Tag Archives: challenges

People Please No More!

People Please No More!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~Steve Jobs

For those of you non people-pleasers out there, I’d like to introduce you to a very unfortunate lot of some pretty great people who don’t realize just how great they are…the people pleasers. You may be related to one, you may work with one, you may be married to one, but I can guarantee that you have at least one in your life. You can recognize these sorry chaps by some of their distinguishing qualities of…drum roll…people pleasing! This takes many forms, but translates to people that are friendly, outgoing, easily liked, helpful, supportive and are generous with their time and energy. They’ll usually be smiling and will be encouraging and fun to be around. They’ll also be the first to volunteer when needed, and they’ll be the ones to keep the peace in families and at work. Most of them are talented, creative, loyal, gregarious, encouraging, warm, popular, and seem to have it all “together.” You may be asking yourself how all of these traits could be in any one person, and why in the world it would be a bad thing?

People pleasers crave and can even be addicted to attention and positive feedback from other people – it’s like a drug to them – and they will do whatever it takes to get another hit. And just like drug addicts, their own inward health and mental well being are the true victims that suffer quiet atrophy from perpetual neglect. While a people-pleaser will go to the ends of the earth to help other people live more fully, they slowly lose touch of their own voice and soul.

On the outside, these people are the ones other people are drawn to – they have it all. But on the inside, they are a dark, decrepit void that is dominated by fear. They fear rejection, they fear failure, they fear loss of personal identity and self worth. They feel inferior, undeserving, and not good enough. They isolate themselves and are afraid to make decisions lest it be the wrong choice. They live in a constant fear they will let others down, and constantly feel unappreciated, taken for granted, and taken advantage of. They are exhausted and run down from always trying to be perfect and make everyone else happy…which is impossible, so they always feel like a miserable failure. Is it any wonder that they suffer from low self-esteem as they ignore their personal rights and deny any personal problems? Can you begin to see why I call these people a sorry lot? They give and give from ever-depleting inner strength until there is nothing left but a carcass of what used to be a beautiful person. You may think I’m writing over-dramatically, but in my desire to help people recognize their true worth, I have experienced and witnessed this cold way of life. Many people-pleasers end up in abusive relationships because they stay around trying to please unpleasable partners. They don’t realize they have the right to demand respect and mutual, giving love, and instead they settle for being yelled at, pushed around, belittled and hurt. And the crazy thing is, they would rather remain in that state over letting the person who hurt them down or “found out” that they are not as good as they appear to the world.

It breaks my heart to see these poor, generous souls decay toward empty bitterness. They end up with no personal identity or rights. They can’t achieve personal goals or handle leadership roles because they can’t make decisive decisions or solve problems. They are immobilized by irrational beliefs and guilt of not doing enough, not pleasing enough, not accomplishing enough. They don’t trust the sincerity of others because they themselves maintain a helpful and giving façade. They often burn out both at work and at home, and they rarely have genuinely intimate relationships because they’re so guarded and scared to reveal their own vulnerabilities…but they never even give themselves permission to be on equal footing with everyone else in their life. Oh, and did I mention they can’t relax and can rarely enjoy themselves? It’s criminal!


Now I turn my attention to you people-pleasers that might be reading this. This is a dismal life path you are choosing – and make no mistake, you choose it each and every day. You will continue to choose it until you comprehend the true, immeasurable value of the treasured soul in you that you continue to ignore, neglect and abuse. You may get some mini high off helping others, or you may not be able to stop yourself from being the one to break uncomfortable silences and inject yourself into fights to smooth tensions. But you either strengthen or weaken yourself with every word and every act, and if you continue on this people-pleasing trail you are on, you will end up bitter, empty and withered. You will hate everyone you’ve “sacrificed” for because they willingly took your time, your help, your love, and your energy over the years, and you will never understand that they didn’t do this to you – you did. Here are some hard truths for you to swallow: you don’t need to be liked by everyone, people do no like you in proportion to how much you give them, you’re allowed to upset other people, you are not responsible for other peoples’ happiness, you are allowed to make mistakes, there is strength in vulnerability, it’s who you are and not what you do that counts, and hardest to believe of all, you please people simply by BEING YOU. What’s more, IT’S OK NOT TO BE LIKED BY PEOPLE. I should also add that you don’t need to be understanding or tolerant of people who hurt you.

