Re: I need help with sustaining my marriage
urf: The development of PTSD is complex. Childhood experiences, genetics, age, the type, extent and tiny details of the trauma all play a role. A person does not have to be broken or damaged before developing PTSD. I had a very normal life before my trauma, I had great parents and a great childhood. I had many friends, did well in school and sports. Had normal intimacy and a normal sex life. Even a good childhood can be a trigger for PTSD if the child is sheltered from stress and when thrown into a stressful situation has no idea how to cope. Being under the age of 25 at the time of the trauma makes PTSD more likely. The smaller details matter more than the larger ones. Had my situation gone differently but still been the same type of trauma I might not be here writing this. Same goes for veterans, if they had been given a different task they may not have come back with PTSD. It's more complex than, he was broken before going to Iraq.
Holdingontoit: Thank you. I did one clinical trial a long time ago, 5 years or so. It did help but the trial didn't end up finishing though I cannot recall why. I'll admit that I have tried a handful of different drugs (without supervision) and some did help. Each time I felt like I needed that drug immediately after and still get the urge to use them months and years later. Addiction scares me. I know that isn't the same as being monitored, but it still worries me. I have known people to have quite bad side effects while doing trials, but I suppose that can happen with any medication.
uhtred: My therapists were not totally onboard with me wanting to force sexual intimacy so much. They know about it, and I talk about it, but they don't encourage it. I feel like it's all I have to try and keep my husband. I have always had to force some things (therapist recommended), like going to therapy together and letting my husband touch an area of my body for 3 seconds, then 5 seconds, then 10 seconds, and going on and on until he could touch parts of me without me being too uncomfortable. It progressed to sexual contact (at home, of course). We got to a point were the improvements stopped and we were at a standstill for a long time. That's when I decided to push it more. I do want to be intimate with my husband. I can barely remember it but before my trauma happened we had a great sex life. I don't want to be one of the women who expects their husband to go without sex because they don't want to try to solve the problem, trauma related or not. I don't know whether he is willing to stick around any longer or not...
When I'm having sex with my husband it doesn't feel the same as my trauma. The act is the same but everything else is different. I don't necessarily want him to stop, I want the thoughts in my head and the aversion to stop. I have sometimes told my husband not to stop even if I tell him to in the moment, but it is still not the same. He looks at me, talks to me, kisses me, holds my hands. His body pressure on me stops me from being able to push him away and having pressure like that can help calm me down. I'm not exactly having the time of my life, but I don't feel like I am being assaulted again.
I know that he has trouble looking at and touching certain parts of my body. He knows that I'm uncomfortable with those parts as well so it could definitely be a factor, but he has said that he has a hard time with it and lets mind movies get the best of him. I had laser scar removal on my wrists and the scars are still visible but not nearly as much. It helped with being able to leave that area exposed and to hold hands. My husband would see those scars during sexual intimacy and it bothered him. It made him feel like he was restraining me, whether it was penetration or manual stimulation. I had scar removal on other places as well, and it helped. I have two areas on my body where scar removal hasn't been successful or hasn't been an option. I have elevated scars that go across my back and it doesn't bother me as much as it bothers my husband. I'm definitely more sensitive to touch on my back, and I always keep my back covered, but my husband can't even touch my back. If he does he immediately pulls away. I have a scar on my arm that I have to leave covered all the time so I always have a bandage over it and again, I think it bothers him more than it bothers me. My actions could have caused his. My biggest issue (and I don't think it is as much of an issue for him) is the external appearance of my genitalia because a part was removed. It makes me tense up whenever he is in that area because it doesn't look the way it use to, or should. That has got worse since allowing him to see other women because it gives him something to compare me to.
When my trauma occurred we had been together for a little over a year and he proposed 17 days prior. To my husband, getting engaged means you would marry that person right then and there, and commit to them for the rest of your life. So when he proposed in his eyes he was saying his "I do's" almost. When my trauma happened 2.5 weeks later he felt like he had no choice but to stand by me. I don't think he wanted to as much as he felt like he had to. He has said (in angry or stressful moments) that he regrets choosing to stay. When he proposed, this wasn't what he signed up for. He wanted a happy marriage with the woman he fell in love with, kids, white picket fence in his home state. Not a childless, open marriage with a crappy sex life, a wife with mental health problems, doctor appointment after doctor appointment, a service dog and moving 3,000 miles away. Even immediately after my trauma happened I don't think he expected this. He knew it was bad, but he didn't know what to expect.
