Peer support subsequent to trauma contributes to full recovery

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) -- including complex trauma (cPTSD) -- is debilitating, breaking down the body through anxiety and stress, and it poses a significant suicide risk in sufferers. MyPTSD seeks to help and inform those who are directly or indirectly affected by these conditions through peer-to-peer support and educational resources.

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Combat Ptsd And Triggers

Discussion in 'Supporter Relationships' started by Ysabella, Jul 6, 2011.

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  1. Ysabella

    Ysabella New Member

    I am totally new to this site and looking for information on Combat PTSD and how to help someone that has it.

    The man I have been in love with and supported over the past two years is back from Afghanistan and dealing with PTSD. He told me when I met him that he already had PTSD from being in Iraq but we didn't seem to have issues. Now that he is home his behavior has been erratic and sporadic. After almost a month of no contact we finally talked for an hour last night. He seemed to be having flash backs and talking to others and then would say sorry I was just remembering something. He told me he sleeps all the time and the rest of the time he was drinking but he has stopped that because he doesn't need those problems on top of everything else. I have been very encouraging and I generally do not take offense when he gets angry or needs alone time, but this idea of triggers is something new to me. Could Memorial Day have been a trigger for him? How do I find out what are his triggers?

    I basically came up with the idea that I had to put my romantic ideas on hold and for right now just support him as a friend but will there ever be a time when we can have a romantic relationship?

    I do a pretty good job at taking care of myself but I a looking for a in person support group in my area.

    Any suggestions or insights anyone has that will help him and me would be greatly appreciated.
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  3. ISupportHer

    ISupportHer Supporter Member
    Premium Member

    Hi Ysabella, I hope you find some support here. I would bet that you will hear from several who feel they have a very similar experience.

    My sufferer's trauma was not combat related. Even though that part of our being here is different, I hope that you will see that much of what we feel as supporters can be very similar. I have learned a lot from people with so many varying situations. Sorry you find yourself here but yet I am really glad you ARE here!

  4. mrsempty

    mrsempty New Member

    The War at home-
    Unfortunately triggers are the worst. Unpredictable at best. My husband has been dealing with this for years, and has come a long way since admitting to needing help. But even the 4th of July fireworks cause weeks of unrest. I do hope you find some help here. Just coming here and reading opened my eyes to things I thought I knew a lot about.

    In being there for him, don't pry, but see if he'll share some things that do make him nervous. Sometimes just knowing that big booms will cause problems, I find ways to drown the noise out for him, without him knowing.

    Supporting someone with PTSD is a full time job in itself. And can even be rewarding. BUT, it takes patience. And really, a lot of love.

    I do hope you find the answers you need in these forums.
  5. Army_Brat_88

    Army_Brat_88 Well-Known Member

    Ysabella -

    Sorry that I'm practically stealing your thread. I've debated on signing up for this, only reading all the posts I could from others. Yours finally kicked me into speaking up.

    I could do 1 month standing on my head. I haven't talked to my bf for 4 months now. 135 days. I'm at the point of walking away because my sanity is practically gone.

    I'll fast foward to the main points: we talked everyday for months while he was in Afghanistan. He's a combat medic. Every phone call always had some laughs, and ended with "I love you's" and "tell your mom hi". We had made plans of marriage and him moving to a base near me. Then his team transferred to a different location, and when I finally heard from him 2 months later, I could tell something had changed. When he got home and I barely heard from him for days. A few texts to and from, and I said I didn't want to bother him too much, which he said I wasn't. I got a week of "I love yous". He said then already he needed time to adjust. That army word "adjusting". But I thought things were going to take off. Boy was I wrong. We talked and texted, he was supposed to spend his 30 days off with me, um, not so much. It wasn't until I started doing research that I found out the "honeymoon" phase as they call it was over. I'd text and email but hear NOTHING back. I thought to myself "he must have been sent out to do some additional armying". That's how little I knew about PTSD. Him sleeping with fans, and how he just kind of disappeared w/o even saying a word to me on and off should have been clues.

