Out of the Chrysalis

Celebrating and embracing the transformation within

Does PTSD after divorce exist? You better believe it!

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ptsd1I can chalk today up to a really bad day, or a valuable lesson learned.  It’s been two years since D-day and I like to think that I’m healing at a somewhat normal pace.  I’ve been able to move on in all aspects of my life, little things that used to bother me don’t anymore, I’m good with being in the same room as my ex and I even faced forgiveness head on and chose it!  So why am I now, at this point, experiencing  post traumatic stress symptoms?

The term is most recognized for people who have gone through war, seen very traumatic events, and suffered great loss during that time.  I do not want to even try to compare what I went through against what a war veteran has experienced.  What I can do is talk about similarities.  We do not often hear of PTSD following an emotional or social event it’s usually something that was very abusive.  Well, I was very surprised when I began looking for information on this topic to find so many links to articles relating to post divorce PTSD.  

Divorce will bring about traumatic events that leave us scarred in the same way as a person who has survived combat.  In fact, most divorces share similar types of  combat, war, traumatic events and end up the same way….with a loss.  In a previous post I wrote about finding battle scars, and trying to differentiate between the two can be confusing.  When I found the scar, it was only because someone pointed it out to me.  I was surprised but dealt with it and moved on from it with a sense of accomplishment!  This time was different.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m learning to listen to my intuition, although lately, I am getting a little annoyed when she calls!  Reluctantly, I took her call,  and it was just as I thought.  Prior to that event though, is when the PTSD showed its ugly head.   When I started to wonder about the situation, the emotions I felt were something I had felt before, and they were not welcome emotions.   I immediately tried to put it off to the side and pay no attention to it, but she kept on calling! I thought maybe I was over reacting.   When I finally took a moment to think about what I was feeling and why, I was brought back to that day.  My heart raced, face went white, and hands were shaky. I was feeling every emotion, uncertainty, insecurity, and most of all fear; it was all too familiar.  

I was brought back to my trauma similarly as a war veteran who hears a loud noise.  Even though the situation was different and in no way related to my marriage or why it ended, I was going through the same feelings all over again.  It scared the crap out of me and I began to go through a list of questions.  Does this mean I’m not as far along in my healing process as I thought I was?  Will this happen again?  Does this happen to others?  How can I stop this from happening?

I don’t have all the answers just yet. What I do know and can trust is my intuition and I promised her I would continue to take her calls no matter how bad they will be.  As far as my healing process, I do think I am where I thought I was, otherwise I wouldn’t recognize what I’m feeling.  I will encounter speed bumps along the way some big some small, this one was a big one maybe the next will be a little smaller.  Will this happen again?  YES, if I am to continue to heal properly I have to go through every emotion, every failure, and every triumph.  Does this happen to others?  YES ( links to articles below), unfortunately I am not the only one but we can all learn from each other.  How can I stop this from happening?  I can’t, which is a good thing.  It means that I will continue to move forward no matter what scars, or traumatic memories I have and I will grow stronger as each one rears its ugly head.  Now is my chance to fight against each scar or traumatic stress symptom, and continue to fight until I am free from each one.  When I least expect it, that day will come.  intition

It’s almost as if the last two years have been preparing me for a new battle.  I am now at war with memories, feelings, emotions and circumstances that at some time in my life will become familiar again.  Being able to recognize, trust and battle them will be what leads me to ultimate healing and happiness.

I’m not sure if I really learned a lesson or if it’s that I learned more about what I went through and how it may affect me in the future.  What I did learn is a good thing, I’m not numb to feelings, I have not been ruined by my divorce, trusting in myself and allowing myself to feel things again is an amazing feeling!

I”d love to hear from other’s who have also suffered PTSD symptoms after divorce.  Do you have a similar experience to share?  Please respond in the comments.

Kimberly

Courageous Butterfly

1/4/13

Related Links/ Blogs

Is your high conflict divorce causing PTSD?

I have PTSD after my divorce

It’s ok not to be ok

 

 

 

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99 thoughts on “Does PTSD after divorce exist? You better believe it!

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  2. Jules, I’m sorry it took me so long to respond to your post. I read through it a couple of times and didn’t want to rush into a response. Let me start by saying that I have placed you and your family at the top of my prayer list. I know some of what you are going through and I know how hard it is to try to maintain a level of decency or “niceties” towards the man that has caused you so much hurt. I can tell that you understand the importance of trying to keep a relationship between your children and their dad and you are doing a great job by keeping the ugliness at bay. Continue to move in the right direction, which includes knowing what it is you need in order to heal. You have made great strides just by recognizing the need for counseling for you and your children. You seem like a strong woman but sometimes it takes more than strength to get us through some of what we have to endure. The power of God and prayer is remarkable and I will continue to keep you in mine. Blessings on your journey. Kimberly

  3. PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder do I have it, oh yes. Sadly, for me I can’t tell which came first the chicken or the egg, it all scrambled to me. You see I was in the military and suffer from survivor’s guilt, I suffered a TBI from several concussions and on top of that my ex and his family were verbally, emotionally abusive to me and mine. He had committed adultery in the past and I had concerns that it was taking place again because he was accusing me of everything under the sun and he became more physically abusive in the last few years, till I finally was so scared I told my counselor and was told to file a restraining order. My ex was still in the military and threatened to divorce me if I didn’t drop it because it would end his career and negatively effect our family, I did. Bad move he continued with his separation and divorce….and the domestic violence and adultery were never brought up in court, my children and I are still fearful of him. He may not physically harm me anymore, but anytime we do talk he goes out of his way to throw blame my way,or rub my nose in it, so I do my best not to talk to him and ask him to email or text. But he doesn’t want to do that, after all he says that I’m trying to control him, so he talks to our kids about things he should discuss with me like visitation, child support, the sale of our old house and his girlfriend. He puts our children in the middle and gets angry at them because they don’t feel comfortable talking to him because he snaps at them or speaks down to them, and he badgers them or talks bad about family members. My kids where witnesses to his abuse to me and also suffered verbal and emotional abuse as well, we still feel like we are under his thumb and that he got away with murder. We feel we’ve lost a lot, I moved us out of the old house because he raised the rent I needed to pay and wouldn’t and still hasn’t repaired the roof leaks properly, the rotted floors caused by water damage, the AC or the mold or the moldy smells throughout the house that make me feel like I am about to be sick, not to mention not heat… only keroceen heaters for asthmatic kids, and that’s a small list for the house. We also lost friends and family, as he tried to turn others against me by telling everyone I was mental, a poor wife and mother and that my family would be better off without me. He told me this so often, that even I was starting to believe him, for years he threatened to divorce me and take our children. I was constantly living in fear, it has effected my health and my self worth/esteem and my children have been greatly effected too. Yet, he is honored, patted on the back for getting rid of me, the welcome him and his mistress/girlfriend with open arms…while my kids and I seem insignificant. I stood by my man for 26 years, through thick and thin, through wars and long separations due to his job in the military. My children grew up with absent father, I was not perfect, but I did my best to hold down the fort, to raise my children alone, not family, few friends, no military support close by, pretty much isolated, not allowed to go to school or work as it work ‘take away from the children and time from him’. So, now I’m cast off like a piece of trash, dishonored, disrespected, unloved, my children and I abandoned, no reconciliation as he already had a replacement lined up for he drew up the separation papers. Funny, he can’t understand why the kids and I are still suffering the effects of this. Because my children don’t feel comfortable around him or speaking to him because “He and his moods are unpredictable,” he is trying to accuse me of alienation. I am so tired, hurt, and angry as I have to go to court again and I’m afraid once again, that justice will be blind. So, flashbacks yes, he throwing me across the yard, picking me up by my throat so my feet are off the ground and holding me against the door and squeezing my throat to where I can’t breath and feels like I am about to black out, him pushing my backwards with his chest taunting me to ‘hit him’ so he can hit me back in ‘self defense’, his constant threats of divorce for any reason and of taking my children from me, telling me I would never see them again and that they were better off without me, or what about having to stand in the way to protect my kids from his rage, to pull him off my older ones, to hear him say the are dead to him, to look in his eyes and see only hatred as one of his final acts before he abandons us is to chock me to the point I truly believe I am going to die and the last thing I saw out the window before I started blacking out was my child crying inconsolably and I begged God to take care of all my children and then all of a sudden he stopped and I don’t know how but somehow I was able to get away. The sad thing is my youngest was hiding near where my husband was choking me and saw everything, it was so traumatic that this child has a mental block about the scene it acted it out on other children afterwards. Yes, we have gone to counseling, yes it helps at times and other times it doesn’t because the ex denies the abuses and acts like he is the only victim. So, we have to be careful not to incite him, as we have no recourse because there is no protection against verbal or emotional abuse, it must be physical abuse before they will act and not to mention its us against him, our word against his, which looks like alienation, which would sway the judge his way for custody and visitation possibly giving him more time with the kids which would be more harmful. Please pray for us for protection, for good and affordable legal council and a Godly Judge, as I want to do right by my children and stand up for myself without being hateful or ugly to their dad, and that maybe their dad can see the truth that his kids do fear him with good reason and that for their sake he would want to change and be a better dad, but until then, that there can be a safety net to protect all of us while we heal from the abuse, the abandonment, and the unwanted, unbiblical, high conflict divorce and its aftermath. I also pray for healing for all of us who suffer from PTSD, that we can break free from the triggers that cause us to relive those awful, traumatic moments that are burned into our memories. May we take care of us….Jules

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  5. Ran across the following article today and thought I would share. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-to-know-about-ptsd_us_56cddb03e4b0928f5a6deb07?
    I realized recently how lucky I am that the biggest trauma I experienced was at our place in AR. A place I only had to visit once after the trauma. I still recall that one visit to retrieve the final items. As I got closer and closer to the house I began to hyperventilate, then began crying uncontrollably. I had expected to spend a few hours there, but instead, grabbed items, loaded them in my car and left in approximately an hour. After I got home to MN I realized I had left a few things there. Should have made a list of things I wanted. Did ask my real estate agent to send me one of the items I had forgotten but let go of the other items.
    I am so very thankful I am in a new place and no longer must daily face reminders of my time with my ex. I occasionally visit my friends but try to stay away from places that I know will bring back memories. Recently visited one of my friends. They decided to go out to dinner one night. They gave me a few options. I chose one because I knew we would not run into my ex and his woman. He didn’t like their food.
    I have such empathy for those who must daily face the memories. I still have some things that remind me but it is so much easier not being daily faced with those memories.

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  7. Summer,
    Wanted to share this song with you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSATOECyIYw
    After my divorce I wrote and had a Divorce ceremony. This was the song I entered the sanctuary to along with my minister. I had photos that I found on my own that were different but this song has always helped me when I have found life difficult.
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  8. Dearest Summer,
    I have so much empathy for you and what you are going through, but I pray you look for a counselor to help you to deal with your terrible sadness.

