Valentine’s Day just passed, and I bet if you have a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) person in your household you did not do much. The holidays have a lot of people out and about. Going out to dinner or shopping for gifts is a big task. You need to understand that your partner would love to give you everything in the world, but cannot because they do not know how. Save your disappointment; do not expect something you know is not possible. Don’t take it personally.
Holidays with a partner having PTSD makes celebrating difficult. Have you ever wanted to go somewhere or do something but your affected spouse does not wish to go? Have you wanted your partner to plan a surprise getaway or special outing, but it does not happen?
There are reasons for no surprises. PTSD patients do not have the capability of seeing beyond themselves because they are still introverted within themselves and their feelings. A partner with PTSD struggles to move past the emotions of distrust, nervousness and fear.
Fear of rejection or consternation within the affected PTSD individual runs deep. The anxiety of doing something for someone that may not be appreciated is a very real concern. The stress can trigger their PTSD acting out. We as the spouses or girlfriends tend to think they just don’t care. They do care, but their fear of going out because they lack trust in others makes them feel that it’s better to stay home and avoid the potential issue.
They also don’t know how to show a person love and affection. PTSD has them focused in constant survival mode instead of love or affection.
Please don’t get me wrong a person with PTSD wants to love and be loved. Showing it is hard for them. PTSD makes a person think different than someone without PTSD. It’s challenging to love someone suffering PTSD and being able to accept that they love you, but struggle to show their feelings and to put others needs ahead of their own. It’s not that they don’t want to, it’s that they can’t.
Life is problematic with PTSD and throwing a family in the mix makes life even harder. They have to worry not only about themselves but also about their family; making sure that everyone is happy.
We all like to go out and have an awesome time but with PTSD involved it is at the pace of the person dealing with it. It is best not to expect anything or make plans. Or come up with a plan together that will be comfortable for them. This way you both are on the same page, and no one gets upset or hurt.
My husband and I do not do anything to celebrate Valentine’s Day because our anniversary is eleven days later. We feel that is more special than Valentine’s Day. We are celebrating the life we have and the times we have together. Christmas time is the same way I do not expect anything since my husband does not like to shop or let alone leave the house.
I just learned to take what I get and be grateful. Life is too short for being upset over something I want but know is not what my spouse can give me. We all have a learning curve, and we need to make sure to take the time to understand and grow. Taking time without pushing will help you and your spouse’s relationship. We all grow from our understanding and the love also grows with it.
I’ve learned to limit my expectations. If I don’t expect anything, then anything that happens is a gift. I remind myself that my loved one is suffering from PTSD because they survived a traumatic situation, and I’ve learned to be thankful that instead of chocolate hearts, I have them.