Just Found Out
User Topic: ptsd in betrayed spouses?
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Member # 41148
Default  Posted: 8:39 PM, November 16th (Saturday)

[This message edited by littlemrsV0813 at 10:57 AM, November 20th (Wednesday)]

Posts: 44 | Registered: Oct 2013
Member # 20082
Default  Posted: 8:54 PM, November 16th (Saturday)

I was actually told by my IC after all the shit that came with Dday #2 (by far the worst...I got an email from WH telling me he was leaving me and DD and cutting us off financially...I had to sell furniture to pay for food for three months. It was awful...but I digress) that I was suffering from PTSD. So, YES, BS are at risk of developing PTSD or PTSD-like symptoms!

Me: 33 STBXH: 34 DD: 8
D Day (EA): 6-19-08
D Day #2 (SA): 7-5-10
D Day #3 (EA): 11-8-13
WH moved out: 11-18-13
Moved BACK IN (because the lawyer told him to): 11/29/13.
Filed for Divorce: 12-9-13
In house, fun, fun.

Posts: 474 | Registered: Jul 2008 | From: AL
Member # 40317
Default  Posted: 9:08 PM, November 16th (Saturday)

I too, have been diagnosed with PTSD. While I KNOW I did not experience the close to death type of trauma war victims did, I certainly did experience a trauma none the less.

Me: BS
Him: WS
Married: 17 years
2 children
2 DDays

Posts: 246 | Registered: Aug 2013
Member # 19636
Default  Posted: 9:15 PM, November 16th (Saturday)

Me too, it is pretty common in BS's. Talk to your IC about it. There are many types of therapy and pharmacuticals that can help.

BW - Reconciling

edited for typos (I always have to!)

Posts: 3629 | Registered: May 2008 | From: Midwest
Member # 25560
Default  Posted: 9:17 PM, November 16th (Saturday)

Raising hand. I don't want to minimize the trauma of those who have seen battle, or who have been physically threatened. But betrayal through infidelity did, in fact, set some of us up for PTSD or similar disorders. Especially if the WS continually lied, told us we weren't seeing the evidence we did see, and/or verbally and emotionally abuses the BS. Our sense of safety becomes non existent, we learn to distrust our own feelings and instincts and we doubt everything about our lives.

Hugs to both of you. This is a long, tough, journey. Get help for yourself.

Damn autocorrect is responsible for the silly errors, sorry!

Posts: 3644 | Registered: Sep 2009 | From: In my head
Member # 30221
Default  Posted: 9:44 PM, November 16th (Saturday)

After coming home from my second Viet Nam tour, I was diagnosed with Delayed Stress Reaction, a form of PTSD. The formal definition requires things that betrayed spouses have not experienced or at least I hope not.

As a betrayed, I can tell you that the symptoms are similar and the feelings that go with them are close as well.

The sense of overwhelming loss of self, paralyzing sadness and 'learned helplessness' all fit.

No, it's not PTSD. But it can be difficult to tell the difference sometimes.

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A bird will fall frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself." D. H. Lawrence

Her: WW/57 Me: BS/63 24yrs M
3 great kids, now 22, 20, 17 b,b,g
D-Day 8/14/08, D 1/13/11

Posts: 1164 | Registered: Nov 2010 | From: East Coast
Member # 27071
Default  Posted: 10:03 PM, November 16th (Saturday)

Actually, my IC told me infidelity has an impact on the BS akin to PTSD. No, it's not from the same cause as our military experience but the effects / results are often much the same. As Merlin said, not the same but difficult to tell the difference.

BW: 59
XH: 60
Married 34 yrs, LIBerated: 2/17/11
MOW: 50 (she said she wanted a sugar daddy; xh said, "I'M HIM!")
Actions ALWAYS have consequences. Too bad cheaters don't consider the consequences BEFORE they create so much damage.

Posts: 504 | Registered: Jan 2010 | From: Missouri & Massachusetts
Member # 37190
Default  Posted: 10:07 PM, November 16th (Saturday)

Add me to the list of having PTSD ;( I actually had it before from a traumatic medical event and Dday made it resurface ;( it sucks. For me it was so odd - as soon as I realized the victim mentality was what triggered it - it was easier to get a grip. I still have a few symptoms once in a while but not often anymore thank goodness.

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck - it's not a fluffy pink unicorn squirting liquid rainbows, complete with pots of gold out of it's ass.

