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I'm New to the Forum - Boyfriend Has PTSD From Military Service

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by maryjane, Nov 3, 2007.

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  1. maryjane

    maryjane New Member

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    Hello, I'm maryjane, and this is my first posting. My boyfriend is retired now, but he has been diagnosed with PTSD from being deployed with the military. At first, there were no symptoms, or at least I didn't recognize any. He would get angry all of a sudden and wouldn't talk to me for days. This really hurt my feelings, but I pushed it under the rug and was glad to hear from him again. This type of behavior continued and I accepted it. He has cursed me out and threatened to harm me if I don't stop messing with him, he would yell out angrily that I better leave him alone before he hurts me, I would think to myself, what did I do. Even if I did say something that he didn't agree with, or like, there was no reason for the outburst. I did understand that he told me he had PTSD, but I didn't expect the consequences of being with him would be like this.

    He is currently going through a divorce, and I say to myself, I see why she left him. Now I look back on all the times when he said that she did this, she did that, I believe it wasn't true now dealing with the same thing. I imagine what she went through. I really love him, but I am having trouble understanding this whole thing. He say it ain't me, but I catch the blunt of his anger. I have been contemplating telling him that I can't deal with this, but I'm afraid that he would REALLY harm me.

    Just this morning, we had a big blow out over NOTHING, I mean NOTHING. Sometimes I feel he does that to get away from me. He distances himself from me and I feel that he's not been true to me. It hurts feeling that way, but I don't want the PTSD to be an excuse for his behavior.

    He has chronic PTSD, and if there's no cure for this I don't know what I'm going to do. I want to treat him like he treats me, and make him hurt like I hurt, but I can't bring myself to do that because that is not my nature.

    We have been dating on and off for about six years, and have been living in the same house for almost 6 monts. I never expected all this. It seems it got worse when we moved in together.

    I really need help in dealing with this situation. I asked him this morning can I go to the therapy group sessions with him sometime, he told me that I got first hand experience dealing with him. I will revisit that next week. This was not a good weekend for me. I feel that I have to walk on eggshells just to not piss him off about anything.

    I really need help. I love him and I want this relationship to work, but it's killing me inside. And ain't no talking to him about how I feel. No ones' feelings are important as his.

    My father passed earlier this year and the day after we burried him, we had a blow out because I wanted to go to look for a place for us to stay and he wanted to just go and jerk off somewhere. We had just returned to our hometown and living in a hotel after the funeral. After the blow out, he came back to the hotel to get his car, and I just sat and cried, why is he doing this to me. I really hurt most of all because I really needed him to be by my side as I was grieving, afterall, I had just burried my dad the day before. After he got in his car, I went on to a few apartments and neighborhoods to find a place. When I got back to the hotel that evening, his belongings were GONE. I have never felt so low in all my life. Just when I needed him to help me through a really rough time, he was gone.

    Now I don't know how much I can contribute this behavior to PTSD,
     
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  3. Tammy

    Tammy Active Member

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    Hi, welcome to the forum and congratulations for seeking help!
    I did a ptsd program with my partner and in the partners session we were told one very important message- PTSD IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR BAD BEHAVIOUR!!! Yes PTSD is a terrible illness with no cure and all of that but honestly, no one deserves to be treated as you have explained. His leaving you when you were grieving was extremely in my opinion however he may have left because death is a stressor to his ptsd. It still doesn't make us feel any better to know that though, does it? What I believe you need to do, is mark in a diary or journal or even on a calender when he is having a good day and when he is having a bad day and how exactly you fit in to all of that. Give yourself a specific time frame to do this for, say a couple of months or so. At the end of those months, make up a tally. If he upset you or hurt you or whatever on more occassions than he was nice to you, then you should seriously consider your happiness away form him. I know how hard it would be to walk away, especially with the added threat of violence; however sometimes we have to put ourselves and our happiness and well being first. I personally don't think I could/ would tolerate this behaviour at all.
    Anyway, we are all here for you to chat to, even if you do just want to vent about life in general. As is said often here "we are all in the same boat"!
    I hope things get better for you,
    Tammy
     
  4. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    That is exceptional advice Tammy! I had never thought of the calendar idea however it would definitely put things in perspective, wouldn't it?