    Please learn that you do NOT need another man in your life. In fact, I think it would be bad for you to get into another relationship until you are comfortable being on your own. I have found so much strength and comfort just finding and being the real me. For most of my life I was trying to be what I thought others wanted me to be. I spent 40 years in a marriage doing everything I could to make my spouse happy, only to have him throw me aside.

    I moved almost 400 miles from where I had lived with him for over 23 years. While it was difficult, because I left my friends, it was probably the best thing I did. I no longer have to deal with the daily reminders of our life together. I still visit my friends regularly and it is getting easier, but I realize how good for me it was to move and not face the daily reminders.

    A group I found here is Meetup. There are many different groups you can get involved with through this group. I have made some great friends through it. http://www.meetup.com I hope there are a number of groups close to you.

    Again, seek some help to get through this difficult time. Perhaps you will need a low dose mood elevator, anti depressant or SSRI. There is nothing wrong with needing a little help.

    Blessings and Prayers,
    Phyllis

  9. Hi Summer, thank you so much for sharing your story, and there is no need to apologize for the length of the post. You and everyone else are the reason I started this blog. So that we have each other to lean on. People who know what we have and are going through. I applaud you for taking the time to reach out and share a little bit of you with us. I agree with you that the dating scene is scary, and unfortunately in today’s world it seems that the only way to go is online. I just can’t bring myself to go sit at a bar and wait to find “the one”. By looking online at least I feel I am being somewhat proactive in my search. However, lately I’m thinking that I will take a break from searching and let him find me. You and I both know that God has a plan for us, he already knows who we are going to meet and when we just have to learn to trust that, as hard as it is.

    I’m no expert, but I think maybe you would benefit from a divorce support group. But find one for individuals who have already completed divorce, not a group for those going through it, trust me they are very different! It may help just to share your experience and listen to others who are feeling the same as you are. It can be very cleansing. Also look for women’s retreats they can be very spiritual and will help you to get reconnected with your spirit after such a devastating loss. I will be attending one next month and I can’t wait! If you need help finding groups in your area, I would be happy to help.

    Happy New Year and God Bless!
    Kimberly

  10. Dear Kimberly,
    Thank you so much for writing this article/post.
    My divorce was finalized 2 years ago this month. I was married to my ex for 3.5 years, we were together a total of 5.5 years. And I am still in the deepest, darkest depression. I am 33, and although people keep telling me I am young and I will find someone else soon, I am sick of hearing it. But, this grieving….I just thought I would’ve been able to move past it by now. It just feels like such a terrible loss. And I can’t imagine how you, and some of the others who have posted on here, those who have been married for so long, 15-20+ years! And have children….how emotional that must be. Because you have to keep it together for yourself AND your kids. Omg, I have been crying the past hour reading everyone’s stories. Divorce is truly devastating.

    This is going to sound strange: although I am sad after reading all these stories, a part of me is relieved that I am not the only one who feels the PTSD aspect of the emotional recovery from divorce. I am triggered by anything that reminds me of my ex. Songs, restaurants we would frequent, movies we liked, tv shows, stores, buildings, smells, literally anything. After we separated, it took me a few months into the divorce process before I realized I needed a new wardrobe because anything I wore reminded me of him. I tried dating and hanging out with friends, and it doesn’t help me. I’m just too sad. I do not have one unattached friend. Everyone is married or partnered up. I only feel safe at my apt, alone. I also feel broken because my ex repeatedly was not faithful and continued to lie and cheat and was emotionally and verbally abusive. He was crazy making and passive aggressive and narcissistic.

    Anyways, sorry for the long comment. I just want to be optimistic again about love and marriage. I feel like I was completely misled. I truly thought I had the real deal, and in the end, it was all lies. He was a completely different person. And nowadays, dating is super difficult with so many dating apps and people shopping online for cuter people. When I am out with friends, at a restaurant, wine bar, tavern, wherever, everyone is on their phone! People don’t approach other people and have a conversation anymore. It bums me out. I fear I’m going to be alone forever.

    All I can do is hope and pray.

    Happy New Year,
    Summer

  11. Dear M your comment is very much appreciated. I am sorry to hear that after so many years you still have residual moments. But I certainly can relate. My purpose with this blog post is to inform, encourage, and let others know they are not alone. Thank you for helping me do that by sharing your story.

    Kimberly

  12. Thank you for this. It’s been ten years for me. I have a wonderful new husband, good job, and still suffer from nightmares, panic, attacks, and anxiety. My ex’s infidelity, the divorce, and his subsequent emotional and verbal abuse have left lasting scars. Knowing others suffer too, but we fight to keep going, helps.

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  14. Hi Daniel, I want to thank you so much for sharing your story. I know where you are coming from I married the boy not the man. I’m not an expert, I’m not a counselor but I am a survivor. All I can offer you at this point is to go through each emotion when you look at those photos. It’s not easy but it is healing because you will be getting yourself through it. We need to learn how to teach ourselves how to move forward, find something that makes you happy and when you are having one of those moments focus on it and don’t let it go. For me that image is of course the butterfly…she is strong, she is courageous, she is beautiful! Find your something to get you through those moments.

    Kimberly

  15. I have been with my partner for 5 years, from the moment I met her I knew ( or I thought) I wanted to marry her and spend the rest of my life with her, I fell desperately in love.. I was 17 when we met.. I thought we’d be together forever.. A year after we met she fell pregnant and although I was so happy I knew everything would change between us.. And it did. I watched the girl I loved change into a different person ( and ofcourse I understand that having a child changes people, but that is not what I mean) I mean her whole personality changed.. We were argueing. Some arguments stayed in my head even when we was happy.. I felt awful.. Like I had failed.. Like I did not deserve a happy ending and I felt powerless.. My bond with my son Was the only thing that bought me joy..i proposed to her when she fell pregnant but through all the stress and fall outs nothing happened.. And it fell apart.. I was working one day and even though we were happy the memories of how good things used to be instantly angered me, I felt my heart beating out my chest like I could physically feel my heart breaking I changed from feeling depressed to feeling hostile.. I lost that job because I did not care about anything else but the pain that was penetrative my mind. I had to move out to save myself mentally..i genuinely felt like the girl I fell in love with had died…
    All I cared about is.my son, and our future

    I was in my flat that I fortunately recently moved into.. I was deciding what photo to put in a frame..one of me and my son ( which I see every day without fail) or one of me and her when we first was together.. As I was going through old photos of me and her I began to cry hysterically.. I was a mess.. Ever put your head in a pillow and cried?? I was hysterically crying.. Like the pain I had felt for the past couple years was concentrated.. The pain was new and raw.. I realised that the pain was not just break up pain… The memories are destroying me and now I feel that it must be ptsd..

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  18. Dear Someone, I wish you the best of luck at your interview tomorrow. I also know what it is like to have to coexist with your “lost” love. I spent a year and a half in the same home while our divorce was going on. Hope was something that was very hard for me to find and it’s taken me almost three years to see a glimmer of it. It’s got to be hard being away from your friends and family, I encourage you to seek out people who can be your sounding boards, because there will be days that you will need, someone to listen. You are more than welcome to reach out on this blog, it’s the sole reason I have it out there. I will be here any day any time you need an ear.

    Many Blessings to you and Good Luck Tomorrow!
    Kimberly

  19. I’m going through it right now. First my business failed, and my wife grew weary of being the primary breadwinner, and our bickering all the time. (She has her own issues, can you say “emotional immaturity?” Her answer was to get on the internet and start having countless encounters as some sort of revenge tactic from her anger. No exaggeration.) Anyway, then I found myself financially cut off and struggling to find work as I reside in a rural part of southwestern Virginia, hard hit by the economic slowdown.

    It was only my love for my infant son that kept me going. I had no choice.

    Thankfully it looks like a light is finally at the end of the tunnel. I have a real shot at a secure job, at least as secure as jobs are today… tomorrows the interview.

    I don’t think I’ll ever allow myself to be in such a vunerable position ever again. I don’t know if I’ll ever marry again, but I have something I haven’t had in at least the last 8 months that I’ve been going though all this, trying to coexist with the crazy woman who once upon a time was my loving wife: Hope.

    For the first time in a long time… the sense of overwhelming fear, partially brought on by being in a location I didn’t grow up in, with few friends and no family to help me, has lessened.

  20. Dear Samantha, please know you are not alone in your grieving and that even though you cannot see it yet, YES there is a light and one day you will notice that it is getting easier. Find someone close you can talk to everyday to help you move through your grief and continue to use this space as a place doe comfort. I’m here and listening.

    Kimberly

  21. Today, is a divorce day. Sometimes the betrayal is so intense, it crushes my heart. You know when you are pregnant and in labor, they say you will never have to do the last contraction you had again and that each one moves you closer to birth? I count each day that passes, hoping this will be the last time I will feel like I am dying. I have had to attend the funerals of many people and nothing compares to this emptiness The void is so deep and all encompassing that it feels like I can’t breath from the weight of it. It has been 2 years since he left and two years in July for the divorce I saw a picture of his new wife on my daughters facebook page yesterday and it completely deflated me. Once again, I am back in a place that is so dark, and lonely that it feels as if the air has been sucked out of the room. I would give anything to know when this pain was going to end. I have mastered the art of crying silently so my daughter can’t hear. I am so broken and so destroyed that I can barely more. I know there is an ending to this pain, but for the life of me, I just can’t see it from here. Please God, have mercy on me, and tell me that there will be peace soon. This road is so hard and my mind can’t see an ending.
    Samantha

  22. Dear Robert, I have found that what you are asking about, for me is one of the most difficult parts of being “divorced”. I married my high school sweetheart at the age of 19. The last time I dated was when I was 17 years old so it is like learning a new language, at the same time being deaf to it’s sounds and blind to it’s letters. I also have an issue with the fact that I never had a friendship with anyone of the opposite sex outside of my husband. This has been hard for me to know how to differentiate a friendship with a male versus a romantic relationship. It is human nature to want to be loved, touched, and bonded with someone. As divorce survivors I think we “crave” it. Our lives changed in the blink of an eye and we went from being loved and loving another to being totally alone.

    Like Phyllis, I can only offer what has worked or seems to be working for me. Just this past December I took myself away, on a weekend retreat, and my focus was accepting loneliness. I wined and dined myself, in a romantic setting just as you stated you were doing as you wrote your comment. Throughout the weekend I wrote affirmations on post it notes and placed them on mirrors to remind myself that I am loved as long as I am able to love myself. By the end of the weekend I felt so much better being comfortable with just being in a relationship with “me”. I’ve hit a couple of speed bumps since then so I know it is not going to be something that will be easy to get used to, but I have to try so that I am not miserable being with “me”.

