Am I Helping Or Making It Worse?

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Never mind that I am trembling when he hugs me....


You appear to be about the same age as my daughter. I don't want to tell you what to do but lets pretend my daughter was in this situation and came to me for advice:

Daughter-What do you suggest Daddy?

Dad-RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN AWAY FROM THIS ABUSER. You are in a relationship/dating this person as an interview for marriage or a long term relationship. Is he passing YOUR TEST OR NOT? IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT? You will not change him.....Only his desire to change will change him.

I have lurked on this site for months and this is my first post. I am afraid for you.



I have no idea what his problem is. It could be PTSD. It could be something else. It honestly reminds me of my ex-husband. He didn't have PTSD, but he had some strong narcissistic tendencies and sometimes used that kind of behavior to try to control things (me).

Is he being treated for PTSD? One of the most amazing things about my ex was that he made up stories. Very convincing stories. About all kinds of things. It would have been totally possible for him to create a whole story line about combat service and PTSD, if he thought it would serve his purposes.

What ever the deal, this guy doesn't sound like he's safe to be around now. If he is what he says he is, and he really loves you, he owes to to himself and you to get some help so he gets his act together. BEFORE your relationship goes any farther. PTSD can affect people in a lot of ways. As has been said, anger is one of them. But, with help and work, PTSD does not have to take over and run your life.

Good luck!


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He does seem to be a narcissist, for sure. Everything in this relationship revolves around him...from the activities that we do, to what we talk about, to what goes on during sex. I also think it makes him feel better about himself to try to bring me down to his level by criticizing me. Before I moved in with him, I was a very vibrant, joyful young woman...I am an artist and have many talents. I'm popular wherever I go, I sing and play many instruments, and have even recorded a cd. I also am an accomplished horsewoman, and have traveled all over the place. Basically, I am a desirable, valuable, and interesting person. But now...well now, my life revolves around cooking for him, cleaning up after him, and meeting his many emotional needs. I am aware that I allowed this to happen and if I stay with him, I need to take steps to reclaim my life.

Laura 2

Basically, I am a desirable, valuable, and interesting person. But now...well now, my life revolves around cooking for him, cleaning up after him, and meeting his many emotional needs. I am aware that I allowed this to happen and if I stay with him, I need to take steps to reclaim my life.

The thing is with abuse your sense of yourself is soon eroded. If you stay with this young man you will lose sight of yourself as you become more and more subservient to his extreme moods and all your time and effort will be taken up by walking on eggshells, averting violent dramas or clearing up after violent dramas. You won't be able to reclaim your life whilst in the relationship.

There are plenty of lovely, kind and caring young men out there who would love to be in a loving partnership with you! Please take care of yourself and go look for one of these caring young men! You'll be doing the abusive lad a favour, really you will.


@LadyAnne92, I'd like to offer a few insights from somebody who loves her own Vet. Some of this may seem insensitive, but reality is reality when you attempt a relationship with a Combat PTSD sufferer.

Being a supporter to person with untreated PTSD is almost impossible. In order for PTSD relationships to work out, both people have to be willing to make changes, sacrifice, and work hard. You can learn to be a very good supporter, but if he is not getting treatment and working on himself, then it won't matter what you do. He could get massive amounts of treatment, but if you don't learn about his PTSD or how to support him, it's not going to work either. Forget everything you think should happen in a normal relationship. It's not going to work with a sufferer.

"Thanks for the great end to memorial day". Now that just made me mad...

Memorial Day is hellish for Vets with Combat PTSD... that may explain his attitude on Memorial Day.

I know that our issues can't all boil down to me being selfish and needy, when in reality I try so very hard to fulfill all of his needs, including his need for space.

You have to be willing to learn to "let it go." I think one thing that all good supporters learn is that petty things are not worth a PTSD melt down, and one of the things you grow to realize is that sometimes some of your "needs" are petty. Not to say that you have to compromise your "relationship deal breakers." For example, abuse is never excusable, neither is cheating, lying, or bullying. If you need physical affection all the time, then somebody with PTSD is probably not a good choice of partner for you. However, if you can understand that because of his disorder he is not going to be able to be affectionate all the time, and accept it in your life, then you can make it work. If you cannot make these kind of sacrifices, you should not be with him.

If you feel the need to be right all the time, this is not going to work. If you are being the least bit needy, it's not going to work. Sufferers cannot handle their own emotions a lot of the time, so they are not going to be able to handle yours.

he now wanted space to "relax" and "do his own thing", which usually meant scrolling through his social media feed, watching TV, or playing video games....I went along with it and tried to just be there with him even if we weren't specifically doing anything together. So, I would sit next to him on the couch and lean my head on his shoulder or hold his hand. He seemed incredibly annoyed at that.

When they say they need space, they need space... alone. They need to reset. That is totally a PTSD thing, and the kindest and most loving thing you can do is give them alone time. As in, leave the house, go do something on your own. He needs solitude. Another person touching him when he is feeling the need to isolate is probably unbearable to him.

I jumped out of bed, stormed down the hall into the living room, and proceeded to defend myself! I told him that I live in confusion over what he wants from me, as every path I take seems to irritate him more. He cut me off and said that he "didn't want to hear any of my bullshit". I was not going to be dismissed like that. I was furious. I smacked my palms down on the back of the couch and yelled that I expected to be treated with respect and that I would not tolerate being written off like that. He went berzerk.

Sufferers of Combat PTSD were trained to fight in "fight or flight" situations by the military. They aren't going to shrink away and get sad when confronted, they are going to be aggressive. Confronting them with an argument is never a good idea. If you come at them aggressively, they are going to respond aggressively.

But now...well now, my life revolves around cooking for him, cleaning up after him, and meeting his many emotional needs.

That's what supporters have to do sometimes. He is not well right now. He is not treated, and not handling his symptoms well. When sufferers are in a rough patch, you have to be willing to be a caretaker.

He will never be normal. He will always have PTSD. You will always have to meet his emotional needs.


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Wow....thank you, @Sweetpea76. That's the kind of input I was looking for. I need to learn how to help him best, and it's gonna be counterintuitive a lot of the time, I think. I also need to encourage him to get help...and tell him that if he doesn't, then I can't stay.


It's funny, but you learn a lot about yourself when you learn how to be a supporter. I find myself making a lot of positive changes in my own attitudes.


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I just love him so much, and wish from the bottom of my heart that he didn't have to deal with this at all. I know he will never be entirely normal, but I look forward to the day when he has some relief.


Right now, the best thing for you to do is to research PTSD and Combat PTSD specifically. This will help you start to identify his symptoms, and understand why he may be experiencing them. Once you figure this out, you can figure out the best way to deal with those symptoms. There is a good starter book for supporters called "The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Relationship: How to Support Your Partner and Keep Your Relationship Healthy" by Diane England. It has sections on Combat PTSD specifically, communication, and conflict resolution.


My fiance has Bipolar I with several hospitalizations and so on. My best friend has depression. My other close friend has severe PTSD from childhood abuse. My mother has clinical anxiety and trauma issues. I have Bipolar II and PTSD.

You want to know how many times any of us have treated each other with the callous neglect or frightening abusive outbursts you describe? Zero. Nada. Never. We treat each other with decency even when our mental worlds are falling to pieces.

Mental illness is never an excuse for abusive or neglectful behavior. Full stop. No exceptions.

This probably sounds harsh to some, but it's a boundary I've come to through hard experience. Letting someone tear you down never helps them, it only hurts you, and it really sounds to me like that's what's happening to LadyAnne.

Jerks can get PTSD too. They're still jerks.
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