    Maryjane, it is lovely to have you here. I agree with everything Tammy has said. Yes they are ill and their illness explains much of their behaviour, however when they behave badly they still must own it and take responsibility. There are certain aspects you may tolerate and others absolutely not. Everyone is different in that regard, you must work out your own boundaries for yourself. However I would think that abandoning you whilst grieving for your father is a pretty big event. As Tammy mentions, it more than likely triggered him and/or he was uncertain what to do, however that is not an excuse. Have you spoken to him about it? Told him how you felt about his actions?

    Sadly Maryjane there is no cure for PTSD. Sufferers can learn to manage themselves nicely with much hard work, however it is still a permanent disability. If you wish to remain with your boyfriend you really must accept this fact. He will not be the person he was before PTSD.

    If you are going to remain with him, it is imperative you learn as much about PTSD as you can. You may begin by reading the information sections here upon the forum; there is much excellent information to be had. And as Tammy mentions there are several people here in your situation, we all understand PTSD and what it is to live with someone who suffers from it. We are always here should you wish to vent, ask questions or simply chat. You may also ask the advice of the sufferers themselves, personally I find their comments most useful.

    In any event, take good care and welcome to the forum!
     
  5. maryjane

    maryjane New Member

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    I want to know more about this illness, that's why I'm here. I really love him, but not knowing to handle the situation is devastating to me. It seems like the relationship is deteteriorating and I don't know what to do. I'm at the point if I say anything, it blows him up. I'm wondering if there's some outside influence that's causing this and I take the heat; you know, just an excuse to blow off some steam.
    I'm embarrased about it to the point that I don't talk to my family or friends about our relationship and I just keep on putting up a front when everything's not alright. I pretend it is, but I know it ain't.

    And no, I didn't confront him like I should have when he left me the day after we burried my father while I was grieving, he blamed me for the incident and I had to accept the fact that it was so, but deep down, I couldn't see what I had done wrong. And as far as him being triggered about death, I don't know cause he went to the funeral and didn't show nothing. He takes no responsibility for any of his actions, but always tell me to quit %$#&ing with him. I can't win for losing. Our relationship did not began to unravel until we moved in together. When we moved together after my father passed away, I really needed him to be with me and be by my side until I felt that I could be alone. He would tell me stuff like, go on and be with your folks, you don't need me, or he would say something like I don't want to be around you all the time, I want to go places by myself. That really hurt, because I wasn't ready to be alone, but trying to explain to him would do no good. He makes me feel like the low of the low, but I just keep on wishing, hoping and praying that this thing would blow over and we can began to see each other for the love we have deep down inside.

    I know I can sit here all day and just vent and vent and vent. Although he needs healing, I also needs healing, and a better understanding of all this madness. It's difficult to talk to him about it in fear of the rage that may come after. He brings me home papers to read, but reading them and understanding from a medical point of view is totally different. Hopefully I can go to one of his meetings to see what the PTSD community is really dealing with.

    Just need someone to talk. I don't know of anyone else who is going through my situation, or maybe they're ashamed to talk about it and just post comments on this forum.

    Please continue to reply to me because I really need this. Sometimes I think I'm gonna have a nervous breakdown, but it ain't the right time cause so much is going on in my life, I don't have time for that break right now. Do ya'll know how many times, I've wiped my eyes and blew my nose just trying to write this? Hopefully with the crying, it gets better and I can relieve some anxiety.

    we just had a big blow out this morning when I asked him for a couple of dollars to get some food; didn't know it would turn out like that, so that's one thing I can put in my knapsak not to ask him about. After while, there won't be any conversation when my knapsak gets full. O'h but I was all kinda of B's and MF's this morning, but couldn't expect anything any less.

    What can I do to stop all of this, or what can I do to lessen the frustration he is going through, or what do I really need to do?

    I need help, this is killing me until I know how to handle it.
     
  6. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Please read and follow the guide lines in the following link for further posting! Thanks.

    bec

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

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    MaryJane:

    I really suggest that you read the cup explanation found here: [DLMURL]http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread2296.html[/DLMURL]

    I would like to point out a few things.

    He went to the funeral okay, but then told you to go and be with your folks and that he doesn't want to be around you all the time.

    Now I realize your grieving and I'm sorry for your loss. That said, your partner was trying to let you know he can't handle it. The stress was too much and he needed a break from it. You didn't listen, instead forced him to stay beside you. Which then lead to him blowing up and leaving.

    He tried to tell you in his way that it was too much. The result was him blowing up for being pushed beyond his limit to deal with it.

    This is normal behavior for us sufferers. I'm not saying it's right or that he doesn't have ownership for his actions though. I'm trying to show you WHY he left and how the cue was missed there.