    As far as the dating scene goes, I won’t lie, It SUCKS! Again, being that we are craving companionship and relationships we most likely have no idea what we are looking for in the person we want to have a relationship with. When I attended a divorce support group they recommended no dating until 5 years had passed. At first I thought they were crazy. Well it’s been three years for me and I totally understand the 5 year waiting period. We are still trying to find ourselves as Phyllis pointed out, and until we do we cannot fully give ourselves to someone else.

    At this point, I’m trying not to take dating so seriously. If someone comes into my life that I want to date, hang out with then I’ll go with it, but searching for the second love of my life is not as much a priority for me right now, as is searching for love for myself.

    I hope this helps. If you like you can check out my post By Myself…For Myself which is from my retreat.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly
    Courageous Butterfly

  23. Robert,
    I don’t know the answer to all your questions but I can tell you what has helped me.
    I ceased looking for a replacement for my ex!
    At this point – now almost 3 years into the separation and 2 years after the divorce – I have become involved in a number of groups where I am working on ME!
    I went to a site online called Meet ups.
    Luckily I now live in a metropolitan area so there are many different meet ups that I can choose from – over 400. Some are good fits others are not.
    The majority of the ones I attend are strictly for women.
    I do belong to one that is for Divorced and Separated people but I am thinking of ceasing attending those meet ups. It seems many are attending just to find a replacement for their ex. I joined for support from those who had dealt with divorce and don’t seem to be finding it there.

    I love intimacy!
    While I am more than 10 years older than you – I’m not dead and I hope to someday find another person with whom I can again be intimate. But for now – I just want to find myself. I married at 22 – had a family by 24 and now I need to find out who “I” am without anyone else.
    Best of luck to you!
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  24. Thank you so much for your support and advice Kimberly, it’s very much appreciated! Samantha I am very sorry to hear your story and I totally agree that life isn’t fair, I do understand this so I can also feel your pain! Phyllis, I was just the same as you, I prepared for the worst case scenario in every event, I am a great planner and I thought I had all my bases covered until my wife put divorce on me after 20 years. I had no plan for losing everything – partner, house, job, friends then having to try and start again at 51 with nothing… nobody want’s to employ me at my age and dating – I’ve been out of that since I was 25 and I have no idea at all! I sit in a romantic restaurant on my own as I type this surrounded by couples and wondering what I did to lose mine and deserve being alone? How do I even get another relationship? I’ve tried dating and it all seems so superficial and women my age see very suspicious of guys that don’t have kids. I’m used to having a very deep connection with someone – not talking about the weather. Also, I have a very high libido but my ex was asexual. How do I find out whether a prospective partner is also compatible in this way? I don’t really want to rush that side of a relationship, but I also don’t want to find that after a year of dating that she says like my ex oh I don’t really like intimacy – particularly sex? I don’t even know how to recognise someone in my age group? as I’d never considered having to understand this since I was 25. What if I ask someone out and she thinks she’s too young? It all seems so confusing. My ex looked a lot younger than her age – we both did, this has made it difficult. It’s like being in a nightmare and I keep hoping that I’ll wake up from it.

  25. Kimberly,
    I believe you have hit on something very interesting here.
    I was thinking of something like this – this very morning in the shower.
    I began to think about how negative my thoughts have become since my ex told me of his infidelity and wanting a divorce.
    Prior to this occurring I was a very positive person. While I would often prepare for the “worst case scenario” before leaving on a vacation. I did this so I would not become negative and not know what to do if the worst thing happened. This preparation helped me a few times when something unexpected and negative happened.
    I’ve realized that I never prepared myself for this “worst case scenario”. Perhaps that is why I have reacted so negatively.
    I am now determined to focus on the positives in my life – not the negatives – and there are indeed positives that have occurred due to the ending of my 40+ year marriage.
    I know there will again be down times – in fact – I’m just now coming out of one – but I am determined to become the positive person I used to be and let go of the negative.
    With the help of God I expect this to take place.
    Blessings to you – Samantha – Robert and all others dealing with this loss in their lives.
    Phyllis

  26. Dear Samantha, you may certainly vent your little heart out but only if it makes you feel better. Sometimes when I get on a “venting trip” I find that it only adds to my pain and can even add some bitterness to my feelings. You have asked God for peace and I believe you want it. The way to finding peace is in acceptance. Now I know your situation is not one that can be easily accepted and I truly understand how hard that is. There are still many things that I have not yet been able to accept and hope to someday find peace in them. In order to not become bitter and enraged we must strive toward the peace in the situation. It may take some time but one day you may understand why this current situation is happening. It may have nothing at all do to with your ex or his new wife, it may just be something that your brother needs in order to kick start something that is planned for him.

    Also it is not easy to see our ex’s continue on relationships with those that were close to us, but on the same hand I felt extremely guilty when the relationship between my ex and my sister ended all because my marriage ended. Not only did I lose my best friend but she did as well.

    Vent when you feel you need to but try to turn that venting into your search for peace. Focus on those feelings when they happen and find something that can turn them around for you. Know that you can reach out anytime here, I have a great listening ear and will respond the best I can.

    Blessings of peace for you!

    Kimberly

    Courageous Butterfly

  27. Well, I am not quite sure how I deserve this, but my recently married exhusband and his new wife are off on a vendor trip with my brother and his wife to Costa Rica. Courtesy of a company my grandfather started and I gave money to my brother to get out of the hole. The same company that used my credit to rack up a credit card bill that I had to declare bankruptcy on. The saying “life isn’t fair” doesn’t begin to describe the horror I have been through the last two years. I just needed to vent. May God grant me peace.

  28. Dear Robert, please know that you are NOT crazy and I understand exactly what you are feeling and going through. A lot of us that have posted on this topic have also felt like we were going crazy, which is what prompted me to write this very important post. I was married just shy of 20 years and it’s been three years since the divorce. I was forced to live in the home with my ex during the divorce and I know how hard that was for you.

    Not knowing you or your story I will suggest that you seek out a support group, for divorce or any groups that deal with loss. They can help you put your feelings in some sort of a prospective so that you can begin to live in the now and try and get out of the habit of living in the past. That is not an easy thing to do and I often find myself living in my past as well.

    Please know that this blog is here for you to talk with others that have gone through and are going through the same thing you are. You are NOT alone!!

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

  29. I thought I had everything, financial security a great job as an Engineer, friends, owned my own home, a wife that loved me so I thought for most of my life – I was 48 and all set for retirement. Then my wife told me on our 20th wedding anniversary she was leaving and it was all over. I just went into shock which was magnified when I realised that I was also about to lose my home that i’d built, my career job had also just ended because I’d been bullied at work and couldn’t cope – my ex took my boss’s side and then I realised that because of my age my chances of being attractive to anyone with no home or job were zero. Plus we never had kids so I didn’t have any family to fall back on and help me through it.

    I started having panic attacks which I thought were heart attacks. My doctor gave me meds but I started a new job and was having them on the way to work, the meds made me sleepy and that just upset my new boss so I got the sack from that, which just made things worse.

    I then withdrew at home, my ex and I still shared the same house as it was on the market to be sold, I was relegated to the spare room where I developed social anxiety issues and chronic fatigue set it. It got worse until I struggled to get out of bed in the morning. The insomnia was so bad it was painful and my whole body was in pain. I was a half marathon runner yet I couldn’t walk out into the back yard. I felt so incredibly alone and had nobody to help me though it just my ex in the house reminding me of what I’d lost and she said I was being lazy and should get out of bed.

    I made a conscious effort to walk one step further every day, and over one year I got to the point where I could run 10km a day. That was 2 years ago yet I still can’t work because my stress threshold is so low I can’t cope with normal stresses of life and work. Nobody wants to date a 51 year old guy with PTSD even if they are super fit. I have my house money from the divorce and no job, friends or family. I’m sitting in a hotel as I write this, I just move from city to city searching for stability and companionship which is like an elusive dream.

    I still have nightmares nearly every night. Sleeping on my own for the first time in 30 years was and is still a big issue and I can’t sleep without anyone next to me. I rent an Escort occasionally for an over night just so I can sleep properly. It’s the easiest $2000 she ever earns because I’m dead to the world for the whole time plus it gives me the intimacy that I desperately crave and have no hope in getting. I wish I had kids as they’d be a wonderful source of comfort and companionship right now. I just wish I’d wake up from this nightmare and be back at home in my old life giving my wife her nightly foot massage, instead I have to pay an Escort hundreds of dollars to rub her feet so I can imagine for a few blissful moments that I’m back at home with my love. I guess this is PTSD – either that or I’m crazy!

  30. Check out another helpful post on this very important and sensitive subject.

    http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4557481

  31. Dear Happilyeverafter1959,

    Your comment really touched my heart. I thank you for being so open as to share your story on this very important topic. I admire your courage to continue on your path of healing in facing each one of these events that cause you distress. It is not an easy path we are walking as divorce survivors, but you are doing it and you will come out a stronger version of yourself. Keep up the good work! Keep working through those events when then pop up. I understand how hard each one of those events are. It’s been three years for me since the divorce and still, there are days when I too have events like those. The good news is when they happen it is a bit easier for me to get past them, after as you suggested, I let it all out.

    I had anticipated that by this point in my journey I would be done with the tears……I was wrong but it IS ok, because each time I let one go I am closer to moving on.

    And thank you for the book suggestion, I am ordering it today, it looks like a great tool in healing!

    Take Care, Blessings to you

    Kimberly
    Courageous Butterfly

  32. My therapist classified my experience as traumatic. And traumatic it has been. Recurring nightmares and triggers when he calls or texts. I can not even bring myself to see him and have cut off most communication with him. Advice from my therapist to minimise my reliving the experience as if it was the day it happened. So I would definitely have to say if our reactions are the same as a person who has experienced physical abuse or been in a war etc…..then I think it can be labeled as PTSD. I don’t want to be referred to or do I want to continue feeling like this. I don’t want to live the “victim mentality” But we are victims. Victims of someone elses selfish acts. I have learned through my experience though…….and I finally have a short way to explain it……. If you resist, it will persist!
    Very true in my experience. The more I try to stuff or redirect my gut feelings. It comes back stronger when it breaks through or a trigger happens. When I talk about it, write about it, scream about it, cry about it. I usually can handle the next text with less devastation. I am slowly finding some footing. Each day is different. Somedays I think I have it licked. And then…..the next day may have me so depressed I can hardly get up off the couch to use the bathroom. Grieving is not linear. And we are grieving. It is a death of a marriage. And so like some have already done here I will recommend a book that has helped me too.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/1572244011/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=30023308527&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=55461656981429009&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_4j2d2mfjfy_b

    So much to say on this topic.
    So happy we can all come together and support each other through these difficult times.

