When YOU Become the Punching Bag of PTSD

I think it’s safe to say that when one is involved with someone suffering from PTSD you inevitably become the emotional punching bag.  And let’s be honest – it SUCKS!

I would consider myself a pretty strong woman as I grew up with a father who made it his job to point out all of my (and my family member’s) defects.  For 18 years I had someone tell me why I wasn’t good enough or smart enough or thin enough.  I left home to attend college only months after my husband and I began dating.  So in what seemed to be overnight I went from having a man in my life who constantly brought me down to having a man who thought the world of me.  And for the first time in my life I learned what it was like to have self confidence. And I LOVED IT.

But this all changed when my husband got out of the Army, moved in with me, and began demonstrating signs of PTSD.  I became his emotional punching bag and this new role took a major toll on me. 

During my husband’s outbursts he would say horrible things to me.  Mostly name calling but somehow I also got blamed for what was happening to him – even though we all know that I (or any other significant other) are not at fault.  I was screamed at, cursed at, and treated like an idiot for not understanding what he was going through.  This left me with no choice but to walk on egg shells around him because I didn’t want to be the cause of another blow up.  I had to watch everything I said and the tone with which I said it because he would interpret the silliest thing to be an attack on my part.  And this was exhausting.

Then there were the mood swings.  Happy one minute, sad or angry the next.  One day he loved me and wanted to be with me forever, the next he wanted to leave.  Talk about an emotional roller coaster!  This caused a lot of insecurities on my part because there was always that worry in the back of my mind that one day I would come home and find all of his things gone.  Plus, who wants to feel like the person they love doesn’t want to be with them?  Especially when I was trying so hard to make him happy.

I think most people who know me would agree when I say I am a happy, positive person who never sees the bad in people.  My husband, on the other hand, became this incredibly negative person who thought everyone was out to get him (and me).  His constant paranoia started to affect the way I viewed people.  It also made me scared of going out to certain places at certain times and I was never like that before!

There were plenty of times during my stint as the emotional punching bag when I thought my husband had truly become someone different – someone who I could not be with anymore.  The person I fell in love with would have never treated me this way. But the fighter in me prevailed during those hard times.  I stuck by his side because deep down inside I knew he was what I wanted and I knew that one day things would get better (and they have).  It certainly wasn’t easy and it didn’t help that I kept everything I was going through all to myself.  There were lots of days where I had to remind myself over and over again why I was staying.

But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  Living with someone who suffers from PTSD has definitely made me a stronger person and it has made our relationship stronger.  It has also taught me that I can’t base my self confidence on how he treats me or how much he compliments me.  I am a strong woman with lots to offer and now, I embrace that!

Related posts:

  1. When PTSD Turns Physical
  2. Living with PTSD
  3. Living with PTSD and TBI: Welcome Home
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4 Responses to “When YOU Become the Punching Bag of PTSD”

  1. Joana G says:

    hi jessica,

    i hope this msg finds you well.

    i am joana, 21, an army wife for 2years now.
    my husband got deployed in Afghanistan when we dated each other during that time in myspace. he is currently deployed for the 2nd time right now in kuwait.

    i just want to ask if it is possible that my husband is having maybe a mild PTSD.

    he used to be sweet and loving and always calling me dearly names. but lately he’s being so obnoxious. he feels like he can’t control things in the army that’s why he controls me. we just talked and he just cursed at me. he talks to me like im a little kid. he wants me to obey him which is i always do but he tells me i want everything my way.

    he usually say before that everything will be fine and that i am everything to him but no he asks me if i still want to be with him coz he can’t make me happy anymore. i mean, i can’t always pretend to be happy all the time. i am having hard time myself coz i am living alone and i got no friends. i just got here in MA i used to live in the Philippines where my family and friends at.

    he have ups and downs and its getting harder to deal with him. i wish we could talk more. i really need a support buddy.

    but on top of the things, i wish you and your husband are getting better each day. you are a real strong person. you are someone to be cherish.

    truly yours,
    joana g

  2. Joana G says:

    hi jessica,

    i hope this msg finds you well.

    i am joana, 21, an army wife for 2years now.
    my husband got deployed before when we dated each other during on myspace. he is currently deployed for the 2nd time right now.

    i just want to ask if it is possible that my husband is having maybe a mild PTSD.

    he used to be sweet and loving and always calling me dearly names. but lately he’s being so obnoxious. he feels like he can’t control things in the army that’s why he controls me. we just talked and he just cursed at me. he talks to me like im a little kid. he wants me to obey him which is i always do but he tells me i want everything my way.

    he usually say before that everything will be fine and that i am everything to him but no he asks me if i still want to be with him coz he can’t make me happy anymore. i mean, i can’t always pretend to be happy all the time. i am having hard time myself coz i am living alone and i got no friends. i just got here in MA i used to live in the Philippines where my family and friends at.

    he have ups and downs and its getting harder to deal with him. i wish we could talk more. i really need a support buddy.

    but on top of the things, i wish you and your husband are getting better each day. you are a real strong person. you are someone to be cherish.

    truly yours,
    joana g

  3. Shipra says:

    Hi Jessica ,
    I hope you are doing well , I guess I can understand what what you are going through but I have a lill different situation here and can’t understand how to deal with it..
    My family and my husbands family live in a different city , and he being the only son worries a lot about his mother and sister who live alone ( he does not have a farther) . Well .. There are a lot of times when he feels guilty for not being with them , which I totally understand and respect about him . But somehow I end up always being shouted at and sometimes even beaten up because he and his family think I am not doing my best in keeping his family happy .his mother does not like me much and she keeps taking out mistakes in everything I do or say ,and then when she complains to him about me he gets very wild and does not believe anything I say on my defense n whatever his mom n sister have said against me become a serious issue … I don’t have any friends because he does not like my friends and am not able to see my family for months coz again he and his family think that after getting married I should not give them much importance , because they want me to accept them as my only family ( it’s not that I don’t take them as family , but how can I forget mine? ) .
    I know he loves me a lot n I love him too .. But this whole guilt Within him makes him behave soo differently when they complain about me , that I feel I don’t know this person at all … And he dosent know me …
    And that’s when we fight a lot … I really try to do everything he tells me to do to keep his family happy but they just keep wanting more n more sacrifices from me … it’s been two yrs now, and I feel like am being bullied all the time , I really feel very scared n don’t really have anyone to share my problems with .

    I don’t what to do …

    Thanks
    Shipra

  4. becky says:

    You need to leave your husband. You shouldn’t be scared or feel bullied in any relationship. Too bad its been that way for soo long fdor you.You need to take care of you first

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