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PTSD / Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Community
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Avatar universal

little help

I'll try to give enough pertinant information, but keep it brief at the same time.  My wife was just diagnosed with PTSD after hearing of an affair that I was involved in.  We're trying to work it out, but the going is tuff at times.  Fits of anger out of nowhere are hard to deal with, for the both of us.

Anyone know of a similar case and possibly have any guidelines or pointers with helping her deal with this disorder?
WE are both in therapy and couples therapy, and she's been informed to see a psychiatrist by her family practioner.

Thanks in advance.
10 Responses
134578 tn?1546634665
Something in your tone (saying "helping her deal with this disorder" and "fits of anger out of nowhere") suggests you think she is the problem.  If you cheated on her, it's not anger "out of nowhere," it is anger over trusting you and finding out you had betrayed her.  I hope the couples therapy helps, not only her to get over the loss of trust, but you, to admit that you caused the mess in the first place.  Her hearing you say that, if you haven't yet, will probably help.
675718 tn?1530036633
trust is a double-edge sword it cuts on both sides :)
Avatar universal
Annie, you've got me all wrong here.  I gave a cliff notes version of the situation because I didnt think it would be necessary for a non-professional such as your self to be diagnosing or prescribing anything.  

If saying the "fits of anger come out of nowhere" seems to have put a certain tone to things, those are my wifes words.  The anger does come out of nowhere...things will be going along just fine and then all of a sudden she is in a tirade.  Paint me a better picture if the term "out of nowhere" isnt sufficient.

She and I know full what that my actions are what caused what we are going through.  All I asked for in my first post is, does anyone have any experience with dealing with PTSD and I asked for pointers as to help my wife through this......from you, I got neither.

Thanks for your time, but since we are in therapy, I think I will get the help I was looking for and any pointers from the professional that I am paying.  

Avatar universal
brice, you came to this forum looking for support, so don't get on Annie's case for giving you what you asked for. Your post was very short and indeed gave us very little info to go on. She responded exactly how I would have, that maybe YOU should take a look a yourself instead of your wife.

My symptoms of PTSD are that sometimes I'm acting out of rage at people around me, when truly the rage belongs to people or events from the past. I don't even know at the time this is occurring. I've also had vivid nightmares and screaming in my head, and just the day to day wondering around in the past when it's really the present that we're living in.

It's great that your doing couples therapy and that she's in therapy...but  brice my suggestion to you, would be to be in therapy yourself alone, so that you too can figure out why you strayed, and how never to do that again and to learn how to love and support your wife as she continues to heal from her past trauma and the trauma you put her thru.
Avatar universal
With all due respect Janice, I simply asked for help/pointers for dealing with PTSD.....when I stated that my wifes "fits of anger come out of nowhere" literally do come out of nowhere, they do.  She would even tell you so.  I wanted information pertaining to helping my wife cope with that and I believe it was clearly stated.  Nowhere in what I printed do I come up with the idea that I think "she", my wife is the problem and I take offense that anyone can assume in which tone I am speaking from behind a keyboard.

I am in therapy and am making great strides.  In our couples session we learn something new every week, about ourselves singularly, and as a couple.  I was simply asking for help concerning PTSD and how to help the affected deal with it.
973741 tn?1342346373
Hi,  always a difficult situation.  When someone is suffering something like post traumatic stress disorder, it is very difficult for everyone involved indeed.  My heart goes out to you and your wife.  

I assume it is her psychiatrist that has diagnosed her with PTSD and am hoping that medication has been added to the mix.  PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that does best with medication and therapy.  Todays medications are fairly well tolerated and can do wonders!  SSRI's work particularly well for PTSD.  So, my hope is that your wife has started a medication and in about 6 to 8 weeks, things will improve.

Anxiety can create a situation with some people (and ptsd is a disorder that falls under the anxiety umbrella) that results in this explosive anger and volatility that you describe.  Most likely, your wife's therapy will address this and give your wife some techniques for controlling it.  I know it feels like she goes from 0 to 10 in a matter of seconds but it would be good to slow down the process.  She needs to be aware of what the signs of anger are in herself. Does her heart race, cheeks flush, breathing increase?  Does her body tense, voice get louder, thoughts begin racing?  As she sees the signs start (and as you see them)------- then a cooling down technique comes into play.  Square breathing is often suggested (breath in for four, hold four, breath out for four, hold four, repeat) as well as opening and closing the fist tightly, counting, etc.  I personally like the "cool down" spot in which someone retreats to calm themselves.  A "walk but don't talk" rule helps.  She can walk away and neither she nor you would talk for a bit.  Let her gather herself.  I'd suggest some sort of physical outlet for her.  Kickboxing or tae kwon doe would be excellent.  Any exercise though would be of benefit to her as it lets of steam and also works on the bodies nervous system at the same time.  I'd buy her a journal and give it to her.  Tell her that it is for her to write everything she is feeling in it.  When she is furious, she can write it all down.  
Those are some basic anger management techniques-------- but most importantly, getting the ptsd as a psychiatric indication under control will help tremendously.  good luck.  We all make mistakes and many couples come out on the other side of infidelity closer than they were before.  But it takes time.  Peace to you and your wife.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the pointers and words of encouragement.  We are both in therapy as well as in couples therapy and her therapist made the diagnosis with the consultation of a psychiatrist.  She is awaiting an appointment with the psychiatrist, but our therapy sessions are going in a positive direction.

