My husband with ptsd left: Hey everyone! I... - Heal My PTSD

Heal My PTSD

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My husband with ptsd left

Iwannahelp316
Iwannahelp316

Hey everyone!

I hope some can give me some advice on what to do. My husband of 2 years has a severe child sexual abuse history by a male friend. He’s also in the military. Two weeks ago he left because “he’s a bad person, I can find someone better and he can deal with the thoughts in his head if he’s alone” He’s never out right said he wanted a divorce but he did tell me that he didn’t want to be with my and that he’d stopped loving me while I was visiting family 4 weeks ago. During that trip he was texting me that he loved me, missed me and would never do anything to jeopardize our marriage. Now that he’s gone we don’t talk about anything other than our house (were in the process of moving) or other reasons to contact each other. I should mention that we just moved to a new duty station 2 months ago and a week after we got here is grandpa he was very close to died. Our whole marriage he’s always been very in love with me, always talking about “his wife” even when I was standing right there and his friends would always tell me how much he would talk about me when he was away from me too. Since he left I’ve been reading everything I can regarding supporting someone with ptsd. I’ve made so many mistakes that I didn’t even know I was making. He always acted “normal” for the most part and would only bring things up on occasion. Before the split he brought it to my attention that he thought about the abuse daily. I had no idea at the time what I was supposed to be doing to support him. I didn’t know the problem was that bad. He now no longer talks to family, old friends and has deleted part of his social media. There are two sexual abuse victims in his family and one in mine. I’ve talked to all 3 of them for advise and was told to write him a letter explaining how I never knew what he was going through, how sorry I am about what happened to him and how I’m not giving up or leaving him..that I’m going to fight for our marriage. They also suggested I text him weekly to tell him that I’m here for him and that I love him.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

thank you so much!

42 Replies
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If your husband has a "severe child sexual abuse history", he needs counseling from a counselor who specializes in child sexual abuse (CSA) trauma. The wounds are very deep and they can't be healed without therapy. I know, because I experienced it, too. It affects everything...relationships, work, communication, body image, sexual identity and response, ability to trust, on and on.

He will not be able to better deal with the thoughts in his head if he's alone. In fact, it'll likely be worse. In our heads, we relive the trauma over and over and we start to believe all the lies about ourselves. The insidious thing about child sexual abuse is that because it can feel good, as our bodies are designed to do--yes, even though it's abuse---the child feels immense shame and guilt. That's why so many CSA survivors don't seek help. He may even feel some same-sex attraction, which often happens when the perpetrator is the same sex as the child.

The fact that he told you he's "a bad person" tells me that he's believing lies about himself. Things like "it was my fault", "it felt good so that means I'm bad", "I'm not worth loving", "I'm defective"....these are things I told myself and that I've heard from many other CSA survivors. He needs to know that it was NOT his fault, that he was the victim of a crime, that he CAN heal and that it's worth facing the pain to do so. He needs to know that he is not alone, that he is loved by God, that his past doesn't have to define his future. Enough was stolen from him as a child. I'm sure he doesn't want the abuse to have control over the rest of his life.

I went through counseling at my church and worked through an excellent book called The Wounded Heart. The author, Dan Allender, also has an online course for CSA survivors which is excellent. You may want to suggest this. If your husband knows you will walk through this journey with him and you are on his side, maybe he'll consider it. I hope and pray this is so.

I have a scar, but that scar reminds me that I not only survived the abuse, but I am victorious over it. I've been married for 38 years to a supportive man who walked through some really difficult times with me. Your husband is blessed to have a woman like you who is so caring and wants to help. I wish you both all the best.

Thanks Majolie! I’m so sorry for what you’ve been through. I sent you a private message. I hope you don’t mind. The things you said are the exact same things I’ve heard from him?

