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BF is Iraqi Vet

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by Neela, Oct 4, 2007.

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  1. Neela

    Neela New Member

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    My boyfriend is an Iraqi Vet and shows symptoms of PTSD. However, he has not been properly diagnosed because he doesn’t think he has PTSD and because he thinks that it would make him “less of a Marine”. After reading through some posts and doing multiple searches online, I've come to an understanding that he needs to be the one to take that initiative and get help. Although, I really wish there was some way I can tell him that he needs to get help without upsetting him. Here’s the thing, I know that I have to give him space when he either asks for it directly or when he just completely shuts me out. What I don’t understand and what I don’t know how to deal with, is when I do give him the space he needs, why he freak out on me afterwards? There have been several occasions where he tells me that he just wants to be left alone and I leave him be. He always calls me when he’s ready, but it always starts the same way. He’s upset with me because I didn’t call him and then accuses me of ignoring, avoiding, and/or cheating on him. I’m constantly reassuring him, but I’m not sure if that’s what I should be doing? I don’t bother him when he asks me not to bother him, but then he gets upset that I don’t bother him? Is this normal? What do I do? I’m honestly a little confused. I love him dearly and am trying to be as patient as possible, but this really hurts. I know I shouldn’t take it personal, but it can be frustrating. Any advice would be much appreciated.
     
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  3. Tammy

    Tammy Active Member

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    In my opinion, you are doing as he wishes by leaving him be when he asks you to. By later blaming you for not contacting him is extremely selfish in my opinion. Have you told him that you were only doing as he wished? How long do you leave him to his own devices before he contacts you? PTSD does cause this to happen, in my experience anyway. However if he is amking you feel bad for this it is not ok! However I have experienced it and I know how you are feeling. Maybe you should just dit down and talk to him about how it is making you feel. Tell him that you will be there for him but that you don't want to interfere when he wants his own time.
     
  4. Neela

    Neela New Member

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    Tammy thanks so much for responding.

    I'm regularly explaining to him that I'm only doing what he asks, but he reacts the same way. It usually takes him about a day or two before he contacts me. Presently, he's in one of his moods. He asked me night before last to leave him alone and that's what I'm doing. Last night he sent me a text asking to see me and I thought “Great he’s ready”, but I never received a response from him when I replied. That right there is another situation in itself. Sometimes I feel like he's toying with me. And to be quite frank, I’m afraid to talk to him. I’ve tried a couple of times and it just freaks him out. It always ends with him shutting me out. He always seems to think that it’s because I want to leave him. Like I said, I know I shouldn’t take this personally, but it appears to be getting much more difficult. It does make me feel bad and I know it's not ok, but I just don’t know what more I can do.
     
  5. Neela

    Neela New Member

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    I've already told him that I'm only doing what he asks. When he get's in one of his moods it usually takes him a day or two for him to come around. I tried talking to him, but it doesn't help. He freaks out and shuts down. I'm honestly afraid to talk to him. I just don't want to stress him out and I know that's not ok, but I just don't know what else to do.

    Presently, he's in one of his moods. It's now day two and last night I got a text from him saying that he's going to "try one last time to make me happy". Is it always like this? Is he always going to be up and down, questioning my intentions, our relationship, etc? I know I've read that it PTSD isn't curable, but does it get better? I'm venting. It just sucks. I love him so much and all I can do for him is sit back and watch him hurt. I know that I won't see him this weekend, because he's in one of his moods. It's frustrating. From reading other posts I know I need to take care of myself first and I'm at a point where I'm going to need my own space. I just don't know how to explain that to him without crushing him. I don't want to lose him, but I know that I need some time. I just don't know how to do it.
     
  6. Tammy

    Tammy Active Member

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    In my experience, it will alwaysbe up and down. You just have to weigh up whether the ups are worth putting up with the downs! I know how you are feeling though and I wish I could say something positive but I just cant. It is hell living with them at times but then when they are having good days it doesnt seem so bad. From my experience I know that my partner cares a lot about whether he is making me happy or not, I think it is a common problem for PTSD sufferers.
    I just thought of one thing that may be helpful... When I was at uni I did social work as an elective one semester and I was told that people will often push away the people who love them most simply because they know howmuch that person loves them. I know it doesn't make things better but it may help to understand a little bit about how your partner is acting. I hope things get better for you both. and if and when he is actually diagnosed with PTSD I a sure you will learn a lot about communication and how the best ways to approach things are... Tammy
     
  7. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    Welcome to the forum Neela, it is lovely to have you. I apologize for not welcoming you sooner, however I have been frightfully busy, then away, and now it is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada!

