Guest Post – The Other Side of the Glass: What are relationships like without emotions?

13 Jun

The next instalment from our mystery blogger:

PTSD Nation

PTSD Nation (Photo credit:

This is the third posts in the series The Other Side of the Glass, where I explain in detail what it feels like to live with PTSD. I’m writing this series to give Beth, and anyone else that has a loved one with PTSD, an understanding of what it is like to live without emotions or to be emotionally numb. Each person suffering from PTSD has their own trauma, their own symptoms, and their own circumstances, but I’m just trying to give you a glimpse of what it is like to live with this horrible disorder.

What does it feel like? is the first in the series. If you have not already read that post, it would be best to start at the beginning.

Now that you can see what daily life is like without emotions, now we will examine what it like to try and have relationships without emotions.

What are relationships like without emotions?

Naturally,the relationships with your family and friends no longer make sense.Why do you want to be around anyone if you cannot feel the love or bond of friendship that you feel for them?

I lost contact with a lot of my friends during this period in my life. I started to isolate myself more as I had little in common with anyone. I didn’t want to discuss my situation and I knew no one would be able to relate anyway. After all, none of my other friends talked about waking up a zombie. No one else was telling me how they felt The Void. No one had that blank stare in their eyes.

That reminds me, I once met a man who had just come back from Iraq. The same emptiness he had in his eyes is the emptiness that I had in mine when I looked in the mirror.

The eyes truly are the periscope to the heart. When a person’s heart is in the glass box, the eyes go blank. They are empty and cold. I wonder if Beth knows that look.

Since Beth is dealing with her husband, I will try to focus on that type of relationship.

Here enters the cycle of insanity – You should love the person you are with,but you do not have the ability to love, or feel anything for that matter. The person you are with desperately wants you to feel something
so they do not feel so hurt and alone, but your heart is in that glass box on the shelf.

I think this dynamic becomes more intense when the husband is the one with PTSD. A man thinks things through, but a woman is more prone to her feelings.

Since Beth’s husband cannot feel, Beth is hurt by it. Beth wants the security that her husband loves her and that their relationship is solid. Her husband is a blank man, a zombie, bringing insecurity and fear into the
relationship. Beth then gets angry because her feeling have been hurt by his lack of love. Beth’s husband can see the hurt he is causing and he logically reasons that he wants to fix it so that his wife will not be hurt as he know this causing tension in the home. Unfortunately, the one thing that Beth wants more than anything, his love, he cannot give even though he desperately wants to.

Welcome to hell on earth…

As one that was in the glass box, this is the most frustrating situation to be in. You see the cycle happening but you feel as if there is nothing you can do to stop it. My purgatory was waking up each day
knowing it was going to be like the last. It was going to be a fight from morning until night to make sense of the world and everything in it. It was going to be a struggle to find myself and to feel anything. I
would have to dodge the demon and try my best to not to fight her every night.

Thankfully,Beth’s husband has a wife that loves him and wants to help him in any way possible. This will definitely help in his recovery.

But what about all the things that he is doing to upset her? The porn and the masturbation. The sneaking around to masturbate?

When I read what her husband was doing, my only thought was, ”Well…that sounds familiar.”

Have you ever watched a man try to fix something around the house? We ste back and stare at it. We aren’t stupid or dumbfounded, we are thinking.We are running solution after solution through our minds to see what
will fix the problem.

When we have relationship or emotional problems, we do not discuss it with our guy friends, our parents, or our coworkers, we go into our man caves and we do our best to process it all, seeking out solutions to fix the
problem. We seek out isolation and try to work it out in our heads.

The only problem is that a person with PTSD cannot stop thinking.

I wanted to stop thinking and I wanted to feel something..anything. I did the only things that helped me to escape and feel. I watched porn. I played video games. I lied.

Sound familiar?

My next post will deal with The Cave.


Posted by on June 13, 2013 in Guest Post


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15 responses to “Guest Post – The Other Side of the Glass: What are relationships like without emotions?

  1. beetleypete

    June 13, 2013 at 9:07 am

    More views from ‘the other side’ that might help to put things into perspective. Trouble is, ‘de-personalising’ a problem only helps a little, when you are living it daily, and taking it personally of course. Reading about how someone else dealt with illness, like cancer or strokes, might be useful, but does not take it away from you, if you are the sufferer.
    I hope the outcome to these guest posts proves to be rewarding B; they are certainly telling a familiar story.
    As ever, Pete. X

    • Comfortably Numb

      June 13, 2013 at 9:31 am

      Definitely Pete. Like you said it doesn’t change anything but it does help to remind me that this isn’t my fault, that other people have the same kind of problems and I suppose that ultimately we aren’t alone and there is hope (to some extent)

      I’m very aware that not all cases are the same and he and I (and my counsellor) have discussed that too. there are also some points coming up that i dont personally agree with – but respect and understand- so I think it’s more about being encouraged and informed (again to a point) and also trying to help anyone reading this to understand parts of PTSD that we don’t normally get to hear about – or that hubby doesn’t know how to explain to me.

