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Dealing with PTSD (Page 1)

My boyfriend has PTSD. He was in Iraq 2 years ago and has admitted to having the condition. He goes to the VA and talks to doctors to try to help him with it. We have been seeing eachother for 6 months now and I just witnessed a very intense mood swing. One minute we were having a light conversation about going to a party. The next minute he was very angry with me and left the room. I had no idea why I upset him. He left the room so I gave him a couple of minutes then went and talked to him. He was in a fit of blind rage and by trying to talk to him about the situation just made it more severe. It finally dawned on me after I tore myself apart trying to figure out what I did. This sudden and violent mood swing has to be from the ptsd. Nothing I could have said in the conversation could make anyone that upset. My question is...what is the best way to deal with him when he is like this?? I am not sure that he knows why he got so upset but blamed it on me. I am afraid to bring it up again because it will cause him to get upset and to point out what he would consider a weakness and make him feel bad. Should I leave him alone to fester and talk to him later. Trying to sort out the problem and talk about it when it happened did not do any good. Any advice on how to deal with a loved one who has this condition?
Thanks
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First Helper ESES
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replied February 10th, 2009
Experienced User
Hey there!
I have my ptsd from growing up in an abusive home. His experiences in war I'm sure are very troubling and still fresh.

Feeling angry at times is part of the condition. It happens. I would just let it go. If it happens again, you could address it later when he's calm! I wouldn't address it when he's angry because, most likely, you'll just hear an angry responce. I wouldn't be accusatory.

As far as advice. Try to be supportive as you can. Accept that sometimes he will be angry. Don't try to fight that fact or reason it out. It's just the way it is. Why wouldn't he be angry? He came back from the war with a mental injury. I'm sure it's very frustrating for him that he has ptsd. Part of the condition is having difficulties with emotions.
If I were you, I wouldn't blame myself or him. A lot of people on the forums, including myself, have loved people with mental health conditions. If we want them to be as if they don't have it, we're going to be mad ourselves and completely frustrated! I've been down that path. Sometimes, we just have to accept a person with their behaviors as they are. Easier said than done!
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replied February 10th, 2009
Thanks
Next time it happens I know what to do. It is true about we want them to be as if they don't have it then we will always be upset and wanting to fix things instead of accepting it and try to be supportive and understanding. Your response really helps put things into perspective. I think that I would have kept trying to talk to him when he was angry instead of waiting it out letting it go. This is the first time it has happened so I really didn't know what was going on. He has been having a really difficult time sleeping lately too. He gets up in the middle of the night and watches TV and is constantly wondering around the house. I am not sure what triggered this all of the sudden. He may just be having a bad week. It is frustrating because I want to help him but can't.
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replied March 9th, 2009
Hi
I got through this with my husband. He came back from Iraq 2 yrs ago as a changed person.
He is the same guy i fell in-love with when he is with me and the family but when put under the least amount of stress he transforms into someone else gets up and starts hipervenalating and just getting very angry.After all this time i have come to learn to step away from him during those epesodes but not to leave the room because he explains to me that just having me there makes him feel safe and supported. My advice is to stop trying to understand and fix things but just accept it and with time maybe he will come around and tell you what is on him mind during those epesodes. Because they go thrugh so much day and night (all night) and they just need us to be strong.
I know exactly what you feel ... Whe feel impotent to this situation.
I wish you the best of luck Smile
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replied April 18th, 2009
let them be
Hi, Im sorry for all of the spouses of individuals with PTSD, no matter what the source....

I have PTSD, and when I feel that rage, I know its about my PTSD, so I usually move to a "safe" place. Outside is good for me: it grounds me, and gives me the space to get perspective and calm, and even run if I need to.

My husband is great: he knows to just let me go, and that I will come back when I feel "safe". I do not want him around because my rage takes up so much "space".

We have small children, and he tells them that Im angry, NOT ABOUT THEM, and that people get angry sometimes, and its OK, I went for a walk to calm.