I tried to reply to you privately but was unable. A message said I needed to verify the email, but I didn't get a message from this site to do so. Anyway, I'll just tell you this: based on what you shared, he needs some serious counseling. The abuse he suffered traumatized the deepest parts of who he is. A good counselor will be able to help him. The most you can do is assure him of your love and support. If you are a praying person, pray for his healing. God knows us better than anyone; I attribute my deep healing to God's intervention and how he taught me who I am in his eyes, and what the truth is about my identity and my future. I'm praying for your husband, that he can be set free from this bondage that is preventing him from living the full and healthy life intended for him. Another idea is for you to get counseling, too, to learn how to cope with your circumstances and how best to support him. Sending you an e-hug.

Lindyloo53
Lindyloo53Volunteer

I would contact him even by text daily, I wouldn’t leave him thinking he has no one at all that cares about him. Remind him he can contact you at anytime he needs to/wants to talk. I don’t think you can raise the counselling with him unless it’s in a face to face chat. He does need help to get through this, he may not even believe he can put these ghosts to rest. The most important thing right now as he’s moved out and is isolating himself is that you keep reminding him that he is not alone. It’s so much easier to make poor choices if you believe you’ll never heal and that no one at all cares about you. As he’s in the military could you maybe contact one of his senior people and just say you are concerned about him? Not sure if that’s the right thing to do but if you are concerned for his safety I would do it.

He hasn’t fully isolated himself. He moved in with a friend/coworker that he hasn’t known more than two months and knows nothing about him. When he left he was doing everything he possibly could to get away from me. I felt like he hated me. I want to reach out to him but he really seemed like he didn’t want me. I have people telling me that he’s clouded and it’s not his real feelings but it’s still tough. I definitely want to do what others think will help.

Hi,My heart goes out to both of you. Walking away from a marriage is certainly not an easy choice, i know because i did it.

I was also dealing with PTSD due to historical reasons. I tried to keep my marriage going despite huge suffering due to hourly or daily flashbacks. I loved my husband very much but was not strong enough to keep going so i walked away. He did not try and read the stuff on ptsd i gave him or try and help me stay and support me. We had been married 22 years. I blamed myself because of not being able to get better sooner.

There were other issues connected to my historical trauma that also impacted the relationship as i began to realise when i went through counselling and later psychotherapy. 10 years later i am divorced but have had a loving relationship since. I have worked very hard to get where i am professionally and personally.

I have worked for Survivors, Hull & East Riding, with men, and women who have experienced child sexual abuse. Believe me it can take years of hard work for survivors to work with and through their issues and the trauma that underlies them. Your husband is suffering and blames himself, BUT the only person to blame is the perpetrator who harmed him in childhood.

Professionally i would suggest he get specialist counselling from a therapist who is qualified to work with this type of trauma because there can be many complex issues to bear in mind. He will also need your support and love despite him saying he doesn't because he appears to be blaming himself which can affect his relationships including the most loving one you share together. Fight for and with him because believe me he will thank you one day and also get support for yourself.

I hope this helps and remember take one day at a time because trauma is lived sometimes minute, hourly, daily and you will be in the thick of it too. Work together and you will get through this and be stronger.

I wish you both all the very best now and in the future.

Debbie Morgan MBPsS

Iwannahelp316
Iwannahelp316 in reply to ScubaD

Thank you Debbie! I sent you a private message. I hope you don’t mind.

I have C-PTSD but not from sexual abuse like others her and your husband. But I immediately was able to relate to what he has said and done within the context of your story. I love my husband and children dearly. We were always best friends. But now, as I have not gotten myself back together as quickly as I thought I should, I feel an extra load of stress, shame, guilt and fear that I am ruining my husband’s life and our children’s. I have thought “I am not good enough, they will be better without me.” I think these thoughts everyday. I’ve contemplated leaving for their sake. Not mine, I would be worse off. If he still is texting you, and you know where he is then I see that as a door left open. If you are able to meet, if he lets you, I would hold him, hug him, rub his back, soothing him, saying I Love You and I need you, I want you, as you are at all moments. He should seek counseling, its hard in the Army though. He needs counseling outside of what the army provides. I would also do marriage counseling with someone who is specialized with partners who have PTSD. You will both gain more insight into what to do. If he’s too overwhelmed, maybe find a therapist (couples) and book an appointment and say he can come if he wants. Even if he doesn’t show up you will still learn useful info. Maybe he will make it to the second or third. Tricare is excepted by everyone one in a military town. I wish you the best and I will pray for his healing.