    I agree with Tammy in that there will always be ups and downs. PTSD is a permanent condition; there is no cure at present. However, sufferers can learn to manage themselves quite nicely, though it takes much time and effort on their part. We as carers can support them in their efforts, but they must want to change and heal on their own. In your case, the first step would be for your boyfriend to get assessed and diagnosed, and begin some sort of therapy. All you can do is encourage him in that, learn as much about PTSD as you can, and be certain to take care of yourself as well. Be very certain this is the life you want for yourself, as it is a permanent condition. If you stay with him, you are in it for the long haul, as my husband says.

    I well understand the statement "less of a marine". My husband is career military, though now retired, and 3 of my sons are in the military as well. Unfortunately for the most part, the military do not support our men when it comes to PTSD. Here in Canada PTSD is still considered a major stigma and a sign of weakness in military culture. That is changing though not quickly enough. It would likely be helpful for your boyfriend to attend some sort of support group for vets, and hear the experiences of others, so he realizes he is not alone. Once again however, it will need to be his decision entirely.

    All the best to you Neela, do please keep coming here, there is much support to be had and much good information as well. Take good care.
     
  8. Neela

    Neela New Member

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    Thank-you both Tammy & Kathy for responding.

    Here's an update. This past weekend he pretty much did the same thing and called me upset over the fact that I left him alone. There were the usual accusations. The difference this time around - I actually put my food down and told him exactly of I felt. That of course didn't make him happy and he hung up on me. I thought for sure we were done, but he actually called me back. I wasn't able to respond straight away, because I was still very upset. I called him back when I was calm (something I learned to do before I met him) and we talked. It was a good talk. He's acknowledged the fact that he has issues he needs to work on and he wants to work through them with me. He's actually taking the initiative and has set up an appointment with the VA people. Needless to say this is a positive step.

    Kathy - You're totally right about needing to be certain that this is the life I want. We did talk about that and he used the same phrase your husband used - "you're in it for the long haul". Regardless of what may happen (and I've read some posts here that have made me very aware of what could possibly happen), I can't imagine my life without him. It's definitely like Tammy mentioned earlier - it can be total hell when he's one of his moods. But when he's in a good mood, he's absolutely beautiful.
     
  9. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Neela:

    Please read the following post regarding how to copy and paste on the forum:

    [DLMURL]http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread5095.html[/DLMURL]

    Thank you,
    bec
     
  10. Tammy

    Tammy Active Member

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    Hi Neela,
    congratulations on putting your foot and on him deciding to get help. That is great step forward. And when he is having a bad day, just hop on line and vent here; we are all in the same boat and will understand what you're going through. I hope things continue to progress as well as they can for you both.
    Tammy
     
  11. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    Neela, I second Tammy in congratulating you for being so honest with your boyfriend, and waiting until you were calm to speak with him. Extremely well done! Controlling anger or upset as you have just described is a very important skill; it will be most helpful to you in future with him.
     
  12. seriously

    seriously Member

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    Neela, I am going thru the same things with my dh right now. I haven't heard from him in two days now(We do not live together at the moment-dr's decision.). When he completely shuts me out is when it hurts the most I think. I worry about him because he shuts himself off in a hole where noone can reach him. I know he isn't responding to anyone because his voice mailbox is so full it won't take anymore messages.

    I hope you can get thru this with him. It is obvious you really do care about him. But is it enough for the both of you?
     
  13. Neela

    Neela New Member

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    Hi Seriously!

    Just wanted to respond right quick to your response. First off thanks so much! I really do find comfort in knowing that I'm not alone. Around the same time of your response my boyfriend and I had another "time out". I'm not really sure what set him off, I'm thinking it had something to do with my sisters wedding. But one could never tell. Anyway, he freaked out on me and then pretty much said that it was over. At that point I really thought it was. He stopped talking to me for about a week, the longest we've ever not spoken. And I thought for sure we were done. But sure enough, he called me and begged me to come back to him. It's funny, because I would never leave him and the way he acted was like I was the one who made that decision, you know? We're good to go for now. We celebrated our anniversary last weekend and had a blast.

    So, really random, though I may not always be posting, I do read a lot of the responses here and I found one from Tammy that I thought was absolutely BRILLIANT! She said something about keeping a calendar of when our sufferer has their moments. I've actually been doing that and the other day I showed it to him. He laughed (in a good way) about it saying that I'm keeping a record of when he's PMS'ing. :) Also, we've come up with a code word for when he starts feeling stressed out that's helped a little. Whenever he starts feeling stressed he'll tell me the he needs to take a "time out". It's good, because at that point I know that I need to leave him alone. Just a thought to maybe help you out.

    Neela
     
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