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My partner suffers from CPTSD and now our family is struggling

Community Member

From before we were even together I knew my wife had suffered trauma. She was in a horrific car accident at 14, and when we started dating, she had just left a short but supposedly violent marriage, and her mother had passed from cancer. My wife was her primary carer and watched her deteriorate.

Just before she turned 40, my wife told me she was sexually abused by her older brother while she was a child. At the start of this year she revealed that she had had a consensual sexual encounter with the guy who was the best man at our wedding whilst I was recovering from lower back surgery. Further discussion about this has lead to my belief it would have more accurately have been called rape. She did what he wanted and felt disassociated during the act.

She was diagnosed with CPTSD in April. She forwarded me a letter of formal diagnosis from the psychologist she has been seeing, and the formal wording accurately describes the behaviours that have been exhibited from early on in our marriage and have slowly escalated over time. Hyper-vigilance; emotional dysregulation, interpersonal difficulties, dissociative symptoms, and negative self-esteem.

I had thought it was just really bad anxiety, and had been asking her to seek help for years. She was reluctant to do that - her reasoning was that she had been treated badly by Psychiatrists after her car accident and didn’t trust them.

So I did what I thought I was supposed to do and hung in there. I have been trying to access family counseling with someone who is strong in PTSD since the diagnosis, but they are few, and demand is high. I have managed to secure an appointment in early February.

Until then, we just have to hang on. My personal Psychiatrist tells me to have no expectations of might might be achieved. We are all struggling and his advice, while probably honest, doesn’t give much hope.

Maybe I’m just looking for someone who has come through similar and out the other side intact.

10 Replies 10

Community Member

I just thought I would post an update.

We have been seeing a psychologist now since mid February. She is not a PTSD specialist. She is a couples councillor for neuro diverse couples.

So I felt a bit upset that I have been mislead. However I have persisted with the sessions and we seem to be making progress.

After self-harming and a trip to the local ER, my wife has decided to get more therapy for her symptoms. She is off to a new therapist. She has chosen someone young because she “wants to feel like” she “is in control”.

After the first session she comes home to tell me that the new therapist has told her that I’m a Narcissist. She asked me to do a personality test which she told me was for her next visit. I emailed through the results last night. She has read through it all and feels that I'm lying about what answers I gave. Also, her therapist didn't ask for me to do the test. It was given for her to do.

And to top it off, I gave the wrong response to her text messages that my son almost missed the bus because he didn't listen to my wife about which stop it pulled in at. I thought it was a funny anecdote with a bit of karmic irony. She was triggered by that he almost missed the bus, and felt terrible for him.

The thing that really upsets me is I understand her feelings around this, but she refuses to accept my feelings as valid, even though my son and the bus driver both laughed.

So we are all wrong, and her’s is the only valid emotional response.

I'm starting to feel that there will never be any healing for either of us while we are living under the same roof.

Has anyone else lived through this?