Well, how do you think I feel? Part 3
When you commit your life to someone, whether through marriage or spoken word, you are doing so much more than just talking. We’ve all heard the vows of “for good or for bad…”, and no one goes into a committed relationship wanting to end up hurt, separated, or divorced. What is the point in that?
PTSD places stress on relationships in ways few can imagine. It sneaks up on the unsuspecting spouse, created doubt, unease, and heartache. It causes the spouse (or loved one) to question just who is this person they have chosen to be with. And it challenges how we all regard relationships.
It would be easy to simple hold on to ones viewpoint or defend ones actions when confronted by a caring loved one who may be confused because of how much they care and how they might be able to see their loved one with PTSD damaging the relationship.
In my case, I’ve had to learn to say: “I’m sorry, and this is not on you. I’m having an episode and I just want treasure you… I know I’ll get past it but I’ll need a little time to process out of my funk.”
The first time I said this to my wife I was unsure how she would take it. In my head, some demon kept whispering I didn’t need to say anything, that I shouldn’t demonstrate a weakness to my wife. I caused me to doubt myself before I said a single word.
But I said it anyway.
It was amazing how well received my words were. My wife almost cried because she had begun thinking she was doing something to agitate me. She had been feeling dejected and confused because she did not understand where my ire was coming from.
After I admitted I was the source of the challenge/problem in our relationship, initially I felt bad. My feeling was, here it goes again… yet another thing I have to overcome. That quickly changed after my admission. As I watched how Kim reacted to the saying of my truth, I felt comforted knowing she would no longer thing she was to Balme, and I felt confident that action had strengthened our relationship.
One of the things I learned in Therapy was I had to have something greater than “me” to live toward. Something that would empower me to rise above the feelings the continually stir within me. I image this “thing” can be different for each person struggling to manage PTSD.
That was and continues to be me secret weapon against the darkness of PTSD. It informs me and helps me maintain focus.
Because I value a lasting relationship with my wife, and because I value becoming my best self, I have something bigger than “my selfish self” to lead me toward that which I value most.