Did the Military give you a manual on how to live with your partner with PTSD? My ex-wives never got one. PTSD is hidden with many traps, pitfalls that can destroy a marriage. I never learned the silent side of the effects of PTSD until it was too late for my relationships. Looking back, I see the struggles my wife went through and my centering of the pain on me and not on those that loved me.
When it comes to living in a relationship with a partner who has PTSD, the shadows seep into both members of the union. It is contagious. Lets say your Husband is suffering from the trauma and fighting the triggers that set him off, brings back the event. You, as the spouse, begin to silently learn what the triggers are and over time adopt the same avoidance techniques. You begin to avoid the same things even though you do not do it consciously.
If you do not do this then the only answer is to grow slowly apart, he goes his way and you go yours. Recognition is the first step to recovery. Now, don’t get me wrong, not every partnership has this problem. Some partners are not susceptible to falling into these categories, They are able to recognize the problem and have the ability to seek out help in understanding what their spouse is going through. These types can hold the whole thing together.
Scientist are working on discovering why some are more susceptible than others. Some have narrowed it down to genetic differences in people. I have read about this on a brief stint with learning why I am the way I am. Others are looking at environmental influences that could trigger PTSD. We are trained at a very young age and it hides inside until an event occurs that brings it out. Dysfunctional families, trauma at a very young age, even at birth, etc.
You don’t have to concern yourself with all these studies, all you need to do is recognize that you may have the same gene problem or the same environmental history that makes you susceptible to PTSD and so as you go through the relationship with your partner, you adopt the same triggers. I call this associative PTSD.
Recognizing this will bring your awareness out and you will be on the road to turning your relationship around.
Step one; Talk to your partner about seeing if they know they have PTSD. There is a short test they can take that will guide them in the right direction. Have a look at this site and see if you think it fits. https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/ptsd-screening
Step two; take the test yourself. You may find you have associative PTSD.
Step three; Get your partner help and you participate in it with them.
I hope this has been of a little help to you, you are the Hidden Hero, Don’t give, up there are better days ahead.