Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

drjekyllmrhyde

Do you ever sometimes feel like you’re dealing with a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde scenario?   The frustrating part of dealing with sweet and nice Dr. Jekyll, when all of a sudden a completely different person, one who can be a complete and utter asshole comes out leaving the wind knocked from your sails?

Lately, my husband has been doing well, and for that I am extremely proud.  For the past year and a half, I have had to take a hiatus of sorts with regards to the support group to help my husband.  He needed me and demanded more of my time.  For the past months, he is been doing somewhat well: taking his medication as he is supposed to, contacting the VA to be seen for therapy (which is a complete 1st, and I am very proud of him), has been sweet, and even supportive of me getting back in to helping other spouses.

Then this morning, a different person pops out.  He let me sleep in, taking the baby when he woke up at 5am.  Sweet right?  I would come to regret it later.  After I woke up, and got ready for work, we were discussing family business.  Then the snide comment comes.  Completely out of left field.  I asked if he was serious.  He said yes he was serious.  I realize my husband memory is short, but is it that damn short that he forgets just yesterday that he was thanking me for everything I’ve done, and how I have held this family together?

I don’t say anything after that.  I gather my things for work, get our son, dropping him of at pre-school and go to work.  Honestly, I start to stew at that point.  Pissed doesn’t even begin to describe how his comment made me feel.  I felt he was being completely ungrateful, unreasonable, and shortsighted. Damnit, I have been the one keeping this family afloat and going. I’ve been the one sacrificing, and going through the motions, and doing everything in my power to get him help, to get us to a point we are today. And damnit, I think I have don’t a pretty good f-ing job of it too.

Needless to say, I did something I shouldn’t have, doing something I continually advise against. I sent a text filled with anger, cussing, and all around don’ts when it comes to relationships, especially a relationship with PTSD involved. Yup, I did it. After complaining at his comment, and telling him what I thought of his comment, I gave him the old F*** you. I know I know. Bad idea right? Right.

So after work, I come home, and I see him watching American Sniper. Of course, I know what the movie is, but I ask him anyway what he was watching. Nothing. Yup, nothing. Not a word. So, I ask if he is going to talk to me. No words, just shaking his head. He gets up, and speaks sweetly to the kids. Very nice to them. Not a word to me. Nope, not one word. He gets ready for work, and leaves shortly after my arrival home….going in to work 3 hours early.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Was I childish? Yes. Was the text necessary? No. Should I have done it? No. I just snapped in a moment of being tired of not snapping, and angry the way I felt, and the way he made me feel by his comment. Should I have conveyed that to him in a more productive and different way? Absolutely. When it comes to PTSD, for myself, the feeling of being unable to control the situation is maddening….

And then I begin to think…and think. Imagine the way he feels. Imagine the frustrating feeling at times of feeling out of control. Unable to stop the way he feels. Doing everything that he can to do it a different way, yet cant stop the way he feels. Of course, I think of this and what do I do? The thing we women do best at times we shouldn’t….feel guilt. Feel horrible at the way I reacted to him. With PTSD, I cant control his feelings, actions or sometimes the day to day, BUT I can control MY reaction, and the way I react to it. And today, I reacted horribly, and if I get down to it, I overreacted. Am I justified in my feeling? Maybe. Am I justified in the way I reacted? No.

And so it goes….I am going to do the only thing I know how…which is apologize….even if I don’t feel 100% at fault. While the child in me wants to stay mad, and give him the silent treatment, the adult in me knows that isn’t the right answer. I should apologize, realizing that I could in fact, be making things worse for him, worse for me, and worse for us. When it is all said and done, he is my best friend, he is my confident, he is my husband, and I don’t want it any other way. I accepted him just the way he is, PTSD and all. Sometimes, I have to do all I can to make things a little bit easier. That doesn’t mean I should accept bad behavior, but it doesn’t mean I have to be a bitch either.

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Code Words

code words

Code words.  This is something my husband and I found that works for us.

We came up with a word that was totally random that we could use when he would begin to get into his angry rantings.  This was used to diffuse the situation,  and for him to know he needed to chill out.  He would walk away and cool off.  The word we use is acorn.  We haven’t had to use it in a while.  As the rages slowly went away, we would use it in other ways, if one of us were to go off into a drawn out rant about one thing or another and needed to cool out.  Lately we haven’t found the need to use this code word, as we are both learning to communicate again.  Please note that is an everyday process, and we still don’t have all the answers.

Another word we use is “noted.”  We use it when I am saying something he doesn’t necessarily want to hear, which is usually about getting back into therapy or something to do with his health.  So I know he hears me and understands, but doesn’t want to talk about it, he says noted.  This way I back off, but I’ve at least said what I needed to.  In doing this particular code word, I’ve also had to gage his moods, and know when I can approach certain subjects and when I can’t.

It has all been a learning curve, figuring out what works for us, and what doesnt.  I’m still learning, and at times, adjusting.  I don’t claim to know everything.  In fact I know very little.  I only know what we have gone through, what we have tried, what works and doesn’t work for us.  Everyday it takes hard work.  Sometimes when life is moving so fast you can’t catch your breath, it is easy to forget.  I’m human and I make mistakes.  But the key to that is learning from those mistakes, and changing it so I don’t do it again.

My parents always told me, in life, nothing comes easy.  I never understood that until going through all that we have.  Life isn’t a fairy tale, and it isn’t happily ever after.  Life is about learning and hard work.  Relationships take both.  Love isn’t always enough.  Learning to work together, instead of against one another has helped us.  But it is one day at a time, one step at a time, taken together.  I know there will be misteps, but it is taking from those misteps to try and make sure they don’t happen again.