Then we use the opportunity to teach the children how to get rid of the mad in us (we go for a walk). Theres a great kids book called "when Sophie gets mad"......

Hang in there. Ask what he needs., make him go to therapy.
Good luck!
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replied August 13th, 2009
more help with ptsd
Hello I would just like to say thank the spouses for all their support.

I have been dealing with ptsd for about 3 years now after my tour in Afghanistan. Itâspam�s not easy to deal with people after you come home. If you think about it while some one is out in a war torn province or city they are constantly on edge. Everything that we take in (for the most part) is information to keep you or your buddies to your left and right alive. So when we get back to the "real world" we expect the same as if we where back over "there" as far as conversations. For example I bet when your spouse came back if you asked them a couple weeks after getting back home to make a dissension about something in the house that wasn't major, more than likely your spouse would answer something like "it does not matter to me" or " whatever you think is best." see itâspam�s not a matter of life and death. So I know with me and my experiencesâspam it sometimes frustrates me that I canâspam�t deal in absolutes and have things in simple black and white. I am not harping on anyone here Iâspam�m just saying that it is difficult to deal with people after they get back from places like Iraq or Afghanistan. I have found that therapy sometimes works to make you realize that youâspam�re different from who you where, and that you sometimes have to handle some situations differently then you did before you left to go overseas. Hell I still have a hard time realizing that and itâspam�s been three years so far. Also therapy can sometimes aggravate the living hell out of you. It just depends if you have a therapist that you feel comfortable with. I know with my situation itâspam�s about feeling venerable, and anger, frustration, or just plain avoidance is a defense mechanism, but with time and willingness to work through things Iâspam�m sure that everything will work out just fine. I know that sometimes I talk a little about some of the things that I went thru over there with a very select few of my family and maybe one or two really close friends (most of them are prior military so it helps me out a lot). Unfortunately sometimes there are things that just trigger on a relapse of that good old fight or flight syndrome (in a soldiers case a fight or fight syndrome) such as a smell, certain sounds, or even pictures of places that look similar to Iraq or Afghanistan can trigger a reaction. Sometimes a reaction can range from anger, to sadness, or even out right fear. Knowing what I know from dealing with this beast for a little while now I would say this for advice. Try and find out what your spouse went thru (be subtle about it and it will, or might take a while for someone to open up, which is perfectly normal, if they avoid the conversation save the discussion for another day). But most of all listen to their story (you might not like hearing it but it will do wonders for your understanding of what all is going on). Well I have blabbed enough just hang in there and before too long you should have a better understanding, and it does get better with time.
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replied October 18th, 2009
ptsd boyfriend too
My boyfriend spent 16 long months in Iraq. He came back with PTSD along with a list of other conditions. We have gone through the same situations that you have. Going out to dinner one night, he got suspicious of another customer across the room. He was infantry, so he constantly is checking places with a lot of people for suspicious activity.
My boyfriend will get upset, like yours did, when he forgets things or can't find something. He couldn't find his wallet right before we were leaving for a dinner (in his honor none-the-less). And he became so upset with himself that I thought we were going to have to cancel. We found the wallet and I hugged him and told him that I loved him. It took about 30 minutes, but it finally washed away and he was the same goofy guy I fell in love with all those years ago.
Every one is different with PTSD. In my opinion, if he acts like that again just remind yourself that it isn't you or anything you did. Give him some time to do whatever it is he needs to do. I've noticed that group therapy helps my boyfriend best. Adjusting to civilian life has been his biggest challenge. Being in a group of people who know what he feels can be some of the best therapy there is.
You may also want to look into a "support group" for you. It doesn't have to be official or anything. Just a person who doesn't mind listening and can let you vent. It may be a good starting point for you. Since I was with my boyfriend while he was in Iraq, I have a few symptoms of it as well. Nowhere near as badly as his, but lets just say I know when I need to find a place to cry a lot. I hope this helps and that you and your boyfriend are doing well!
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replied December 30th, 2009
Help
I have been with my boyfriend Frank for 3 1/2 years. We live together in CT. Frank was not in Vietnam but was in Laos. I guess from what he says it was a secret war. When we first got together his episodes of uncontrolable crying and anger outburst wer far and few. But then the drinking started and he almost killed himself. He winded up in the hospital with alcohol induced hepatitis. The doctors told him he can never drink again or he will die. He stopped for a while We went on vacation twice this past year and it looked like things were gonna be ok. Then he started drinking again wine to be exact but my dad says at least its not the hard stuff. He's been very cruel to me lately. He picked my dog Stevie up by his throat and threatned to kill him. He calls me names and is overall a nasty person to be around. I try to stay positive and understanding. I go downstairs when he's mean and let him stay upstairs and cry. He goes between bouts of anger and crying hysterically saying why me. He says he wants to die and always says he doesn't care about anything. Usually the episodes last 2-4 days. this recent one has lasted 6 days and I don;t know what to do to pull him out of it. I'm at wits end. i feel like I'm going crazy. I tried to write a letter.We have communicated through writing in the past and it has worked. But this time he took the letter and tore it up in front of me. I'm scared for him and I just want the old caring, loving, and compasionate Frank back. I don't like the monster he is now and i just don't think he's being fair to me. He got mad at me for sleeping on the couch last night after he cursed me out all night. Can you blame me for not wanting to sleep near him. He refuses to see a therapist or psychiatrist. He doesnt speak to any of his family. Both his parents are dead and he has disowned his son and sister. So I can't get any help from his family. His friend who also works for him mind you is a simpleton. I beleive he's slightly retarded. I called him to see if he could call him and try to talk to him. I don't think he really cares anymore. He's worried about himself. Can someone please give me some advice as to what my next step should be. I don't want to leave him and go back home but he's not giving me much choice right about now.
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replied January 3rd, 2010
Experienced User
He needs to talk to a professional.