Posts: 769 | Registered: Oct 2012 | From: Nowhere pretty
Member # 32554
Default  Posted: 10:35 PM, November 16th (Saturday)

People can get PTSD from a variety of reasons. The catastrophic destruction of one's life is one of those reasons.

Me = BS (Stay-at-home-mom)
Him = EX-d out (abusive troglodyte NPD SA)
3 tween-aged kids
Together 20 years
D-Day: Memorial Weekend 2011

Posts: 9810 | Registered: Jun 2011 | From: USA
Member # 36307
Default  Posted: 11:11 PM, November 16th (Saturday)

Absolutely a BS can experience and suffer from PTSD. There is also secondary ptsd, which comes from residing with a person with the PTSD diagnosis.

The VA is a great resource for both PTSD as well as family/ marital counceling. The right councelor is a valuable resource because thy have an extremely diverse exposure to PTSD.

I would suggest researching resources at the va a social worker will be your greatest ally.
I have had nothing but good experience with the va resources.

Good luck.

BS: Me (63yo)
FWH: HIM (65yo) serial infidelities over past 35 years
OW: Many, most recent 1/2 his age
DD: Multiple unconfirmed until 2012 when I presented evidence, plus LTA with his friends wife lasting 10 years. TT over past year
So done,

Posts: 618 | Registered: Jul 2012
Member # 39001
Default  Posted: 12:05 AM, November 17th (Sunday)

We did experience death. My IC told me it was the death of my marriage as I knew it. Sadler, I know that it's true.

BS - 58
SAWH - 61 multiple encounters with prostitutes and other sex workers
Married 38 years
Dday - 2/19/13 - found the emails
He promised me Heaven then put me thru hell

Posts: 758 | Registered: Apr 2013
Member # 40674
Default  Posted: 1:53 AM, November 17th (Sunday)

I have PTSD symptoms regarding stuff pre A and during A and around dday. I think it's the reliving things constantly and not being able to get past them that's the key bit not what those things are. I'm getting EMDR therapy for this. It is helping

Me BS, 41
Him WS, 45
EA and PA (PA for 11 months)
DDay 13/9/13
3 children - 15,12,3
WS has bipolar, no excuse...

"We're not broken, just bent. We can learn to love again."

Posts: 421 | Registered: Sep 2013 | From: Ireland
Member # 41218
Default  Posted: 3:29 PM, November 17th (Sunday)

I don't know about full blown PTSD but I definitely have stress reactions of a type I've never had before in my life. Never thought I'd have a panic attack at work.

I just got my intake paperwork for a therapist and it sucks that on the initial assessment I can answer "Extremely bothered" to almost every single assessment question.

Nervousness or shakiness, feeling sad or blue, heart pounding or racing, feeling hopeless about the future, feeling everything is an effort, spells of terror or panic, feelings of worthlessness, feeling no interest in things.

Yes, yes, yes to all of the above.

Me - BW 36
Him - WH 41
Together 12 years, married 7
3 year LTA with former coworker
DDay 10/29/13
He says he wants to R... can I live with what he's done?

Posts: 164 | Registered: Nov 2013 | From: United States
Member # 24938
Default  Posted: 7:46 PM, November 17th (Sunday)

A good book that describes this and also gives good advice on how to heal from the trauma:
'Transcending Post Infidelity Stress Disorder' by Dr. Ortman.

Me- BS
Him- WH
Long term marriage
D-day- Jan. 2007
5 yr. LTA

Posts: 3163 | Registered: Jul 2009 | From: NJ
New Member
Member # 41236
Default  Posted: 8:18 PM, November 17th (Sunday)

I totally agree with the assessment that PTSD is akin to finding out the one you based your entire existence on has betrayed you and gone outside of your relationship to another.
DOD = 9/27/13
Working on it - very hard.

Posts: 5 | Registered: Nov 2013 | From: NC
Member # 30231
Default  Posted: 12:21 AM, November 18th (Monday)

I have heard that it is not true PTSD but I had problems post dday that seemed to fit the definition. It persisted for a few years, intense anxiety triggered by events or places that reminded me of dday and the ensuing weeks.

I am glad to say that it ultimately resolved once our marriage healed, but that was after treading a hard road for a few years.

Me: BH-44. Her: WW-44
D-Day: 10/31/2010
Status: after almost two years of hell after
dday, we found our way to true R and just passed the third anniversary of dday with barely a notice of it.

