An Outreach Program of MarineParents.com
For a long time, I've been having problems with my marine boyfriend...
At first, I thought he just needed time, but after talking to some people, I'm starting to think that his behavior isn't normal and that it could be a sign of something more serious.
What he does that worries me:
-Has no friends, only acquaintances
-Talks in his sleep often and has recurring dreams of slaying "monsters"
-Emotionally distant from me, doesn't seem comfortable expressing emotion
-Seems un-interested in sex with me (but was quite promiscuous in his younger days)
-Speaks of having internal "rage" and "walls" that he needs to get over
-Sleeps with shotguns under his bed
He was not in combat to my knowledge, but was deployed twice to Iraq for 7 and 9 months. He did tell me once that because he had been in charge of men who died while in Iraq, that he couldn't promise me he could ever the feel emotions I "wanted" him to feel for me.
I'm just wondering if this sounds like PTSD to anyone? He doesn't seem to have flashbacks or triggers, but he just seems numb and hurt...I don't know what to do. I don't want to talk to him about this unless I'm sure of something. Thank you for your opinion.
First, I'm not a therapist, so anything I write in response to your question should be read with that understanding. Still, it sounds like you have a right to be concerned.
The Mayo Clinic website also points out that not all symptoms take place in every person, and not all at once. It does, like so many other sites, encourage people with these symptoms to follow up with a therapist or organization that helps people afflicted with it. Of course, that's something that is hard for a Marine to do. For too long getting help for PTSD was perceived by too many as shameful, or a sign of weakness: a huge no-no in a warrior-based culture like the Marine Corps. That perception now is changing. Thank God.
One of the best phone calls I ever got came earlier this year when one of my sons, who had tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, called to tell me he had gone to his VA Center and was talking to a counselor after he went throught their screening for PTSD. He said it has really made a positive difference in his life.
Good luck to you and your Marine.
I've spoken to a professional about this but I've been hesitant to ask others because I am new to being with a marine and I'm still learning the culture. I know that they are trained so differently than other branches and I thought this all might be a part of the job, but now that I'm hearing that there might be something wrong, I definitely think I need to learn more about this so that I can be more understanding.
I applaud your approach. Marines (and the word is always capitalized since it is a proper noun) live by a code which would be hard to comply with for the vast majority of us. That code is built on the concepts of honor, brotherhood, compassion for the weak and fierceness towards the enemy, particularly in battle. They are the people who run toward the sounds of the guns rather than -- like most of us -- away from them. They also never leave a fallen Marine behind. If your friend had Marines under his command who died in battle, well -- that's tough for anyone to deal with, but I think particularly so for a young Marine.
Again, good luck.
Above all, please know (and help him know) that he can't be whole again until he allows himself to heal and ignoring this is not going to help. Please let me know if I can do anything else to help.
1~Tanya, MFN Volunteer: Group and New Membership Moderator
VPM of LCpl Sam, 22nd MEU deployed
This is a lot like the behavior my brother's exhibiting after two tours to Afghanistan. His behavior is out-right odd and kind of spooky. You're not alone. I'm equally confused. Thanks everyone for the advice.