Hi Beth and welcome to our caring community;
Your story sounds tragic, not only for you, but your partner and son. I really feel for you and hope I can help to ease your burden.
I suffer PTSD from sexual assault in childhood, as a young adult and in maturity. So I know the devastation of trauma down the track and for those connected to me.
I think your husband made a good point asking you to seek support for yourself. To help our loved ones, we need to be at our best. Therapy's a positive way to air your fears and confusion, and find coping strategies that serve your best interests as well as your husband and son.
Transference occurs when we take on the pain of others as if it were our own. Therapy can help you distance yourself. If you hurt for your husband, he'll see this and feel at fault adding to the load he carry's.
Truly understanding the 'idea' and effects of PTSD is another way to support your husband. Could you imagine being on high alert every moment of the day for months or even yrs, waiting for conflict or horror?
Our bodies/brains are trained to respond via adrenaline and cortisol pumped out during fight/flight/freeze events, especially when they're ongoing. When the threat has passed and we haven't dealt with it, our minds remain vigilant. Any abrupt noise for example can throw us into automatic fear or defensive responses.
I lived on adrenaline nearly my whole life until I had a massive breakdown and was diagnosed, which helped me understand why I behaved the way I did. I researched PTSD, read many relevant books, got a great psych and began my recovery process. It was slow and painful, but I'm here to tell the story and suffer minimal effects. There's hope..
Your husband doesn't need sympathy, he needs specific support that compliments his own Mental Health management plan. To learn how to do this, you need to first treat your own pain, find a healthy distance from his pain, educate yourself and formulate a crisis management action plan. This can be done with the support of your GP's, psych's and each other.
Being the best person you can be will improve both your lives for the better. Do you realise, one of the most important things you can give your husband is a beautiful smile? It's not a miracle cure, but it can uplift him in ways you can't imagine.
Knowing you're happy and thriving makes his role as a husband easier, which in turn reduces his stress levels and keeps adrenaline low.
I'd love to hear back from you ok.