Posts: 189 | Registered: Nov 2010 | From: Florida
New Member
Member # 41383
Default  Posted: 10:52 PM, November 18th (Monday)

BS Only

[This message edited by SI Staff at 4:45 AM, November 19th (Tuesday)]

Me: WS 26
Her: BS 25
2 kids

Married 11/05/2007-present.
Dday: June 2009
Working through it.

Posts: 5 | Registered: Nov 2013 | From: Fair Oaks, CA
Member # 35912
Default  Posted: 11:12 PM, November 18th (Monday)

I kinda agree with Army. I think infidelity triggers anxiety attacks (which can be similar to PTSD but PTSD has the added element of fearing for your life and/or witnessing horrors and having absolutely no control over the enviroment.

My IC mentioned possible PTSD, but I'm thinking it was anxiety. For about 5 months after DD (during S), I has insomnia and night terrors.
During the day I sometime felt my heart would leap out of my chest and I had a couple of panic attacks (that was honestly the worst part). A few times legs would buckle and I'd lose my balance (twice I had to grab onto a table to not fall over). I lost 30 pounds in about 2 months (putting me underweight on BMI) and my hair started falling out (and did for about a year).
and while I think this was anxiety attack rather than PTSD, it was HORRIBLE.

Posts: 499 | Registered: Jun 2012
Member # 37455
Default  Posted: 11:52 PM, November 18th (Monday)

PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.

PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes

PTSD affects about 7.7 million American adults, but it can occur at any age, including childhood. Women are more likely to develop PTSD than men, and there is some evidence that susceptibility to the disorder may run in families.

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. Some people get PTSD after a friend or family member experiences danger or is harmed. The sudden, unexpected death of a loved one can also cause PTSD.

Latest from NIMH. I would contend that an affair constitutes abuse or other serious event.

Risk factors for PTSD include:
Living through dangerous events and traumas
Having a history of mental illness
Getting hurt
Seeing people hurt or killed
Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
Having little or no social support after the event
Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as loss of a loved one, pain and injury, or loss of a job or home

Also from the National Institute for Mental Health. The last three might sound familiar to many of the BS here. The definition you are using is outdated. I mean no disrespect, but there are other causes for PTSD.

A little background. I am a Critical Incident Stress Debriefer. I'm the guy who the firefighters and cops talk to after an *incident*. Actually anyone who has been through a major trauma, either as a witness or a *participant*. I personally had a 19 yo girl die in my arms from a flailed chest/severed arm. I pinched the axillary closed with my fingers for the 30 minute ambulance ride to the hospital.

I haven't been on the sharp end, but I think I can talk PTSD. Believe me, a BS can suffer PTSD.

ETA littlemrsV0813 sorry for the t/j. Yes, of course you can suffer PTSD.


[This message edited by 5454real at 1:06 AM, November 19th (Tuesday)]

BH 51, WW 42
DS 23(Mine),SD 21,SS 20(Hers),DS 9 Ours, DGS 3, DGD 1 mo
D=Day #1 5/04EA (Rugswept)
D-Day #2 3/10/12, TT til 3/13/12
Married 10yrs
I have no love for a friend who loves in words alone.
― Sophocles, Antigone

Posts: 2968 | Registered: Nov 2012 | From: midwest
Member # 32785
Default  Posted: 4:15 AM, November 19th (Tuesday)

I'm afraid my viewpoint may be somewhat unpopular. As a military member (who has deployed) I think that PTSD, even in our circles, is over prescribed. Don't get me wrong, I certainly believe it is a very real and very distressing condition but I see many service people diagnosed with having PTSD when often it is an adjustment disorder or a normal response to a traumatic situation.

As an infidelity "survivor" I've experienced the flashbacks, the panic attacks and the deep depression but I don't believe this to be PTSD, coming back from deployments I've had issues with settling back in, again I don't believe this to be PTSD. I am however responding in a normal way to difficult situations.

I understand the need to label our responses, it neatens things up, makes s normal, relatable and fixable but I've also seen first hand true PTSD and am wary of labelling a traumatic response as such.

Posts: 516 | Registered: Jul 2011 | From: Hawaii
Member # 15162
Red  Posted: 4:46 AM, November 19th (Tuesday)


Only Betrayed Spouses are allowed to post in Just Found Out. Please take a moment to read the forum descriptions and familiarize yourself with our Guidelines.

