Author: Frances Harris
You didn’t mess up. You have a very intricate set of circumstances that may have led to the position you are in. Life must be very difficult for you right now. There is no quick fix for what happens; however there are some important points to be made. Arguments aren’t about who is right and who is wrong, but it’s about the dynamics of your relationship. One of the questions I have for you: – is the instability developing between you and your fiancé causing both of you distress? If the answer is – yes; you need to take action.
Before you do anything I suggest you and your fiancé seek professional marriage guidance. If one or both of you decide not to go, it means that person sees marriage as a low priority.
So here is what I notice: It takes maturity and empathy to understand a partner with P.T.S.D. and from what you say your fiancé hasn’t displayed either. That’s not to say it is her fault or yours. You may feel neglected while she may feel restricted by P.T.S.D. It’s just a guess. It’s important to talk it over with her without being accusing. If the two of you can’t have a civil conversation about every part of your relationship, it is likely to stall. I hope not.
Next are further questions for you to consider carefully: – what would it be like if you were married to your fiancé when there are kids? Would she still leave you at home maybe with the kids and you feeling miserable? Children are very stressful and parents need to be in a close partnership for a child to thrive. They won’t do well if they have an absent Mom and a Daddy who punches walls. They will learn from you and their mom and think this is ok. It’s only one step further for them to punch a person and get into trouble.
Another question: if you think your feelings are not being considered now: – do you think they will be considered into a marriage? A further question: – is there something else just below the radar that is not being talked about? It’s often the unsaid problems that cause the most friction. Another important thing is for you and your fiancé to get everything out, before you marry. Then discuss all of it as you find strategies to deal with them one at a time. If nothing changes it is not a good idea to take the final step into marriage until you both find the balance.
A crucial point that has to be resolved: – if you are now punching walls when things get tough: – will she be too scared to come home? Would she see your relationship as being left alone with a brown bear in a bad mood? What would you fiancé say about the things that worry her? – and do you give her enough information about how you are feeling way before the explosion? Only you can know that. If not, you may not realize you could take her by surprise and leave her very scared if she can’t read you. Don’t take this personally; it’s important to put all of the issues out there so the two of you can work through them. I’m trying to connect the dots but may be way off the mark.
The principles are the same to recognize the weak spots in your relationship. Deep down you know the answers before the questions are asked and it is essential to be brutally honest with yourself. If you want your future marriage to work, it is essential for both of you go to a marriage counsellor before you tie the knot. It might bring you both together from being miles apart or alternatively save you from making a terrible mistake. If one or both of you don’t want to get professional guidance it means that marriage is a low priority.
It is essential that the rage must be modified before your marriage, because I can’t see a happy future unless it is addressed. This can be a deal breaker. An anger management course or self-help group should encourage you to realize your dreams. Rage often is a response to feeling injustice, and powerless to change the way things are. It’s the least good option on the list of possibilities.
I suggest you should try to look for other less restrictive ways to express yourself when you feel you are under pressure. Neither of you need an incendiary wedged between you since your engagement. Starting a journal can be a very good way to record your life and release pent up feelings. You will learn a lot about yourself and can identify the weak spot. Everybody has them. Then you can look back and evaluate your life, yourself; and your relationship. Getting arty with painting is another good way to release your worries. Creative writing does something similar. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just keep it to the point. Regular meditation or yoga lets you hear your own authentic voice. It doesn’t lie to you and allows you to live in the present not the past. Regular exercise will keep you balanced.
The thing about people is that usually what you see is what you get. There is a fair chance your girlfriend won’t want to change because she likes the way things are. If she dismisses your feelings and won’t meet you half way, your future together is looking ragged at best. Once again it’s your choice how you want to proceed.
The most glaring thing about your relationship is that you seem to spend time feeling guilty and worthless at home, and sometimes would rather be dead. This is while your fiancé is out with friends having a good time without you. That sounds like a bad deal to me and a glaring red flag. She needs to decide if she is in the relationship or out. You both should.
