Married to PTSD: I fell in love with a... - Anxiety and Depre...

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Married to PTSD

JustaGirl22 profile image

I fell in love with a man with PTSD and we married. He had so many issues and problems, but at the time it was okay; I stayed by his side through thick and thin, devoting almost all of my emotional resources to him. I loved him because I saw his kindness and warmth despite the symptoms of the PTSD. Four years has gone by and I feel completely replete of who I was before I got together with him. I feel like a ragdoll, so ripped apart, so devoid of any good emotions. I'm exhausted and extremely depressed.

I realize that the relationship began unhealthily and there are things I wish I could have changed earlier into it, but here I am feeling stuck. I want to love him and see the beauty in him again, but my brain is blocking him emotionally. He has been able to make connections with groups online and feels like he has grown and is healing, which is really wonderful.

I feel like a wasteland, so empty! He suggests activities for me to do to make myself feel better and to stay occupied, but the emptiness is so vast I can't see over the horizon. I have tried to get back into running, which I used to do all the time, especially trail running, and that does help; but when not exercising (which is really tough to motivate myself to do), I feel like a failure around the house, around him.

16 Replies

After reading your earlier posts, it's clear that you are just as much in need of attention and care for your own illness as your husband is for his! Are you getting any medical treatment for your own illness? Are you making a point to take care of yourself mentally and physically on a daily basis? It's great that your husband is improving with his PTSD, and he wants to see you do the same.

Hi you are burnt out. No one can devote themselves almost exclusively to someone else's needs without burning themselves out. You have allowed his issues to drag you down to a point you no longer know yourself or can recharge your batteries. Not your fault but you now need to devote a lot more time and attention to your well being. I would suggest that maybe counselling could help you make sense of it all? x

Thank you, yes, I have given that see more thought. I had therapists while in the military and they were pretty dismissive, as I was on the way out. And then I tried again with another therapist who kicked me out of her practice for having too many emotions, this was a therapist who specialized in PTSD! So I'm really nervous about trying again. But I'm keeping it in serious thought.

'Kicked you out for having too many emotions'? That's awful! No wonder you are worried about trying again. It sounds like you aren't suffering from PTSD then. Is it possible to have a holiday (without your partner) or to go and stay with family/friends for a while? Again on your own? I think you need some distance between the two of you for a short time to help you recharge your batteries. x

That's what I keep saying, but then he's like we don't have any money for you to go flying off to your family...

It's just a huge pile of mess. I'm so sick of it, never being able to be happy because I've got so many tiny worries that weigh me down. I think I might have PTSD from HIS just sucks right now 😞

Well you definitely need a break of some sort and away from your partner and everyday life. Any options that are cheaper than flying to see your family?

You can't 'catch' PTSD from anyone but you can develop your own issues. x

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I was just by chance browsing the internet, bored, anxiety, was hoping to find escape and typed in support group, something different than window shopping on the internet. I saw your post, the first one I came across and wow, hit the nail on the head. I am in the exact situation, married 4 years too. I have my own issues, anxiety brought on by other issues. I just wanted you to know, you are not alone in this situation. My husband is making a turn for the better too. Still a super slow progress. I am trying to take baby steps to find my way back to me too. We will do it! What I have I read about PTSD caregivers, yes we burn out and that is normal. Says take baby steps to lessen the burn out phase and with time, we should find our way out of the blahs. Being on here is a step:)

JustaGirl22 profile image
JustaGirl22 in reply to Hidden

Thank you so much for your helpful and lovely feedback! I've got so much bottled up inside, it helps to write with the hopes that even just one other person can understand my situation.

Yes! I believe in small steps as well, and to take one lone step I began making the bed every morning. It's already given me a fresh outlook :)

Beneks profile image
Beneks in reply to JustaGirl22

Hello JustaGirl, My husband has ptsd too. And i know its not easy to keep a marriage healthy. Are you guys getting help from treapists? If not, I really recommend seeing a therapist not just for him but definitely for you as well. I didn’t make it by myself and got depressed and dealing with panic attach and start taking 3 medications everyday. If you wanna ask any question about my husband’s progress or our relationship dynamics or what our couple therapist says etc.. i will be here to share with you! I just want u to know you are not alone! Stay healthy and happy.