    Big Hugs
    Sue

  33. Dear Samantha, You are Very welcome! My purpose for this blog and especially this post is so that we all know we are not alone in this. Divorce, especially messy ones, can be worse than an actual death as you pointed out in your comment. Hang in there and know that I am with you and here for you.
    blessings,
    Kimberly

  34. Thank you so much for posting this. I have been divorced for a year and a half. We were married 18 years and have two children. He left in the middle of the night on November 15th 2011 and moved in with his parents. We have had very little contact since. He has since remarried to a women he met less than a year ago.
    I didn’t understand my physical reaction until just recently. My doctor had prescribed ativan for anxiety and I thank God I have it to get me over the moments of terror. My life has changed completely in the past two years. I had to declare bankrucptcy on his debt, sell my house, change careers, and move into an apartment.
    My upbringing was a very ruff one. I figured that some of my life experiences would steel me for what happened but instead they made it all the more possible for me to have an anxiety ridden reaction to his leaving and our divorce. Reading your blog and researching the subject of PTSD and divorce these past two days has really helped to make me see that I am not crazy. I have had EMDR therapy about 10 years ago for child hood trauma but I am looking to go back after this experience. I can’t imagine being on Ativan my entire life.
    Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for putting a voice to those of us that are utterly silenced from the trauma of a divorce. I have buried many family and friends to tragedies and life circumstances and nothing has come close to the pain that my divorce has caused me.
    Thank you!
    Samantha

  35. Jen, again I’m so sorry for what your dealing with it’s not easy when the kids start to find things out. I feel it very important that you let them find things out on their own time and as events happen. Try not to give them the information your self. And if possible seek counseling for all of you.

    Hugs

    Kimberly

  36. Jenn,
    If you are not seeing a counselor I urge you to find one now!
    I have been where you are – but did not have the added worry of young children.
    I went to a counselor within days.
    It turned out she and I were not a good fit. After 4 sessions with her – I realized it and stopped seeing her.
    I had wonderful friends – minister and Dr who got me through some very difficult times.
    After about 3 months – I found a new counselor through my Dr who knew me very well. She and I were a good fit. She helped me through some very difficult times.
    I ended up with serious physical problems because of all the stress – was hospitalized – had surgery.
    Again – I urge you to find a counselor! Friends are wonderful but it is best to find someone who can be completely objective.
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  37. Thank you Kimberly and Phyllis for your kind words. It has been a very difficult time for my children they have so many question my oldest just turned 13 last week and middle child turned 9 today and I have a 3 year old I never mentioned the affair to them but they found out in such a terrible way my husband apparently was bringing our 3 year baby around the other woman and she one day started talking about her and described what went on the day she met her. My oldest has mixed emotions some days she very angry and other days she is very sad and doesn’t want to know of her father .. My middle child is taking it very hard she texts him almost everyday asking him to come back home and she tells him how sad she is .. I try not to show my children how this is affecting me because I want them to be happy but they cannot help but to also feel abandoned by him .. This has turned ugly I went to seek child support something I didn’t not want to do but if this other woman is truly pregnant I feel I have to protect myself and my children I learned of her pregnancy because I just couldn’t understand why my husband would leave so abruptly and for 2 weeks straight after he left I just kept feeling this gut retching pain in my stomach that she was pregnant and I feel The Lord was talking to me and telling me she was pregnant. I went to sleep one night and God showed me the little features I know of this woman in a dream ( I know nothing of this woman or who she is I saw a glimpse of her in a picture in his cell one day as he slept he woke up and caught me so I had to throw his phone all I know is that he told me he met her the day after hurricane sandy last year October) so in my dream I saw this woman pregnant I asked my husband if it was true and he said yes. more pain was added to me once I heard him say yes I’ve lost a little over 25 pounds since he left me and my daughters in July .. Monday July 29 to be exact I can not Ever forget the day I remember every detail of it as if it was yesterday it replays in my mind everyday. My self esteem has been shattered I can’t believe the man whom I have loved so for long and given my all to could betray me in such a way I don’t even know who he is! How could the man I loved with all my heart my entire life do such a thing to his family. This week has been a little better for me I push myself to wake up each morning I recite psalms I read Declaration for my life from a book by Joel Osteen and my purpose for now is to tend to my children although many people tell me I’m still young and God has another man waiting for me in his time I just want to be healed I don’t think I can ever trust another man and that the last thing on my mind right now .. my husband has been in May life for 19 years I cant imagine being with another man and the thought of him not being around any more scares me I fear what the future has for me and anxiety kicks in will I be ok how will I mange alone with three girls I’ve never been this afraid in my entire life time

  38. Dearest Jean,
    I too can empathize with your feelings. As Kimberly said – the pain does subside. The other woman part does make it more difficult – as it takes away the complete trust you had in another human being. I have also felt as if I was worthless due to him becoming involved with another woman. I did have low self esteem which did make it worse – but I can tell you that now that it has been almost 3 years since he first told me he wanted out of our 39+ year marriage – I feel I am on my way to healing.
    Luckily my children were grown so I did not have to deal with what you will need to deal with.
    I wish you the best – know that Kimberly is very understanding and can often offer you just the right words. Know that I too am here and CARE!
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  39. Dear Jenn, I’m so sorry for what you have had to go through and I’m glad that this site can offer a little help to you. It is hard at this point to imagine when the pain will go away or if it will and all I can offer you is that it will subside just a little each day as time goes on. There will be moments where it will kind of flare up and I’m going to assume that we will always have those moments. Divorce in itself is a death, but dealing with the other woman part is a chore of it’s own. I can relate to everything you are feeling and please know that you can reach out to me at any time.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

  40. Thank you for posting this! I thought I was the only who felt you can feel this way because of a divorce.. I recently served my husband with a divorce summons in Nov.. I found out that he has been having an affair since October of last year he decided to leave me and our three daughters in July to be with this woman whom is now pregnant. The first month was the hardest I could not sleep eat or function I would wake up in tournament in the middle of the night at the time he was suppose to be coming home from work. I’m at 32 years old and have been with my husband since we were 13 years old we met in junior high school he has has been a part of my life a big part he was my first everything and I thought he would be my last. I still wake up each morning in shock and cannot believe how much he has shattered my life my marriage mention everything to me although we had many problems and he was emotionally abusive I held on and prayed for the healing of my marriage being the the good christian woman that I am but he wanted to live a completely different life style my husband is a nyc police officer and one he got the badge everything changed he started fishing around for other woman and started hanging out more and treated me as if I did not fit into his lifestyle . This whole ordeal has been so detrimental for me and my daughters I ask God when will the pain ever end and will it end? The pain you feel in your heart is so deep it reaches your soul my cry is even different I wish no one to experience pain like this although losing someone to death is tragic but I honestly feel I would have felt better if I’d lost my husband to death then having had lost him to another woman

  41. Phyllis, THANK YOU!! I needed to be reminded of that prayer…God has perfect timing sometimes

  42. Kim,
    Thanks for you kind comments.

    Here is the scoop in the coat. I decided yesterday to go look for a coat to replace the one that is causing me pain. No luck finding one I liked – and I was indeed open to a new coat. However – I wanted one that was more for fall and spring – as I have others that are for winter. No luck finding anything that would work.

    Now comes the part of the day when God spoke and said – time to let it go. I returned home from shopping and received a call from my Daughter. She was at a second hand store and had found a jacket she thought I might like. Described it to me – and I thought – OK God – I get the message. I told her to go ahead and buy it.

    While the jacket wasn’t something I normally would have bought – and I needed to alter it a little to even be able to wear it – I took it as a sign that it was time to let the old coat go.

    After my Daughter left – I took the old coat – folded it – and put it in storage for donation.

    I told my Daughter when she was here that I had been looking for a new coat earlier that day as the coat I had been wearing was the one I bought to go to Paris for my 25th anniversary and it was causing me pain to wear it because it was bringing back memories. She said, I’ve never liked that coat anyway.

    I guess what I’m saying is – listen to the messages that come your way. Be open enough to let them tell you when it is time to “let go” and move on. I have done it and I must admit that I now feel somewhat freer than I did yesterday. The memories are still there as it is still November – a month I will always need to deal with – but there are some things that I don’t need to deal with. Things that I can change! I just need to find the courage to change those that I can.

    As I was writing this the Serenity Prayer came into my mind. A prayer I need to use more often.
    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  43. Phyllis, there is no need to be sorry I’m so glad you brought this subject up and I totally understand. For me it is a black coach purse, that I use every winter and have for years. I’ve tried a few times to sell it but you know how that goes, it’s not worth its value once it leaves the store.

    Where it is worth its value is with me. This item was also an anniversary event for me so when I do use it, sometimes it brings up memories that I do not care to focus on right now.

    So we have some choices, put them away and wait for a time when we can handle the memories that come with using the item, if that time ever comes. Let them go completely and move forward with a new coat and bag. Or face our inner fear, live through that brief moment of memory remembering how good we felt and how happy we were and then wear that coat proudly knowing that you are creating new memories for something that was already dear to your heart.

    I hope that helps!

    Hugs,
    Kimberly

  44. Over the last couple of weeks I have been dealing with what I term PTSD of Ending relationship.
    While for the most part – I am doing much better emotionally – November is always going to be a difficult month for me.

    My birthday is this month – but also the anniversary of “my” marriage.

    I’m working hard at saying my now whenever I refer to things in my life. I had always referred to the children as “our” children – not my children – and our whenever referring to anything to do with us as a couple.

    Changing this lexicon has been difficult for me – but I am getting better at it.

    This year – the anniversary of my marriage falls on Thanksgiving again. In a way I am lucky it does – as I will be hosting my Son-in-laws family for dinner on that day. This will bring laughter and joy into my home. Helping me to deal with the loss easier.

    The more difficult part of that is that I am reminded of other times when my anniversary fell on Thanksgiving. In particular – my 25th – when we went to Paris to celebrate. A place I had always wanted to go to but never thought I would make it to.

    I still wear the coat I bought specifically to go on that trip almost every day at this time of the year. I am beginning to think it is time to get rid of that coat – as it has begun to bring back too many memories. I do love the coat – so that makes it difficult – but am thinking that finding a replacement is in order.

    Sorry for going on about this – but needed to vent someplace and this is a safe space for me.

    Blessings!

  45. The good that positive from what we may see as negative at the time.

    When I first saw Rebecca’s posts on this thread I was upset. I saw her posts as trying to negate my feelings. The feelings I had that I attributed to what I felt was PTSD.