After time to think it out, if you find you have made decisions your fiancé won’t like, it’s good to visualize the way you want to tell her. Promise yourself you won’t engage in a back and forth argument if she is unhappy. Let her know your boundaries. There is no need to be aggressive, but you do need to stand your ground if things are going to change for both of you. If you decide to say something important, don’t acknowledge her deflecting comments. Just listen to her concerns. If there is no agreement between you then you may want to think of your options. Be prepared if your fiancé decides that she doesn’t want what you want. Your future is up to you. Divorce is a gut wrenching experience where no one wins and everyone loses. You don’t want to go there if you can avoid it in the first place.
So I say to you, if in this relationship after you’ve done everything you can to fix it, and you are still feeling worthless, stupid, and responsible for everything that goes wrong, you need a rethink your position. Something is seriously out of kilter between you and your fiancé. I hope you can use this reasoning to build on your relationship for the rest of your life. It’s up to you to take the time to work it out, and proceed if you need to reach out for help. It is easy to find good organizations through friends and other vets. So I hope you and your fiancé are able to fold things together in a way you can both live happily ever after. Best Wishes,
Author: Frances Harris
What were you thinking?
That’s what they say,
You tell us you’re sleepless,
They’ve plenty to say,
Hope springs eternal,
So that’s all I‘ve got,
That one day I’ll rest,
The crying will stop,
Now I consider,
There was no deep thought,
It happened like lightning,
And then I was caught,
The act was so costly,
My balance is dry,
I have to work hard
To pay for my choice,
But then there are times,
It’s not really bad,
In fact I think maybe,
I’m not really mad,
I study the books,
The lessons are hard,
I think I’m proficient,
There’s still much to learn,
My mother once told me,
To weigh up the choice,
It’s hard to erase,
And easy to start,
It wasn’t just me,
Someone else was involved,
It’s just that I’m lonely,
Some times when it’s late,
Now that I think of it,
Baby is here,
I have no regrets
Though sometimes I fear.
As a pair of bright eyes,
Look up at me,
What was I thinking?
I never had doubt.
Author: Frances Harris
A strange deep foot print Peter saw,
In the rock at Lewin’s cross,
A creature stopped to rest right there,
A million years ago,
In Peter’s pack he had a book,
Given as a gift to look,
On the front was something huge,
A dinosaur was peering out,
A giant lizard father said,
Ten times higher than his house,
I wonder what a giant eats?
Peter asked his dad,
Maybe giants like green grass,
Orange blossoms, bugs and snails,
Tall enough to pluck down stars,
That’s what giants eat for sure,
Huge green lizards, dinosaurs,
With golden scales and tiny ears,
And little eyes that search for worms,
Stomping half way round the world,
With teeth so big, could eat a bus,
Chewing things and biting stuff
I wonder if we have one here,
In my neighborhood,
Author: Frances Harris
It was late one chilly evening,
The speaker tapped his glass,
To highlight to the patrons;
He had something else to say,
‘All of you I gather,
Have somewhere else to go,’
It’s not polite to slump around,
Or throw up on the floor,
We really loved your company,
When you first came in,
All coifed and crisp and perky,
Smelling of cologne,
But now it is much later,
The place in disarray,
The Matron’s looking worse for wear,
The kids are tucked in bed,
I know that I have asked you,
To finish up your drinks,
It seems that no one noted,
The sun is coming up,
Please my friends I ask you,
When leaving watch your step,
The pile of broken glasses,
A chance to trip you up,
Mr’s Croft I must remind you,
Put on your petticoat,
You know it isn’t proper,
To leave behind your things,
Mr Dipps please put your pants on,
I say its cold outside,
Suggest you take your shoes with you,
Just tip the whisky out,
Who’s that in the corner?
All curled up in a heap,
You sure you were invited?
I cannot see your face,
The coat flung on the chandelier,
Is looking out of place,
I don’t know who would put it there,
I think it’s time to stop,
Who owns the little hairy pooch?
The invite said no pets,
Smuggled in a hand bag,
And eating off a plate,
My lord has one eye open.
Please take you coat and hat,
The butler waits to see you out,
But first put down your drink,
I think this story’s ending,
The guests have said goodbye,
Now I can finish up the last,
Of Stoney’s cheap Shiraz.