Ptsd can take a real downward spiral when a person is not dealing with it. It sounds like he isn't. Be careful. Trying to help is good. However, when a person you care about is abusing you with words and actions, it's unacceptable.

He may not see the full impact he's having on you because he's so caught up with his thoughts and the numbness. I don't know what you can do except have a very intimate conversation with him about how he needs help NOW. He does need to see a professional.

Protect yourself by leaving, if that what it comes to.
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replied January 29th, 2010
husband with PTSD and violent mood swings.
Hi! Not sure if you are still checking this thread, but I have a very similar situation. My husbad has 80% from the Iraq war. I have two small kids (3 mo. old and 2 years old). He cant sleep with me because of his night sweats and nightmares, he has such violent mood swings that change just about every hour. Recently they have been getting worse. He lashes out at me and calls me names, yells at the kids, yells at me, even punches things (once so bad he actually broke his hand). I can't talk to any of my family or friends because I'm afraid they will judge him too harshly. But, just yesterday I asked him to leave and I am really struggling with that decision. It has just been so hard on us trying to forcast his moods and constantly walking on egg shells. We've tried therapy for the past two years, but it doesn't seem to be helping. I am racked with guilt because of the kids, and I guess I was just looking for some support. Thanks.
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replied February 24th, 2010
PTSD Boyfriend
Hey Melissa,
I'd be happy to talk with you about your experiences...Although I'm definitely not an expert, my boyfriend was in Iraq for 15 months as well, and is having a very hard time readjusting. I'm proud of you for standing up for yourself and asking him to leave. I know it's not easy. What happened?