Thank you WhirlyByrd. I’m going to try everything I can. Is your husband doing anything to show you that it isn’t true? Will my words even mean anything to him?

My husband and I have been having difficulties. I have learned through research that I can and have been overwhelming him with my emotions. I noticed him withdrawing and was/is afraid he would leave me. So I pulled back to ease his stress, and he has seemed better since then. But we have our first couples therapy session this Thursday. Both sides have to be self aware, you’re husband may have noticed his behavior could be causing you added stress? IDK. But that is why I relate with his words, once you realize that you feel more like a burden than a partner it adds shame and guilt to the mix. As long as there’s no narcissistic issues of course. He doesn’t sound like one, he sounds (within context) as someone who is self aware and no longer wants to be a burden or a “bad person” or hold you back from finding a better partner. Some will self sacrifice in order to not cause pain to others. I’m in that boat too. If he has an avoidant attachment style that’s even more likely to happen.

Also, I forgot to mention that my husband has recently shown me that. He worked the night shift and before coming home to sleep he went to a store, bought a card that said exactly what I needed to hear as well as roses. The card in the front says “Be gentle with yourself” and he wrote his own message after the rest of the card’s own inside text. So it showed me he still cares and loves me and that I am allowed to heal with as much time as I need.

I pray that he will meet up with me. I’m planning to wait until the move is finished and ask him if he’ll come have dinner with me. I hope that’s the right approach. I’m not going to give up. I know he’s telling me that he is better off alone but a month ago he was still very much in love with me. The feelings he had don’t die over night.

If you can, I would ask why do you think you’re better off alone? If he responds with self detrimental reasons. Listen until he’s done. See if he will let you hold your hand, then a hug. Tell him then how much you love him and that you want to go through this with him. Crying with each other, in a hug is very healing and reassuring. But also, be aware he still wants space. If he disappears to where even his friends don’t know then that is a cause for concern.

I actually have asked him that and he said that he can handle the thoughts in his head if he’s alone.

This is where a therapist would be a good idea. Get one for yourself and the more info you can give them the more they can help YOU. Also, every adult is responsible for their own healing. If he doesn’t cooperate or seek therapy there’s not anything you can do to make him. That’s his decision, it can’t be forced.

I know but hopefully if I can convince him that I love him and will never leave he’ll come home.

ScubaD
ScubaD in reply to WhirlyByrd

Whirlybird, please do not give up on yourself. My ptsd is also because i experienced severe traumatic head injury by someone. I questioned everything i did, blamed myself for everything that went wrong. How wrong i was!! Now i know i am not, i remember some of the trauma i experienced but also have amnesia with ptsd. I am learning to live and like myself better. I have always loved others but not myself. Some things take time. You will get there, i wish you well and don't give up on your family or yourself you will both need each other.My children were my hope and my inspiration.

Best wishes,

D. Morgan MBPsS

Wow you sound like such a lovely person! This post actually brings tears to my eyes. I feel sad for you that you are doing your best but feel so helpless and sad for your husband too that hes feels so overwhelmed by his own mind and heart.

For one thing its not that he doesnt love you, he doesnt love himself. He feels so overwhelmed by shame that its hard for him to cope. I really understand this and the feeling of unworthiness sexual abuse can leave someone in. I have been seeming to be coping well for some time, and then wham!! If something out of my control happens, it may seem small to others, the cracks can show and I can collapse into an utter mess of pain amd self loathing.