Author: Frances Harris
I hear your message: you feel alone and unloved by the man who is a PTSD suffer, who is only in the next room. and It makes you cry from loneliness and disappointment that you both can’t reach the next level in the relationship. You love your son and this man, and are looking to establish a future with both of them as a happy family. But the effort you put in seems to be going nowhere. You want to have a normal family life. And you wonder whether your partner, or if your partner will ever have any place in your son’s life, and yours in the long haul. You are unsure about your safety and the safety of your son while living with this man who has PTSD. But remember, he must have seen something endearing from the start to begin a relationship and have a child with you. His condition may have deteriorated somewhat since then, but mostly not stay as severe for all time. Time can modify the intensity of P.T.S.D. emotions.
The good news is that your partner is personally able to be responsible for his actions and has never shown abuse towards you, or to your son. He may not have the reserves to process the fact that he is a father and fear he can’t live up to his own expectations. Marriage might be a bridge too far just now, but it may still come about when he feels secure. Feeling secure is the most important element for P.T.S.D. healing. Let him debrief in the man cave, because it is an essential path to healing. If not distracted, he can rebalance his emotions that way. He must be feeling overwhelmed and could be struggling with his own values, perhaps feelings of being captive to marriage when he is not ready, and not thinking he can do the right thing by you and his son. He needs time to get his ducks in a line first.
I don’t think your partner should be alone with the child, not because he will hurt your boy, but that he might become distressed and overwhelmed with you not there. Ease him into the role, and if he can’t do it alone, don’t push it. When your son is older it could be easier. It is unlikely your partner will be a danger as long as you don’t get in his face. He seems to be mature and have good strategies to deal with his emotions. It is understandable for him to sleep on the couch as he told you he can’t yet get used to being in a place where there is other people’s noise. He will have disturbed sleep. He may also know that PTSD sufferers can thrash around and may be worried he could accidentally hurt you. He sounds very well rounded at his core, also caring and thoughtful in the only way he can manage for now.
You must accept that you and your son may have to go it alone for some time. See for yourself if there is any progress over a couple of years, then decide for yourself what you want to do. You must be a strong resourceful mother from the start to face the hurdles ahead of you and for your son, either with or without your current partner. Your son needs your full attention for a lifetime if he is to become a stable citizen. You must develop your inner calm, otherwise you will struggle emotionally. Your partner with PTSD needs time to get his act together, but you are not his mother, you are not responsible for him. He is obviously a strong mature human being, so it is reasonable he can try to meet you half way, however imperfect his attempts may be. You don’t want to be his’-’bed and breakfast resort,’ and it might annoy him if you are dependent on him for your own happiness. Happiness has to come from within you to be successful.
One of the stand-out features of PTSD is the lack of empathy with the people round them, so expect it and don’t let yourself be disappointed. In a way it’s like when your computer goes slow because it is overwhelmed with too much data, and so does the human brain with PTSD when dealing with feelings. You can’t make it hurry, unless the burden is eased. It is very good the he has love for his son and is a good parent. It would take all his energy to show you how he feels. There can be enormous love with PTSD sufferers, but they can’t always show it, and probably he won’t show you for quite a while. If the conditions are right, you may see flickers of love and positive feelings in a few years. After that he may reveal the evolution of a committed family man who appreciates what you did for him, once he gets on his feet. It’s a gamble at all levels, but life generally is a roll of the dice. You don’t stop everything because you have hurdles in front of you. You learn how to go over them, or you dig under them or smash them down. Otherwise, you will find yourself sinking into quick sand, and eventually stuck.
I know you will think I am being harsh, but crying every day is not healthy for you and your child. It won’t improve anything and your partner will be too preoccupied to acknowledge your pain, even if at some level he would like to. It is another pressure for him. You are wasting a large part of your young life, where you could be spending time doing something you love and building yourself up.
You can’t make him do anything he doesn’t want to do even if it makes sense to you. It will drain your spirit trying until you become only a shell of yourself. Concentrate on you and your son while your partner is off line. He will feel more secure if you are strong and resourceful. The language you use towards him is essential to be right. Think carefully before you speak. Keep short sentences that are to the point. Information given in small doses is easier to take in.
