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Hello all,

So a few months ago, I told my former boyfriend (a Marine) that I thought he might be suffering from PTSD. I talked to him calmly, and he seemed to listen, and he told me he would consider it.

I guess I had hopes he would trust me and hopes that he would come around, but months have passed and even though he has continually expressed confused emotions, he has made no efforts to work toward a solution with me so on Monday I called him for the last time.

I told him I was going to take a break from being friends because the way he was acting was hurting me. I told him that I wanted to be there for him, and would do anything to help, but with his constant pushing away (and breaking up with me) he had made it impossible for me to help. His response was "please don't get anymore involved" and "it's not your problem anymore". At another point he told me that I just "didn't understand" him and that this was how he was; a "loner" and keeps to himself, and didn't express his emotions to me because he never really loved/liked me.

He made me feel so stupid, and sometimes, I wonder if there really is anything wrong... but in my heart, I always felt there was. When we were together he had expressed multiple times that "things aren't the same", "what used to matter doesn't matter anymore" and that he had a difficulty expressing emotions (that he hadn't had before). He seemed so frustrated--but now he tells me that I misinterpreted what he said and for everything else, he "doesn't remember" saying that.

I know you guys don't know my specific situation, but I am heartbroken. I want to love him and tell him it's okay, but he puts up so many barriers to me and that was the last thing I felt I could do. I just want to know I did my best and that I tried the best I could. It just seems that until he gets help, I can't have a place in his life. Any words of wisdom, advice, or cheerleading would be appreciated. Thank you.

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Replies to This Discussion

aww honey, I can only imagine how hard this is for you.  I don't have any experience with this so I can not give advice with any frame of reference, nothing that would help really.  But take care of yourself, ok?  Remember it is like when you are in a plane, they say to give yourself the oxygen first and then look around.  You need to take care of yourself first. 

Maybe, if you are up to it,,,Is there a way you can support him without direct contact?  could you send him packages or letters?  

I am so sorry that you are both having such a tough time.  I will be praying for you.  Hang in there, and remember that some days, all we need is to get through one day at a time.  just one day.  tomorrow you will worry about what comes then, but today, just focus on getting through today.

Courage doesn't always roar.  Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.  ~Mary Anne Radmacher

My dad suffers from PTSD from Viet Nam, and when I read your post, all I could think of was growing up in a house where you never knew day to day what might trigger either a rage or a complete shutdown with him.  I know it's difficult, but I agree with peepslady-- writing to him will provide two things-- you the opportunity to put down on paper what you are going through, and him the knowledge that you care and want to support him.  Don't believe what's coming out of his mouth right now, his brain is only processing what it can handle. 

Time is the key here.  With a little distance, maybe he will come to see what a void is left in his life without you, and you will be able to gain some perspective.  All you can do is be supportive right now, even if he tells you he doesn't want support.  There are some excellent books that deal with PTSD, not sure if you got the links to them before, but check these out:

http://marineparentsinc.com/store/shop/category.aspx?catid=11

also check out the resources here:

http://www.combatrecovery.com/connections/cantrell.asp

You can also access the DSTRESS hotline, it's not just for servicemembers.  Believe me when I say that you are stressed too.  I hope some of this will help, but always remember, we're here for you!  Let us know how things are going.

 

1~Tanya, New Membership and Group Moderator Volunteer

VPM of LCpl Sam, 22nd MEU (deployed)

Dear (PTSD) girlfriend, I am not a  professional shrink, but I have seen this on two occasions in the past. Once after the first Gulf War, and again about two years ago with another Marine I met.. They develope ways to cope and then have trouble turning them off.  It is difficult to force them to admit they are struggling; and can be even more difficult to get them to seek real help..... Don't push to hard but don't give up either. Maybe putting some distance between you is the right thing to do, but continue to check in on him and give him someone to talk to when he is ready.. At the very least. And just see if he is seeking help on his own, or is more willing to hear your suggestion of seeking help from someone.... Best wishes to you.... Stay in touch with us...


I have a situation with my son and I feel like he is suffering from PTSD - He returned from Afghan last May - but has shunned his family.  He has come home 2 times but for very short visits.  He won't talk to us, he won't return text messages and will not talk about anything that has happened to him.  He has gotten engaged to a girl we hardly know, doesn't want us to talk, and says he never wants to come back here again, talks horrible to us and then turns around and came home with alot of rage.  Anyway, I don't know what to do...I see a road to distruction ----spending every cent he has and telling us he is paying bills, but we get hit with collection calls, being enraged for months and then called to say he was coming home but just to get rid of some stuff, not staying.  How do I as a mother deal with this?  I need help and have been suffering in silence for too long.
wellspoon1 said:

Dear (PTSD) girlfriend, I am not a  professional shrink, but I have seen this on two occasions in the past. Once after the first Gulf War, and again about two years ago with another Marine I met.. They develope ways to cope and then have trouble turning them off.  It is difficult to force them to admit they are struggling; and can be even more difficult to get them to seek real help..... Don't push to hard but don't give up either. Maybe putting some distance between you is the right thing to do, but continue to check in on him and give him someone to talk to when he is ready.. At the very least. And just see if he is seeking help on his own, or is more willing to hear your suggestion of seeking help from someone.... Best wishes to you.... Stay in touch with us...

