Monday, December 6, 2010

PTSD: A Selfish Beast

One thing I have noticed about PTSD is how selfish it causes those suffering to be. Now, don't get me wrong, it causes a ton of other things too, but this is one that has hit me several times throughout this journey. It reared it's ugly head again today. It came up during a phone conversation with one of my best friend's who is also the spouse of a severely injured soldier who suffers from PTSD. Then, as if it knew I had been talking about it, it decided to present itself once again in my own husband today!

This is a really hard change to accept in Allen. Before suffering so severely from PTSD, he was one of the most selfless people I knew. He always put me and the kids first in everything, often to his own demise. He would have much rather gone without himself than to have one of us in want of anything. Notice, I said want, not need. He was just that kind of guy! I think this is partly what makes this uncharacteristic trait more difficult to adjust to.

It is crazy to me how PTSD seems to make those who suffer from it, unable to view things from anyone's perspective other than their own. No matter the subject, it is impossible for me to get any other view point, other than his own, through his head. He simply cannot see it! This makes it extremely frustrating as a spouse trying to adjust to a radically new personality of my husband. But the bigger picture is how it affects our kids and the relationship they have with their dad. It is often like a sibling relationship instead of a parent/child relationship. It is really difficult to get my husband to see anything from the perspective of our kids. This damages the relationships he has with our kids and puts me in the middle of it all. I end up being the moderator instead of the supporter. Or, it makes it impossible for him to support me in what I am doing with the kids at the time. It is a really weird dynamic and I am struggling to explain it all here.

Today, I noticed it during a conversation I was having with him on the phone. It wasn't about our kids or anything, but the selfishness was definitely at the forefront. Allen was telling me about a project some of the guys participated in over the weekend. They had the opportunity to go pack boxes to be sent to troops deployed to Afghanistan with a couple of other organizations out there. He says he wasn't personally invited, but he could have went if he had wanted to. He went on to say that he wouldn't have went even if he had been personally asked to go. I just don't understand this thinking of his. He loves the troops! He is sick to death that he was medically retired and does not have the hopes of ever being on active duty again. So, what a perfect project for a guy like that!! The Allen unaffected by PTSD would have loved to participate in such an event. The post PTSD Allen couldn't think past himself to see what good it would have done for the troops and himself! Maybe I see this all wrong, but I don't think so. I know it also has to do with the depression and headaches, but I can't help but see the selfishness in it as well. It simply breaks my heart.

Now a little disclaimer. Please do not judge my husband or myself just because I choose to write about something I see as a negative characteristic he is struggling with. I also have to follow this up with he is in California, so he truly may have not felt well that day. I could be viewing this one incident completely wrong! Just remember that we are all always a work in progress and my husband is a trooper and is working very hard to beat this PTSD Beast!!

Even Now.......Gina

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post, Gina. It truly helps us out here with friends suffering with PTSD understand a bit more and see through different eyes.