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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Stuck! Day 14 of National PTSD Awareness Month.

Often after I had been trying to rescue Bob for a while with some new book or herb (Really, someone told me chamomile would stop his wakeups, so I got it and made tea. I was so furious that it didn't work, I can't stand the smell to this day.), I would shift into the persecutor/prosecutor role.
If you just did what I say, you would be fine! (Haha!) I felt each time that I had found the right solution, but I didn't know what the problem was (PTSD) and I didn't know whose problem it was (his), so my solutions, even on the rare occasions when he tried them (he did drink the tea) did not work.
We got into a really painful pattern, the final stage of which was VICTIM. Let me tell you (back of hand on forehead) what Bob did to me this week!
Then back to rescuer.
This is a common pattern in relationships where one person is perceived to have the problem and the other is perceived to be fine. It becomes stable, but usually over time things get worse and worse.
I felt that Bob was driving me nuts, but I had no idea that I was perpetuating the problem with my rescuing, which also consisted of "Don't be mad/sad/" or whatever other feeling I could not tolerate. Like I said before, I thought that was my job. I had no idea I was getting more and more controlling, impatient, self-righteous. I took everything personally.
It never occurred to me that he could be upset by anything but me, and since I was trying so hard to be perfect, if he was, say, depressed, I was furious with him because it meant I was a bad wife and making him depressed. (I think this was depressing, but so were things in Vietnam that he was remembering).
I misunderstood what was going on with him. For instance about 4 times a year he would get cold and distant and I would figure he didn't love me anymore. After I was writing Recovering from the War, I learned about anniversary reactions: The Ia Drang, Happy Valley, Bong Son and the month before he came home! These coincided with his cold periods.
More tomorrow.

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