Two husbands, One man (part 1)

Husband number one is handsome, charming, charismatic, sensitive, gentle, and funny. He would do anything for his wife and children. He is faithful and loyal, the man of her dreams.

Husband number two is also handsome, and loves his family. He provides for them and works hard. His moods fluctuate from cheerful to anxious, happy to aggravated. His demeanor changes like the flip of a light switch. The children he loves, playing with their legos and laughing, cause his anxiety to elevate at an alarming rate. He’s angry, he’s mean, his words are cruel and cutting.

What if I told you husband number one and husband number two are one in the same? He doesn’t know why he looses control. He is broken but doesn’t have any visible signs. No scarring, no bruising or cuts. His wounds are internal, pushed deep down inside.

One day, after the millionth time he had yelled at the kids to shut up while they were playing with their toys, his wife had had enough. She had been researching, googling, searching for an explanation. Searching for a reason this seemingly perfect man had a totally imperfect side.

She found a random blog. A wife and mother writing about her eerily similar husband. Chills streamed through her body as she read on. What is wrong with this father, this husband, this soulmate? Perhaps it’s not him, it’s her. Maybe she is putting too much on his plate? Maybe she is just making mountains out of molehills.

As she read on, she saw the all too familiar behaviors. Agitation, irritability, hostility, hyper-vigilance, self-destructive behavior, and social isolation. And then she saw something she had heard about but never considered: PTSD.

But how? Yes her husband was retired from the Army and yes he had been to combat, but he was never injured or shot. He doesn’t talk much about his service, but he is proud to have served. Surely the man she loved, shared a family with, her best friend would have told her all about such a significant event or that it was bothering him, right?

She googled PTSD and what she read would become life changing. His symptoms, his behaviors, everything about his two different beings were all explained away by this thing called PTSD.

As she read on, she absorbed as much knowledge about the disorder, others stories of this invisible devil, and then the most encouraging news of all! Even though this disease isn’t necessarily curable, in many cases it’s treatable and manageable.

Now she is faced with what will be the most difficult challenge in her marriage, how will she tell him her suspicions. How will he react? She doesn’t know what will come of this discussion, but what she does know is her marriage and her family are depending on its success. How will he react?

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