    I wondered for weeks what was up. Like I said, I left voicemails, no reply, texts, no reply, emails, no reply. After 2 months - that's how little I knew about this all - I became frantic. He must have been out of it when he accidentally called my number on Memorial Day, when I picked up, he had hung up. I waited for him to call back, but held off - still not wanting to crowd him, but 2 days later I called him and he hung up when he heard my surprised "hello????!!!". I was devistated. He texts back claiming to be someone else who found the phone months ago (when I had talked to him last of course - so he knew), and would return it. Only after me pleading with him did he say "I'm in a bad place, I still need to adjust". Those texts of his lies have NOT sat well with me, but that's a whole different issue itself.

    So this whole time on and off I'd been emailing and texting him, thinking I was cheering him up, until I started reading through these posts to find out that it's a huge no-no, to give them their requested time and space, but relieved it wasn't just me who got the special silent/text treatment. I honestly thought I was the only one.

    So other week my patience was completely gone thinking I was getting the run around, and texted that him I was coming out for a visit, and while he said he was fine with it, I decided not to after all wondering if the money it would cost me would be worth it or not - especially when I asked "are you sure? I don't want you to bail" and he said he'd "let me know" cuz he was still in a "bad place" and "needed time". I just emailed saying maybe it wasn't the time. No response, not sure if he read it either. I don't even know if he's getting help, because he never said point blank that he has it, and I didn't know enough about all this to ask him the one and only time I'd get to talk to him - I wish I'd known that then.

    I feel so abandonded it's unreal. He knows my past relationship ended *extremely* badly, and I begged him not to do the same thing but feel he has done just that. He swore up and down he wouldn't, that I wasn't wasting my time with him. He bashed my ex all the time and said how lucky he was to have me...all the sweet stuff. Who knew I might never hear it again. I've stopped reading the emails because that person may never return.

    I go through a million cycles daily and have worn myself out. One minute I say "I'm learning all I can just incase so that I can never say I didn't give it 100%", and the next minute I say this combined with long distance will not work and I'm wasting time. If he's this messed up, he won't even care when I text I'm done and can't take it anymore - but I'm waiting to be sure, because if/when I do I need to stick with it. Right now I'm the only one in this relationship. He said he needs time to adjust, but this is too much. I figure he no longer cares. I've lost that man I fell in love with, and if he doesn't contact me then there's no reason to wait for him. But then I get sad because if I don't, who will? I can't have a Suicide on my conscience. He already was left by someone (who probably didn't know he had PTSD), and was cheated on like me, so we connected immediately, but I worry that his Memory issues will keep me blocked out of his life. I truely messed up when he asked for a picture for motivation and I joked that we needed girl talk first. I never heard back and kick myself wondering why the hell I didn't just oblige.

    I doubt he even understands what he's doing to me, since it took around 10 texts of begging to convince him to respond to me. He said he moved when he first came home, so I don't even have an address now, and if I explained all this to anyone else, I know they'd say "how can you not see you've been dumped?" But I have been dumped, and that was very clear. He hasn't said anything to me either way, I even texted asking if it was over but heard nothing, and asked if he was still sure he wanted me in his life when he first came home which he said yes along with other gooie stuff. I could have taken it if he said he was done, I'd know for sure I could move on, but not saying anything at all has been even more maddening. I'm in this ugly ambiguous middle just floating and it's a hellish nightmare I wouldn't wish on anyone ever. My love is fading daily and I'm deciding if it's time to let go, or to wait. He has some of my things, and it's like I'm being held hostage, because he's not sent them back to me, and if I walk away need to be ok with never getting them back. Each day I wait for it to be over and it's not.

    Read the posts on here. They are great, and be prepared, if you haven't yet had those events happen, they may. I've shaken my head at so many posts because I identify with them so clearly. It's like I've written them myself. Most of all, be greatful when you do get to talk to him. I envy you so much I could cry.

