PTSD Spouse and Emotional Distance

August 31, 2011

When I was a kid, I remember that we played with the idea of ” freezing out” a member of our neighborhood gang, as a game.  We decided secretly who would be frozen out and then not talk to them and shun them in the name of fun.  It was amazing to see the reaction that the selected person would go through and it was fun until eventually it was my turn to be frozen out.  They say that prisoners can only tolerate solitary confinement for a certain time before it becomes a form of torture.

One of the side effects of PTSD is Emotional distancing.  For most everyone and certainly the most painful is emotional distancing from the spouse. After waiting for a year or more, in most circumstances,  for the loved one to return from serving their tour(s) of duty, to have them finally return and only to find an emotional block in communications is shocking.  The partner seems “Numb” with no outward expression of feelings.  Does your partner even still have feelings toward you or worse yet still love you?  Do you still love them?  The marriage vows say “For better, for worse. In sickness and health” PTSD will test these vows.

The most often asked question of the PTSD spouse is “When will he/she get over it?” If you’ve read any of the other posts you will see it is a question that has many different answers and there is no “standard” answer.  This unknown makes dealing with this issue that much more difficult.  After all, if we could see the light at the end of the tunnel we could more easily bear the weight of it.  Without that end it can easily be unbearable.

From the survey taken for Vietnam veterans/, it was shown that 40% of all married  PTSD  service people returning home from their tour of duty got divorced in the first 6 months.  This statistic was significantly higher than those without PTSD

If your mate is seeing a professional about PTSD ask if you can attend so that the therapist can answer questions that you may have.  It is important to get past the numb feeling and to reconnect as soon as possible.  If your mate is refusing to see a professional then please urge them to come to our site and to post their feelings or experiences.  It may not seem to be the answer but it is an answer and much much better then doing nothing.  It is a safe place to be heard and validated even if it is anonymous.  If he/she refuses to post anything then you should post fr him/her.  There is no reason why you cannot get the ball rolling.  Perhaps your voice spoken anonymously will help you to help your mate but also  help others that are reading this post on a regular basis.  It only takes courage to do something.

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