It is imperative that we be our own champion – we need to be in our own corner of the ring rooting and standing up for ourselves. But right now you are in someone else’s corner – be it your spouse, your boss, your friends, and absurdly enough even total strangers. I’ve spent over three decades being in that other corner, and the universe has started to teach me a thing or two about the value of loving, knowing, and standing up for myself. The wonderful news is that in your “disease to please,” you have cultivated some very great traits if they can be used from a healthy place. If you can understand that you are actually beautiful, then you can give to others from a genuine place of love and concern. If you see yourself as worthy, you won’t need to get approval and affirmation from others through your deeds – and instead you can give for the sake of giving and let it restore your reserve instead of empty it.

Stop putting yourself last and realize that you serve the world best not through your littleness, but through your living fully. Set your own boundaries and say NO MORE to being the best doormat around. Your worth does not come from your deeds or from how liked you are – it is an intrinsic quality already present in you. Cut yourself some slack and let go of this unquenchable need to be seen as perfect. Can you imagine how much energy you could save yourself? That’s energy that could be used toward actually living a full and healthy life…and maybe for once, you could relax and enjoy yourself!

“Social chameleons, though, don’t mind in the least saying one thing and doing another, if that will win them social approval. They simply live with the discrepancy between their public face and their private reality.” ~Daniel Goleman

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Suess

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~Oscar Wilde

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson

This blog is dedicated to my very beautiful friend, Miranda. I hope you can come to see how incredible you are!

Resources I used to write this blog:

  • The People Pleasing Pattern: Transforming Compliance to Autonomy
  • Is People Pleasing Preventing You from Pleasing the Right People?
  • The Perils of People Pleasing
  • The People-Pleasing Personality
  • The Disease to Please (great book!) by Harriet Braiker
  • It’s Not ALL About YOU

    It’s Not ALL About YOU

    “When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” -Miguel Ruiz

    I love having no clue what I’m going to write about next because all I can do is wait patiently for the universe to teach me my next lesson – whatever it may be. Today’s lesson came in the form of a phone call from a friend. I was explaining that I was sick of doing things I thought other people wanted me to do instead of what I wanted to do. She suddenly interrupted and said, “I never asked you to do things you didn’t want to do.” It stopped my in my tracks and I shook my head smiling and gently chided, “This isn’t about you, it’s about me.” We both laughed and moved on in conversation, but as I thought about the conversation dynamic, I realized how often we take what other people are saying and make it our own whether it was meant for us or not.

    It’s not all about you. I read a funny definition of paranoia online: It’s when you’re sitting in the bleachers at a football game, watching the players in a huddle, convinced they’re talking about you.

    There’s a certain freedom to understanding that when other people snap, cut you off, don’t respond, or even say something unusually rude, it’s usually not about you. I have to caveat it with usually because I’m sure there’s the rare sometimes. We tend to give ourselves more social credit than is due to us. For example, I used to be physically unable to say no to a social invitation because I didn’t want to appear rude. Sounds ridiculous, right? It wasn’t until I finally understood that the happiness level at the party was not dependent upon my presence and my uniquely gifted charisma. I had imposed too much self-importance to the point of unneeded stress.

    This happens every single day – whether in big-boom or little pebble sort of ways. There is a conscious choice we make to either take it personally and let our day be a little gloomier while our shoulders sag just a little more, or we can understand that the rude behavior was not aimed at us and let it roll off our back. An unanswered text, a brush-off from a boss, a sudden exit from a phone call, being cut off in traffic with an accompanied “bird,” an acquaintance in public that doesn’t recognize you. Don’t you dare say to yourself, “What did I do wrong?”…because the answer is nothing. That person is not responding to you or anything you’ve done. The goal is to get to a point that when we come across someone who’s a real crab, and we can say, “Wow, they’re having a tough day,” and leave it at that.

