Relationship Issue & PTSD

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My boyfriend and I have an up and down relationship. He also has PTSD and I don’t think its only from Iraq. I think his past has a lot to do with it. He has called me names (which I actually don’t take offense too) or calls me dumb or stupid (I do HATE that though). He always react as in a split second, is irrational and blames me for most everything. Even the way he acts. He hates talking to me about anything serious that has to do with the relationship and sometimes he comes back and apologizes. He randomly tells me he loves me or appreciates me. He was taking Valium for his anxiety but quit it and now he takes methadone which I actually think helps him a lot. He doesn’t recognize my accomplishments, he is very selfish, he days he will do things for me and then the tiniest thing will throw him off. We did break up for a month last January and he kept writing me.I am sympathetic to his past and I do not treat him like a charity case but I am very devoted, I support his decisions whether I agree with them or not, I say I told ya so or way to go, he is not affectionate and rarely says I love you to me. Sex is another thing. I know he enjoys sex with me but he can never seem to to last and if its not that he just doesn’t want to be touched so attempting to even initiate something ends up making me feel completely rejected. I never pressure him to talk about Iraq, I will do anything for him and even though I feel safe physically I don’t mentally. I lfeel like he is going to kick me and my daughter out. He was kicking us out on and off for a while. He will not get help because he would have to pay since he does not go to the VA (I dont blame him that place is a joke). I don’t know what to do or what I’m doing but I have thought of leaving but I love him too much to do that to him, like everyone else. Is there anything I can do to make things a little smoother on us? I don’t think he will break up with me wither, I think I’m the one that has to leave. He claims to be ok with it if I did but I know he would be contacting me within a week.

A. You should ask him to receive counseling. If he’s unwilling, then there’s little else you can do. It will then be up to you to make a decision about whether you want to stay in this relationship.

As it stands, the relationship could not be described as healthy. He does not treat you well. Perhaps that’s because of his history and time at war but nonetheless, he does not treat you well.

Suggest individual counseling. If he is unwilling to attend individual counseling perhaps he would be willing to attend couples counseling. If he is unwilling to do either, then you must decide your next move. If nothing changes, then I would advise against staying in this relationship. It’s concerning that he can treat you badly and you are willing to stay.

It would be advantageous for you to enter therapy. One reason is that you would gain much-needed emotional support during this difficult period of time. Another would be to explore the reasons why you are accepting of a partner who is emotionally abusive. Therapy could help you immensely.

He may be experiencing psychological problems but that does not make it okay for him to treat you badly. You should not accept it as an excuse. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Mar 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Relationship Issue & PTSD. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/03/23/relationship-issue-ptsd/