    I don’t know whether or not I have PTSD according to some medical Dx. But I know how I feel when I get these terrible feelings that completely overwhelm me. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am the “strongest person they know”. I even posted something on here once about how upset that makes me when they tell me that. It’s usually when I’m in one of my “funks” or feeling completely overwhelmed. So – not the best time to be saying something like that to me. Rather – it is a time I just need to be held – to be understood – to feel bad.

    What I’ve realized over the last week – is that who I am today is due to what I have experienced. Not just what I’ve experienced over the last 2 ½ years – but what I’ve experienced over my entire lifetime. Each event in my life has shaped who I have become.

    And you know what? I’m proud of who I am! I’m proud of what I have accomplished! I’m proud of all I can do! Would I like to be able to do more? Sure! I think all of us would. Do I wish some of the things in my past had not occurred? You bet! But I am who I am today because of those very things that I may not be pleased occurred in my life.

    While I may at times not be able to see all the good/positive that has come out of the bad/negative. Upon reflection – with time – I can usually get to that point.

    I think it’s important for us all to remember that often – very positive things come out of very negative events.

    I think it’s also important for us to realize that while our journey is different than another persons journey. Ours is no more or less difficult than another persons journey.

    We all must learn to deal with what life throws at us. Some of us will be better able to deal than others – but that doesn’t make us stronger – nor does it make the other weaker. Just different!

    Blessings to all!

  46. Thanks for sharing your resources Phyllis!!!!

    Kimberly

  47. I found the quote I mentioned in my previous post.
    It comes from the book “Help and Hope for Hurting Wives When He Leaves”
    “Divorce, says Helen Richards, a World War II concentration-camp survivor, was worse than Dachau had ever been. “In the camp, I was young. It was not a personal thing. There was everybody else. I wanted to survive. But during my divorce, I wanted to die.” Richards, being interviewed by Dr. James Dobson, went on to say, “We had been married 24 years. I was afraid. I hurt. There was no place to go to hide. Nobody could understand what I felt.””

  48. I will admit to being a voracious reader. After my separation – I purchased around 10 books to read that had to do with how to deal with separation and divorce. They all held some good tools for me – though some I began reading and put down until later – as I realized rather quickly – they were meant for when I was in a better place.

    I’ve tried in vain to find the book where a woman Holocaust survivor says that her separation and subsequent divorce from her husband of 20+ years was worse than her time in the concentration camp.

    I remember reading this because it helped me so much to feel that what I was feeling was not unlike what others had/were experiencing. I felt that if this woman who had endured such horrors as a concentration camp felt this event in her life was worse than her time in a concentration camp – then I wasn’t crazy to feel so terrible.

    I will continue to look for this so I can quote it – but it may take some time. It wasn’t in the book I thought it was in and I’m not sure which one it is in. Just felt I wanted to share this.

    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  49. Kimberly,
    Thank you for your gentle – loving and detailed explanation as to what your blog is meant to accomplish.

    For me – your blog saved my life!

    I was feeling so totally alone – in a terrible depressive state – not understanding what was going on with me – feeling like I was totally crazy.

    Reading your posts made me realize I was not alone. It came just at the right time. I feel God led me to your post – just as He has led me to other people and led other people to me at just the right time.

    Thank you again for what you do.
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  50. Hi Rebecca, no worries I am not one who deletes unless it is true spam! My soul purpose for my blog is to put information out there for who ever may be needing it and for any reason. I am grateful for your comments on this post because you have sited several valuable resources that can help my readers and anyone else that happens along the site.

    I will not argue that you are correct in the new criteria on the DSM 5, it is clearly stated that in order for one to be diagnosed with PTSD they must meet the specific criteria. I did a little research today and it looks like that change was very recent, possibly this year. I would like to site some references myself that I found, one is from the National Institute of Mental Health.

    http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml.

    Under the “Who is at risk?” section of the article it states “Anyone can get PTSD at any age. This includes war veterans and survivors of physical and sexual assault, abuse, accidents, disasters, and many other serious events. Not everyone with PTSD has been through a dangerous event.”

    What does this mean to me? Well I do not hold a license in counseling or in divorce but what stood out to me is, “abuse” it does not specify physical or emotional it’s just abuse; as well as the part that reads many other serious events, again not specific to physical abuse or the fear of death. I’m not an expert and I don’t argue that if a health professional needs to code PTSD, it must follow the criteria you mentioned. However, I do believe that someone can exhibit all the signs and symptoms of PTSD, no matter how traumatic their event.

    You mentioned the ladies in your group and how they were sad for me, and the other survivors that have posted on my site. You stated that one said “If they want PTSD so bad, they can trade lives with me in a heart beat.” I’m going to get very honest with you and tell you that my blog posts are just a snippet into my story, and I’m going to guess that those that have commented on my posts may not be sharing every detail of their experience either. In which case they would not need to trade lives with your group, because they are living their own version.

    I only know what is being shared. It is quite possible that one if not all of these people commenting did have a gun pointed to their head, or were beaten or sexually assaulted, and if that is true then they would be medically diagnosed with PTSD. I was surprised that you would leave your comment when you don’t know all the facts. If you could just reflect on the fact that people usually don’t share everything on an online forum, or they can’t. I for instance, leave out certain details in order to protect loved ones. Wagering a guess other’s have done the same. So, maybe the people on this blog and all the many other blogs in the world are the same as the people in your DV group, and should not be made to feel like they are any less than anybody else.

    When I originally wrote this post it was not to drown myself in my sorrows or tell the world that I am a victim of PTSD, it was the sole purpose of reaching out to even just one person who was feeling the same thing I was and to let them know that they are not alone, they are not going crazy, and that the symptoms they are experiencing may be true symptoms of PTSD.

    NIMH lists signs and symptoms of PTSD and I have experienced every single one because of what I went through. The level of my abuse may not even compare to what other’s have suffered but the point of my blog is not to say “Hey I have it worse than you”, it is to say “hey you are not alone”.

    I will brag and say that I have been able to help several people who have found my blog and in turn Several have helped me!! That means I have accomplished my goal, which was the reason for my blog. Rebecca, you have added to that with your resources and again I thank you. I also thank you for the work you are doing in helping survivors move on.

    Many Many Blessings to you,

    Kimberly

    Courageous Butterfly

  51. Phyllis, I replied to you that you have not walked in my shoes because often as a therapist I am told “you don’t know what it’s like.” I did not think you were attacking me. My point was, I am not writing from my ivory tower, telling others how to feel. I am as the old Hair Club for Men commercial went…. I’m not just a psychologist, I’m a person who was quite severely abused. I won the karmic reverse lottery, I got sexual, physical, and emotional. However, I decided long ago that these things were not about me at all, and I was put in this body to empower myself and others.

    I was shown this blog entry by 2 women in my DV group. It was shared with the group They felt sorry for the writers here who are investing in having a diagnosis, because as one said “If they want PTSD so bad, they can trade lives with me in a heartbeat!”

    The only thing that bothers me about the post and comments is that I can see how you are limiting yourselves with these labels. Our reality is what we believe it to be. However, please Kimberly, feel free to delete anything i have written if you choose. Have beautiful day!

  52. Thanks Lani – I think the only thing this blog is meant to do is support one another. Kimberly does not profess to be a MD or a Psychologist – just someone who has and is dealing with a trauma.

    It is so nice to know we are not alone in our feelings – that we aren’t “going crazy”. I was lucky enough to have a counselor – my second one as my first one’s response was always – you are doing wonderfully at dealing with this – even as I sat sobbing on her couch. I could talk to her intellectually about how I knew what was going on with me but EMOTIONALLY I was a mess! Anyway – my second counselor told me that I needed to understand that while I would eventually get to a place where I was functioning more normally – I needed to understand that it would probably take 1 year for every 5 years of marriage before I would feel I was completely emotionally healed. That was the best thing I was ever told. Instead of trying to make me “get over it” – she helped me to understand that it was a process. That things would improve – but that there would be times I would again fall into the valley. The valleys would not be as deep or as wide – but that I needed to expect that it was now going to be a part of my life.

    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  53. Phyllis, I totally agree with you. I find (nothing personal, Rebecca – I do not mean you personally) that some psychologists find it hard to totally identify with people who “know” things but are unable to explain how they “know” them. We sufferers certainly do not feel automatically that we should give it the “correct” medical label because of previous research. If a person is so mired in heartbreak, guilt, anger and fear because of a divorce or break up, and each time their traumatic experiences and memories surface they are instantly back in that awful place – powerless, panicky and so afraid – it IS stress after the trauma they suffered – and they are entitled to liken it to PTSD.

    My sister is a psychologist – very well known and respected, and after what happened to me and how I felt my whole persona/life was disintegrating, I spent some time with her. All I wanted was my sister to help me make sense of it, not express an opinion or apportion blame, and all I got was a psychologist. She had a fantastic relationship with her husband, he was a rare human being, and when he died I found I could understand the sheer desolation she went through. She is one of these psychologists who operate on the basis that as fear, anger, heartbreak do not KILL you – you should sit with it until it goes, and it will. It did not help, and left me feeling that she just did not understand what I was going through. Upon reflection afterwards I realised that she meant well, and she had assumed the only way she could help was by putting her psychologist hat on. I told her how I felt and she got quite upset, and that did not help either.

    Almost two years after my trauma I find I still cannot tell her when I have one of my “wobbles”, because I am afraid that her reaction will “trigger”another downward spiral. That’s why fora like this are so important. It is like a breath of fresh air to know that none of us here approaches what is happening to us as if we suffer more than anybody else, and discussions like these lessen that terrible feeling of isolation that comes from being abandoned by the one person you thought you could trust. It is impossible to quantify how helpful it feels to know that there are other people going through the same thing – and they do not judge you, and you are not going crazy or losing touch with reality.

  54. Rebecca – you are exactly right – I have not walked in your shoes – that was my point – none of us has walked in the other persons shoes and therefore should not judge the “other”
    .
    I thought I was clear on this – though apparently you took it to mean I was attacking you.

    Instead – I was attempting to tell those who feel their reactions to what have happened to them are “wrong” should not feel that way. That many others feel as if it is PTSD.

    I’m glad you have found strength through another person – and I feel this is what Kimberly and others of us on this blog are attempting to do for ourselves and others – mainly so we don’t feel so ALONE.

    We hope to inspire others to find strength within themselves. I don’t think any of us are trying to stay in a state of victimhood – rather – we are trying only to heal in our own way.

    I truly do not understand why this so bothers you.

    None of us has walked in another persons shoes – we all must walk our own path in life – I ask that you please not put boulders in our way. We already have enough rocks we must walk over or around.

    If you cannot support us – please just move on. Unless your only goal is to cause us more distress.

