I may have posted this before, but I’m sure it is of help to someone else out there.
My ex-husband has written (and self-published) a book about coping with PTSD. And yes, I picked up a copy to see how he handled our relationship. I tried not to buy one, but my need to know what he was saying to his fans about me overwhelmed my need to not open slowly healing wounds.
Bluntly put, he was pretty damned honest. In fact, chapter 12 of the book is pretty much straight from our marriage. Yes, I enabled him. Yes, I was unable to keep my boundaries in place when dealing with him. I let my compassion for his illness overwhelm my own self-worth, to the point where I only had worth to the extent of how well I was helping him. I let life with him worsen until I developed PTSD of my own from his own choices of losing control and choosing not to work on his issues.
Even now, two years on from leaving him and 1 year on from the finalization of the divorce, I am still dealing with the fallout from both my choices and his. I’m still having panic attacks from a neighbor down the street angrily yelling at his family, or any of a half a dozen other triggers. I have many of the varied emotional and mental symptoms of PTSD that he lists in the book. In fact, when my therapist first discussed it with me, I was pretty much in denial that I could possibly have developed PTSD, because I didn’t recognize that PTSD can develop slowly with repeated actions. I still consider myself on the “low end” of the spectrum of sufferers. Not because I need to feel better than others with PTSD, but because I know for a fact that my response to my own PTSD is much less severe than I ever heard from him.
I have always said that I made my own mistakes in the marriage. No relationship dies without both individuals contributing to its demise. He chose not to work on his issues, and I chose not to call him on it. I chose not to put my foot down and say, “this far, and no farther.”
I hope he’s treating his current relationship differently. His book seems to say that he is, and seems to say that she is far better at those boundaries and less likely to enable him to be an asshole.
And yes, there is a description of me in his book.
Is there resentment? Yes. Is there still pain? Yes. Are there still days that I hate him more than I ever loved him? Yes. But, less than there were. I hope someday to be able to speak his name calmly, reasonably and without rancor or animosity. He was a part of my life for 20 years. There are far too many years worth of memory for me to ever completely forget him.
But, I am thankful that he was as honest about our relationship in the public sphere as I have tried to be. When the divorce was first happening, he couldn’t separate the concept that in order to look firmly and unabashedly at my own issues, I had to describe actions took and choices he made. It wasn’t to attack him, it was to deal with my issues and learn from my mistakes. And I feel that in his book, he’s tried to do the same.