General Support for Partners

Not open for further replies.


New Here

Hi, Last year I entered a relationship with a vietnam vet who suffers from ptsd. I have read several research books on this subject as well as read several autobiographical accounts of serving in vietnam. while I found these to be helpful to a degree, I feel that I do not have enough information to feel comfortable with the mood swings, etc that my partner suffers from.
I, too, have experienced severe trauma in my life on a few occasions. So, while I can relate to how he feels, I realise that there will be differences in our reactions to our experiences. I really need to talk to other partners about their understandings and experiences as my partner and I are serious about our relationship.

Thanks, Fred
My mother had a partner for several years who was a Vietnam vet, so I can appreciate the situation you must must find yourself in sometimes. He was a sergent in the police force with an unblemished record & medals for bravery, but at home he used to sink into the bottle & deep depressions. I used to be amazed at how different the two sides of him were. At work he was highly respected & no one would have known there was a problem, but at home he would suffer & unfortunately those around him would too.

I wish I could offer some advice on how to deal with it, but we just had to accept him for what he was, because as a person he was a good person. Eventually he left the police force & the city to live in the outback, and he seems like a changed person now & laughs a lot more often, and a lot less drinking. He never used to talk about his tours in Vietnam, but now he will talk about it sometimes. So maybe a change in his environment was the answer? Or maybe the pain has subsided some.
Hi Fred,

Welcome to the forum. Kerrie-Ann and myself are currently on holidays, though Kerrie-Ann currently doesn't have a computer with her, so she can't respond at present until the 12 Jan 06.

I appreciate that you have had traumatic events within your life, but did they give you PTSD? If not, then it is very hard in my honest opinion to know what a person with PTSD is thinking, feeling or suffering. Don't get me wrong here, this isn't a dig at you from your statement, it is merely how I perceive the effects of PTSD to those without it. I say this because some of those I have served with on operations didn't develop PTSD from the same / similar trauma's I was exposed. It is only a small handful of actual exposed trauma cases that develop PTSD from the event.

PTSD is completely different from just traumatic events alone, as it brings in depression, anxiety, withdrawal, social hinderance, anger, violence, and so so much more than just the original trauma itself.

Honestly, the best thing you have done is come here to ask other spouses about the facts, as books often don't highlight, nor give that emotional feel to the actual events of living with someone with PTSD. I know my wife struggles with me quite often... sometime PTSD, sometimes something may off just pissed me off.

I would say, find groups of spouses through RSL's, Vet support groups, VVCS and so forth, and actually chat with spouses face to face, so you get the full emotional and physical feel of the life experiences. Some with PTSD handle it better than others, some not so much. If a sufferer isn't in denial that something is wrong with them, then atleast that is a huge jump for the person, and probably some reassurance to the spouse that things aren't at the worst anymore.
Hi Fred,

Sorry it has taken me a while to reply. You mentioned that your partner was a Vietnam Vet, does he receive ongoing counselling and is he on any medication? They will tell you that they don't need any of those things but they certainly help everyone involved with them. You have taken the right steps to arm yourself with knowledge but Anthonys' suggestion to find some groups of people who are partners of vets is also good way to go. The support you will find from them is unique and in their own way help they to create a better understanding as you soon realise that you are not the only one. Sometimes that alone can help. If you find that a bit daunting you can just keep chatting to me here online. I have been with Anthony now for 4 yrs so I have some understanding of what you are likely to be experiencing.

It is not easy living with these characters. I know people who wish for eventful things to happen in their, I just wish for peace and quiet with the least amount of stress.

Talk to you soon, take care
Not open for further replies.