    I think this lesson is especially hard for me because I’m a recovering people pleaser, so any amount of dissatisfaction from other people is a big no-no in my book…also I’ve been around a lot of yelling and anger that feels both deeply personal and hurtful. To lift myself above my initial hyper-sensitive reaction, I have to understand that the anger is coming from a deep place that was likely already there before I was, and that it is not being aimed at me. Note: I’m going to make a second caveat here and say that if you’re in the middle of a relationship that is either verbally or physically abusive, even though his anger is not about you, you still need to get the hell outta there and go surround yourself with some serious TLC…because his anger will eventually eat away at you until it becomes your anger too.

    I realize I’m writing this on the brink of the unleashing of the next generation who is our most self-righteous and entitled generation yet, so this message can extend beyond the “don’t take it personally” to the “no really, the world does not actually revolve around you.”

    Hooray for Confusion!

    Hooray for Confusion!

    “When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~Harriet Beecher Stowe

    First, stop and take an opportunity to breathe in life, and exhale out all the worries and stress that found their way into your week. Look around you and see color (unless you’re color blind). Listen to the sounds. Feel your heart beating. You get to be a part of life today! You are a real character in this real deal, no shit miraculous life! But then as soon as your focus comes back to you, something happens. The stresses, the worry, and the self-imposed weight of the world comes barreling back to resettle itself squarely on your shoulders, and you’re left feeling confused. If life is so great, and I’m meant to be this wonderful moving piece of it, then why am I sitting here feeling like a broken cog from a rusty wheel?

    Some good news is that confusion usually immediately precedes a new realization…so this feeling little and confused place that you’re in is a good and even natural part of life…and it’s about to get better. It’s one of those natural life-laws that we all follow: that clarity is ALWAYS preceded by confusion. In fact, our minds NEED confusion in order to have personal breakthroughs.

    Here is what apparently goes on…our minds are seeking a solution that doesn’t exist given our current internal brain connections (memories), so our unconscious mind takes all of our existing information and creates a new connection (a new memory) and it unfolds as a sudden burst of brilliance. Because it’s not in our basic survival makeup to just give up and die, we ask questions – lots of questions – and seek solutions when we’re at a point of confusion or a cross-roads in life and don’t know where to go next. After all the obvious questions and answers have been exhausted, you elevate yourself to a new point of creativity where your answer or realization will present itself. Your brain connects the unrelated and random information into a whole new solution. It’s either that or have a nervous breakdown. I’ll choose the former, please!

    It’s like being told to write down fifty ideas for a date. The first twenty or so will be the obvious “go to dinner,” “see a movie,” “go for a walk on the beach,” and that sort of thing. But by the time you force yourself to fifty, you’ll have bizarre things like “go on a roller coaster,” and “make up a scavenger hunt” that you would never have thought of initially. Confusion is that same exercise – forcing us to dwell on our dilemmas long enough to the point of enlightenment.

    So what? What good does that do you in your down and out state? Remind yourself that asking questions without answers and searching for helpful information is a good thing. Don’t give up on yourself because your intense desire to find a way will actually find your way. Don’t shy away from confusion – heck, confusing yourself more will actually help you to come to a purposeful inspiration.

    “Confusion heard his voice, and wild uproar Stood ruled, stood vast infinitude confined; Till at his second bidding darkness fled, Light shone, and order from disorder sprung.” ~John Milton

    Be Adventurous

    Be Adventurous

    “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go out and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~Howard Thurman

    Is this a question you’ve asked yourself lately?: “If life is meant to be an adventure, then where did I go wrong? And what the heck is adventurous about sitting here reading a blog?”

    I saw a quirky movie on Netflix recently. The movie, “The Answer Man,” was cute, but one line from it really made me think. I transcribed the woman’s comment, and the man’s response…which is the part that struck me.

    Elizabeth: “What do you want to hear? You wanna hear that I’m so freaked out that I’m not doing all I can…that I’m so freaked out all the time? That I’m afraid I’m not doing enough and that fear is turning me into something I don’t want to be, and I can’t stop it? You have no idea what it’s like to be pulled all the time by this idea that I am not doing enough, that I am not enough!”

    Arlen: “He knows. And He wants you to know that you ARE enough, and so much more! You are here so God can experience the world through your eyes…to see what you see, to feel what you feel. Every day, He can’t wait to see what you’ll do…what makes you laugh, what moves you…He can’t wait! Every day through you, He falls in love with the world all over again. You are His muse!”