    Also, when you ask a question (that seems so simple for you) and he blows up, that is a good indication of how high his stress levels are. His cup overflowed. It is not the question so much as the stress it causes. Asking us a question means we have to process that question. Then we have to think of the options. Then we have to pick the best option. Then we have to communicate that option. This is well beyond a sufferer's capabilities when over stressed or with uncontrolled symptoms.

    Living with a sufferer means that you have to watch the sufferer's stress levels and act according to those. You need to read as much information as possible and APPLY it to your actions. He has to do the same thing. It's a tricky and long hard road to embark on. If your looking for him to be a rock of support for you, your going to be very disappointed.

    It's good news that he has a group he attends and that he is bringing home information for you. He is trying, but this takes a lot of time and a lot of patience on your part.

    I hope that was helpful some.
    bec
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2015
  8. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    All extremely good points Bec. Thank you for your valuable input!
     
  9. maryjane

    maryjane New Member

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    Becvan,

    Thanks for point that out to me that it may have been too much for him to be my rock after the funeral. I guess I feel that I'm the victim here because I have to suffer as well not realizing how much he suffers.

    I'm really trying (I think). After the blow up this morning, and I cried and boo hoo'd myself to death, I swept it under the rug as I do with all the other blow ups, and when I talk to him, or try to have a conversation, I just act as though nothing ever happened.

    I really appreciate everyone's postings here to help me help myself and to understand him. I didn't know how difficult this would be for both of us. I would blame his behavior on the drugs and alcohol, but as I was reading up on PTSD, those are the things that they may turn to to numb the situation.

    Nevertheless, until I grasp in my mind what is going on, or I have soaked in this situation, I feel that I'm gonna continue to blame him for his actions. Although, in my heart I forgive him for what he's done to me each time, there's no apology on his part. Personally, I feel that he's hinding behind the PTSD as an excuse, but of course he's been diagnosed with the illness for which there is no cure.

    Please, please, please continue your reply to my postings, I need to understand it from someone else point of view and not his.

    I realize that his stress level is very high and it doesn't take but the wind to blow for him to get upset. I hate to see him like that, and wonder if he'd leave me for not understanding.
     
  10. Kathy

    Kathy I'm a VIP

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    Maryjane, how long has he been in treatment for his PTSD? If it is not a very long time, his PTSD will still be very unmanaged. And, if he is self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, it will be making matters worse. Living with a PTSD sufferer who is not managed is infinitely more difficult than being with one who is working upon themselves.

    He is not using his PTSD as an excuse. PTSD is a very serious illness. Imagine if he had cancer and was very ill as a result... would you then expect him to support you emotionally even whilst very ill? Would you blame him for having cancer and not having the energy to support you? Or would you take his cancer into consideration and be especially kind and compassionate, regardless of his mood? PTSD is really no different, it is every bit as serious. I am not saying this to make you feel badly; far from it. Only that you do need to grasp he is ill and would not be treating you as such were he not ill. That is a very important step, once you grasp that is it an illness, truly grasp it, you have half the battle won really.
     
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  11. maryjane

    maryjane New Member

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    Kathy,

    I am really working on understanding his illness. He's been in treatment for about a month (going to meetings). First of all, I feel that I need to vent and tell my side of the story for all of you to understand what I'm going through, and I know you do. The second thing for me to do is come to a realization that this is a SERIOUS illness. I like the comparison you gave about if he had cancer. I was looking at it more if it was a personality disorder, rather than a mental illness.

    I want to really understand this thing, but it's taking a toll on me and I sometimes lash out back at him to let him know how it feels, other times I just go to another part of the house and cry to myself. Trust me, and you know, it ain't easy.

    How do I find group meetings in my area other than where he goes and besides online? I would like to very much express myself to someone in person. I am currently in counseling now, not initially because of the PTSD, but because I needed to move forward in the grieving process, and that with the PTSD situation was not a cute thing at all.

    Now I believe I have to focus my attention to being treated for secondary PTSD, and perhaps I need to seek a real Psyhchologist instead of a counselor. I have to make this work, I know I can, I just got to find a way to deal with all this madness I'm going through.

    I hope I'm not being selfish refering to only how I feel and what I'm going through and blaming him for how he's treating me, but this has to come out. I am hurting as well, and for me to help him, I need help myself and I need understaning on how to react, what to say and what not to say, and just how to approach him in different situations.