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That's great, I get that! I do the same thing. Even iddy biddy steps count, making the bed, makes a difference. I agree, your right. I have heard journaling, writing down something anywhere, anyhow helps along with talk therapy and other methods all help break through this life altering, dibilitating, not sure how to spell that word, and it's true. I didn't really believe it or get it until I had to send a email to my grown son the other day. I had to confide my real life to him. I used to live near to my children, all grown up now. I moved to the other side of United States and married my high school sweetheart after my 20 something year marriage ended, my children's father. I knew my husband had something going on with issues, just thought it was alcoholism. No, it was self medicating from PTSD. With groundhogs day (great movie- Bill Murray) repeated a couple years into this marriage, my husband and I realized there was a lot more than alcohol issues. He is very private and doesn't want anyone know about it. However, he is taking baby steps. It is still a DL topic, down-low, trying to stay hip lol. Super slow progress, in the meantime, I have kept his quiet, don't like the word secret. With that and all of his PTSD, I have slid into my anxiety. Something I have been dealing with all my life on and off. Writing that email to my son and be open and honest the best I felt my son could understand without being to overwhelming. I am okay, I don't want pitty, I don't want him to think I am weak. I am a strong woman and get we all have issues, I believe he gets that. Okay, now you have a better understanding my situation now too. Which I am good with especially since this format is anonymous :) After sending my son the email, it made me feel better hence writing/journaling therapy. So with that said, I didn't want to spill my guts onto all my family and friends, trying to express-exercise my writing /journaling therapy method on them. Plus they have their lives and probably don't quite get it. So with feeling more empowered, I thought, Internet support groups and saw your post and here I am :) Journaling on a support group, counts. I haven't wrote my very own post yet, just got on here yesterday. I will try to take that step next. I am so filled with anxiety, I just want to cry and I won't. Can't hardly breath but I do breath, you know what I mean, anxiety sucks. I'm sure it's good for something in some way. Makes us be cautious and yes over the top cautious, not healthy. Thank you for journaling back to me, helps me too:)

My husband has ptsd and hasn't touched me tenderly in 8 months

Beneks profile image
Beneks in reply to Mullinax18666

Hello Mullinax, My husband has also PTSD and having same emotional issues as well. Last 2 years, I couldn’t understand and i was always questioning “why he is not interested in anything with me” i was feeling i am kissing like a death fish! Just couple of days ago, he said his threpist diagnosed him as ptsd which explains everything! Based on my research, don’t take it personal! He is num, he is struggling for emotional attachment, he might have anxiety and mood disorders. In my case, on top off all above my husband is dealing with insomnia and several trauma from his past.. I feel exhausted especially due to his trauma he has fair of havinv conflict and even tough i say why did you leave freezer door open he gets triggered! We are also seeing couple therapist and I started seing my own treapist too! Because dealing with a ptsd Husband is not easy for anyone.. he pretends he is my roommate or brother. What my terapist and also our couple therapist recommended is “focus of your own happiness” because you can not fix him. He is the only one who can help himself with working his therapist. You can only support him but at the same time you lose your own health too just like i am depressed and having panic attack now:(

I got married 2 years ago and he was depressed even at our honeymoon. I was so energetic and happy person before but dealing with too much his problems made me old and hopeless! What just worked is I started doing something for myself and he is now doing better ( very slowly) I strongly recommend to focus on your own happiness.. my trepist just assigned me a codependency group. We need more self esteem and lees dependency to overcome their problems which make us more supportive. I think That means healthy and supportive wife. We are leaving with the same problem and i know exactly your disappointment and feeling lonely.. write me anytime!

JustaGirl22 profile image
JustaGirl22 in reply to Beneks

Thank you for your post. It shed some insight into my own situation with my husband who has PTSD. I was so focused on him and his healing that I completely forgot about my own welfare. I felt like I was picking up on all his symptoms subconsciously and had no idea what was happening. Only recently, having to separate from him for my own health, I have been reminded that I haven't done anything lately in order to keep growing, emotionally and spiritually. I even stopped doing what I love--running and exercising--because he stopped! Now I can see more clearly what was happening. Thank you again for being open and sharing your story.

