Walking on Eggshells is a common theme for families living with a veterans PTSD. We do this in order to keep the peace in our homes, not wanting to spark our beloved into an angry outrage. This behavior is often the fuel that causes explosive behavior and flying objects…not by the veteran suffering from PTSD, but by the loving caregiver who is trying to avoid that exact same behavior in her veteran.
When we are in the constant state of fear that we will do or say something to trigger our veteran we begin to hold in our thoughts and feelings, and we do everything possible for our veteran in order to keep a peaceful existence in our home.
So we quietly tip toe through our home which has become a “do not disturb zone” fearing that any noise that might trigger him. We adhere to an extensive list of “do not talk about” topics that might upset him. We try not to ask anything of our veteran that might annoy him. We do all these things with the good intention of “keeping peace.”
This well-meaning behavior on our part can create a vicious cycle. We begin to do more, in order to keep from upsetting our veteran. And the more that we do…the more they expect. And the more they expect from us, the less that they do for themselves. As the loving spouse that we are, we quietly comply. We fear that if we complain…or heaven forbid ask them to help we will create a horrible reaction in them. So we continue quietly on, picking up their dirty dishes, their empty soda cans, their dirty clothes…whatever they chose not to do.
Each time we do this, we begin to harbor a tiny piece of resentment. And gradually, piece by piece that resentment swells up until we can no longer hold it in… and it fuels a flurry of flying objects... plates, cans, shoes. As the objects fly, we are experiencing uncontrollable anger. This angry outburst is embarrassing, and leaves us feeling totally out of control of our previously well-guarded emotions.
We have unknowingly created within ourselves exactly what we have been trying to avoid with our veteran.
Is this how you want to live? What are our options? How can we break this cycle? In my next blog post “Breaking the Cycle – Not the Eggshells” I will suggest some possible solutions.
Submitted By Debbie Sprague
Debbie Sprague is the wife of a disabled Vietnam Veteran. Debbie fought back when PTSD threatened to destroy her family. She is the author of A Stranger in My Bed: 8 Steps to Taking Your Life Back from the Contagious Effects of Your Veteran’s Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and contributor to the #1 International Bestseller Wounded? Survive! Thrive!!! Debbie is an advocate for veterans and their families spreading the message of understanding, compassion, hope, and healing through her writing, speaking, training, and coaching. She is also a grass roots volunteer staff member with Family of a Vet.