm getting help with, because I do go backwards at times, but that's okay. Currently my husband is hurting me, loving me and our children one minute, then getting angry over stupid things the next. The arguments have got that bad I reached out for help with professionals. He constantly blames me for his behavior and anger outbursts, but guess what it excites me to know it has nothing to do with my PTSD. We are currently having counseling with a psychologist and I've also made appointments for our children, because his anger outbursts are not mine to wear. The only person can help you is yourself, I fight PTSD everyday, and I'm WINNING:)
—Guest Michele63

I suffer

I'm a 17 year old male. Two years ago I was run over by a full size van. I didn't break any bones, doctors said I'm lucky to be alive though. My girlfriend really tries her best to understand me, but there's nothing I can do to help her. I feel like nobody can help me now. I don't talk to anyone about my issues, and whenever I get mad or angry, I just shut down and lock myself in my room and want to be alone. But this girl, this one girl, she makes me feel like there's hope, so all you wives, and girlfriends of men suffering from this mental illness, you need to stay with them because we need you! I always push everyone away, but she's the only one I want to fight back and come. My mind will never be the same. Sometimes I wish that the van would have killed me so it'd be easier, but if I didn't have my girlfriend, I'd be lost. My PTSD is something I have to live with for the rest of my life, and I hope she's there my whole life too.
—Guest iamone

Not Branded...

Dear Branded - thank you for the reassurance. My husband is a Marine, and his PTSD is so bad I can hardly breathe sometimes. I would never label anyone as "crazy" or "wacko" with how I have to live my life. It's so hard sometimes, not seeingmy friends, not going out and having some time for me, feeling unappreciated. I truly appreciated your comment. Bless your heart, and say a prayer for my husband.
—Guest AKlady


8/4/2011 my husband and I married. He then was diagnosed with PTSD after being in the army 6 years and retired as a charge medic. The first time I was told was he put my daughter to bed and had to leave the room because he was crying it flashed him back to an awful call and losing a 9 year old girl. He shuts down isolates himself, feels like he has no support and worthless because he can't do that line of work either anymore with all the medical problems and plates attached to his body. I don't know what to do. I have tried to support the family by working and even taking a different job for more money. The scariest thing is I myself have to battle with depression and set boundaries and its gotten worse because when he is confronted he is nasty with the most hurtful words no person would put up with.
—Guest confused

Sometimes the end comes first

My ex partner had caused a terrible accident as a child that resulted in his father's death. And when he first went to doctors with anxiety, he didn't tell them about it. A friend of his told me his first reported 'incidences' were in his early 20s. he was given anxiety meds. He almost flunked uni, did all the risk-taking, smoked pot, drink driving, smoking etc. But somehow managed to pull it together, finish uni and get off drugs. But when he was in his mid 20s, successful in his career, and had no 'real' things to worry about, the symptoms started to come back. Again he didn't tell the doctor the story about his father and was misdiagnosed with OCD. He accepted that diagnosis and was on prozac for 8 years. He didn't seek further help. It was only after inflicting loads of secondary trauma on me, to the point where the aggression was so bad I had to leave, that he was diagnosed with PTSD. I didn't have the information to help him, or help me cope. It's over now. But he is getting help
—Guest Broken

split person

my husband has had PTSD for 30 years but was only diagnosed 10 years ago, it was like living with dr jekyll and mr hyde, walking on egg shells,he just sits in front of tv watching war stuff or news then goes to bed there's no emotion, he thinks its myself and kids that r sick and not him, but i feel that its my fault and so do the kids, he has mood swings,anger and unbearable most of the tie,his thoughts r negative and he just cant be bothered we've been to counseling but he just shut down when she got to close,he now says that i've to go as there's nothing wrong with him but he cant see myself and the kids for this condition and its so annoying as i feel so alone an have been for a while, i feel as if i'm going to lose my sanity at times as i have 8 kids and my husband feels like no 9
—Guest guess e

Wife of PTSD Survivor

My husband was abused by a Catholic Priest at age 8. Now, 30 years later, he's still dealing with the effects of this trauma. We've recently discovered he has complex PTSD...which is worst case. I feel like I can't hang on any longer. We have 3 beautiful children and we've been married for almost 10 years. I am very tenacious and determined to "fight this thing"...but I keep getting blamed for hurting him by things I say. I think he's easily hurt, but he doesn't see it. How can we fight this as a team if he keeps pushing me away? I need some hope that there are those out there that HAVE seen healing from this disorder. I'm learning so much as I read this response feed...it makes me feel so not alone. The very tough thing is living in silence. Most people don't know what we are going through... it's not like I can tell people, "My husband has cancer"...instead we are forced to deal with it and put on that happy face to everyone else. I wish I could find a support network in my area....
—Guest Lonely

How Can I Help?

Let me start out by saying, I love this man very much , and I am so pround of him and the things he has done for our country. However he was diagnosed with PTSD back in 2006 after he came home from deployment, on this deployment his unit was ambushed and 3 of his fellow soldiers that were in this unit with him were killed in this ambush. He refuses to talk to me about it, I don't want to push the subject to much because I can tell that he doesn't want to talk about it, every once in a while I will ask him something and i will get a bit more from him. I notice at night sometimes he will yell in his sleep. The smallest things will make him angry, as small as me asking him to repeat something he said because I didn't hear him clearly. He will have burst of anger and then get calm, He has turned to alcohol and that has just made it worse, I love him and want to help in anyway possible.

My Inner Demons

I have recently been diagnosed as a PTSD survivor and even though it was extremely hard to ask for help, I realized I was spiraling out of control. I felt angry without really understanding why and would go from 0-70 in the blink of a eye whenever this rage would consume me. I just completed PTSD counseling and I had my days when I felt like I just wanted to give up, close my eyes and never wake up. I am doing much better, meditation, realizing that I don't have to allow that hyperarousal which use to just sit in the pit of my stomach, to get the best of me. My family doesn't know what I've been going through because they have their own issues and i am not healthy enough to make their issues my own. If you have someone in your life who you know may have been abused, molested rape, etc, please talk to them about seeking help. This mental issue cannot be solved overnight but with supportive influences, it sure will make the journey less stressful.
—Guest iamloved

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