Do you ever find yourself in a conversation with someone and think to yourself “we are on two completely different pages, they can’t understand where I am coming from and despite my efforts I can’t see what they are seeing. Before reading any further let me give a disclaimer about the different angles this post is about to take…at least 3 of them!
Let’s start with the first and easiest angle for me to discuss…..preconcieved notions about marriage. When I think of marriage I think of two people who love each other so fiercely they are willing to put their person before any other earthly thing. This means sharing in the good, the bad and the down right ugly. My husband and I had been together for three and a half years before getting engaged and married three months after the engagement. We had begun out relationship as two very different people who somehow met in the middle. Starting our marriage out I thought that is what would set us apart from other couples and the statistics of divorce. I thought because we had already seen each other at our worst, we would always be able to stay beside each other against anything life threw our way.
Here is where multiple angles start to be weaved in and out of the story.
Because me and my husband met later in life (25 and 33) we already had things happen to us that caused us to form certain character traits. My Husband unexpectedly and certainly unplanned, had a child with a woman he had just met shortly after his father passed away with cancer. This pregnancy and child turned his world upside down, he had new responsibilities and a new focus that caused him to become concerned about the future of our society and the world his daughter would grow up in.
I was diagnosed with PTSD after having close proximity with the shootings occurring at Virginia Tech my freshman year of college.
Although we each explained these things to each other and attempted to help each other understand the best we could there were conversations that go unattended because of these past experiences.
We didn’t know the impact of these until we moved in together after getting engaged and hiding was no longer an option when the stresses of life reared it’s ugly little head.
Our love is very unique, me and my husband have a clear understanding that even if we are in the midst of wanting to rip each others heads off we still love each other conditionally, so keep that in mind as your reading further! Since moving in together certain areas of discussion are almost sure-fire to spark an argument. Discussions involving his daughter, my emotions, his view-point on the future of the world and a few others to name some. When these things need to be discussed our past circumstances show where they have left their mark. The constant feeling of threat from PTSD causes me to become almost immediately defensive as if everything that is wrong in our relationship is viewed as my fault and I have to fight tooth and nail to defend myself. He becomes defensive and views my position as one of being inconvenienced or worth more than what I am being given. We go to our individual corners and don’t even wait for the bell to ding to start the throwing punches(verbally). By the end of it we both feel drained and more alone than before we began.
I want him to understand how completely PTSD has taken over my life and changed me. While it is more controlled than in the past, that constant survival mode is exhausting and terrifying at times. The pit in my chest grows and growls as the conflict continues to the point that I want to start clawing at my chest. He views my emotions as controlling me instead of me controlling my emotions, what he can’t see is the fight I put up every day trying to achieve just that.
I do everything in my power to not become a burden for my loved ones because of something I experienced 11 years ago. But as anyone with a traumatic past can attest to, there are days that I simply can not do it alone. While I thought his preparations for the future eased the insecurities I think it actually exasperates my survival mode in a way that confirms the need to be in survival mode. My husband is right, the world is becoming more and more wicked each day. I fear for the influences my step daughter will have to face. But God gives us exactly what we need each day and does not give us what we do not need. I spent the last 10 years of my life worrying about tomorrow and feeling ashamed of yesterday. Proudly I can say I am at a point in my PTSD treatment that I can start to let my guard down a little more and focus on the present. But it’s hard to enjoy the Present when your best friend and life partner is focused on the future instead of growing your marriage or building a new life together. We have come leaps and bounds in just a short time. We have both started to accept that even if we can’t understand the other it is important to us because it is important to them. But it takes work, time, dedication, patience and above all else prayer. There is one thing my husband and I can always agree on, God used the troublesome times in our past to bring us together in some shape or form. There is divine intervention in our love that has brought us to this very moment.
I warned you the angles this blog would take……but here is where I try to pull it together. I never realized how difficult intimate relationships could be while battling with PTSD or significant past experiences in general. But I’m grateful that even when we are different pages my husband is still here with me. My hope for my revamped blog is to process the hurdles of overcoming my battles while strengthening my marriage despite my battles, and maybe helping just one other person fighting the same fight feel like they aren’t alone either.