Relationship advice: is she c-ptsd?

A

adviceseeker

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Apr 5, 2019
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singapore
#1
Ok sorry for the very long first post. This is my way of coping. So I want to ask if you think my wife has c-ptsd and what can I do to have a happy relationship.

I will start off by talking about the fight we had the other day (fight still in progress)...

I had a small issue with my 12 year old daughter basically I was trying to get her attention but she was not in the mood. I tried to do a secret handshake with her but instead my daughter gave me her middle finger. Basically my daughter is a young women now and I have trouble getting her to open up or communicate with me.

I was feeling sad over this and contemplating over the current seemingly poor relationship with my daughter.

This sadness was noticeable to my wife and kids. I was just very quiet and in my own world. Finally, later it in the evening, I said "hi" in a friendly way to my wife. Immediately she started being aggressive towards me. She said: "are you done with your game". Instead of being able to sympathize with me (which I longed for) it triggered in her an emotional flashback. She immediately displayed aggression and started to personally attack me saying that I am a selfish person. Her logic is that I should hide my sad mood so that it doesn't affect the people around me. She continues her abuse by saying: "I have no empathy and your mother never raised you right."

This has been and ongoing theme of hers for some time now. Recently when she gets angry she blames my upbringing and criticises my mother and says things like: "your mother never cooked, your mother never cleaned, your mother babied me too much" etc. This reaction from her is very much offensive to me and she knows it. What I said in return in anger is "you don't do anything" (she's a house wife, so I'm implying that she doesn't do much work around the house). I know that this hits a nerve and is very much a trigger for her. The mess really doesn't bother me as much as her attitude towards it. She always feels the need to tell me that she does so much and is always cleaning and implying that I am not pulling my weight around the house.

There was a time where we negotiated (with a marriage counselor) that I (on top of working full time on my own business and doing full time university) would also do the dishes (lasted a few months), cook a few times per week and then finally i switched to laundry duty (which also lasted a few months). I very much get it, that housework is not fun and is hard work.

I thought this would help our relationship but instead around that timeline she had an online affair which she repeatedly denied until I brought her proof of screen-shots of her getting naked online for a guy while talking dirty to him. Until this day she is defensive if I bring that up. She will say it was my fault, I pushed her to do that because I was not giving her any attention. ( I had University exams and was sleeping in the guest room because my wife basically was really angry at me all the time for being absorbed in so much work).

Anyways back to my main point:
We ended up in a huge fight because of this. My wife is so upset at me and in her mind I am the one who started it all and I am to blame for saying that she doesn't do anything. Now it's been nearly a day and a half and we are still not on talking terms. Just a few hours ago she yelled at me saying that "all of my (her) problems are because of you" she claims that I'm immature and I'm not empathetic. Basically more personal attacks on my character. She continues with saying how bad my mom is for raising me. The weird thing is that when she was saying these things I was thinking the exact same things about her. In her rage, she almost broke my macbook.

Now I do suspect my wife might have C-PTSD because her and her siblings all have similar issues and hearing about how she was raised I realize that she was in fact neglected and abused emotionally. Her mum also cheated on her Dad (and there is another long story to go along with that.)

Anyways this message is mostly just to vent but at the same time I am looking for some sort of validation that I am not crazy.

I'm stuck emotionally, I am always contemplating whether the things that she is saying about me are true. I have self doubt, fear of failure and social anxiety. Although I feel sorry for my wife I also am beginning to feel sorry for myself. In her eyes she said: " all of my (her) problems are because of you" I am more and more beginning to think that she is projecting this on me and in fact MY emotional problems are a direct result of her treatment of me. I remember a few years ago when when I was diagnosed with a depression my wife's reaction to that was: " you do know that depression is for selfish people." She claims that she has more reasons to be depressed but for the sake of the kids she gets out of bed everyday and sucks it up. She tells me to suck it up and be a real man (condescending). Luckily my depression didn't last long. I took meds for about month, didn't like the way they made me feel and that was that (although I still feel mildly depressed at times).

She hardly ever admits to be anything but perfect. But when she does it is usually to blame me that I am the one who made her like this. When in retrospect that cannot be true.

Over the many years of marriage there are countless amounts examples that makes me think that "all of her problems can't be because of me". It doesn't make sense that her problems are because of me because she had them before I even met her. She tried to cut her wrists a month before we ever met!

Another example of when we had first met (we were dating for a couple weeks at this point): while we were together I bumped in to my (recent) ex-girlfriend at a public place and my ex said hi to me and smiled I said hi back and immediately my then girlfriend (and now wife) ran away in a raging anger. I had to drive next to her with my windows down with her walking because she totally was ignoring me (and not telling me what I did wrong) She was crying and eventually after about an hour of walking she was ready to talk to me. She finally told me that she never wants me to do anything like that again. Still to this day I don't really understand what it is that I actually did but I do get that it has to do with her insecurity. They way I see it is that I was only being polite when my ex said hi, I said hi back and nothing else happened after that. I left chasing after her my future wife!