Thank you,

FBH - 42
FWW - 43 (BrokenRoad)
2 kids 7&12

The people you do your life with shape the life you live

Posts: 37352 | Registered: Jun 2007 | From: Michigan
Member # 27176
Default  Posted: 5:43 AM, November 19th (Tuesday)

Getting proper treatment for any condition (by a professional), typically requires a label of some kind. Even if the label is one of those "idiopathic" non-labels. I don't think we are well informed enough to decide, whose reactions are horrible enough, to warrant a PTSD diagnosis, especially if we aren't walking in their shoes or sitting in on their therapy sessions.

Post infidelity Stress Disorder (I agree that this IS a great book) appears not to be widely accepted as an actual condition, that requires a specific course of treatment, and since the symptoms mirror PTSD, it makes sense to me that many BS's are diagnosed with this.

Traumatic situations are in of themselves...NOT normal. That's what makes it traumatic. They way in which one person is traumatized, does not diminish that of the other.

Trauma is trauma, and worrying about whose PTSD is legitimate and whose isn't, seems counterproductive. If a person has been evaluated and diagnosed by a professional, and are getting an effective treatment because of it, I find that to be a positive, as they have a well laid out plan with the proper support, to aid their healing.

May anyone on this journey find peace and healing.

BS:ME DDay: 7/18/09 Last of TT 7/11/10
MOW's EA/PA all were my "friends" but one

Posts: 2372 | Registered: Jan 2010
Member # 33457
Default  Posted: 10:10 AM, November 19th (Tuesday)

Well said refuz2. And thank you for posting that information 5454real. It's important for newbies to read and understand they have indeed experienced a trauma.

Everyone is different. What everyone will experience is different. How everyone reacts to a situation is different. No one can predict who will get PTSD symptoms and who won't. It is not fully understood. There are now other categories such as Complex post-traumatic stress disorder or multiple interrelated post traumatic stress disorder; or Continuous Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Personally, I had unresolved past traumas that didn't get addressed at the time, because they weren't a big problem for me at the time. Instead, they festered under the surface and compounded the next and, the last straw so to speak was my husband's affair. I could no longer cope. I needed help -- big time. I benefited greatly from EMDR therapy. I don't know where I would be right now without it. It is used primarily in the treatment of PTSD.

I'm glad my IC recognized what was happening and could help me. I highly recommend EMDR for any BS. If you are experiencing these symptoms. Get help. It is out there. Don't get hung up on a label and wondering if it's 'real' or not. If you are experiencing it -- it's real.

Growing forward

Posts: 1767 | Registered: Sep 2011
New Member
Member # 41148
Default  Posted: 2:09 PM, November 19th (Tuesday)

Armygearhead is my WH and he feels like he is also a BS and I am personally OK with him posting here. (You can read his story and why he is a BS of sorts in the wayward forum). I encouraged him to join this site so he could find support for himself and his situation.

I think he was upset that I seemed to focus more on my issues than his when we attended the family day which was meant to be supportive for him and his needs as a veteran suffering g from PTSD. It made him feel invalidated hence his post here. Just thought I would explain.

I agree that the PTSD definition does not really fit what us BS experience as it relates more to physical threat/harm.

HOWEVER, I do NOT think that minimizes in anyway shape or form what we suffer. It is a form of post trauma stress, but I can see why 3 different vets on this forum have disagreed- I certainly did not mean to minimize their suffering or compare the two. They are DIFFERENT forms of suffering but neither should trivialitize the other.

[This message edited by littlemrsV0813 at 2:13 PM, November 19th (Tuesday)]

Posts: 44 | Registered: Oct 2013
Member # 34086
Default  Posted: 2:21 PM, November 19th (Tuesday)

I can see why 3 different vets on this forum have disagreed

Speaking as a vet - I'm not medically qualified to diagnose PTSD. As refuz so eloquently put it, that's up to the professionals. Even my primary care physician wouldn't make the diagnosis. It wasn't until I was seen by a neuropsychologist who specializes in brain trauma that I was diagnosed with PTSD. I've pulled dead bodies out, watched fellow shipmates die. Never was I traumatized like I was on DDay. Your mileage may vary. It's not like I'm bragging about it. I avoided being treated for 14 months. To be honest, I don't care what it's called, but my reaction to my wife's infidelity was beyond my capacity to handle. Think I'm proud of that?

Great post refuz.

ETA: Speaking as a vet - not for other vets.

[This message edited by Tred at 2:26 PM, November 19th (Tuesday)]

Married: 17 years (14 @JFO)
D-Day: 11/09/11
"Ohhhhh...shut up Tred!" - NOT the official SI motto (DS)

Posts: 3999 | Registered: Dec 2011
Member # 26465
Default  Posted: 2:36 PM, November 19th (Tuesday)

I was diagnosed with PTSD and Severe Depression.
Yes it happens to us the BS from Infidelity a gift that keeps on giving.