    What a beautiful notion…and what’s more, it inspired me to get off my bum watching Netflix and go out to participate in the sunny day just outside the window. I wanted to be God’s muse and have Him see what I saw, and I didn’t want it to be a computer screen, so I went down to the beach. I swam for an hour until I was blissfully exhausted in nature’s beautiful playground. As I began to make my way back toward the beach, I watched all the kids running around playing in the sand. I felt like in my swim I had just let myself be one of them – playing, being adventurous, and loving the day and the moment.

    I’m normally not the kind to read self-help how-to types of articles, because they all end up as basic lists like “try something new,” and “say hello to the next person you pass by.” But this article, non-adventurously titled “How to Be Adventurous,” was actually quite good. The author, Brad Bollenbach, writes that “if your life is anything less than interesting and inspiring to other people, you’re doing something wrong.”

    He asserts that there is no best time but this time to start living the adventurous life, and that the only thing stopping most people from taking action is not less-than-ideal circumstances, but instead our own heads. “While many people will say that some of these things [dreams] are out of their reach, the truth is that you’re only ever either taking action to achieve a specific goal, or making excuses for why you aren’t.”

    This doesn’t have to be closing up shop and moving to Hong Kong tomorrow (though that utterly appeals). It can be as simple as going outside, looking up at the clouds and breathing in a breath of gratitude. Participate in Life, don’t isolate and shy away from it. Go out and be a part of today – partake in the adventure that’s already happening. Be the hero or heroine in your own life, and let God (or whatever higher, intelligent being you believe in) see the world’s beauty and adventures through your eyes. Make today count!

    Let Go and Forgive

    Let Go and Forgive

    “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” ~Anatole France

    The challenge is to let go of our past in order to make space in our hearts for love today. If our past is the sum total of who we are today, how can we hold onto the good, but let go of the bad in order to make space for more good? How can we forgive the past hurts, heartbreaks, disappointments, betrayals and lies?

    Letting go is difficult because we often define and identify ourselves by our pain. Holding on to anger can come to be a comfort blanket, as is the role of being the victim or the wronged. But those painful memories take up space…space that isn’t doing a damn bit of good for us…space that keeps all the good stuff like joy and love at bay.

    A helpful analogy I read was that moving on in life is like stepping through a door and firmly but gently closing it behind you…no slamming. It’s a nice vision of moving forward without lingering anger and free of past pains. It doesn’t mean forgetting the past, but instead forgiving it and deciding to live in the now instead of in the past.

    Clinging to past pain also causes our bodies pain. The stress and anxiety take a toll on our immune systems and getting sick becomes more routine than it should. It also causes us to age faster – both inside and outside. There’s nothing helpful or healthy about choosing to feel hurt today because of our past. And believe it or not, but it is a choice. We can choose to put the draining cycle of anger and hurt behind that closed door, and stop missing out on the beauty of life as it happens.

    It’s essential that we learn to forgive so we can move on. Forgiveness isn’t for the other person’s edification, it’s for yours. It’s not forgetting, but it’s letting go. Forgiveness allows you to release the chains of resentment you’ve bound between yourself and the memory. Forgiveness closes the door gently but firmly, and allows you to face the light of your tomorrow.

    We are who we are today because of the trials of our past, but we don’t have to let them dictate any further than that. I am grateful for the hard lessons I’ve endured because they have made me a stronger person today. I smile back at all the good times – I will cherish those forever – and I walk firmly on and away from the painful past.

    People are Amazing

    People are Amazing

    “The important achievement of Apollo was demonstrating that humanity is not forever chained to this planet and our visions go rather further than that and our opportunities are unlimited.” ~Neil Armstrong



    We are an awesome species – capable of reaching feats of physical achievements while also reaching deep into our emotional and spiritual cores for untouched depth of meaning and feeling more than any other creature could possibly fathom.

    We have the capacity to be hurt by another and then to forgive them and move on in peace. Heck, we have the capacity to forgive ourselves for our own reckless mistakes, which in itself is a miracle. That we can have compassion, sympathy, understanding and curiosity are all unique and remarkable talents that should never be undervalued.