    The best book I've read so far is "Once a warrior, Always a warrior". I highly recommend it. That one is specifically deals with combat issues and what's going on in their minds, but also written for significant others to understand it. I marked up my copy like mad. The worst part is the deadening of their emotions, and the complexity of it all.

    Good luck. They aren't kidding when they say it's a bumpy road. I decide daily if I'm still committing to it, and for how much longer. Sorry for the novel, but thanks for reading!
  6. Ysabella

    Ysabella New Member

    Coexist, mrsempty and Army Brat, thank you all for responding. It means a lot to know that there are others out there that understand and have and are going through similar situations.

    Army Brat I am sorry for your situation, but thankful that my post kicked you into signing up. We all need support no matter where the relationship is at the time. I have read Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior and yes it is good. I don't know that any book can truly explain until you have lived through it. One thing I am thankful for is that "my guy" had enough about him to explain what it was like and what it would be like when he came home even before he left to go over there. I told him I was strong enough to handle it and while I am a very strong self reliant woman I don't think I full appreciated what he was trying to tell me until he came home. Maybe some of this comes with age, we are both older (40ish) so we tended to talk a great deal before he left. Thank goodness for that.

    At one point in this past month or so I did send him a very blunt email. I know now that he read it, but, at the time that he read it, he was in such a dark place it really didn't have a big impact. I had also read enough that I knew I had to let him have his time a space. It completely killed me to do so, because I had quit my job and moved across the country to be with him when he came home. We had talked when he was home on leave and both agreed this was the next step!

    During this past month I have realized the value of taking care of myself. Since I am very self reliant and fairly confident, I rarely get offended when he doesn't answer my texts or phone calls right away. But this behavior the past months has left me feeling vulnerable. I used this time to reestablish myself, care for myself, and make a life for myself. In reading different books etc the one thing I gained was an understanding that when they are in this dark place, it is all about them and their experiences and while it leaves me feeling weak and useless because I can't help him, I decided to use the time to make my life all about me. Sure I support him as always, but I also support myself. You can either control the situation, or allow the situation to control you.

    As I write this I almost laugh because I know there are times when I will be low and confused and crying and will need to come back and read my own words. I would encourage you to take care of yourself. Don't allow this to rule your life, rather continue on and make a life for yourself so that when he comes out of the dark place you will be whole and healthy and there to greet him and help him through the next phase! Please promise that you will preach these words back to me when I am feeling low.

    One day at a time, one step at a time and keep loving and supporting all our men!
    Ladyhope Somerset likes this.
  7. Army_Brat_88

    Army_Brat_88 Well-Known Member

    Ysabella - I'm so glad you responded back. This morning I had "the text" all typed out and ready to send, but got to work and read your post. It's kept me from sending it an additional day, because I was finally ready to stop this all. I've read what you said a few times now. Sgt. K and I aren't kids either, we're in our mid-30's, so I've already been through plenty in life by this point, but *nothing* like this. I identify with you in some ways. Part of me says he CAN'T be in his right mind. He knows I've got a degree, a good job, can take care of myself, and am not out looking to prey on army men. He knows my family is army (dad's a retired colonel among others - not that it helps with this situation), so I obviously respect it too much. I'm sorry, I know my ego sounds out of control, but he'd be nuts to let me go compared to his life right before me. His ex was ROTTEN to him; when he told me the things she did my heart broke. He knows I can help because I offered and he refused - when he was in his "right mind".

    Your comment about you sending that email has really hit home for me. "Impact". I keep reading that paragraph. I'm desperate to convey to him that it can't continue on like this, but if he's still in that dark place, what good *will* it do? None. If I literally just beat my head against a wall I'd get further.

    I've cried for days on end, been a zombie for days on end, and it passes, but eventually appears for another round. They have their cycles of torment, and unfortunately so do we. I've allowed this situation to control me, but it sucks when you want to help someone you love with all your heart but are completely helpless because they don't want it. It's agonizing when someone won't talk to you. And watch out! That's when your brain starts playing games, and your downward spiral begins.