I initiated the conversation about opening the marriage, my husband had never brought it up before. He said he didn't want or need to, and we don't talk about whether he does or not, but based on his actions I am certain that he has taken that free pass. He didn't want it, or I suppose he did because he chose to go ahead with it. I - in a way - wanted it because I thought if he had his fun somewhere else we could try and it wouldn't matter as much (to him) if it didn't work.
When he almost hit me (I don't know how close he really was to doing it), in that moment and for a while afterwards I was scared. I started packing a bag to leave, but he left first and didn't come home that night. Prior to that we had tried to have sex, he wasn't able to get an erection at all and didn't want me to touch him. He kept trying, his frustration was getting ver high and bothering me. He said a couple very hurtful things about if I could do X or if I had X this wouldn't be a problem. I shut down and wouldn't/couldn't respond to him. He was yelling at me and I tried to leave the room. That's when he almost hit me and almost pushed me (onto the bed). He left after that. He texted me and apologized about an hour later, tried calling but I didn't pick up, and came back the next day. I think him being allowed to have sexual needs met elsewhere played a factor in it...
I don't want to be one of the women who put up with violence. I know how he reacted was no okay. It is the only time something like that has ever happened and had he actually laid a hand on me I would have been gone. He has been acting off since that happened.
For a long time we only focused on non-sexual intimacy, or outercourse as therapists seem to like to call it. I haven't really had problems touching him, but it took a long time to be comfortable with him again. Seeing me afraid of him hurt him. It took a long time to start having sexual intimacy and my husband was fine with it as long as we were making progress. When we first started having sexual intimacy my husband was ecstatic, but when it didn't go fast enough for him we started having issues. That little taste of it made him want the whole thing.
sokillme: Thank you for your reply, I really appreciate it. I don't know why I decided to search for a marriage group rather than a sexual assault group. My marriage is my main concern, so I suppose that's why.
I do blame myself, I have always struggled with that. I got myself to a point where I didn't blame myself for the trauma happening, but I do blame myself for the aftermath. I get so many comments of the just get over it genre or comments like I knew someone who was raped and they are fine. Sexual assault is always bad but sometimes it is like comparing apples to oranges. Immediately afterwards I had a really bad therapist in the hospital who said some stupid, stupid things about because of something that happened to my body during/after the trauma, that the trauma would be easier to get over and I would have less reminders. He also tried to tell me that if I were pregnant it could be seen as a gift in a terrible situation. And before we even knew my STD status he thought it would be good to bring up HIV other than to just take the medication in case. I have told very few people the whole story so when people make comments they don't know what they are really commenting on.
I want to stop thinking about the people that hurt me and shifting all the blame to myself makes it easier, in a way. The only little bit of peace I have is that the men who hurt me are in prison with a lot of time left on their sentences.
My husband has gone to therapy with me, but not nearly as much as he should. He has gone alone as well, but not often. He doesn't like to go because he feels like we aren't making any progress and it's a waste of time and energy (because I get upset). In the beginning he went a lot, and it slowly tapered off to once a month. Then a few times a year. He has refused to go for the last few months. Sometimes I feel like I am fighting this battle alone, rather than together.
My husband blames himself for not being able to fix or prevent it and for it happening at all. He went away for a week with friends to a wedding. I was suppose to go but changed my mind at the last minute. He was in another country so he didn't take his phone and was drunk half the time anyway. All of our friends were there, I don't talk to family that often and they thought I was going as well. So no one knew when something was wrong and my husband was having a great time while I... wasn't. Realistically, it probably wouldn't have happened if my husband was home because a vehicle would have been in the driveway. Regardless, he blames himself and it definitely causes problems. We're both on medication. He has stopped taking his from time to time, mostly when he doesn't want to go back to the doctor.
I have asked if there is anything that I can take before sex to help me but my therapists and doctors have been hesitant to prescribe anything for that. There were (street) drugs involved during my assault and that causes hesitation for wanting to prescribe anything that might trigger me. Even though I've experimented with (street) drugs, and had intimacy, and wasn't affected negatively. Maybe I need to talk to a new doctor or ask for a different referral.
Again, thank you for your reply.
Young at Heart: I do think I might need to talk to a different doctor and therapist. I have always been told that I fell into the small group of people that don't respond well to medications and (some) treatments. Maybe I need to find someone better. Before we moved across the country I had a really good therapist, after moving... not so much.
I have used a nasal spray before, it wasn't oxytocin though. I can't for the life of me remember what it was. I think it started with an 'e' or 'k'. I had it until moving and switching doctors. There are a lot of options to try and either they worry me or they haven't been recommended for me to try. I'll have to find a new doctor to talk to. I have never tried hypnosis methods.