    How exactly do we differ from our other animal earth-mates? We have the gift of expression of self through voice – a gift too often neglected. (How many relationships fall apart simply from lack of good communication?) We stand upright and have disciplined our bodies to do awe-inspiring physical feats – from climbing vertical rock walls to doing flips in the air on bicycles, or cars, or practically anything. We can dance, swim, jump, climb, flip, slide, soar – no movement has been untapped. We have hands that can hold and make things. We fashion tools and technology to build up our world out of our own imaginations….which leads to our brains. We have the largest brain capacity of any living being, and with that comes thought, emotion, imagination, creativity, innovation, and art. And finally, we have longer childhoods than any other animals…maybe that helps foster our talents to use later on, or maybe we just need a LOT longer to mature than other beings.

    Look at the wisdom, philosophy, poetry and art that has come from people. Look at the heights and depths our one species has gone to, both on our planet and beyond. There is no inward and outward limit to what we are capable of reaching….except maybe black holes…I’d stay away from them.

    It’s an element of gratitude I feel when I wake up and look at what I am a part of. Ultimately, it is a world of goodness and love, of reaching higher and further, of fighting through the valleys for the mountain tops, and of good overcoming evil. Yes there is pain and suffering all around us, and yes there are people who hurt others just for the sake of hurting them. But thank God they are the deviants of our kind. In spite of hunger and pain and loss, we still default toward the good and joyful state of living.

    In spite of life’s lemons, I’m struck by the spark inside of me that won’t give up on the notion of goodness and love and risk and courage, and all that is good about us. We get knocked down so much, yet there is that unkillable drive to stand back up and keep going, fully expecting another fall further ahead. No matter how much hurt or pain you endure, you’re going to be ok, and that spark to get up and try again will always be there…it’s in our humanity.

    We have the ability to do anything, to help anyone, to make changes big or small…that is ours. We intrinsically want to live better tomorrow than we did today, and strive for evolving toward that better state.

    “It’s amazing what ordinary people can do if they set out without preconceived notions.” ~Charles F. Kettering

    Fight the Fight

    Fight the Fight

    “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!”~Rocky Balboa

    My inspiration today comes from Rocky. I feel a little beat up by life recently…it’s taken a few swings and has made contact once or twice. (This is all figuratively of course, not a subtle cry for help…except to the universe). When I get knocked to the ground and feel like I can’t get up again, I think about quotes like the one above. No veil, no promises – just the fact that it’s not easy, it’ll probably get harder, but it’s worth pushing on and living bigger. Tears and fear of the unknown are so easy to seize while the will to push on is feint and easy to ignore. I don’t expect ease or luxury, but sometimes there’s a little whisper that tells me it’s all so unfair and that things aren’t coming as easily as I’d imagined. To that whisper, I must remind myself to push back and remember that the fight is worth fighting. I suspect that most of us opt for the victim status while pointing fingers outward at the reason we still lay on the ground. I have been hit, but I promise that I will continue to get up, try again, and ultimately win.

    It’s about not letting life dictate the terms. It’s about believing in yourself. It’s about pushing forward when everyone expects you to tap out.

    “….I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours – his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.” ~Vince Lombardi

    Married to PTSD

    Married to PTSD

    This may be uncomfortable for some people to read, but I’ve decided to go ahead and put it out there on the off-chance there are people like me looking for help. Over the last 8 years, I have seen firsthand the corrosive effects of war on my husband and on our marriage. It’s a dark imbedded anger that he works his hardest to push back and ignore, but that sort of inner monster can only be pushed back so many times before it rears its ugly head again. The yelling, the explosive anger, the seemingly flip-of-a-switch change in temperment, the need to control, the isolation, the lack of motivation to do anything, the crazy-making, the denial…if any of this sounds familiar, please read on. I’ve halfway paid attention to the news lately and how some of the soldiers who had been diagnosed with PTSD were getting their status revoked because it’s costing the government too much to sustain healthcare and treatment for the masses of men having a hard time being “normal” again. That’s all my husband craves…to be “normal,” and though he’s never been officially diagnosed, it is plain to see that his life today is deeply affected and even impaired by his service in Iraq nearly a decade ago.