    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  55. Christopher, I am a psychologist, not a medical doctor, though I understand your example about the leg injuries.

    In my practice, I treat symptoms and also the underlying cause of the symptoms. Often I will use the same modalities for a client with physical abuse and one with emotional abuse. Often, though, I find that I must use quite different therapies and approaches for each. Emotional abuse affects one’s identity (sense of self) far more than physical abuse. I spend much time building self esteem, helping an abandoned, betrayed, emotionally abused person believe that they are resilient, and no one can hurt them without their permission. Because like it or not, this is true. what many abuse survivor specialists have found is that leading with the wound hinders healing. Women referring to one’s self as a victim or survivor of abuse do not recover as well as women who who do not use this title.

    Phyllis, you have not walked in my shoes either.

    Are any of you familiar with Louise Hay? She is a woman who has transcended the trauma and abuse of her past without ever referring to herself as wounded, a victim, having PTSD. And her past was horribly abusive. I found her as mine was similar, and seeing how she has overcome it and become the light she has inspired me to follow her path. She is full of light, full of internal power. I would encourage you all to soak up ever bit of writing this woman has ever done. I was fortunate enough to attend her “How to love yourself” week retreat years ago, truly a life altering experience that I today can draw from to assist my clients in transcending their part experiences without letting it define them. She also writes about body/mind connection, how our emotions and unreleased body memories can lead to illness and disease. Do look her up and check out her books and videos. You do not have to allow your past, or anyone in your life, to define you!

    Or, if none of this sounds in line with your investment in labeling yourself with a several psychiatric diagnosis, then please feel free to ignore my opinions.

  56. Christopher – thank you for your post. I just saw this exchange this morning. As I read the posts by Rebecca I was about to post something similar to your post.

    I am a retired RN – I’ve seen so much change in the medical field just since I began working in 1968. The changes in attitudes towards so many diseases – including psychiatric diseases – never ceases to amaze me. I worked ICU for a number of years and experienced so very many new and exciting changes. I often came across physicians who didn’t want to or couldn’t change their thinking with the new “ideas”.

    If we look at it PTSD hasn’t been part of the lexicon for all that many years. My Father was in WWII and definitely suffered from PTSD but was never DX with this.

    I’m pleased that many in the medical field are more willing to look at possible causes for the bodies reaction to different stimuli,

    To anyone here who is upset by Rebecca’s comments regarding us not suffering from PTSD – that us referring to it as that somehow demeans those who are “truly” suffering from PTSD. Realize she is not living in your skin – not walking in your shoes. If it helps you to better deal with your emotions by naming it PTSD – you are hurting NO ONE doing so.

    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  57. I understand where you are coming from, Rebecca. Being a doctor, you are obviously well educated. And as a doctor, when giving your prognosis, you are required to stick to a specific list of symptoms to give a proper diagnosis of your patient’s illness or injury. But, with the medical advances that are happening every day, you know – as well as many others in the medical field – that the symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment of known ailments change at a very rapid pace. What was at one time thought to be one condition, may be discovered to be two different conditions with similar symptoms. Or VICE-VERSA. It happens all the time. Take for instance the fairly recent “outbreak” of GLUTEN allergies. Has the physiology of those affected suddenly changed? No. Have their bodies just now, or in the past few years, lost the ability to properly process a basic protein that has been in our food for years? Again, No. The only other answer then is misdiagnosis. I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.

    Yes, I understand that the American Psychiatric Association is very specific in the explanation of the criteria for PTSD. It is caused by:

    1) The exposure to PHYSICAL trauma, such as physical abuse and/or near fatality.
    2) The WITNESSING of physical violence and/or fatality.

    So, the APA will recognize emotional trauma as a symptom of PTSD, but ONLY if that trauma is specifically related to violence or death. Don’t you think that is simply the splitting of a hair? Couldn’t that also be considered a misdiagnosis? I know a few girls who had been abused both physically and emotionally by husbands or boyfriends. And each one of them has told me that the psychological attacks hurt far more than any punch in the face. Physical injuries can heal pretty quickly, but emotional scars last for a long, long time.

    Look at it another way. Say, hypothetically, that three patients are sitting in your waiting room, all with big gashes in their legs. One injured his leg while hopping a fence. One had an accident involving a power tool. And one slipped while using a kitchen knife. All three will be treated in basically the same way. All three have what would be referred to as lacerations. You won’t call the injuries by three different names, because they happened three different ways. A laceration is a laceration. So, in turn, emotional trauma is emotional trauma, no matter what horrible event may be the cause.

    The bottom line is that I’m trying to get you to see outside the box (or the medical text book). Just because someone may refuse to call an apple an apple, doesn’t mean it’s an orange. It’s still an apple. And just because one of the possible causes of a disorder has not been officially classified as such, does not necessarily mean that is not indeed a cause of that disorder.

  58. Again, please read the diagnostic criteria for PTSD. To meet criteria one MUST have the following….Exposure to actual death, threat of death, violent injury. Women in physically violent relationships do meet this criteria. And I could be wrong, but Kimberly was fortunate not to have experienced this. Abandonment, being lied to, cheated on, yes, even emotional abuse (sans death threats with a viable means) do not qualify one for the PTSD diagnosis. Death of one’s identity does not equal physical death. As far as the American Psychiatric Association defines it, a broken heart is not the same as a broken skull. I don’t make the rules, I am not invalidating the pain of your losses, I merely have a concern with what you label it. Your loss, no matter how hurtful, is not the same as the woman who I began working with after she spent 5 months in the hospital, first in ICU, and then eventually progressing to rehab ward to re-learn to talk, due to blows to her head by her husband.

    Many disorders have very similar symptoms, side effects as you said. But, the origin or biochemistry is different, thus different diagnoses. What if you came to see me for therapy and described your symptoms following the divorce, and told me about listening to your voice of intuition. I in turn, diagnose you with Schizophrenia. Internally stimulated. Are you schizophrenic? No! And if I did that, you could sue me, I could have my license suspended, I could be charged with insurance fraud, a felony, and you would not be able to obtain life insurance (and until Jan1st, not indiv health ins either). Diagnoses are not lightly given, ladies. We do all grieve in our own ways. That has nothing to do with the legalities of medical diagnosing.

    I think you may be missing my point…Yes, Skin Cancer may feel as a burn to others. Actually, a 2nd degree burn will hurt so much more than skin cancer. But a 2nd degree burn won’t kill you, Melanoma just might. Would you attend a cancer support group to talk about your burn? No, it would not be relatable to them. You could attend a burn support group. Have any of you ever attended a domestic violence support group? Find one in your area and go. Get to know the participants, hear their stories. Then re-read the DSM criteria and I think you might get what I am trying to say.

  59. Skin cancer to you may be felt as a burn to others. We all grieve and deal in our own ways.

  60. Hello Rebecca. What is the difference between physical and emotional abuse? They both have the same effect and side effects. With PTSD we are talking about side effects. When an abused person re-lives an event they feel the pain all over again and it is no different than when someone who was emotionally abused re-lives their event. I’ve felt it and it’s real. Maybe some of these comments are left from people who were physically abused we can’t pick them out. Abuse is abuse no matter what the circumstances. When a war vet shakes because of a memory it’s PTSD and it is the same for anyone who has suffered a traumatic experience. Each traumatic event has it’s own set of circumstances you can’t judge based on the event because it is what is felt that counts.

    Kimberly

  61. The reason more doctors and therapists don’t diagnose divorced folks with PTSD is simple… get a DSM and read the diagnostic criteria. Unless there was physical violence and events involving threatened or actual death, or physical injury, what you all are describing does not meet the criteria. In my 20+ years of practice I can fortunately say I can recall just two women who did meet the criteria due to abuse in the marriage.

    Should we psychologists just throw our diagnoses without cause? Would you want your dermatologist to diagnose you with skin cancer when what you have is a 2nd degree burn? There are ethical guidelines to diagnosing conditions.

    What you all are describing would certainly meet the criteria for Adjustment Disorder, and surely, I have seen patients who have a depressive disorder or anxiety disorder concurrent. Rarely, I can justify using the diagnosis Acute Stress Disorder, and perhaps you would meet the criteria for this. Please have respect for those who do suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, because reading your post and comments here, honestly, it’s insulting, and it’s as as if you would choose to claim you had skin cancer when what you have is a 2nd degree burn. Trust me, ladies, I agree that you have suffered, but I would not wish PTSD upon anyone.

    BTW, Rebuilding is an excellent book/workbook!

  62. Lani,
    I too have always been busy – but usually busy doing for others. I’m now doing things I enjoy – which is a real departure for me. I have a caretaker personality – though it could be I have this personality due to my upbringing.

    After my ex wanted out of the marriage I kept going back to what more could I have done to make him love me. I did more than any other women I knew – taking care of the house – raising our two children almost alone as he traveled a lot – never putting any demands on him to come home to take care of me even when I injured myself badly or was quite ill.

    I would love to blame him for his failures to care for me – but I have learned that you get the compassion or caring you ask for/demand. If you don’t ask/demand caring – if you only give never expecting to get the love and caring you give in return – you shouldn’t be surprised when the ones you care for do not return your love and caring.

    While I am very glad I am so independent and capable now that I am facing my elderly life alone – I wish I had perhaps been more demanding in my relationship.

    I very much can relate to the feeling outside yourself at times – even when you are busy. I found myself feeling really bad lately – when it seemed all I was doing for others was not being appreciated. That was when I had my big “meltdown” and found Kim’s blog. I have since realized that I NEED to do for myself – to put myself first at least once in a while.

    I don’t feel like God or Spirit gave me this difficulty. I do feel that God or Spirit has been with me at my lowest times. Friends, minister, children and even my physician were there to help me through the darkness. At the time I didn’t think God was with me – but looking back – I know He was through these wonderful people. They/He saved my life over and over again – guided me through and to the right path.

    As to whether or not I looked back and think everything was a lie.

    The only lie in my past was that my ex was treating me right. He wasn’t! I just accepted his narcissistic attitude – blaming it on him being an only child and his parents having a strange/poor relationship.

    I have very low self esteem. Not feeling I deserve the good in life. I am working on that – especially now after this breakup. I have now realized that it wasn’t my fault that our relationship ended – that there was nothing else I could have done to “make” him keep loving me. I deserve someone who loves me for who I am – not what I do for them.

    I hope you can find some peace – realize that even if he did want to come back – it probably wouldn’t be what is best for you.

    I urge you to buy the book I suggested. I believe you will find a lot of help in dealing with the grief that I hear in your writings. Knowing that this is a process – that your feelings won’t improve until you deal completely with this loss – let go of the past and look to the future.

