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Author Topic: Discussion Complex PTSD?

C
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Discussion Complex PTSD?
OP: August 24, 2019, 08:30:26 AM
Have you read about Complex PTSD?
This precisely fits the bill for my situation...I’m beginning to think that what we think of as a MLC is just cptsd and that our reaction to it only makes things worse.
I think all the traits of our MLCers that look like PD’s are actually coping mechanisms that they learned from abuse or example by abusive caretakers who probably had a PD...or passed down the behavior generationally.
Anyone else see the similarities?
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H 36
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EA discovered 5/31/2019
BD May 31 2019
EA ongoing? 🤷‍♀️ (Who knows?)
“God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his.” C.S. Lewis

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Re: Complex PTSD?
#1: August 24, 2019, 09:02:04 AM
I'm sorry Courage, but what does PD's stand for?
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

C
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Re: Complex PTSD?
#2: August 24, 2019, 09:07:15 AM
Personality disorders...I know my H’s mom has a couple...that’s probably why his coping mechanisms look a bit like one.
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Me 36
H 36
S15
Wallower?
EA discovered 5/31/2019
BD May 31 2019
EA ongoing? 🤷‍♀️ (Who knows?)
“God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his.” C.S. Lewis

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Re: Complex PTSD?
#3: August 24, 2019, 09:39:38 AM
Oh ok, I understand.  Thank you.   :)
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A quote from a recovered MLCer: 
"From my experience if my H had let me go a long time ago, and stop pressuring me, begging, and pleading and just let go I possibly would have experienced my awakening sooner than I did."

b
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Re: Complex PTSD?
#4: August 24, 2019, 09:57:21 AM
I have c-ptsd.  My husband has ptsd from childhood trauma.  He also has been in some stage of MLC for years now.     I see them as distinctly different.   I will agree that MLC is from childhood issues/trauma that has been buried, never resolved or was so severe that it interfered with normal emotional development. That has been the case  for my husband.   And yes .....he was raised motherless with a severe alcoholic hard father.     FOO issues can and do lead to crisis,s later in life.   
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Married April 1985
5 children
Bomb Drop April 2013
Thrown out of house August 2013
Affair discovered November 2013 (i guessed who)
Home December 3 2013
The Journey Of Reconciliation .. is for the brave .

Anger is like a candle in the wind ... it blows out the light of all reason.

t
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Re: Complex PTSD?
#5: August 24, 2019, 11:03:10 AM
Hello Courage,

I am certain h has PTSD or C-PTSD. Unfortunately so do I. Neither of us is diagnosed but it’s clear we each and both have been through a lot in our lives.

I’m clear on and up front about my trauma history, with anyone who wants or needs the explanation. At this point in my life I have done decades of therapy around it but have always been able to nutshell it for any new person who comes up against it in any way. H on the other hand is — maybe not in denial of it? but — unwilling to acknowledge, address, or discuss it. He won’t discuss his and he won’t let me speak more than a word or two of mine. He shuts me down in a hot second or goes 0 to 60 and makes a mountain where I have mentioned only a speck. In this respect it feels like deep unvarnished disrespect and is one of the reasons I am here this year, questioning my reasons and ability and further willingness to Stand.

I “graduated” from my clinical trainings on marital counseling after a training on trauma and affairs. One of my key questions for the trainers was whether we diagnose PTSD and C-PTSD, or if it was more a “suggestion”. The answer is that in that area it is more a suggestion, and not an actual diagnostic code. So that was the close of my clinical training. I think it is crucial in MC that a betraying spouse witness formally and fully realize that their betrayals have absolutely damaged the spouse who loves and trusted and relied on them to be truthful and faithful. I’m not a fan of hard diagnoses but see pros and cons for it in MC and other recovery work — so it was important to know how it is really dealt with there.

It kind of isn’t.