    We used to talk about our goals, dreams and asprirations together, but those conversations is long gone. He is having trouble with the divorce issues from his wife, and that has been going on for about two years. They are constantly disagreeing on the final decree. He often says he don't want to get married again, but that's something I may have to deal with if we're together. Don't want that to happen, but marriage isn't gonna make things better.

    I'm gonna give it time, and with more understanding, reading, learning, and help from you guys, I can possibily manage this thing better than I have before.
     
  12. Frankie

    Frankie Well-Known Member

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    Hi MaryJane

    I feel your pain, frustration and hurt and you are worried and scared ! PTSD is very serious and doesn't go away....It just can be managed in a way that makes living easier !

    Becvan and all the others made so many great points !

    My boyfriend has PTSD and it has been a learning experience, I have read many articles on this illness and it has helped me cope with his moods in a better way ! The way we deal with instances in our daily life is so different then the way they deal with it ! What seems so easy and logical for us ....is not for them ! Lots of love, understanding, patience and support is needed. Sensing their moods before they fully come out is important too. They are scared, panicked, insecure, emotional...the list goes on !

    One instance I remember is one time we were at this shopping centre where there was lots of people and they had set a stage where there was a "local" singer...well, I saw his expression change and he said to me "is it ok, if we leave ?" I understood right away and we left....the noise and crowd was becoming too much for him...if I would have pushed him to stay...who knows what would have happened.

    Another time, a similar thing happened, we were at a restaurant, crowdy, noisy....I told him "let's leave" before he even said anything to me. I also knew he was having a bad day, so I gave him the chance to talk it over with me in a private place.

    It is all about compromising and understanding ! I know it is hard, and at times will feel unbearable !

    I know my boyfriend has to always keep busy and many times he needs time to himself, which is ok too ! Often I tell him to relax...and he says "I can't" so I respect that !

    I know it affects everyone differently, however, having read so many posts here, and read so many articles...There are so many similarities. I have come to a better understanding about this illness !

    Understanding, support, love, patience and respect that is all we can offer them. But they will have to make the bigger, more painful steps to getting better ! It can be done !

    With my boyfriend we are at the stage where we can laugh about lots of things, like his forgetting so often !!! lol...we have a sense of humour about it..I call him "my old forgetful man" and he laughs ! He has come a long way with the help of doctors and medicine....Your boyfriend can make it too !!!
     
  13. Tammy

    Tammy Active Member

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    hello again,
    In response to your post about pretending that everything is ok. I do this every day of my life whenever some on else is around, even if they are just on the other end of the phone. This is the only place where I can tlak about how I really feel to.
    I am glad that someone mentioned the cup theory to you, as it is extremely helpful to understand that. But we often forget that good stress as well as bad stress add to that cup.

    You meationed that your bf often likes his alone time... I know from experience how hard it is to know when they want that time. My partner and I literally use signs... for example, if Alex needs some alone time, he shuts the door to whatever room he is in. IN our house the doors are very rarely shut, except the toilet and bathroom, so that my seeing a door shut lets me know to stay out- even if it is my room. If I desperately need something from that room, I have to knock and wait for a response, and I have to shut the door agian on my way back out. When Alex feels that he could handle conversation again, he will either come and see me or he will simply open the door. If I have something to do whilst he wants his alone time, I simply leave him a note explaining where I have gone and why. I probably don't need to give him as much information, but it does save him from stressing about where I have gone. Just an idea; it works for us so maybe it will work for you as well.

    It is very hard to know exactly what their stressors are. I met ppl through the ptsd course who had been together for over thirty years, and she still did not know his stressors. Every day is a learning experience and each day we learn something more, and some days the triggers from yesterday don't bother them at all.

    Drugs and alcohol are vrey often usedby ptsd sufferers. We have to learn how to help them to control that usage, and be there for them when they do over indulge. We are not called carers just for the lack of a better term; it is often hard to explain that without sounding as though we are equal partners at the same time.

    However all of that being said, your bf still needs to take responsibility for his actions. He needs to acknowledge that he has hurt you and he cannot do that when you "sweep it under the rug". You need to tell him! I know that is hard because you dont want him to blow up again, but you caould always write it down. By writing and rereading something, we can often tell if it is going to affect them in a negative way. And even if you put it as nice as possible and he still blows up, at least you know that you tried to make him understand that he was hurting you; and believe me, he will think about it agian once he has calmed down.

    I wil leave that with you for now...
    Tammy
     
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