    I agree that we all need to support each other. I'd be glad to give you a boost when you get down. Being in that depressive state, while not as bad as what the guys must be going through, is horrible. When you're at your wits end just wanting to give up, wondering if it's going to change, WHEN it's going to change. But a HUGE weight has been lifted off of my shoulders by finally speaking out on this post. There are so many Military gf's/wives who are in our same position who are suffering greatly - and suffering in silence. Again, sorry to steal your post, but if anyone is at that point *please* jump onto this thread - if even to say "I CAN'T TAKE IT!" It's like I can breathe again finally, because I have no one in my life who can understand any of this and have bottled it up. With so many men returning home, this Combat PTSD is going to be a hellish beast.
  8. Ysabella

    Ysabella New Member

    Army Brat, no worries on stealing my post. It's all about helping each other.

    I will tell you, after waiting for over a month to hear from him I finally got to the point where I said to myself, wow, I miss us. No accusations nothing. And so I sent a message that simply said, I miss us and can we get that back? He replied within two minutes. I had actually laid my phone down and walked away because I really didn't expect a response. The rest, as they say is history. I don't for one minute think that everything will be fine going forward, but I am not going to fret about what hasn't happened yet.I will simply take one day at a time. We never before talked everyday and I don't expect us to now. I am not the kind of person that needs a lot of reassurance so that part doesn't bother me.

    I so identify with what you said earlier about no one understanding. No one does. I have been called a fool, told I was used, had friends call him all sorts of names etc. All I can say is I am one stubborn woman, however I am thankful I found this site where I can learn more and know I am not crazy or a fool!

    Since we are newbies to this I do wish someone else would respond and let us know if we are "on the right track" but until then, I hope I have encouraged you! Thanks for sharing with me also.
  9. ISupportHer

    ISupportHer Supporter Member
    Premium Member

    I have been reading your posts in this thread Ysabella and struggling with how best to respond.

    I hope you have closely read the "stick note" threads at the top fo this section. Should I say or should I go and the one something like it takes more than love.

    I know you hurt, I appreciate your posting your thoughts, I'll post more later.

  10. Ysabella

    Ysabella New Member

    Thanks Coexist. I have read the sticky notes and believe these are similar to what I have said I have done in my relationship and my approach to it. I am actually in a good place right now and don't believe I am hurting. Not sure if you confused me with Army Brat or not but if I am misunderstanding what you are saying please let me know.
  11. ISupportHer

    ISupportHer Supporter Member
    Premium Member

    No, you are mostly right. I saw your comment about not seeing almost a month then read the other one you mention with multiple months of no contact, and merged them in my limited brain.

    I try hard not to come down on anyone here because I know they are in pain. There were several threads a year ago or so, just about that. Is it best to support and be sympathetic or should one just tell it straight and not hold back? Heated opinions on both sides. So I guess when I see someone with a sufferer with whom there is no conact (not necessarily you) those sticky threads come to my mind.

    I do wish you well and hope things improve for you. Sorry if any hard feelings.

  12. Ysabella

    Ysabella New Member

    Hi ISH, thanks so much for your response and for pointing out the stickys! No hard feelings at all. Kinda have to have pretty tough skin to go through this! I was actually just looking for clarification on what I was thinking or if you thought that I was not understanding.

    I don't have a lot of expectations when it comes to this stuff. I think expectations cause too many hurt feelings. However, that being said, there does have to be rules and boundaries for every relationship regardless. When I did start talking to my sufferer ( I really have to thing of a better name for him) I told him that I would not be treated disrespectful and I would treat him and his feelings with respect (including needing a large amount of alone time). I also asked him to make me a promise which caused a bit of angst until I explained that the promise I wanted was that he would just tell me when he was feeling overwhelmed so that I could step back instead of having him just disappear. He agreed and promised and then to my surprise added a second promise. He said he promised to respond to my text messages and/or phone calls (we live in different towns) even if it was just a one word response so that I would know he was okay and/or needed time alone. I hope and think that these steps will go a long way towards living with this. Would you agree?