My boyfriend has been abusing alcohol and he gets incredibly angry and verbally abusive at the slightest provocation when he's been drinking. When he's not drinking, he's perfect. When he gets angry, he blames it on MY drunkenness and my anger Sad It wasn't my problem, but I stopped drinking just to prove him wrong. I'm thinking about ending things but am going to ask him to try PTSD therapy first. He went through the Army but it didn't do any good -- he said the therapist didn't know what she was doing. I hope you're hanging in there!!
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replied May 2nd, 2010
Love of my life with PTSD
My boyfriend is my high school sweetheart and after 24 years we found each other again. He came home from being in Iraq for nearly 4 years. He was fine when he came home Decemeber 2008 or he consealed it well. His mother died March 13th of this year (2010)and his nephew was born on his mothers birthday and they named him after his youngest brother who died 7 years ago of Gulf War Syndrome. He left on March 17th to take his brother back to California (We live in GA) and he finally came home on April 29th. He was about 40 pounds lighter when he return to me and he is still the same man I fell in love with back in high school, but having conversations with are different now. He can only address on topic a time or he get frazzled. We have had descussion and it got heated and that is when i realized more than what meets the eye. I just remained calm and let him talk what lil he did. But you see, he would go days to week while he was gone with no phone call from him and I would worry, but he says he jsut couldnt call but did tell me each time he did call, that he loved me very much. He never told me what was going on with him while he was gone so naturally I worried. Can the stress of losing his mother and nephew being born on her birtday and being named after his youngest brother that passed cause the PTSD to show itself now after a nearly 1 and 1/2 years of being home? How do I handle it or help him. He is very independent, but I just want to know what is goin on with him. I know he can get violetn tendancies but he has never touched me, but just playing with him and poping him in play he will lose it. I will NEVER touch him again even in a playful manner. Now that I know what is happening I understand. I may not can help him conquer it, but I more than anything want to be there to help him thru it. THis man, I will do anything for and I will never leave his side even knowing this. But i dont want to do anything to make it worse on him. Please give any advise as to what to do when I can or.... can I. Lorine
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replied May 14th, 2010
Husband with PTSD, symtoms showing alot more recently :(
Hi all-
Reading how each of you, and hearing from others with this awful PTSD has helped to calm me alittle bit today! My husband is the best thing to ever happen to me. Hes just like me, only in a guys body, I swear. We never fight-anything more then a bicker here and there but who doesnt? I relocated with him in Aug of 09, and when i was first here...the symptoms were there...but not like how ive noticed recently. My husband has been over seas 4 times. 3 of them being Iraq & Afghanistan. During the time of those deployments, I hadnt met him yet. He has been getting treatment at the TBI clinic since Sept 09, for headaces that are almost dibilitating, his sleep scedual is horrible if he even sleeps at all. Within the past month in a half, his issues have come through to the surface alot more. He's only said small comments here and there about the war, and I never poke or prod to get him to tell me, as if and when hes ready to, he will. Recently his company had gotten orders to deploy, and he did not, as he is non-deployable. He never gets angry and yells at me, which is one thing im thankful for. But its very obvious that the upcoming deployment has brought alot of memories up to the surface. Hes fearful the few people left in the unit he knows, are going to be lucky to make it back, and that really upsets him, rightfully so. Hes mentioned more latley smaller situations that have come up when he talks to a councelor weekly. But the nightmares, are awful to watch him go though. He wakes up drenched in a cold sweat, or crying and clings to me and just doesnt want to go back to sleep in fear of having another dream. He barley sleeps at all during the army work week, and on the weekend, hes so exhausted he sleeps almost all of it. I have had horrible migraines/headaces for 11 years now, with no one to give me a reason why i get them or anything to help, which I now thank god for making me go though that myself, because it makes it easier for him when he knows i understand how hes feeling and when he cant get up and do things sometime. But as hes getting some what of a spike in the PTSD, i feel helpless. I sit and watch him in pain, and cant ease it. I watch him cry from nightmares, and i cant make them stop. Hes jerking awake so much hes scared he might accidently hurt me in bed, and if he did-it would just tear him apart. He hates going to any store, especially ones like Walmart. We tend to go later at night when the crowd thins out. Sometimes he will put his head in my lap, cry and get it out for 10 minutes and be ok, and just need that release. And other nights, i can see its eating at him more from the look on his face. I told him today, as I have several times- Just because I dont ask you what happened over there, or what specifically is on his mind about it, doesnt mean im not thinking about whats going on, or that I dont care. He can get so stressed and annoyed when people ask the same questions to him over and over, how are you feeling, ect? and from my own pain with headaces, My mom always knew Id come to her, when i wanted to talk, or if there was something she could do at that moment to ease my pain, but otherwise she left the subject up to me. WIth my husband, so far thats been exactly how he likes it, and it has worked for us. Im trying my hardest to be a rock and stay strong, but i have layed awake every night this week, worrying and wondering what to do, and feeling awful i cant help. Does anyone have any advice that they have found helpful or what you do? I do pride myself with handling the situation very well during the "normal" calms times, but ive never experienced such a drastic increase in it. This was a bit long of a rant, but I do feel better to get it off my chest, to people that get what im saying, and can maybe even help Smile
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replied May 15th, 2010
PTSD
Just wondread can you get help for haveing ptsd my boyfreind got told he has this were going through such a hard time what help can we get hes due to see a mental helath doctor nextweek he carnt work for ovious reason qas he carnt cope much indoors nevermind out so hard at moment can he get help with dissabilty liveing allwance ore enything. this is all new to me and am worried scared and unsure of it all x
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replied May 15th, 2010
Zenalaurelle-Is your boyfriend Millitary, or does his PTSD come from something else??
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replied May 16th, 2010
unhappy
hi its cumes from lost bad things truam in his life from past hes saw few dead bodies wen he was nurse hun and his best m8 died in his arms hes also saw lot violence and been a vilonet man in his past hes seen sum horrible things and did few things that were un call for in past what he is ashmaed from and all them things are hauting him i guess
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replied May 16th, 2010
I think the mental health dr apt he has is def. a good place to start. They can put him in therapy, on medication, or refer him any other place he needs to go. I'm pretty sure that you can atleast try to apply for some kind of dissability. It doesnt hurt to try. I try my hardest to just be supportive, and my husband is the type that if/when he wants to talk about it/vent, he will come to me-otherwise i try not to pry too much, but re-assure him that im there if theres anything he needs, or something I can do to help. He has difficulty going places sometimes too, we try to go do our errands/shopping later in the evening, or times when we know the crowds arent as bad. Its always one day at a time, and some are better then others. Has he ever seen a doctor in the past for this or issues like it??
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replied May 19th, 2010
@BulldogMommy22
It was encouraging to read your story. It's very similar to what I've been going through.