    Let’s look at some of the stats that he and I fall into. In the past year alone the number of diagnosed PTSD cases in the military jumped 50% – and that’s just diagnosed cases. Studies estimate that 1 in every 5 military soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan has PTSD. Unless he gets help, my husband will continue to struggle to do everyday things like paying bills and cleaning the house. He will be less self-disclosing and expressive, and will have increased problems with relationships and parenting. He will be jumpy with specific triggers like smells or noises that remind him of his traumatic war experiences. His jumpiness will also include increased and unpredictable anger bursts. Because his actual brain has been altered due to repeated exposure to cortisol (stress related hormone), he will continue to suffer from the inability to discern his emotions and match appropriate responses. He will also be in more of a fight/flight mode than the average person, who only reaches that stage in severe circumstances. His brain will be telling him there is a threat when there is none, so he will spend energy and compromise his well being at the expense of staying hyper vigilant. Because he had to act aggressively for long periods of time to stay alive, he will have higher levels of hostility and aggression that have become habitual and comfortable to him. He will be more likely to get into fights, drive aggressively, become angry at small tings, and overreact to any sort of challenge. He will likely live with survivor’s guilt that he lived and some of his Army buddies did not, and he may have associated depression which will cause him to gravitate away from exercise and toward comfort activities like eating or watching tv for long periods of time. He will continue to be easily overwhelmed by too much of any one thing – noise, people, activity – and will shy away from engaging back into this world.

    As a wife of a soldier with PTSD, studies show that unless I get help, I face the following challenges. There will likely be more violence in my home when we have kids – with both physical and verbal aggression against not only the kids, but against me. Because of that environment, I will also be more likely to perpetuate the violence cycle and be verbally and physically aggressive to my children. I have a greater chance of developing my own mental health and social problems, such as anxiety attacks, social isolation and a nervous breakdown. I am likely to have lower levels of happiness, higher demoralization, and less satisfaction in my life. My relationship needs will likely go unmet as emotional violence continues and I develop a “caretaker burden” role. I will tend to take on more responsibility for household tasks and relationship maintenance with children and extended family. And finally, I will feel compelled to attend closely to my husband’s problems, and will work hard to manage and minimize his anger outbursts from cues I grow acutely aware of. All of what I go through is called secondary traumatization, and in some cases, secondary PTSD, and is the indirect impact of trauma on me due to being in close contact with my husband.

    What to do. Sounds like a dead-end, doesn’t it? For a long time, I felt like it was, and I had no clue where to go or what to do to help me out of my war-torn hole. Beyond that, there’s little to no help on the internet or real world to find other people struggling with the same challenge. So, just like any problem in life, start with the basics. Learn a little about what PTSD is and the effects it has on the home life. In other words, educate yourself. The links below are a good start. Second, find a professional to talk to. The websites below also offer places to look for free counseling. Third, find others like yourself in a support group setting. Family members of alcoholics continually say the mutual understanding they get from people they meet in ALANON far surpasses the standard venting to friends and family. My family sees the pain I go through, but they do not fully understand the extent of my situation. I can share only so much with them. I need to find other spouses like me to talk to about this. After many calls, I found a group near me and have started going to the meetings; I get to see my pain mirrored in other women, and I have begun to see I’m not so crazy. And finally, encourage your partner to find help of his own. I’ve published this post with my husband’s blessing, and he had finally begun talking about his experiences with a professional. Unfortunately, the marriage is stagnant until both people are healthy, but the silver lining is that you’re now pursuing your own wellness in the process, and your self-care will begin to repair your soul. I don’t know what the soldiers on the ground go through, but I certainly know what the spouses back home experience, and I have so much sympathy for others that suffer silently behind closed doors, confused at the changed person who used to be their loving spouse. It breaks my heart that some of those spouses have chosen to end their and/or the life of their spouse becuase the pain is too much. The chance for joy again is not over; it’s just beginning.

    Websites:

    - Partners of Veterans with PTSD: Research Findings

    - National Center for PTSD Home Page

    - National Center for PTSD Help for Family and Friends