    Speaking of living with this, the hardest thing I have had to realize was that this is not something that is going to "go away" and he wouldn't go back to being the man I knew before. I think that really bothered him. But I believe that the core person with the core values I was attracted to in the first place will always be there. Do you find this to be true?

    Thanks so much for your support and I hope I can support you should you ever need it.
  13. Ladyhope Somerset

    Ladyhope Somerset Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    In my experience the persons' core being stays intact even though their behaviours can sometimes cause us to doubt that.

    If your partner has see a psych doc then he would have been prescribed meds and when ready be offered CBT. The decision to engage in treatment is a really big one that only he can make. When he does, things can improve over time. It takes oodles of patience, you will learn and be able to read the signs (not always but it does get easier).

    Welcome to the forum, my hubby also has Combat PTSD.

    Glad to hear you are taking care of yourself and living your life. This is good.
  14. revelry

    revelry Im gonna show you baby, that a woman can be tough
    Premium Member

    wow.... It's kinda like I'm reading my own story. The confusion, the frustration, Depression, aggravation......I can go on and on.... It's was soooo hard for me early on, I didn't understand any of the behavior, none of it made any sense. Then I read, and read, and read some more.... It get easier, not perfect, but easier. If your willing to adjust, and set your own bounderies, even at the risk of feeling like they are going to bolt, I think it can work. There are many people here that have their good days and bad days, but can still make it work, maybe better than some 'normal couples' ( i found that it seems like--when it works---you don't take things for granted like most couples. )
    My situation is still a work-in-progress, but soooo much better that before, because I just didnt 'get it' early on. Quite honestly, I love him, and wouldn't change a thing, even the bad times, because it made me understand him better.
    Wishing you all the best. (((hugs)))
    May1321 likes this.
  15. May1321

    May1321 Well-Known Member

    Hello - I've been off the grid dealing with my own mini whirlwinds but thought I'd jump in... not sure if it will help or not, but sometimes for me just remembering I'm not alone in this, there is good that comes of this, etc. etc. helps me swim through my biggest waves some days.

    In short, I seem to have a mini string of military partners/family members in my life (happens in small towns :confused:) but some things I've learned...

    - Alcohol enhances whatever they are feeling deep down and it usually can be uglier than fun till they start to get some support.
    - Make sure you have a grip on your feelings/choose your words wisely because military men (especially) are going to respond better with directness and confidence (even if YOU are having to fake it).
    - Don't push. If they start to pull away, stop what you are doing and regroup yourself. Sounds kind of like a pet, but you have to let them come to you and when you are texting them, do it just as Yasmine mentioned... don't expect anything. It seems like when I am hoping and expecting, I'm am let down, and when I care the least, he come running.
    - The only thing that is going to help is if they get help but they have to realize it on their own and they don't really like the idea of it because it is considered a 'weak' thing to do.

    I've seen prior to therapy - the flashbacks, the idiosyncrasies, the insecurities, the temper, etc. are way worse. I've seen middle of the road where there is support but still denial, still bad sleep, but the anger is less. And I've seen after 200 hours of therapy that they can admit to, speak with confidence, sleep better, and have stronger relationships.
    It's hard, but don't walk on eggshells. You can respect the PTSD while still respecting yourself.

    I know everyone's situation is different, and combat PTSD is kind of strange and different PER soldier. The BEST thing we can do is not sell ourselves short and work on bettering US so that we can be better for them - or whomever in the long run.

    (((HUGS))) we all need 'em :)
  16. Army_Brat_88

    Army_Brat_88 Well-Known Member

    Well, at the risk of being hated, I'm going to be extremely honest.