If you or your spouse has any cues of any post-traumatic stress, see a trauma specialist. EMDR has been a great support for many with PTSD. A CSAT may be able to handle sexual or relationship trauma content more deftly than a more generalist therapist might. And MC in general is advised against while one of the couple is engaging in affairs or addictions. Because there’s a third party not present. MC is for only the two of you.

Human support and connection is really key to all of this work, and if you are a person of faith, give it over daily to God. The MLC is nothing we can fix or help. It’s between the MLC spouse and their own minds.

I’m so glad you are posting here. And yes on PDs. That’s a whole different animal, though, for me at least. There are some PDs that conventionally are thought lifelong, but I think a person with right support and right examples can age out of them; I’ve seen that. My mother and h’s mother appear to be ones who can’t or won’t mature out of it, and h is seeming a lot like the worst of my mother this year. So I don’t know about my previous belief anymore.

Really appreciate this discussion topic and your thoughts on it; thank you.
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« Last Edit: August 24, 2019, 11:07:04 AM by terra »

C
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Re: Complex PTSD?
#6: August 24, 2019, 12:53:12 PM
Hmmm mine has been the same as yours...yes I have childhood trauma...but I work through mine in IC. H has refused to even speak about his trauma...
I really think the difference is wether or not they completely repress all of it including the emotions.
Pain demands to be felt.
The alienator makes sense...because if your in a situation like a healthy home environment it only feels healthy to the healthy person...it would be panic inducing to a child or adult who had never been in a healthy environment. They would be constantly anxious...due to not having any coping mechanisms...eventually you would associate the anxiety with your spouse.
Plus the alienator....if they are anything at all like the childhood abuser would feel safe, and familiar...because of course all your coping mechanisms are for that environment.
Or at least that’s what makes sense to me when I think of what we learned in our foster care classes.
Imagine if you suppressed feelings forever...then one day couldn’t turn them off...it would be like a raw nerve....and especially if they were immature childlike feelings.
It seems plausible to me. 🤷‍♀️ Just curious if anyone else thought it was possible?
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Me 36
H 36
S15
Wallower?
EA discovered 5/31/2019
BD May 31 2019
EA ongoing? 🤷‍♀️ (Who knows?)
“God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his.” C.S. Lewis

V
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Re: Complex PTSD?
#7: August 24, 2019, 03:52:22 PM
I don't think MLC is PTSD, although I think it can change how a person copes with and acts out childhood traumas. Look up ventromedial prefrontal cortex. When this part of the brain is impaired, it damages a person's ability to manage trauma and inhibitions.

Many, many people on this forum will attest that their spouse or former spouse, pre MLC, was opposed to many of the behaviors of their parents or the adults who raised them. Then, when MLC hits, they reenact these behaviors with no apparent self awareness or insight.

I think that many of what we believe are childhood traumas on the part of MLCers are simply a pattern of midlife-onset mental illness that is highly hereditary. In my ex's family, this had been going on for generations. Because most people's understanding of the mind stems entirely from therapy (and that is even if they read about psychology), rather than neurology, I think many people, pre MLC, fail to understand this pattern.

I think a high, high percentage of people on this forum have PTSD or complex PTSD, in large part because of a lack of understanding that MLC is a mental illness or neurological condition, and therefore complete lack of support. I actually think the number one recommendation of this forum vis-a-vis self care for LBS should be trauma recovery.

A person with PTSD may have some of the fight or flight symptoms of a person with "MLC," but they also have self awareness and empathy. From my observation, a hallmark of MLC is sudden loss of empathy and self awareness. The physical changes that accompany it, including rapid aging, changes in shape to the head and sometimes neck, and change of appearance to the eyes, suggest that this is a physical event.

I'm so sorry you are going through this. Please, as well motivated and good hearted it is of you to try to figure out this for your husband, try to make sure you are doing as much as possible to protect yourself emotionally, physically, and financially. This isn't your fault and his behavior has nothing to do with you. If he truly can and does recover, he will do the work to make things right. If he doesn't, it's important that you know that this is not your fault at all.