Although I am dealing with a boyfriend with PTSD, I would still like to share some advice that I have collected since learning about PTSD and Marines. I have reached out to many people (a psychiatrist, therapists from the DSTRESS hotline, other Marines, and of course friends) and all have suggested to me, yes, let him know what you think, and yes, tell him you care, but in the end if he chooses to get help, that is his choice. I did a lot of research and did a lot of talking before I approached my boyfriend with the idea of PTSD because I knew that if I tried to talk about it and didn't know completely what I was talking about, he would shut me down. I recommend this to you too because as you probably already know, PTSD and emotional "weakness" are not well-accepted in the Marine culture.

One of the most painful things I've had to deal with is dealing with him not being ready to work on his problem. I think he knows something is wrong (and as someone who was close to him) I definitely knew something was wrong. He has repeatedly made comments to me like "it's not your problem anymore" and "I'll deal with it later" and it makes me so mad because as a girl that loves him, I would do anything to help. But I know that the more I push and pry and try to force him to get help, that it will just push him away.

It must be hard keeping all of your thoughts about his behavior inside, but I think it is important that, if you think he might be suffering from PTSD, or if you just want to address his behavior, that you not hold it in. That's not fair to you. Some Marines will get help when their behavior is pointed out, but if he completely dismisses the idea, or refuses to get help, know you're not alone.

I used to live my days in regret thinking that if maybe I had said the right thing, or if maybe I had said it in a different way that maybe he would take my hand and get help, but now I see that he just might not be ready. After I talked to him for the last time, I told him that if he ever needed anything or wanted help with this, that I would be there for him, but that for now, I would give him the space that his actions were begging me for. Another important word of advice that has gotten me through was when a friend told me "he doesn't have the right to destroy someone else's life by not getting help" and it's true. I love him and I deserve to be happy, but until he seeks help for his PTSD, I can never be happy with him.

I hope my advice was helpful. I will pray for you tonight.

Paula said:


I have a situation with my son and I feel like he is suffering from PTSD - He returned from Afghan last May - but has shunned his family.  He has come home 2 times but for very short visits.  He won't talk to us, he won't return text messages and will not talk about anything that has happened to him.  He has gotten engaged to a girl we hardly know, doesn't want us to talk, and says he never wants to come back here again, talks horrible to us and then turns around and came home with alot of rage.  Anyway, I don't know what to do...I see a road to distruction ----spending every cent he has and telling us he is paying bills, but we get hit with collection calls, being enraged for months and then called to say he was coming home but just to get rid of some stuff, not staying.  How do I as a mother deal with this?  I need help and have been suffering in silence for too long.
wellspoon1 said:

Dear (PTSD) girlfriend, I am not a  professional shrink, but I have seen this on two occasions in the past. Once after the first Gulf War, and again about two years ago with another Marine I met.. They develope ways to cope and then have trouble turning them off.  It is difficult to force them to admit they are struggling; and can be even more difficult to get them to seek real help..... Don't push to hard but don't give up either. Maybe putting some distance between you is the right thing to do, but continue to check in on him and give him someone to talk to when he is ready.. At the very least. And just see if he is seeking help on his own, or is more willing to hear your suggestion of seeking help from someone.... Best wishes to you.... Stay in touch with us...

Paula, you cannot make him get help.  I know this is destroying you inside, but until he decides that he wants to change this behavior, then you can talk until you're blue in the face and it will be falling on deaf ears. 

Please, please talk to a professional about this.  You deserve to be free of this stress and anguish.  eMarine.org has links to professionals that will be happy to help you--AND your son , if he chooses to seek it.  When you go to the page, the upper right says "Private help 24/7", click there and you'll be taken to a resource page where you can choose someone to talk to.

We're here for you, too.  My prayers will be that your son will see the destruction he's wreaking on his life, and that you can find some peace in the knowledge that even if he can't express it now, he does love you.

 

1~Tanya, New Membership and Group Moderator Volunteer

VPM of LCpl Sam, 22nd MEU (deployed)

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