From someone who has suffered alot with sexual abuse too as a child I honestly feel like to reassure him you love him is so so good. You dont know how much that would mean to me if I was in his situation. Im just being honest that I may not know how to deal with it though especially when Im such a low place.

It honestly sounds to me like hes opened up about the past and it feels so raw to him to have you know this. He took a risk and he couldnt bare the pain of having it exposed. He felt worthless and he projected his idea he is worthless and shameful to you feeling you feel the same. If so this is automatic. Its not a choice. I know Im making alot assumptions here but Im just trying to understand how I would feel. I would be broken. I would feel like Ive opened Pandora's box and I would just want to close it and start again and try drown out the past. This doesnt mean to say what he did was wrong. He was right to be so brave to share how the past hurts him everyday. He just doesnt have the resources to cope. And maybe he didnt know he didnt until now.

I think he loves you alot. Hes just so broken. I know it may sound simple but can you go and see him. I would love if you were my wife for you to reassure me you still love me, and accept me and you arent going anywhere no matter how hard it is. I would want you to cry with me and hold me. And if it felt too raw to show me affection then do all the things a wife does anyway without the things he cant handle. Do you live close to him? Can you go round and just make him some tea amd take him a meal.

Above all, I honestly think you need to find the best therapist you can find. And tell him and give him the number or maybe pay for the therapist in advance (but dont tell the therapist what he is dealing with, let him open up). If he is depressed and struggling with his identity he will find it so hard to arrange this himself. But I feel like he knows and understands the need to face this otherwise he wouldn’t have talked to you at all. I would show him you love him in practical ways and emotional ways and gently introduce the idea of a therapist one step at a time one visit at a time. It may be overwhelming to just go and start now. And then when you feel the time is right take a practical step to helping him.

You seem like a really awesome friend to have. Stay strong. Keeping seeking advice too. Its people like you that give me hope. You may not realize it but I really believe you give your husband hope too 1. Because of the trust hes already shown you in opening up and 2. Because of the fact you show by your heartfelt and sincere efforts that you are worthy of his trust.

I believe that is the nicest thing someone has said to me. I’m so glad that I can give you hope. There are so many people in this world that want to be there and help. Some of us just don’t have the knowledge to do so. I pray that my husband will listen to me and really hear me. I know he loves me deep down. My sister said that he may not know it right now but he’ll need me at some point. I’m going to hold on as long as I can.

Yes, I want to pray for you too. I really feel youve got such admirable qualities to not want to give up. Everything I said is about my personal needs. Your husband may not make it easy for you to be there though. So, please dont blame yourself if what you find you can do is limited.

I know it maybe hard to accept and your husband is in pain but he has a responsibility to be brave enough to face this too. Its not all down to you. I know he has been through alot in life but only he can work through all this. Noone can do it for him. All you can do is show him that you believe he can do this. And be there along side him.

I guess Im saying that I think you are one of the rare big hearted ones, but remember you can only do so much. And in fact its not healthy to take responsibilty for his problems. You can take responsibilty as a loving wife and best friend and be there and I really feel so much comfort and hope you want to do that. But he has the responsibility to want to face things and take responsibilty for what he can do to help himself. You can only do so much. You are doing your best and thats good enough. I think the opposite to your sis. Your husband needs you to be there NOW whether he realises it or not. Your consistency is so valuable and will affect him in ways he doesnt even realise. But as I said you can only do so much so please be a t peace with that. I pray you have peace with yourself 💞

Upon your advice, I asked him to have dinner with me on Thursday. He accepted. I don’t know how this will go but I feel like it’s a step in the right direction. If he didn’t have hope he would’ve said no right?

