An Outreach Program of MarineParents.com
Looking back on everything, I feel so guilty. I feel like if I had been a better girlfriend, I would have been able to help him. From the beginning of our relationship, I worried about some of his behavior but I always brushed off the idea of PTSD even though he's been to Iraq two times. I just thought that PTSD was more obvious and that, if he had it, someone in the Corps would have told him by now. There were times when he made me so mad because he did things and said things that I didn't understand. Sometimes I'm afraid that the things I said in response to his actions may have hurt him more.
I think for a long time I was afraid to bring it up to him because I knew he wouldn't agree with me. But when I spoke to with a PTSD counselor, she told me "if you care about him, you'll at least try to help him". Sometimes I feel like I ruined everything because I did bring it up. And today, I feel like he hates me and it kills me inside.
But I think what hurts the most is how he has acted since we broke up. The excessive drinking and partying with people (that he typically would not associate with). Getting so drunk at the wet-down that he could barely walk. Yelling and being verbally abusive toward me. Knowing that he's all alone and wondering if he's okay because I'm no longer welcome in his life. And I don't have any support because people just don't understand--they just tell me to "move on" and "find better"--it's not a matter of finding better. He didn't treat me bad and I know he would have done anything for me, it just seemed like he felt like he couldn't be with me. I wish people would understand that when that is the case, you can't just walk away without looking back. Abandoning someone you love is different from walking away from someone that doesn't deserve your love.
I feel so alone because the person that I love the most is not okay. I want to be there for him so badly, but what he wants is for me to stay as far away as possible. Why can't he see that I would do anything to help him and that I wouldn't walk away. I don't know how to do this. I don't know how to forgive myself. If anyone has any advice or some other way to look at this, please let me know. I know I can't keep living each day in regret, but I don't know how to make it better.
Alicia, while I can feel your desire to help him, there's also only so much you can do. I don't think you should feel guilty, from your post you did what you thought you had to do to keep him safe. He can't see that right now, and might not for a very long time. And while it was hard, you did see a PTSD counselor, which was a step in the right direction.
At this point, I would suggest getting yourself a little help to deal with this guilt. Remember the old addage, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it"? That's kind of the situation here. You can steer him toward help, but you can't make him go there. I know, it's got to be hard to be okay with that, but there's not much else you can do.
Sometimes to protect ourselves, we have to turn away from situations we have no control over. I am so sorry this is going on in your life, but know this-- You love him, he is going through something you cannot change or fix, and all you can do is all you can do. Even if you aren't with him, you have not abandoned him, he's abandoned himself and you.
For your own sake and sanity, go see the PTSD counselor-- for yourself. This kind of event qualifies as one that needs a more expert opinion than I can give. And let us know how things are going. Hugs to you, Alicia.
1~Tanya, New Membership and Group Moderator Volunteer
VPM of LCpl Sam, MP
I agree with what's written below. This isn't your fault. Your ex is a cog in a large military system that really has nothing to do with you, even though it says it's there to keep you safe. And unfortunately for the most part that system abandons its cogs when they're no longer needed to help make it function. You're not to blame, the system is mostly because it's never given the necessary help and support to veterans when they return from war, and that holds true for every war this country's been in.
I agree that you should call a hotline or speak to a counselor if you can, because now you're suffering. You aren't alone and you didn't do anything wrong and I will keep coming back to check on you here. And I know how you feel too because I keep trying to help my brother and so far it's gotten me no where.