    Hope this helps!
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  63. Lani, unfortunately the answer to your question is yes. So much of my marriage ended up being lies Which in turn made it very hard for me to believe or think any of it was real. And because of that fear I made some quick and rash decisions when moving out of our family home that maybe I should have thought about. Things like leaving every wedding photograph behind. I have a few to my kids but left the rest for him to deal with. In hindsight i should have kept some and given them to the kids later as adults not knowing if it is something they will want to have. I spent countless hours and still sometimes do, thinking back on events trying to figure out if they were as meaningful for him as they were for me. Doing that was tearing me up inside and I made the decision to just live with the memories as they were originally created. It makes no sense for me now to go back and re examine them, it serves no purpose.

    I will offer you this…..let your memories live on in your mind as they were created. Enjoy the good feelings some will still bring…for me those are the birth of my children because I know he was sincerely happy in those moments. Let go of any that cause you fear or pain and continue on your path of moving forward.

    I hope that helps. Your question was a tough one to answer!!

    Many hugs Kimberly

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  64. Kimberley and Phyllis, thank you so much for your kind words and support. I was beginning to think that I would never find anybody who would understand and empathise without sitting in judgement on me.

    Phyllis, I know what you mean about getting out! I have always been a busy person, involved in things that brought me in touch with people – I’m so interested in them, and I do have a social circle that I am close to. I suppose it is a case of low self-esteem, but I cannot bring myself to talk to any of them about what has happened to me, and how it has changed me. I hate having to put this mask when I am with these lovely people.

    I can usually cope when I am doing the things I am committed to but at times it seems I am sitting outside myself and observing this person who goes through the motions. I get very sad when I think that I may be one of those people who will never have a loving relationship with somebody who cherishes them, but in the same instant when I think of somebody else coming into my life I am filled with dread.

    I am very spiritual, I am a healer, I believe in Spirit and I am coming to realise that what happened to me was because I have a path to tread and spiritual progression to achieve – Spirit sent me this lesson to make me stronger. The man I still love just was not able to accept this at the time, he got scared that I “knew” him so well. I have a strong feeling that sooner or later he will not be able to be away from me, but there is a downside to that – if it happens the “me” he connected with is not the same person he hurt.

    I love him with all my heart and knowing that what we had is in the past does not help me forget how very close we were, nor does the fact that I had to watch him slip away from me.

    After your traumatic experiences, did any of you feel “If this is the truth, was everything else lies”?

    It is the not knowing that tears me up.

  65. Sorry the front of the book showed up. I simply put in the address. I did click on the picture and it took me to the Amazon website. Feel free to delete the photo and link if you want.
    Phyllis

  66. Phyllis, that book sounds awesome!!! I will definitely be picking it up!!

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Love,
    Kimberly

  67. Lani,
    I agree completely with Kim. ONLY YOU needs to understand what you are feeling.

    Here is a quote from the book I told you about that helped me recently. “Rapid mood changes are typical during divorce grief.” It doesn’t have to be divorce – it can be the ending of a relationship. “You have moved from the black pits of grief and finally feel good. Then, without apparent reason, you are out of control emotionally, unable to keep from crying. The whole sudden mood swing may have been triggered by a conversation with a friend or acquaintance who said something to you or did something for you. You were feeling fine and in control until then. Your change to the depths of grief again leaves that person confused and sad, not understanding what he or she did to upset you.”

    When things like this happen you often question whether or not you will ever heal enough to get back to a “normal” life. I’m still working through much of my pain – and I think I will now turn to this book whenever I again have one of these breakdowns.

    Kim was a lifesaver to me – I believe in God and believe He helped me to find Kim’s blog.

    Whatever brought you to Kim’s blog – I hope you too find comfort here.

    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  68. Lani, always remember that YOU are the ONLY one who needs to understand what you are feeling. No one knows what your heart went through and those that stood by us through the pain only really saw us from the outside: they can’t see your heart.

    Time will help you to learn how to cope with the feelings of panic. I still get them and find myself pretty choked up when I least expect it. In those moments try to focus on growth and who you are now because of what you went through.

    I and the blog are here for you whenever you need us!!!

    Many many Hugs,
    Kimberly
    Time

  69. Lani,
    I feel your pain! And it is indeed pain – as all those of us who have dealt with this or any other loss can attest to.

    I would like to tell you what is helping me to better deal with my anxiety – especially my anxiety of getting close to people again.

    First of all – my most recent counselor encouraged me to get a book so I might better understand the stages I would be facing. It is becoming my Bible during difficult times. “Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends” Third Edition – is the name of it. I have found it helpful to fall back on it when I am in the throws of despair.

    Next – I finally took my children’s advice and went online to a site called Meet up. I don’t know if you live in an area that will have a lot of groups or a smaller area that has few groups – but this has been a great place for me. I do now live in a large city – so I have many opportunities that may not be available to you. But I would urge you to GET OUT and meet people – wherever you can – especially Women!

    Don’t immediately start telling them your story – you may drive them away if you do – but take the time to just have fun and interesting conversations. Don’t go with the intention of making a connection with someone – go and listen to others – be OPEN to new experiences.

    I have been doing this less than a month but it has made an enormous difference in my attitude – how I view myself and the world around me.

    Know that others in this world TRULY care about you – that you are loved – even if you don’t know it or feel it right now. Stay strong and know that you are loved and that you will again love. Take time to heal – it may take longer than you want or expect – but know that someday you will again be able to again be vulnerable.

    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  70. Kimberley I was blown away by this article, it was so like what I have been experiencing. My situation is not because of divorce – but because after having met the person I wanted in my life permanently (and I believed he wanted me in his) – he ran.

    I am not a young emotional teenager, I have lived, as the saying goes, had experiences some of which I would not wish on my worst enemy. I can stand up for myself and I always thought I knew where my boundaries were. Not so – when he left I was a wreck. My family and good friends tried to boost me, but it was no use. I felt as if my heart had been torn from my body, and what scared me most of all is that I was not angry at all – I actually found I understood why he did what he did! I thought I was going crazy – here I was, a mature woman, who could “read” people very accurately, brought to her knees by somebody who obviously was not what I thought. It scared me witless that I did not see it coming – we were fine, got on famously – we were friends in the truest sense. I had panic attacks, when I was not having them the fear was tearing me apart.

    Amost two years down the line – I am still hurting a lot. I am fighting the feeling that from now on I cannot afford to let my guard down. I don’t want to be “warm and caring” any more – and it is difficult. The very thought of forming a close bond with anybody else fills me with dread – and more dreadful still is that I KNOW in my soul that I may never be brave enough to take the leap of faith loving somebody unconditionally would take.

    Phyllis, your statement that your friends could never understand where you are coming from resonated with me, and I am glad you have a “best” friend you can let your guard down with.

    I am still looking for one. My sister (my twin) just does not understand the agony I am still going through. I get on with my life, at times it is scary when the feelings I thought I had buried come to the surface and give me a good beating,, and like you everybody compliments me on my strength to overcome anything and still smile. I think if I actually told them the truth that sometimes I feel if I allowed myself to cry I would never stop it would make them extremely uncomfortable.

    God bless all of you wonderful people for sharing your experiences, and most importantly, thank you, Kimberley for this website.

  71. Phyllis, I don’t believe Strong is code word for “without feelings”. I do however belive that in order to become Strong we first have to face our weakness; which is exactly what you are doing by allowing yourself to have your moments of sadness. We cannot ever get over anything until we are ready to face it. Dealing with loss of any kind happens in steps, some deal with them quicker than other’s, and some are even able to skip a few. Only you know what YOU need, your friends will understand if you respond to them in a way that is truthful to your heart. A simple ” I know I’m strong, I”m working on letting my strength resurface in my time and on my terms”.

    Kimberly

  72. Kim,
    I’m so glad to have made your day!
    You made mine with your concern for me and your wise words.
    I’m sure you know how it feels to feel totally alone – even if we aren’t.
    Having moved from my safety net – when I have the “breakdowns” or “meltdowns” – it makes it more difficult to deal with because I don’t have my friends to turn to – other than by phone. Also – they will never truly understand what is going on in my mind. I know I never understood before this happened to me. I was comforting – but I wonder if I too conveyed the feeling to friends “she/he should just move on”?
    I dearly love my friends – and it is great that I will be spending some time with my dearest friend of all this weekend – someone who was ready to drive 6 hrs to be with me because she was worried. Instead – we will meet about halfway between our houses and spend some quality time hugging – crying and laughing. Looking forward to the laughing! We have both been through some really difficult times – so I know she better understands where I’m coming from. Even though personally she hasn’t gone through a divorce she has had and still has many trials.
    I’m so very glad to have found someone to confide in – who better understands my feelings and doesn’t make me feel like she is thinking “why doesn’t she just get over it”. I do that to myself enough – perhaps that is why when I have one of these “meltdowns” they seem that much worse. I’m feeling guilty and judging myself on not being better able to handle things.
    I recently had someone say to me – when I was in the midst of this latest meltdown – you are “stronger” than this – why are you letting it bother you.
    After I had time to think about that statement – I realized that this is what a lot of people have said to me. Including my ex – you are such a strong person – I know you can handle anything. When I thought about this statement more – I began to realize what the word strong is code for – it’s without feelings. I believe it makes those who are saying it feel better about not showing compassion for me and my feelings.
    So – the next time someone says you are stronger than this – or you are so strong – I will say – no – I have feelings just like anyone else and this HURTS!
    Just my musings before heading out.
    Thanks for the friendship!
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  73. You just made my day Phyllis!! That is the SOLE reason this blog exists. To enable the transformation and well being of all of us suffering from a painful loss.

  74. I have to thank Kimberly for being my lifeline to sanity!
    I was truly desperate when I posted on this website.
    She immediately contacted me via email and has been a good sounding board.
    I cannot thank her enough.
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  75. I am amazed by the fact that PTSD following divorce is not more openly talked about. It is a very serious condition that can have crippling effects on those that suffer from it. Keep the faith and stay strong my friends!!!