I could see smell taste and hear all that happened on those events. I would be sitting at my desk and talking to a client and tears would run down my face flashbacks are like being in 2 places at one time and they are horrid.

There are degrees to which you let people back into your life and degrees to which you let them back into your heart-which, of course, are not the same thing

Posts: 3188 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: Indiana
Member # 40139
Default  Posted: 2:56 PM, November 19th (Tuesday)

I was raped when I was 18. My only sibling died dramatically when I was 14. Having experienced and recovered from those two traumas without the aid of counselling or medications, I can say without a doubt that my H's infidelity has been the most traumatic event of my life. I absolutely suffered from PTSD for months after. Absolutely.

Me: Believer; 40s
Him: Liar; 40s
Married 19 years
1 year EA/2 month PA/incidental infidelities I can't begin to process
OC born 2014
In successful R, but still in just plain pain.

Posts: 807 | Registered: Jul 2013
New Member
Member # 41148
Default  Posted: 4:02 PM, November 19th (Tuesday)

Thank you for your posts and comparisons, I really appreciate your input.

I'm trying to remind myself that we all perceive life differently and yes I agree finding out about WHs infidelity is the worst trauma I have ever experienced, seconded by a miscarriage I suffered last summer. The miscarriage was horrific and I thought it was the worst thing that ever happened to me... Then dday #2 happened this summer and I am totally destroyed.

But someone different could have my same experiences and felt them differently, I don't know. What's important is how I feel and that doesn't really prove "cheating is worse than losing a baby for everyone". For me it was.

So I'm trying to respect what our vets have been through and not get into a comparison game.

Posts: 44 | Registered: Oct 2013
New Member
Member # 41400
Default  Posted: 8:58 AM, November 20th (Wednesday)

The moment you said something along the lines of 'it's as if he were dead to me', I was struck with a sense of surprise. I guess surprise isn't really the right word, but I don't know what to see.
I'm surprised at how well I relate to it. I discovered just a few hours ago that my husband has been maintaining an emotional (previously physical) affair for the last nine months. It had come up a few times in the past months and I've gotten so angry and upset and hurt. But this time? I found out about six hours ago (haven't slept since) and I feel nothing. I am completely numb. It's as if my husband is dead to me.
That's almost calming, but it's incredibly tragic. He was the love of my life. I suppose I just wasn't his.

Posts: 1 | Registered: Nov 2013 | From: alaska
Member # 30826
Default  Posted: 9:39 AM, November 20th (Wednesday)

PTSD can occur in many different situations. A rape victim can suffer from PTSD. A victim of child abuse...a soldier..and a person who has been betrayed by the person they trusted the most...all of these people..and many others..can suffer from PTSD.

A person who has been betrayed and now has PTSD is just that..a person who has been betrayed. It doesn't take anything away from a soldier who has PTSD. Both can suffer from the same disorder.

I think it's possible that a WS, who for whatever reason, suffers with PTSD maybe doesn't want to acknowledge that what they did could cause their spouse to have PTSD. They don't want to believe that their actions could cause something like that. But they can. And they do.

I was diagnosed with PTSD and MDD shortly after dday#2. I can assure you my symptoms are very,very real.

[This message edited by confused615 at 9:40 AM, November 20th (Wednesday)]

FWH 45
4 kids
M: June 2001
D-Day: 8/10/10
Status: Reconciling?

..that feeling you get in your stomach, when you heart's broken. It's like all the butterflies just died.

Posts: 7668 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: Indiana
Member # 34145
Default  Posted: 1:46 PM, November 21st (Thursday)

I've pulled dead bodies out, watched fellow shipmates die. Never was I traumatized like I was on DDay.

That's pretty much where I am. I've seen combat on three continents. I saw it go well, and I saw it go real, real bad. Watching the love of my life kiss another man was without question the worst thing I have ever experienced.

[This message edited by LonelyHusband at 1:46 PM, November 21st (Thursday)]

BS ( me) 41
fWS (OktoberMest) 35
D day #1 29/10/2011, D day #2 15/112011, D day #3 15/03/2012
Its better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, is inadequate consolation when you vacuum up a child's hamster'

Posts: 1290 | Registered: Dec 2011 | From: UK
Topic Posts: 31