I have ptsd and I am married. I wonder if you can share exactly what part of your husbands symptoms dragged you down? I only ask so I can try to be more aware of what I do that may make my husband feel like you do. Unfortunately our symptoms are so misunderstood by people that don't live in our shoes.

I'm sorry you are feeling down and drained. Marriage counseling perhaps? You both sound kind and caring. Mayb an outside opinion will help your relationship.

I have hesitated so long to reply because it has taken some time to think over what I might say that would be most helpful and encouraging to you. I commend you, first of all, for having the courage to ask your question. I have gotten to know my husband's PTSD rather well and feel that if I were in his or your shoes, out of fear or shame I might not want to know. But I also believe that there should be no shame in having PTSD. And, maybe I am not saying that for you specifically but as a reminder to myself of my own attitudes toward someone with the infliction.

I love my husband dearly, but recently have had to separate physically from him for my own welfare and health. I found myself picking up on his symptoms--panic attacks, fear of being outside by myself, fear of being touched (even by him), waking up in the morning in fear or in anger...and other things. These symptoms are not a portrayal of how I lived before I lived with him and I had no clue why I was seeing them in myself. There are a few different reasons why I needed to get away; he is also an alcoholic and had within the last several months become emotionally abusive and manipulating, and also because I realized I couldn't see where his PTSD symptoms stopped and where I began, if that makes any sense.

When I finally got away from him and into a safe environment I became aware of some very important things. Firstly, I became aware of his controlling and manipulating ways. I had always just thought that this was part of who he was and if I just went along with it it would go away. Not until just recently did I see how bad it was and how much of a prisoner I felt with him. Now, anything that I say, I say about my husband and my situation, and I do not in any way say that this is how YOU are. I absolutely cannot or do not make any assumptions about you and your relationship with your husband, to just make that clear. Secondly, I felt extremely guilty of anything I did that was "fun" or relaxing that was just for me. Even if he didn't want to do the activity with me, I tried to do things at first that got me away from the home and out into a more social environment. It was both his antagonistic attitude about my social or individual fun activities and my own guilt that drove me to nearly give up doing anything for myself. Now I can see so much more clearly how desperately I needed to do things for myself, because these things benefitted me and helped my attitude be so much more loving toward my husband. But I stopped and I feel badly for doing that. I could have been more healthy in order for him to see how I was growing and being, and perhaps that could have been beneficial for him to see.

There is so much more I could prattle on about, but I am a bit emotionally exhausted! I don't know if anything I said could have any use for you or anyone else, but I am very willing to respond to any more questions or comments you may have. And, please, if I have said anything offensive or out-of-turn please let me know. I also seek self-improvement and would be more than willing to learn more. My recent experiences have been teaching me the need to respond out of love above all else.


Hi, thank you so much for responding to my question. Let me first assure you I took no offense to anything you said. There was nothing hurtful in your response at all. I respect your honesty.

I'm so glad you stepped away. Your whole identity was being taken over by your husbands illness.

My story is a little different. My PTSD was actually caused by my husband getting ill. He had a cardiac arrest at home in bed in his 30's. I did CPR on him. He did live but that night both our lives changed forever.

I got lost in caring for him. The trauma of the event took over my life. I lost myself caring for him and my kids. I became a workaholic. With many more symptoms of ptsd going on that I wasn't aware of. So for 17 years I was a highly functioning, controlling, hyper vigilant, caretaker etc etc woman. Then I was re traumatized by another death and my whole world blew up. That was four years ago.

I now see all these qualities I had that caused me to be just a robot in life. I was in pure survival mode.

So, this is where I will say my story and your story connect. I lost my whole identity being the caregiver. I did nothing for me, ever. I got completely burned out.

My heart goes out to you as I know the life you have lead and what you have lost along the way. I hope you have found happiness and peace for you.

My husband has been very supportive of my illness. Of course he has a sense of guilt realizing it stemmed from his illness.But it had nothing to do with him. There was something in me that caused it. I don't hold him back from doing things he enjoys. I think I still protect him in that I don't want his life going downhill due to my illness. So, we are doing ok. I am learning to live differently. He actually prefers things this way... lol.. I'm easier to live with now than I was for 17 years. I'm just an emotionally unsettled person in a different way.

I will end this by thanking you for being so open and also sensitive toward how I may receive your answer.

I will also say I'm happy you are taking care of you!

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