    Courageous Butterfly/Kimberly

  76. I am so very thankful I found your website. I am presently dealing with a terrible case of PTSD after my divorce from a man I was married to for 40 years. Shortly after our 39th anniversary he finally confided he had been having an affair – once a month when he traveled – for months and wanted a divorce. Obviously – this event threw me for a loop.
    It has now been a little over 2 years. This last weekend – I faced him for the first time since the court appearance – at our Grandson’s first birthday party.
    Things went fairly well until he yelled across the yard – Phyllis – what happened to the child’s rocker from my parents house. Mind you – I was left to handle the disposition of items from his parents house after the death of his Mother and the sale of the house. He didn’t come to help. I called him every day to ask about things – bringing things to our home over 1000 miles away after cleaning out things.
    I didn’t realize at the time how much it had affected me – but I am now feeling very much like I did when he first told me.
    It doesn’t help that I have moved over 300 miles from the town I had lived in for 23 years – leaving behind my friends.
    My Daughter and Son – who live close to where I now live encouraged me to move – to start over. problem is – I’m now alone! Because of my meltdown – I have upset my Daughter so she is now mad at me.
    I’m actually feeling suicidal again – which scares me – but I don’t have anyone to go to.
    I am hoping that by reading things here I can get through THIS bad time.
    Blessings,
    Phyllis

  77. Hi Signstillalive, thank you so much for taking the time to comment on this very important subject. When I”m in those moment’s I try to remind myself to breathe. If it’s really bad I say “stay out of your head”. That phrase is helpful becuase when we are in those moments all the memories of what we had tend to start flooding in all at once, then the pulse starts to race, and the anxiety builds. If I can keep reminding myself to “stay out of my head” I won’t focus on those memories or the current moment I”m in. Instead all I”m focused on is staying out of my head! Seems silly but it works. Sometimes I have to say it outloud and other’s I just think it. Remember to breathe and focus on getting to the reason for the contact quickly; don’t linger. When the moment has passed take a big deep breath and be thankful for that moment because it was a healing one. We can’t anticipate how we are going to react to certain situations during this recovery process, but if we can make a plan on how to cope with them it will be a little easier. So your homework: think about what calms you and try to plan to focus on that when you feel your hands start to shake. Remind yourself to stay out of your head while in that moment, and praise yourself after for having made it through. You will be just fine. : ) Blessings to you!!

    Kimberly

  78. Hi, my divorce was very fast. Everything seemed ok and suddenly out of nowhere I was hit with divorce. I am a family man and ive lost my wife and she has the 2 kids.
    She never gave me a reason. The divorce papers simply state… Dissolution of marriage.

    I had done a search on divorce and anxiety / panic attacks and I ran into your site.
    What do you do or think to yourself when your trying to calm yourself down?
    I found that I had a PTSD moment the last time I had to speak to her. She had made a passive aggressive comment on the phone and I started to feel a sense of shock and noticed my hands were shaking.
    Thanks for making your website, I dont feel like im the only one in this situation.

  79. Dear M Vitello, I give you credit for deciding to do that for yourself and for realizing that you do not want to be alone. Having your son by your side is very important in the healing of your heart. I am confident that you have it within you to love again and when you do find that it will be overwhelming to you because you will have overcome that fear to let yourself be loved and love again. Thank you so much for sharing, continued Blessings to you and your family.

    Kimberly

  80. I have been divorced for 13 years. My marriage lasted 10 years. It ended with a phone call on a Thursday afternoon while I was at work. We were both in the Marine Corps at that time. I have since retired. It was unexpected. My whole life felt like it had shattered. I spent a year in counseling and on Zoloft and Klonapin for the horrible anxiety. After a few years I came off the medications. I keep a prescription for the Klonapin for the occasional anxiety attack. I have not been able the have a relationship or really even get close to having one. The fear of ever going through that again is paralyzing. I am unable to let anyone close enough to hurt me like that ever again. I am able to deal with everything else in my life in a healthy, rational and anxiety free manner. My friendships are wonderful and I am blessed beyond belief. I have a wonderful 28 year old son that is the love of my life. I work as a contractor in Iraq and I have no fear or issues with my job at all. But if I find myself attracted to a man in the slightest I run in the other direction and the anxiety starts. My doctor has diagnosed me with PTSD from the divorce. I turned 50 in April and have decided I have to do something about this. I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life.
    I just am at a loss………….
    Thank you for listening.

  81. And thank you for sharing!!!!

  82. Nicole, I will be totally honest with you, the path you are on is not going to be easy but it is one that you have to travel. It’s been two years since my divorce was final and I still struggle with the fact that I miss him and I don’t think that will ever go away. He was your entire life for a very long time, what you need to focus on now is rebuilding your life, creating a new environment for yourself, one that you CAN survive in. In those times when I am missing him I also tend to get very angry, which then upsets me. I do not like feeling negative over and over again with him being the cause of the negativity. So…what do I do about it? I channel that negative energy into something positive. I tell myself, yes you miss him but those feelings will fade with time and then I do something creative or energetic to take my mind off. If I could run or walk the treadmill everytime I let his negative feelings flood my heart I would be a skinny little thing! Writing is a really good creative outlet for me, also just walking, playing in a bowl of sand letting my fingers work through it feeling how nice it feels rather than sitting and being sad or upset about where my life is and why. What we went through is horrible but some good can come out of it and I hope in time you can start to see the good your life is going to become. Keep your chin up! Try to stay positive and know that I am here to listen when ever you need an ear!

    Kimberly

  83. I’ve known my husband since 1992, and have Been married since 2004. Over the years we would hav break ups prior to the marriage. He would have other girlfriends or short times.
    I never thought he’d cheat on me, but discovered he was last JULY . I filed and my heart is not in this. Yes, there was verbal and emotional abuse. My therapist and sister both said I am suffering from PTSD . I cannot let him go. I feel so rejected. Every season since he left brings me memories . I imagine him here with me. I cry myself to sleep, on the way to work adnd on the way home from work. I know he is a laser but he is MY loser and I blame Her for the cheating even tho. he Looked her up( an old girlfriend from 26 years ago, married with 3 kids). He was my life. I hate my life and say that Repeatedly out loud and in my mind.

  84. Liz thank you for being so strong and brave enough to share with others what you went through and what your currently struggling with. I have found that this subject is more common than anyone knows. Physicians are starting to diagnose PTSD in emotional situations but most of us suffering from it had no idea that’s what it was. I appreciate your comment and I know it will help other’s out there that share in our pain, grief, as well as in our strength to overcome all that we had to go through. Many Blessings to you!

    Kimberly

  85. I was diagnosed with PTSD following the break up of my 20 year marriage. My husband was very abusive and cheated on me with multiple women. He married his mistress of 20 years, one of several he had, following our divorce, within weeks. I did therapy for a year and a half, I began it 6 months before we split up. It helped but more than anything, time has helped. I still tend to isolate and I have not begun dating again, just not ready. He really betrayed me so I am glad just to feel I can trust myself, let alone others. I know, with confidence, I will not be in an abusive relationship again, I know the signs now. Each day I care less and less about what he did. Our marriage was a lie and I am free to live in truth, even painful truth is better than lies!

  86. My 2 yrs is almost up,and the divorce needs to be finalized by Mid sept. I definitely have PTSD. I filed for divorce because he was living and working in Asia when i discovered he was cheating on me, and I didn’t know if he was going to take the money and run off with some Asian woman. I was scared to death, but then thought there could be a reconciliation because he agreed to counseling. The first session went well, and I thought we could save our marriage. Before he came back at Christmas, I put my elderly dog down, thinking I would be moving to Asia with him. Well, the next counseling session, he said really horrible things, like ” I’m used to aggressive women.” I couldn’t believe all the horrible things he said, and when he finally said that he would stay married but that I would have to accept “don’t ask, don’t tell,” I went into shock. A few days later on Christmas Day, my daughter was being difficult and I had a nervous breakdown because I couldn’t handle anymore, and was hospitalized for a week. The fear was so great when I got out of the hospital that I was in a panic wanting to jump off a bridge. I got a part timer job and entered a community college, and have tried to stay busy and not think about what will happen. Now that my husband has come in for my our daughters graduation,and I know I have to face the divorce, I am very suicidal. The symptoms of PTSD are so overwhelming, it’s like being in a burning high rise and knowing that I’m faced with jumping or burning up. The adrenaline never let’s up, and the night sweats and nightmares are horrible. I remember feeling this way as a teenager when I went running out of the house because I thought my brother was cutting off my fathers head. I have been a housewife for 25 yrs and I just don’t feel like I will make it emotionally. I keep thinking I should just leave whatever money I get to my children to help them out. I really don’t want a divorce but I fear my husband so much because I don’t know who he is anymore.

  87. Dear Judy, it is unclear to me why some doctors and counselors do not want to use the term PTSD. The only thing I can think of is, maybe some people cannot handle a label or having a title attached to their feelings and symptoms. I will make sure to put this on my list of things to discuss the next time I’m in a session. Thank you for sharing your story!
    Kimberly

  88. I believe PTSD is real and is most prominent after long term marriages. After my marriage of 28 years ended I cried daily for 4 years. My physical symptoms were rapid heart beat with no relief unless I slept. I averaged 3 hours of sleep a night during those 4 years. I always woke startled and felt as if my heart was going to jump out of my chest. During the day I had sporadic panic attacks, lots of fear, feelings of hopelessness, low self esteem, etc. It has been 12 years and I still occasionally have most of these symptoms. My biggest hurdle is developing relationships due to a lack of trust. Looking back I do not understand why my doctors & counselor never used the term PTSD.

  89. Lori, I suffered from recurrent dreams as well and just did not put two and two together until this recent event happened that triggered the response. Now that I know what it is I think it will be easier for me to know when it is a PTSD symptom versus anger or sadness. Thank you for sharing!!

    Kimberly

  90. I found out from my therapist that I was having symptoms of PTSD after my husband left unexpectedly and then verbally abused me. I continued to go through the trauma, reliving that moment and the subsequent moments of trauma that followed. I also had bad dreams where he rejected me over and over again, night sweats, and many triggers. One of the biggest problems that I’ve had is that people really don’t understand the experience and how it can stay with you and effect you for a long period of time. Not all divorces are the same and I believe that those that are unexpected and traumatic have a different effect on people. I’m about 14 months from that day now and am finally experiencing some relief from these symptoms.

  91. Pingback: I know its not easy | My journey of healing from psychological abuse

  92. @ stilllearning2b: I truly appreciate your comment on this post. This was something that I was not prepared for nor even really heard about in relation to divorce. I just assumed what I was going through were just normal weepy feelings and that they would subside, which in fact they had. It took this recent moment to show me that it is much more than that.

  93. Pingback: PTSD After Divorce « Lessons From the End of a Marriage

  94. I most definitely did! (and still do occasionally…) In fact, the meds my psychiatrist chose for me were selected because of their ability to help with PTSD. Originally, I could be triggered by almost anything. I would step back like I was slugged just my seeing “his” water at the grocery store. Gearing myself up to get the mail, which may contain more letters from creditors or correspondence from his attorney was harder than the leap of faith while bungee jumping. And the sign at the airport where I last saw him? Let’s not even go there!

    Now, it is only triggered (and mildly) when I feel like I’m being abandoned again. PTSD can result with any sudden and dramatic loss or change. It happens when our mind and body can’t process the magnitude of the shock and are constantly bracing for the next one.

  95. Pingback: You can always correct your course | Barbier Family Blog

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