At some point you will need to let him know how you feel, but not all at once. Stay strong and calm when you approach him, but accept if he isn’t clear yet. Don’t argue with him; just let it go for a while. If the conversation gets heated, walk away and don’t push it. You can’t achieve anything if you push it. Eventually you will get enough feedback from him to get his point if you give him the space. By his actions, he is very unhappy. You may not be able to make him happy whatever your do because he hasn’t resolved the major issue from the Gitmo and his service. He must do that first. It would have been bad over there so he might be trying to regain himself. Decide how long you want to stick at this without a reward, and stand by it. You may be happy to go on for years, but it must be your conscious decision how long to stick at the relationship. Personally, I believe a relationship should not be given up easily, or without a lot of effort to save it. You may see it differently and you may be giving away a rough diamond and not see it at the time.
Your gut feeling is very valuable in any emotional situation. Don’t push him, but encourage him to participate. Don’t take ‘no,’ to heart. It could mean he is overwhelmed. One thing that will send a PTSD suffer into the man cave is if the carer meets him when he comes out with an anxious string of questions, guilt and demands. ‘Are you all right,’ is something that will make him feel he is weak and dependent; after being a strong resourceful independent man. He is a military man who sees he must stand on his own feet at all times. If you play the mom role it will annoy him a lot. And the worst things you may do, is to give him volumes of how you feel so neglected. It’s like dropping a brick on his head. This is just another weight to be responsible for, when he is not coping with the pile of bricks he is already carrying from the past. Time doesn’t always heal all wounds, but it goes a long way to being able to adjust and live a good life. It is achievable. Hope this is helpful.
Best wishes for the future. Fran
By Frances Harris
There’s a Giant in my window,
I don’t know what to do,
I opened up my blind and there he was,
Bold and huge and scary,
With eyes that look so starey,
I have to think what I am s’posed to do,
I think and think and think some more,
My mind comes up with nothing,
Except a passing thought that he’s not real,
I close my eyes then rub them,
Then turn my back towards him,
But I know outside the window he’s still there,
So I know If I call ‘Mummy,’
Just as loud as I can muster,
He will go away forever,
That’s for sure!
By Frances Harris
Why do I do the things I do?
I like to wear my warn out shoes,
And never like to eat my peas,
The way that others do,
The sun comes out, I shut my eyes,
The moon shows up, I paint my face,
The bus arrives, I don’t get in,
Then I play, while it drives off,
My parents think I don’t do much,
I’m thoughtless, lazy, so they say,
It’s what they think, and I don’t care,
I have thoughts, and that’s what counts,
See, I care for other things,
I want to hear the birds that sing,
When children cry and everything,
Why should it be so?
From far away I hear a sound,
It’s something like the tinkling rain,
Small wet drops fall on my face,
It makes me laugh, I want to dance,
When I grow up I want to build,
A bridge so high it’s in the clouds,
My life is small, my plans are big,
I don’t know how, or where to start,
This thinking makes me very tired,
I need a place to rest my head,
So in a while, when I wake up,
I’ll take the second bus to school.
By Frances Harris
Falling leaves, or fairy folk,
I don’t know what I’m seeing.
Small and very fragile,
Wings that fold and flutter,
I don’t know where they come from,
They’re falling from the sky,
I cup my hands to catch them,
As all of them go by,
The trees around me rustle,
All shaking in the breeze,
Autumn leaves are falling.
And scatter round my knees,.
I lift them up with hands full,
And find no fairy’s here,
Could it be they’re hiding?
I still believe they’re real..
By Frances Harris
While walking at the beach one day,
I saw a scary dragon,
It looked at me with bleary eyes,
And asked were I’m going?
I told the scary dragon then,
‘I don’t know what to think,’
There’s never been a dragon here,
‘Are you sure you’re real?’
The dragon shook its giant head,
And looked me in the eye,
‘You’ve never seen a dragon here?
‘You must be nearly blind!’
I thought a while and stared at him,
Very scared in deed,
I’m sorry Mr Dragon,
Please don’t eat me now,
The dragon raised to twice its height,
Taller than a tower,
Then snorted through its nostrils,
I only chew on flowers.