    I came out from a week of absolute RAGING depression and burnout. Everything that they say on what can happen when you never give yourself a break happened to me. And in the end I sent my guy and email and just said "I'm not waiting anymore. I'm done and moving on." That was a few days ago. I haven't heard back. I'd never think of calling or texting or messaging, I know I made things far worse early on because I didn't know what to do and pushed like crazy until I DID hear something. So I'm just letting it all go. I shouldn't have to force acknowledgement. Obviously it's not good on his end, and there's nothing I can do about it. I'm sad, but unfortunately in his detachment, I became detached as well. Since we live on opposite ends of the country, my hands were completely tied.

    I am still reading everything I can on this syndrome. I know that all this will be very valuable to either myself someday in another situation, or for someone else. It's great when you're already knowledgeable to help someone else, and it's happened to me before with other instances. My "binder o' resources" is going to get a sibiling soon.

    I can't say I feel like a failure though. I know I did everything I could, reached out as much as I could, and it wasn't accepted by him. Perhaps some day it will be, or perhaps it never will. Maybe he's getting help, maybe not. I know I look very uncaring, but like it was said above, if THEY aren't getting help, you can stand on your head and the only one who will come out worse for wear will be yourself. He knew I was here waiting for him when he got home. I wonder if he'll snap out of it someday and regret that he lost me, but I can't continue to stop my life for weeks, months or years on that hope. If it's meant to be someday, then it'll pick up where it left off, but I just couldn't hold on any longer. Now I need to just keep an eye on new info and stay in the loop, but see what else life holds.

    I can't say it enough - to anyone who actually is given a chance to talk to their partner, please appriciate every moment of it. I got one phone call only and then it all went south. I wish I'd known then what to say or ask. I never thought it had the potential for being the last time. But I've learned so much, grown as a person, and gained valuable insight for future situations. I wouldn't trade that for anything.
    May1321 likes this.
  17. Heather5522

    Heather5522 Member

    Guys im still trying to wrap this combat PTSD around my head and it's driving me crazy! I'v done so much research and read so many books including once warrior always a warrior.

    My sufferer is such a good man, he's had alot of Abuse in his childhood and now forced into retirement with the air force at the age if 25! He finally received his order for retirement date of. July 24, 2011. I heard from him a lot while he was in Colorado taking care of things at the VA and fighting with his commander over outfit pocket expenses he has had fir his medical leave due to the PTSD.

    He came back to TX for a few days and told me he has to go back for VA appt and other things. That was 3 weeks ago and he has not responded to texts or emails. I can't understand this whole isolation and numbing. He admitted one night while in co he loved me, but we are just good friends and I blew it off because he has started drinking again.

    I have never seen him isolate or when I think about it, when he has had me over, he has never ignored me like this. I'm concerned for him because after he came back from his last deployment he Attempted suicide. I mean how does he go from telling me his deepest darkest stories of combat and child abuse then never speak to me again.. It's blowing my mind.

    For some reason and I am a pretty intelligent person at least I like to think so , but I'm human and a female at that and think is this his way of writing me out of his life, by ignoring , or is it his PTSD and is it such that makes a person not see it when some one just genuinely cares!

    Sorry for the ranting I'm just so confused!


    <Paragraph breaks inserted by Amethist>
  18. Army_Brat_88

    Army_Brat_88 Well-Known Member

    Heather. I feel for you:( Don't waste a second apologizing. Rant away! It feels SO MUCH better than churning around in your head alone doesn't it?!

    Everything I've read so far says to *never* take it personally when they isolate - which is almost laughable right? How can you not?! But they push away and avoid in an effort to curtail the pain they are already in and not add anymore to it. Unfortunately it can take just ONE thing to throw them into that dark frame of mind (a smell, a thought), and it's right back to square one. As caregivers we have to just ride it out and not lose our minds in the process.

    I've just read that they do supposedly do another screening to see if further help is needed (3-6 months after redeployment), so perhaps the VA has kept him (?) I almost hope so since you talk about suicidal tendencies. If he had to go back there maybe they, or his commander saw something in him?