My boyfriend was in Iraq for 15 months in the infantry and saw some really bad fighting. He freaks out in grocery stores because of all the people and he has to leave. He's emotionally numb all the time (with an awful, blank expression on his face), has horrible nightmares almost every night of the week where he's woken up and clung to me (he tries to stay up SUPER late every night so that he's really tired and doesn't dream when he finally goes to bed.... as a result he's incredibly tired all the time with huge huge bags under his eyes). Also, he's very, very negative all the time, in his daily life. ALmost every comment he makes has some sort of a negative twist, and he relates a lot of things back to war, or he talks (half-jokingly, half-serious) about how much he HATES people from the middle east. It's very emotionally damaging to be around someone like that... my moods tend to be influenced by and mirror his, even when I tell myself that the way he's acting is NOT my fault.

He's accidentally punched and kicked and headbutted me in bed because of something he was dreaming about, and he regularly goes through bouts of intense drinking where he's out of control partying for a week at a time.

But then ... on his good days, he's sweet, caring, bends over backwards to give me everything I need, is extremely intelligent, loves me very much, and is basically the best guy ever.

I've encouraged him to get help for the last year and a half, and he was seeing an Army PTSD therapist and on medication for a while, but he stopped taking his meds cold-turkey and didn't tell anyone! I found out when he was acting horribly mean for no reason and drinking a ton and blaming the resulting fights all on me. I checked the medicine cabinet to see if he was taking his meds (nope!).

It's so hard ... I want to be here to support him, bc he's a wonderful guy and I know the problems from PTSD aren't his fault, but he's refused to get help time and time again. I've tried talking with him, crying and pleading with him, and threatening to leave ... and NOTHING is working.

