Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fear and Projection

Yesterday my husband did something that I was caught off guard by. Normally when we make big decisions, especially in regards to him we talk. Just like I typically do on my lunch break I call to check in to see what he is up to. Since we are in the process of moving and I was about to go out of town for a few days we've been meeting at the house to accomplish some tasks, discuss the game plan and then head off on our separate ways. It's actually been sort of nice and refreshing to spend that bonus time with him during the day. I feel our connection has grown closer and we have bonded a bit more in that regard. Its a big plus for our marriage lately.
So, I gave him a call to see what he was doing and he told me he was at one of the local Universities enrolling in classes. You would have thought he was telling me he was climbing Mt. Everest blindfolded or worst yet, learning to take charge of his life without me. It was scary and it hurt at first. I feel a bit more protective of him because I know he isn't who he used to be. I feel partially responsible when things do not go right and he doesn't succeed. I start to project my fears and concerns of our son's special needs onto him. I never took the second to find the positive, the good in what he had done.
If you are still wondering why him registering in our local University was so "bad", you must realize his PTSD prohibits him from retaining much information and he struggles in large, enclosed group settings. He was currently enrolled at a local community college and did most if not all his school work on line and the classes he did take were relatively small so it was hardly an issue. The classes were not the best but it got us the BAH ( housing allowance) that we needed to make our payments on bills. However this go round he was struggling to get the go from this college so he took matters into his own hands and went over to HSU. In his mind it was/is the best way to ensure he can still get the payment every month and continue to further his education.
My initial reaction to it normally would have caused a fight. When he CALMLY reassured me he knew what he was doing, and things were going to be just fine I sort of hesitated and processed what was just said to me. He was reassuring me, he was taking over my role and taking care of my feelings, emotions and concerns. He was seeking my approval and I missed the boat, completely.
All I could think about was the overwhelming class sizes, the high demand of a university, the insane workload and any other issue that would affect his TBI and PTSD. I did the EXACT thing to him as I have worked so hard to avoid when it comes to our son. To let him branch out and be his own person and not hover. I was clearly in the worst way hovering. I was so caught up in my own feelings and thoughts I neglected his. Shame on me.
While traveling to Austin today I was speaking with my friend about the whole thing. She is a veteran and we were talking about the whole issue with the community college. I told her what happened expecting she would share in my fears and concerns and she didn't. I was by no means offended, it actually opened my eyes. She was right, Chris was right. He can do this and its going to be ok.
She told me if Chris felt confident enough to venture out to the big college then its showing us that he is learning to cope, and handle these stressors that have been so tough on him in the past. If he is capable of using rational thought to know he had to do something to keep our bills paid and it was logical then he was capable of doing so. I can't keep falling back on his diagnosis. Its not who HE is. He is my husband, the father to our child, step father to my children and a man who wants to take back his life he was slowly losing. He is turning a corner.
She told me these are all good signs. These are the things that I want. I can't get caught up in the whole PTSD life because I am going to miss out on my husband. The man I married. He wants me back to being his wife not his full time caretaker. I am in caretaker mode and struggling to shift down to wife mode. I have taken all the fears of what I read on the support groups I am in of how bad it gets but then I realize what I am reading from these ladies is that they themselves are caught up in the down side of PTSD. They live day by day with that diagnosis of their spouse and make it how they live. 90% of them see that they HAVE to be in charge, that they have to do it all. Some very well do. Its just a sad fact but I am not going to be in that percentage. I am going to be that one that starts to stand back and let him stand on his own two feet. He has made progress and I want him to know I see that progress.
I need to remember that and take these feelings and worries with me in April when we have our son's ARD meeting. I need to recall these things and think about the impact I am having on him. It's not just about me. Its about them. I need to unhook myself from this diagnosis thing and learn to let things happen as they will. If he succeeds then I am there to share in that joy and excitement, the milestone of something he accomplished. If he fails I am there to pick him up, push him and encourage him to keep moving forward. I need to live for their strengths and not their weaknesses.