    All I can say is PLEASE don't make my mistake and text/call him to death. That will be my chant the rest of my days to anyone going through this. I didn't know the first thing about this stuff, and the mass amount I sent him when I finally got a hold of him once I think sent him into a tailspin. Somehow we're supposed to leave them be and they'll eventually come around after getting their thoughts together. The only way I can think of it, which I've read in other posts, is that they don't want you to see the monster inside them.

    So we wait, and keep waiting...but that's what this site is for, so you don't have to wait alone!

    <Full line spaces inserted between paragraphs by Amethist>
    sad2010 likes this.
  19. Ysabella

    Ysabella New Member

    Hi all, sorry for not responding sooner. To everyone that has left comments and words of advise and comfort, THANK YOU!

    Army, you are not hated for not waiting and moving on. We all have to do what is right for us. To Heather, Army is right, I would suggest not writing, texting, calling etc. As stated earlier in this post and others when they say they need their alone time and need isolation, don't doubt them. They are being honest. Yes, it is hard, but (and not to be rude or blunt) but this isn't about you, unfortunately, this is all about them.

    May and LadyHope, thank you so much for your comments. They are very helpful. Thankfully, my man has stopped drinking. I also agree with the "no pushing" and the
    revelry and May1321 like this.
  20. May1321

    May1321 Well-Known Member

    Heather... it can make you crazy wondering why. I don't know how right I am but I dated a guy who was my best friend and we lost our mutual best friend in an avalanche and then his dad to a sudden heart attack a few months later. He was a firefighter/EMT and his dad was tough on him. He was prone to PTSD "behaviours" from the get-go.

    I talked to his cousins, friends, roommates one night and they believe that part of the reason he pushed me away... the person he shared everything with, his tears, his fears, his heartache, dreams, etc. was because I reminded him of all of those things in the moments he needed -- DESIRED -- to be stronger so that he could function.

    I know there is an argument back and forth on how personal this is or isn't but for the sake of sanity, I think it is safe to say that it is a big part not personal to you. He's trying to piece his stuff together. He's a tough guy... supposed to be a tough guy... no weakness... a soldier. You may remind him of his weakness which provokes insecurities that he is not yet ready to deal with.

    I'm sorry sweetie, best you can do is pray for patience and growth (for yourself) and love him from a distance. Maybe let him know in one thought out letter that you are always here for him, express the pain it causes you that he has isolated and pushed you away, (don't be specific to hurts or weaknesses - my sufferer does not respond well when I bring those up because he's already feeling guilty) but that you support him no matter his decision.

    I'm not a therapist - medical Expert - but I've learned that making peace with your loved one also helps you make peace within yourself and I am all about promoting good "karma".

    Hang in there!! (((hugs)))
  21. ISupportHer

    ISupportHer Supporter Member
    Premium Member

    Stopped to respond before reading one more word!

    I know emotions get in the way sometimes but I think this is exactly what everyone needs to do. Say what you feel, in an honest manner with the desire to help others. And the person receiving a message needs to try to accept anything said here in that light. I can't say I have never seen personal attacks here but they are very rare.

    May1321 and revelry like this.
  22. revelry

    revelry Im gonna show you baby, that a woman can be tough
    Premium Member

    I just wanted to add something here, please keep in mind that sometimes the isolation is also to protect us. Some guys know that they are in a dark place and they isolate because they don't want to 'lash out' on us, or feel that they are no good for us in that state.

    It's hard to wrap the head around, but once you can...... It can be better. There will still be moments when things get spun-up and someone says the wrong thing and gets upset and you get set-back a bit... (im going through that right now) but try to have faith that things can work out, if both parties are ready. Sometimes even as carers, we need to isolate too.
    Ysabella and May1321 like this.
  23. May1321

    May1321 Well-Known Member

    I agree with Revelry. It's confusing as H-E-double hockey sticks and does not necessarily always seem right. It takes a lot of patience, understanding, and sources sometimes to figure it out but when it boils down to it... what does your gutt tell you?

