The Do’s and Dont’s of Communication and PTSD

These go for both the spouse with PTSD and the spouse without…

DO always tell your spouse how you feel or your point of view

DO take a break to calm down or think about things if either of you need to

DO think before you speak

DO practice patience

DO use the term ‘WE’ more than ‘YOU’ or ‘I’

DO remember timing is everything

DO seek counseling, education, or other resources for learning to communicate better

DO overuse the term ‘I love you.’

DO trust your spouse

DO be aware of your tone of voice

DO listen.

DON’T ever raise your voice or say hurtful or condemning things

DON’T interrupt each other

DON’T give up on communication even if the other party is struggling to communicate effectively or at all

DON’T get frustrated

DON’T beat around the bush

DON’T keep secrets about your emotions or feelings (actually don’t keep secrets period.)

DON’T forget vocal expression is not the only form of communication

DON’T use PTSD or TBI as a label for your spouse

DON’T ever stop working on your communication

DON’T push your spouse to talk when they aren’t ready to

DON’T bring up subjects you know bother your spouse unless it is necessary (this is mostly for the spouse without PTSD)

DON’T assume you know what the other person was trying to express. If you aren’t positive..ask.


I will add more as I think of things =) and feel free to comment with more advice on communication if you think of anything!


9 thoughts on “The Do’s and Dont’s of Communication and PTSD

  1. Pingback: How to Love Your Veteran – Part One | A Hero's Wife

  2. Pingback: How to Love Your Military Spouse – Part One | A Hero's Wife

  3. You are so positive.
    I have 3 beautiful children. The youngest is 19 months. I have been med retired for 3 months.
    After 30 years and 6 tours my wife said she wanted a divorce and left with our boys. The day my retirement went into effect she said she could not take care of me and the children. She texted me the information.
    She is very upset of the fact that she does not get any of my retirement because it is a disability. I will always take care of my boys. I guess she will read the warranties from now on.

  4. sorry Ive been trying to reply but it kept kicking me off…this breaks my heart! unfortunately it’s far too common…this si probably the biggest reason I havent been able to find and join a support group for spouses because every one I observe so many of the woman want to focus on making themselves the “victim”. Yes it can be hard and stressful to live with someone with PTSD or someone in the military…but its about both of you being a team not individuals “suffering” because of eachother. I am sorry to hear this! I hope she does not continue to cause problems or keep your kids away from you. Definately fight hard for them! Even for custody since she said herself she “cant take care of them”. Just remember you aren’t the problem here. I hope everything works out for the best…feel free to message me on here anytime!

    • I am so happy you are able to make such a positive situation out of your marriage. This is the second or third time I’ve read on your site about spouses making themselves the ‘victim’. I’m not sure how long you have been married to your spouse, and it is fantastic you can have such patience with your spouse. Being married to a spouse who suffers from PTSD, TBI, and chronic pain is beyond difficult, not only for the veteran, but also the spouse and their children. Every person’s experience is different. I don’t think it is fair that you invalidate other spouses feelings who are more than likely going through caregiver burnout. It is great you are able to respond to your spouse in such a loving and patient way, some spouses passed that mark years ago. ‘You aren’t the problem here.’ Sounds enabling. In a couple, both individuals contribute to the problem.

  5. ** but since we are all human, if you do do one of the “don’ts” be humble and honest with your spouse. My husband has PTSD and TBI, I know this really shows character when I can own up to my own mistakes. Thanks!!

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