She has been given a "take as needed" anxiety med, but often we miss the trigger and the situation gets really elevated before we get to the meds.  (I feel bad about the meds, as I am not a big fan of having a medicated wife)  On two sides, the meds will calm things down, but on the other side they often knock her for a loop.

WE both knew working through this was going to be an effort, but there is hope and progress.  Weve learned a few techniques and do manage to have more meaningful conversations concerning the issue now than before....but we often miss the triggers.  (They havent all been pinpointed yet.  I catch some of them and she has keen to them as of late as well)  

We are both journaling through this and share oour journals with each other and with our therapists.  That is proving to be a big help.  As a feeling is exposed, we can talk about it together, or bring it to the attention of our respective therapist.  We are both using a rather generic wire ring binder for our journals, and the idea of buying her a nice one seems like something she'd appreciate.  Thanks for that thought!  I will be on the way to Staples after work.

The square breathing technique is a good one as well!  I've been looking into meditation and apparently am not getting it, but she is using a breathing technique we learned years ago in a birthing class.  It does some good, but perhaps introducing a new technique might be useful.

The problem for me is, I don't think I am doing enough to aide her through this.  I am following instructions from therapists, I am being 100% transparent, I am being loving and reassuring, but still feel as if I am falling short somehow.  I know this isnt going to be easy, but your encouraging words are a big help.

Thanks for the pointers!!!
973741 tn?1342346373
The anger that comes from anxiety, depression and ptsd is hard to deal with for all involved.  I probably scares your wife a bit when it bubbles over and no one likes that feeling of being out of control with their anger.  I'm wondering when she sees her psychiatrist if a different type of medication might be introduced.  Short acting anxiolytics are used but as you said, can knock you out, are addictive in nature, and knowing when to take them can be tricky.  SSRI's are a class of drugs that work well for PTSD.  They are taken every day though.  But ----------  they help with the overall brain chemistry of someone that suffers from anxiety.  They have side effects but tend to be benign in nature.  I'd start with a small dose with your wife and see if it helps.  I'm not diagnosing or treating or recommending but just offering up an idea to talk to your psychiatrist about for the best outcome for your wife.  She doesn't have to take it forever, but until it is addressed, this will continue to be an issue.

I think that that you have to remember that anger flashes are a symptom of anxiety.  While she may be justified in her anger at times, they are still part of the disorder.  That may help a bit in terms of taking it personally or not.  Try not to.  Continue to stay very calm with her.  If you'd like the stress thermometer outlined, I'd be happy to do so.  Then you can maybe prompt her in a way that won't make her even angrier to start the process of calming herself.  

It is very difficult but you seem quite dedicated to helping her and working your way through this.  That will take you where you want to go and I commend you for it.  good luck
Avatar universal
An outline of the stress thermometer would be great.  With that being said, Ive had some success remaining calm and keying her in on eposides of anger, but sometimes there is no stopping.  You information on meds is a big help to, and I am not for sure as to when her next appt. is with the psychiatrist but will remember to bring it up.

Also, with all of that being said, we kind of turned a corner for the better last week in our therapy sessions.  The story got put together in sequential order, and it made more sense to her...oddly enough to me, that helped her big time.

Thank you for your words of encouragement, they do mean alot.  I AM dedicated to helping her out.  She is the greatest woman, (next to my grandmothers and mom, of course) in the world.  I'll do whatever I can to help her through this.
Avatar universal
PTSD can mean extremely disturbed sleep/increased REM (Dream Sleep) and REM sleep is quite exhausting. We all know that a poor nights sleep can give us a short fuse.

For me, I find that speaking or thinking about traumatic incidents is actually traumatic in itself and also extremely tiring, it is sooooo important for me to learn to relax aswell.

Bellaruth Naparstek has produced some wonderful CD's or mp3's that help with Healing Stress and Trauma, that could be used alongside all the other techniques you are learning.

Something like this, helps me at the end of the day, to relax, and feel calmer before going to sleep, it's like having closure at the end of the day, it helps me to feel good about all the hard work I am putting into repairing my life :)
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