She used to repeat in anger that I'm a narcissist, lately her go to attack is that I'm selfish and have no empathy and that there's something wrong with me.

I really believe it could be true but I'm confused. I try to think how can I change. Even when we went to a marriage counselor (couples therapy) the counselor often took her side. Only recently did we start to see a new therapist and started EMDR therapy. We have the same therapist but we do separate therapy and EMDR. The result of my therapy has shown that there were some different issues bothering me from my childhood however I was able to successfully able to recognize it, cry over it and come to a positive conclusion. My therapist is happy with my progress and has said that 70% of the work is done. Now my wife has the same therapist and although our therapist is not allowed to share any specifics about her therapy but from my understanding she is not progressing as fast and still has a lot of work to do in therapy.

These days we have both stopped going because we had visitors and lot of stuff going on and couldn't make the time for it.

My wife keeps rubbing it into my face and when she is angry she feels the need to tell me that I need to go back to therapy.

My wife is a highly suspicious and jealous person. She is always checking my phone online, asking me who I am messaging and when I go out she makes sure she knows where I am and that every second is accounted for in my day. She always gets very jealous if I talk to another person when she is around whether it is another man or woman. She says "how come you don't talk to me as nicely as you talk to them." One incident was after I had a conversation with her sister. It really got her furious, she still brings it up to this day and she even referred to it as "cheating." Although we were only discussing politics and general topics (her sister did get uncomfortably close at one point to see something on my phone.)

Another example of her behavior: I went out of the house a few months back in anger for about 30 minutes and when I came back my wife was so furious. Just yesterday she did the same thing but she left for about 6 hours. I even called her, message her and she finally responded to a message saying that she will not tell me where she is and who she is with. And to justify it she brought up the incident where I left for 30 minutes (when I left, she had never tried to reach me while I was gone). It's very much a childish game where she tries to think of things that I have done and tried to get me back to invoke that same pain that she apparently felt. Well it is very much working as I find myself often in despair.


To summarize why I think she may have c-ptsd here are some characteristic traits of hers to consider (symptoms):

My wife has emotional flashbacks
disassociating
rage
violent
extremely jealous
low self worth
Can't take any form of criticism without wanting to cry
Acts like she is perfect
never admits to being at fault
tendency to self harm
Identifies herself as an INFJ personality type (Myer Briggs)
Turbulent and unstable relationships with her family and friends. (She doesn't talk to her sister and basically cut her off almost completely, she cut off her father, cut off her mother
intentionally cut off most of her childhood friends and all her friends for some reason or another calling them toxic
her latest friends she praises and gets along well with however she hardly has the opportunity to spend a lot of time with them.
At times she is very insecure about her looks and body and at other times she is overly confident in it.


So basically that can summarize me and my wife's relationship. We have been together for 18 years and have 3 amazing kids with a 4th on the way (not planned). We do fight in front of the kids and I think that is affecting them as well.

Despite everything I still do love my wife (although I understand my feelings may change if things don't get better between us). When things are low, I do often contemplate the idea of running away and never being found. We are lucky to get through a month without a major fight and a few days without a less major fight. Some years have been worse than others, I always think that we are getting better until the next major incident. It should also be noted that these are my view of events and I am sure her view would be much different from mine. I also tried not to exaggerate anything but I do have that tendency. That being said I am also to blame and I am very much childish and play the tit-for-tat game pretty well.

I think if she read this she would either get very defensive and say that i twist the facts, or she would get very sad and want to self harm herself. I do not imagine her reading it and admitting to her faults and trying to improve herself and our relationship.

I am looking for your opinions on who is wrong here ( me only, her only or both of us)?
Does she sound like she may have a diagnosis for c-ptsd, borderline personality, bi-polar, narcissist etc.
Do I sound like I may have mental health issues?
Tips on what I can do to make her realize that she needs help .
Tips for coping.
What should I do or say to get over the current fight
any comments on the examples i provided
 
A

adviceseeker

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singapore
#2
I am planning to send this link to my wife. If you want to make a comment please keep that in mind. (unless you think i shouldn't, then say so quickly)
 
A

adviceseeker

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#4
I wanted to add: She is a very good mom btw. She really cares and takes the time. She is very loving with me when she is not being crazy.
 
K

Koe

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Apr 1, 2019
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Antarctica
#5
I think you guys have a really wonderful marriage and you guys are both trying to get into therapy and save the marriage, which i think holds some value.

However, everything has its limits and i think your wife takes you a little bit for granted, she’s immature with managing her emotions, but i think her heart is in the right place. I think you’re doing great,very caring and i pray you get the patience.