Take really good care of yourself.
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C
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Re: Complex PTSD?
#8: August 24, 2019, 04:33:37 PM
This is complex ptsd:

A person with complex PTSD may experience symptoms in addition to those that characterize PTSD.

Common symptoms of PTSD and complex PTSD include:

reliving the trauma through flashbacks and nightmares
avoiding situations that remind them of the trauma
dizziness or nausea when remembering the trauma
hyperarousal, which means being in a continual state of high alert
the belief that the world is a dangerous place
a loss of trust in the self or others
difficulty sleeping or concentrating
being startled by loud noises
People with PTSD or complex PTSD may also experience:

A negative self-view. Complex PTSD can cause a person to view themselves negatively and feel helpless, guilty, or ashamed. They often consider themselves to be different from other people.
Changes in beliefs and worldview. People with either condition may hold a negative view of the world and the people in it or lose faith in previously held beliefs.
Emotional regulation difficulties. These conditions can cause people to lose control over their emotions. They may experience intense anger or sadness or have thoughts of suicide.
Relationship issues. Relationships may suffer due to difficulties trusting and interacting, and because of a negative self-view. A person with either condition may develop unhealthy relationships because they are what the person has known in the past.
Detachment from the trauma. A person may dissociate, which means feeling detached from emotions or physical sensations. Some people completely forget the trauma.
Preoccupation with an abuser. It is not uncommon to fixate on the abuser, the relationship with the abuser, or getting revenge for the abuse.

But I’ll also say...pain decreases empathy.
As a nurse I know that, lots of times out patients are mean or cruel and it’s often because when you are hurting it’s impossible to think about others. Your worldview becomes myopic.
Many of the people posting on the boards for this seem to be describing normal interactions with the viewpoint that the spouse is the abuser...which would make sense if you didn’t know that abuse wasn’t normal and you suddenly “felt” hurt and emotions you hadn’t been feeling before.
If I poke you it hurts, if I poke a wound the pain is horrific.
These are severely emotionally wounded people. So that’s what made me think it would make sense...plus the fact that my H always said he refused to feel his feelings. He said everyone should just know how to repress them. That feelings got in the way...he can’t repress any more....
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Me 36
H 36
S15
Wallower?
EA discovered 5/31/2019
BD May 31 2019
EA ongoing? 🤷‍♀️ (Who knows?)
“God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his.” C.S. Lewis

V
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Re: Complex PTSD?
#9: August 25, 2019, 01:27:24 PM
I had a very similar take as you when this started. I thought I could unconditionally love and understand my now former husband out of this. If it is a true or mild "crisis" (not illness), this may be possible.

I know people in real life who weathered this. The difference was that the affair was not crazy (i.e. they chose an affair partner who was not implausible/out of character), and they had some level of empathy and self awareness of their behavior. No one moved out for more than six months. They all dressed, talked, ate, and acted pretty much the same. ALL were seeking some form of therapy. Their spouses were patient, kept busy, waited it out. All reconciled within six months to about one year, and were able to describe their internal process during the crisis.

I would say if your spouse is exhibiting no drastic personality change apart from wanting the marriage to be over, and being less kind to you/unhappy with marriage, then it could be something more like the temporary "crisis" we all hope this is when we encounter this forum.

If he is being abusive, talking, dressing, acting differently, spending money differently, showing zero concern for you but also limited understanding of the impact of his behavior, erratic, change to physical appearance, lack of irony or self insight, I think this is something more serious than a temporary crisis.

It is beautiful, admirable, and shows the true depth of your love that even in the midst of your pain, you want to help your spouse, to find an explanation, to forgive. I hope in this you can see the beauty of your own heart.

I think a very sick/unwell MLCer is very hard to help, unless their family or friends is able to intervene in a meaningful way. Hold on to your loving and protective feelings, but extend them to yourself as well. The line you draw has to be your own emotional, physical, and financial safety.

Big hugs.



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