I only told you how I would feel. And I honestly dont know how his mind is working but I think youre doing amazing. If it was me I would grsteful that you still believe in me and love me despite all Ive told you about my past. It would give me courage that you have the courage to face this with me 😊

Oh no, I meant about being there for him NOW. I haven’t spoken to him about anything except the house since he left. This was my first time reaching out to him about anything.

I dont understand sorry. I thought today you invited him for dinner?

And also in my earlier message I meant that your consistency now in reassuring him now is very valuable regardless of how limited you are in what you can do. Its very much needed even if your husband doesnt show it. It contributes to your trust and your connection when you send him nice letters and texts and reassure him you love him.

I did invite him to dinner on Thursday. I planned on waiting a few weeks to ask him to meet me. I decided to do it now because I want to start supporting him but I feel that I need to talk to him in person first. I’m going to be there as much as he’ll let me.

Thats great 😊, my previous comment still stands. I think youre doing amazing. You cant ask any more of yourself. Thats great. I also like that you said you will be there 'as much as he lets you'. Thats so important as it takes the both of you to make this work.

You can always text on a daily basis, make sure he feels wanted. And perhaps every now and then perhaps a photo of someplace special to you both reminding him of a special day.? I was diagnosed with PTSD ( I don't think they are right tbh, ) I had a complete breakdown and disappeared for a while then ended up having a shrink eval, apparently I had been off grid for over a year+

Iwannahelp316
Iwannahelp316 in reply to Delzek

Thank you!

Delzek
Delzek in reply to Iwannahelp316

I'm not great at this my only hope is my reply helps, In the UK their are group's you can attend or one to one consultation if you want them, The Military also provide help as well but most people avoid the military help for obvious reasons. I wish I had taken more care of my emotional and mental health prior to my Breakdown, Thankfully my ex is my Best Friend, we don't want to push people away but can be afraid that we can hurt them physically or emotionally during a dark period of our mindset ,thats why he has probably moved out , its a sign of love ! We always seem to hurt the people who we love! I hope things work out well for you. All the best Derek

Iwannahelp316
Iwannahelp316 in reply to Delzek

He actually told me the reason he needed to be away from me was because certain things I did made him want to bash my head in. I know he’d never hurt me. I know he did this for my protection. But I’m not going to leave him in his dark period just because he thinks I should find better than him. I want to be there. I pray he comes around and stops pushing me away. Something inside of me is telling me to hold on. After the way he spoke to me on Thursday I want to move on. Something is keeping me here. I just wish I knew what.

Delzek
Delzek in reply to Iwannahelp316

Love? Its so difficult for the loved ones, its like they are between a rock and a hard place,whatever you do you feel you want to do more. But you are doing enough just being there for him. It takes time,the worry is "If" you feel you have to move on not only will he sense that but it means something more is there, something other than this situation? You don't say whether you have children or not if you have thats your answer! Protection is the first instinct of most Mother's and Fathers

Iwannahelp316
Iwannahelp316 in reply to Delzek

We don’t have children.

Iwannahelp316
Iwannahelp316 in reply to Delzek

the worry is "If" you feel you have to move on not only will he sense that but it means something more is there, something other than this situation?“

Can you explain this to me please?

Update: We didn’t end up having dinner but we did talk a few days ago. He was far from ready for any conversation with me. He once again confirmed he loved me, told me that he didn’t and then later told me that he never did and I never meant anything to him. He also told me not to contact him unless I’m dying and the next time he wants to see me is divorce court. This is a man that was madly in love with me, wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, didn’t know what he would do without me 6 weeks ago. I asked him if he was happier now that he left and is “alone” and he said that he felt the same as before he left he also said that he was doing the best he could when I asked him how he was holding up then later told me that it was easy for him to be away from me and that he didn’t think about me at all. He was pure satan! He couldn’t even look me in the eye and he panicked when I tried to touch his hand. He said he knows he has issues and that all us women want to do is fix broken men. He also said he doesn’t need his family and doesn’t give a f**k about anything they have to say to him. My sweet husband is currently gone. The look in his eyes is empty. The devil has a firm hold on this man. I don’t believe the terrible things he says. Mostly because it seems like he’s forcing himself to say them. He is saying anything possible to try to inflict pain on me including calling me weak. I tried to tell him what happened to him wasn’t his fault also to which he replied “I know it wasn’t, I was only 9” I have no idea what I’m dealing with here or what to do. I told him that I’d still contact him to remind him that I love him and he said he’d never reply. I know this isn’t him. I know In my heart the man who loves me is in there somewhere. I just don’t know if I’ll ever see him again.