      I did read hubby some of the points from my intro to this “series” to see whether they hit home for him and he was amazed at the similarities – “even the excessive gaming (with a sigh)” lol so I think even if it doesnt change anything for me, it could at least help him see things differently. 🙂 xB

  2. Olivia Stocum

    June 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Are men more likely to develop PTSD? It kinda sounds like many men are on the verge anyway. I’m outgoing and I have lots of friends. My husband, however is not. We could be in a room full of people and he will talk to no one. ( I don’t think he has a disorder. I think this is just his personality). Earlier in are relationship he thought he could close me out and told me it was just too hard for him to have any relationship at all, even with me. This was were I got, um… sneaky. Talking to him wasn’t working, so I decided to do some showing. Whenever he gave me just a little friendship I’d give him more fun behind closed doors. Smart man put two and two together and realized how much fun being my friend can be. LOL. To this day he still has few friends, but he does give to me when we’re at home…. So I’ve come to accept that. He will never be the life of the party. BUT he will drive me to the party, and even talk to me on the way. 🙂

    • Comfortably Numb

      June 13, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      I’m not sure Olivia, I think thats one of the wobbly bits about PTSD… its hard to differentiate between PTSD and just a shy/quiet personality/or just a typical cave-man-man lol or depression etc Not saying your husband has it on any level, just that none of us can tell from the outside, only the person dealing with it can let us in and tell us that.
      What you say about rewarding…its like pavlovs theory with the dogs/food/salivating lol dog training basically ha ha so good on you 🙂 I did this (and still do at times) with my hubby, called them ego strokes, reaffirming, positive reactions etc I actually blogged about it here and it does work for a while but sometimes the dog does figure it out and then it doesnt work as well as there is risk of them running the opposite way…I’m glad that wasnt the case for you though 🙂 xB

      • Olivia Stocum

        June 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm

        Ack… Sometimes relationships can be a pill. I think your doing great! Keep learning and pressing on. 🙂

  3. behindthemaskofabuse

    June 13, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    This is hard to read because I can relate on more than one level. I can’t feel when it comes to sex…I have no sex drive. I’m unable to receive any love or kindness, from anyone. I said to Hubby the other day, that when someone says anything kind about me, it’s like it hits a brick wall,my immediate reaction in my mind is, “If they only knew the real me.” or “They’re just saying it to be polite.” Same if anyone wants to do something kind..
    I also isolate myself.
    The other thing I can relate too is Hubby’s PTSD..he loses himself in the man cave with t.v. (not porn) he lavishes affection on our dog but is unable to towards me. He can’t handle affection or much touch…we are quite the couple….lol

    • Comfortably Numb

      June 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      lol you are indeed…but you make it work 🙂 I read hubby some of the point from the intro to this and he was surprised (encouraged) by the similarities – because he could relate to it, it made him feel less of a ‘weirdo’ and more…i dont know… human? I think he found it almost comfrting (as comforting as it can be anyway) knowing hes not alone and that someone else understands etc…does it have the same effect for you reading this? xB

      • behindthemaskofabuse

        June 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm

        That’s great for your Hubby!! It does have the same effect for me too!

      • Comfortably Numb

        June 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm

        Good, I’m glad 🙂 Maybe our mystery blogger will also feel encouraged by seeing everyones responses 🙂 xB

      • behindthemaskofabuse

        June 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm

        i hope he is and doesn’t feel so alone!!

  4. WyndyDee

    June 14, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Keep up the fight…there are people who are cheering you to victory! Hugs and Love!

    I, too, am realizing that most of my symptoms and issues are a form of PTSD, and since I finally admitted it, we are dealing…one day at a time.

    • Comfortably Numb

      June 14, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      I think thats the only way to do it Wyndy, slow and steady. Are any of the guest posts helping you in one way or another? reminding you you’re not alone and giving you hope? (you can say no lol) I’m interested to see how it affects others – especially those who can relate to it. xB

      • WyndyDee

        June 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm

        I think so. It helped me to put into words better to explain to hubby. So, yeah. It’s a process for sure and admitting that you feel the way you do and you’re not a failure because you can’t just “get over it” does help a lot.

      • Comfortably Numb

        June 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm

        Definitely 🙂 xB


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