If anyone was unaware, I am an introvert. I was an introvert before the PTSD and it has only made those introverted tendencies more pronounced. What I didn't realize is how much the PTSD had changed my overall demeanor and personality. At the behest of Rod Deaton, I have been reading this book:
"...Emily nurtures her marriage in just the way that you'd expect an agreeable introvert to do, making Greg the center of her social universe.
Any of this sounding familiar yet? I know it sure did for me and my wife. I read her this passage and she just started laughing. She said that this was us to a 'T'. What makes this even more important to absorb and understand is that introverts and extroverts are very commonly drawn to each other because their demeanors complement each other well. Hence the relationship issues you hear about so often in our community of veterans with PTSD. I encourage everyone that identifies with this passage to discuss it with their significant other. Understanding this about each other can lead to compromises that will keep you both happier. My wife and I have discussed this and we are working on setting up a system where sometimes we go out (even though it exhausts me) and sometimes we stay home and watch a movie or read in companionable silence (being still makes my wife antsy). The simple fact that you are making the effort for each other is what makes all the difference.
The second excerpt addresses arguments and differences in approach:
'...When she and Greg disagree, her voice gets quiet and flat, her manner slightly distant. What she's trying to do is minimize aggression - Emily is uncomfortable with anger - but she appears to be receding emotionally. Meanwhile, Greg does just the opposite, raising his voice and sounding belligerent as he gets ever more engaged in working out their problem. The more Emily seems to withdraw, the more alone, then hurt, then enraged Greg becomes; the angrier he gets, the more hurt and distaste Emily feels, and the deeper she retreats. Pretty soon they're locked in a destructive cycle from which they can't escape, partly because both spouses believe they're arguing in an appropriate manner..."
Yeah, that one hit me like a ton of bricks...I kept on thinking how much my wife and I have spun through this cycle over the past six years. I felt truly frustrated and disgusted with myself. I highly doubt I am alone in this.
I have never been one to give relationship advice. It's not my area of expertise and I sure as hell don't have any room to talk from a position of superior moral authority on the subject. That being said, I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It delves into workplace relationship dynamics as well. I believe it will help veterans better communicate with their loved ones and their co-workers, enabling them to lead happier and more productive lives.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.