Nathalie99
Nathalie99Administrator in reply to Iwannahelp316

I am very sad reading this update, Iwannahelp316.

It is devastating but I also feel like he might be pushing you away by saying the most cruel things. It is strange that sometimes people push loved ones away when they need support the most.

It's possible that he suffered a breakdown and he might not want to be around people who know about his state.

Sometimes good people suffer so much that they say very cruel things they don't really mean. The reasons for it can be diverse. By hurting you he might be hurting himself (as a form of emotional self harm), it's a wild idea and might not be applicable here.

In any case, he sounds like he can't handle emotions right now so it is best to not make any decisions.

I am concerned and I hope he reaches out for help because it is a severe situation.

The hardest thing is to see a loved one suffer...

If he has trauma therapy or perhaps grounding exercises to start with, things might settle down.

I'm sorry for your suffering and heartbreak.

Have you reached out to a counsellor to talk about your feelings and coping?

Reading this last post I think it is possibly best to wait for him to contact you, I don't think anyone would blame you if you moved on,I have asked a Friend who is a Marine in the USA his advice us to speak to the Padre or the Military welfare team, they can often help in these situations. God I hope that helps you. Derek

Iwannahelp316
Iwannahelp316 in reply to Delzek

I’m not saying anything more to him. Unless I’m dying of course.

He will call you probably very soon wondering why you have not called, thats a kind of normal response tbh sometimes you can't remember what you said and that's a problem, he will only remember things his subconscious wants to remember! Its how it was explained to me at the time. To be fair I am an easy going person but it really worked my mind hard. I still don't think that I had or have it,but again I'm told that's fairly normal. Honestly good luck and go with your "Gut feeling's " Heart and Brain can cause confusion.

Iwannahelp316
Iwannahelp316 in reply to Delzek

Thank you. It’s hard to believe that he really doesn’t care. He said he knew I was here “if” he needed me so I guess I have that. Maybe he’ll need me someday. Once the newness of his new friends wear off and he realizes he’s truly alone. Maybe he’ll need the people who love him.

You didn't mention new friends? That's important, New Friends is a Red flag ! It could mean they know his mental state and could be using him for their own interests! I don't know whether you have done this already but seriously talk to Your mutual friends, even if need be the family liason officer ( I don't know if you have them in the USA or the UK for that matter,the UK used to have then but its all changed now) the liason officer can work out with his CO what would be best suited for him, ie Confined to camp or overnights in camp? All sorts of things that may help! You ask to speak in Confidence, and he will never know you spoke to anyone unless you personally tell him. Please be careful "New Friends" to someone with PTSD can cause a lot of harm Mentally and physically. Keep Safe.

Iwannahelp316
Iwannahelp316 in reply to Delzek

They don’t know his mental state. I didn’t even know his mental state until he snapped and left and I lived with him for over a year. He made new friends when we got here and he’s convinced they’re all he needs now. He dumped everyone except them. He told me the other day that he wants to be around people who don’t try to pry information out of him. I’ve never done that so I don’t know why he would say that but..I can assure you, they have no idea. He looks totally normal to people who don’t know him.

I'm not so sure,they may see a vulnerable person who can be manipulated. I have seen it before and no doubt will see it again. All I ask is for you to keep safe,be careful! In the USA things can go pretty fast and bad, I hope things work out the way you want them to.

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