As for your wife, i wish she grows up a little bit and treats you right, because you do realize you could walk away at any time really, she could have half ur money, but sometimes that’s worth the ease of mind.
 
zaatarHoney

zaatarHoney

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Apr 6, 2019
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Lost in the Sauce
#6
It seems like she wants to matter too.

She takes care of the kids. She maintains the household. This will drive anyone to insanity, even without a history of trauma. Doing household chores every day, only to have the same exact mess within hours is so overwhelming.

Yes, running a full-time business is SO demanding! Let alone, full-time school by itself would be very demanding too.

It seems like- maybe she would prefer if you had her in mind, that you wouldn't focus solely on yourself- even if the ways you're focusing on yourself can better the family's quality of life.

She shows signs of trauma- and in no ways are they justifiable.. we all have to learn how our mental health affects the ones we love. But I'm wondering, did she get the chance to go to school? To do things she loves? Do you two get to spend time alone, doing things you both love together? Do you write her little love notes, or show her affection?
 
SunnyDaze

SunnyDaze

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#7
Hi there adviceseeker.

TBH it sounds like your marriage is on the verge of ending.You both sound at fault and like you're stuck playing the blame game and neither of you want to take responsibility for yourselves or your actions.It sounds like it's turned into a huge power play of who's right,who's wrong and who's to blame.

As far as you trying to diagnose her with cPTSD,is that so you can further blame her for all the problems going on?It may not be cptsd at all,heck it may not even be any mental illness and it could just be that she's just as fed up and as sick of the marriage and the way it is as you are.

I know I sound harsh but I was in the same situation last year.Instead of focusing on myself and working on myself and my own issues I blamed it all on my husband and he did the same to me.Until I left him.

So do you want to be right or do you want your marriage to work?I suggest some time apart,work on yoursleves and then work together in marriage counseling if you want to stay together.Or you can keep asking who's right and wrong online and stay stuck.It's up to you.One of you eventually has to give in and start trying otherwise you may as well go ahead and divorce.
 
A

adviceseeker

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Messages
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singapore
#8
Hi there adviceseeker.

TBH it sounds like your marriage is on the verge of ending.You both sound at fault and like you're stuck playing the blame game and neither of you want to take responsibility for yourselves or your actions.It sounds like it's turned into a huge power play of who's right,who's wrong and who's to blame.

As far as you trying to diagnose her with cPTSD,is that so you can further blame her for all the problems going on?It may not be cptsd at all,heck it may not even be any mental illness and it could just be that she's just as fed up and as sick of the marriage and the way it is as you are.

I know I sound harsh but I was in the same situation last year.Instead of focusing on myself and working on myself and my own issues I blamed it all on my husband and he did the same to me.Until I left him.

So do you want to be right or do you want your marriage to work?I suggest some time apart,work on yoursleves and then work together in marriage counseling if you want to stay together.Or you can keep asking who's right and wrong online and stay stuck.It's up to you.One of you eventually has to give in and start trying otherwise you may as well go ahead and divorce.
I get your point. We are definitely both at fault and I understand it doesn't really matter who is at fault. The blame game sucks.

I find it really hard to just agree with what she is saying when she is just accusing me of stuff in anger.

Even if I don't try to explain my side I feel like she will be still angry because she will believe what she is saying even more.

And when I try to explain myself it falls on deaf ears anyways , so it's a lose- lose situation.
 
A

adviceseeker

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Messages
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#9
I think you guys have a really wonderful marriage and you guys are both trying to get into therapy and save the marriage, which i think holds some value.

However, everything has its limits and i think your wife takes you a little bit for granted, she’s immature with managing her emotions, but i think her heart is in the right place. I think you’re doing great,very caring and i pray you get the patience.

As for your wife, i wish she grows up a little bit and treats you right, because you do realize you could walk away at any time really, she could have half ur money, but sometimes that’s worth the ease of mind.
Thanks for the positivity. She thinks that she does treat me right and I am to blame. I am not sure which one is true.
 
A

adviceseeker

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Joined
Apr 5, 2019
Messages
6
Location
singapore
#10
It seems like she wants to matter too.

She takes care of the kids. She maintains the household. This will drive anyone to insanity, even without a history of trauma. Doing household chores every day, only to have the same exact mess within hours is so overwhelming.

Yes, running a full-time business is SO demanding! Let alone, full-time school by itself would be very demanding too.

It seems like- maybe she would prefer if you had her in mind, that you wouldn't focus solely on yourself- even if the ways you're focusing on yourself can better the family's quality of life.

She shows signs of trauma- and in no ways are they justifiable.. we all have to learn how our mental health affects the ones we love. But I'm wondering, did she get the chance to go to school? To do things she loves? Do you two get to spend time alone, doing things you both love together? Do you write her little love notes, or show her affection?

I understand that it is very challenging mentally for house wives today. We got married young and she didn't pursue a hire education. A few years back she did take some classes and got a technical certificate for which she does teach a class 2 times per week, so that helps!