Last week he asked me if he could go out for a drink with his friends, (me: "sure, honey, have fun!") and then he came home at 2:30am WASTED on a Thursday night. He **proudly** told me that he convinced his guy friends to drunk-dial HIS ex-girlfriend multiple times and harrass her. Then he was so hungover the next day he got to work late and was sick all day. Also he peed in the bed.

That night, I told him that I was leaving him and that this was unhealthy and abusive, and I was so embarrassed to be with a man who would act like that. I told him I wanted to be proud of my boyfriend and I was not proud of his behavior. He begged me to stay and said that THIS time it's different, THIS time he's going to get help, and he begged me to stay with him for one more month. The problem is, when I confronted him about his behavior, he saw NO problem with the way he's been acting.

He said that the reason he wants to marry me is because I helped him pick his life up from a downward spiral of alcoholism. Of course I agreed to stay for one more month because I desperately want him to get help. I care about him .... I don't want to leave him to deal with this alone, because he won't talk to anyone else about his time at war and everything he's struggling with. All my girlfriends are telling me I need to leave, that I'm losing all my self-respect by being with him. I love him, but this is killing me. I'm so stressed out it's making me actually, physically sick. I went and looked at an apartment last week and had panic attack and hyperventilated all the way there. I couldnt breathe, I had to sit down and make myself calm down. In addition, I have a recurring illness that happens whenever I'm stressed out and it's REALLY really bad this week. Sad

Also, I come from an abusive, alcoholic home, and my friends tell me that I'm repeating the same pattern in my own life. Apparently this is really common with victims of abuse?

Not sure what I want to hear or what the best path is. Just wanted to share my story with everyone. I have an appointment to view an apartment today after work .. wish me luck.

<3
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replied May 23rd, 2010
@Butterflybella

Im glad you found encouragement from my situation! Dealing with a situation like this is alot to handle!

You sound like you very much care for and love the man your with right now, but you are more then right to feel the way you do. There has to be a point where you say, this is enough-because its effecting you and your health too! Ive realized latley how much my moods mirror his moods! I thought i was going crazy, but then i read about secondary PTSD online, too where it talks about your moods/health will adapt and mirror theirs. I also can relate with you on the having your own medical issues that get worse with stress, and its been effecting that as well for me. Alot of what i hear with your situation is Alcohal, and its a wicked wicked path to go down. I had an ex that drank all the time, way too much-it was AWFUL! and like you said, it was always, all my fault. After getting an ass beatin from him one too many times, i was done.
I too, know in your situation, i would have stayed the one more month too-anyone would. But i think its very smart for you to look at your own apartment, just to have something to fall back on in the unfortunant event he doesnt change. Try your best to get him back to the doctor. My husband has started seeing a psychologist now, and im hoping it helps him! It wears on us both to the point we will blow up on each other, and its not fair to either of us. Stay strong, your doing the best you can, keep telling yourself that! and if it doesnt work out, its not your fault! People, and relationships can only take so much. Take care of yourself too. You dont want to damage yourself in the process of trying to save him. I would think that if you come from an abusive/alcohalic home, you would be more drawn to him & wanting to help him, too-but thats just my own thought. Do you guys go out and drink alot? I couldnt handle if my husband drank. Fortunantly, for us, he doesnt drink but once in a blue moon anymore, one because it makes his headaces worse, and two, we've just grown out of that scene, but thats just us. Keep your head up, ill check back for your response! Good luck with your apartment search! <3! Smile
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replied June 9th, 2010
What has happen to them has long since stopped, yet when the memories of what took place are triggered they get to relive those experiences. Experiences they just can’t get out of their head. This is an extremely emotional event that they can’t get away from or turn off.

Now if they were to relive those experiences, those memories, but they had no emotional response to them at all, then they would have no affect at all on their life.

They would have no power to affect and control the way they live, the choices they make, what they can and cannot do because of what happened. Their choices and their life given back to them.

Once they get rid of all of those trapped negative emotions attached to these events life changes. The baggage is gone. If you really want to get rid of this baggage it can be done. You really don’t have to live like this.
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