    I'm just unwinding the darkness of this last mini venture. I literally have had to lay everything out on the table and think on each detail. Sounds obsessive but here's a guy I love, I'm seeming to be in a relationship with, but pieces aren't totally adding up from the time of his "pushing me away" to even recently. It's hurtful because I stood by and supported him, while there are things that were going on that if I was doing them, he would've bolted in a heart beat never to return.

    In my case - "for the sake of being hated" (by him) - I told him I wasn't going to do it this way. That I will support and understand but I needed him on my level or not in my life at all. It's been a trying several months, but I have to think, I either do this now - set my boundaries early on and start PRACTICING standing up for myself - or lose ME completely. In some cases you may feel like you are still giving up to much but think of it as cleaning out the weeds of your soul and simplifying your relationship - "compromise" :)

    Sometimes it's hard but you dont' have to attack your sufferer to stand up for your needs. But, you also have to understand that they can't always handle your needs either, and in the end, it feels so much better to have "other" sources to vent to and lean on at times because your $h1t becomes your sufferers but there is a tendancy (unintentional in most cases) where they waste no time in slinging it back at you along with all of theirs too.

    The saying "Take care of you" is not to be taken lightly ... and I believe that goes for every relationship from what I'm learning on this journey :)
  24. Army_Brat_88

    Army_Brat_88 Well-Known Member

    I guess I'm just worried that people would get mad thinking I turned my back on him, which I'd never to to anyone in my life if they needed me. But when someone DOESN'T say they need you, you can't help but take it personally, and start to withdraw yourself from it all.

    When I sit and think about it calmly and rationally, I can identify with him in a very small way - not with flashbacks and that trauma, but that I am isolating myself and my feelings from him because I don't want to get hurt in the end - so I distance myself and my feelings from him to prevent that possible pain if he when he gets "better" says "I can't be with you" for whatever reason (maybe I trigger flashbacks or feelings). Sigh. It's all one big circle, because from what I'm learning and reading, that's pretty equal to the sufferer's method of thinking: "Distance myself to not feel anything more". That's where it gets extremely frustrating, and I can totally see how that causes the relationships to break down enough to end. It makes sense.
    May1321 likes this.
  25. May1321

    May1321 Well-Known Member

    Army_Brat... you are doing the right thing. It's hard to sort yourself out if you don't give yourself room to breathe and if this is how you need to do it, then take advantage of your time. I know exactly how you are feeling about letting him down but why fight him when you can leave him with a strong memory of you and the good times? If he's thinking about this and doing what he's doing, he already understands how you're being affected and NEEDS for YOU to take care of yourself and be strong. It's not necessarily turning your back on him, you're just stepping out of the bubble of chaos giving him one less thing to sort out so that he too can step out of his bubble.

    Big (((HUGS))) to you... You are giving yourself room to "exist" as my therapist would say :tup:
  26. Heather5522

    Heather5522 Member

    every one thank you !! it really does help reading your responses and to know I am not going crazy.. I haven't sent him any texts, nor have i called ..I did however send and email to him last week letting him know I am here for him no matter what, he hasn't read it.
    My worst fear is that some one on Base did see that he is not doing good or that he did something not so smart while there (i did hear that he was just on base walking around pissed off and with a chip on his shoulder) and that he may have been readmitted and i have no way of knowing.. I know he is in a dark place, i know he has been drinking and I know its not about me. It just seems like PTSD works like a switch that one can't control.
    I dont know at this point i have resigned myself to the possibility of never hearing from him again even though when he came back from CO the first time a few weeks ago it wasn't about not wanting to see me it was about all that he had going on and had to resolve still with the Air Force, the VA school etc. Again though i am resigned to not hearing from him again and just hope he is ok he is such an intelligent good man who has been dealt a horrible deck since childhood.
    Again guys - Thank you so much .. I know i do not have feedback ever but Im still learing and absorbing all you guys have to say about my concerns!! : )
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