by Suzanne Grosser
You love someone with PTSD. But you may not choose to stay in the relationship.
If he is violent, you have to leave. No choice. You have to protect yourself. If you have children and his suffering makes him violent, you should be packing now, not reading this. Get yourself and your children somewhere safe.
If he is verbally abusive, you have to leave. Even if it is the PTSD talking, you do not deserve that. And later, he may hate himself for the way he treated you. Or, he may become violent. You do not want to be there for that. It’s time to leave.
If you are in a relationship with a PTSD sufferer, you have asked yourself this question many times. If you are thinking of ending that relationship, there are a lot of questions you should be asking yourself. Click here to learn more.
But maybe his post traumatic stress disorder is not that bad. He isn’t violent or abusive, but he isn’t himself, either. He is definitely not who he once was and he may never be that man again. He doesn’t give you the love or support you crave. He isn’t the partner you need. This is where it gets sticky. No one can tell you whether to stay or leave.
If you choose to leave, do not feel guilty. Loving someone with post traumatic stress disorder is lonely and painful. He may have changed in ways that are intolerable. No matter what your relationship looks like to others from the outside, you are on the inside and you know the truth. And the truth may be that you can not stay.
You can not cure anyone else’s PTSD. He is responsible for his own treatment, for the choices he makes. Don’t accept any guilt for his poor decisions about how to manage his post traumatic stress disorder.
Try to be specific about why you are leaving. This is as much for you as it is for him. You need to know why, because when you get that phone call in the wee hours of the morning, the one where he begs you to come back, you need to be clear about why you left.
Try not to be judgmental – he doesn’t need to hear a list of his faults. Post traumatic stress disorder is a disease. He is struggling with his PTSD symptoms. He does not need to be reminded of his failures.
Don’t waste a lot of time explaining. Just go. Later maybe the two of you can talk about why. Explaining now turns into arguing, which turns into harsh words neither of you meant to say.
If possible, try to make sure he has a support group in place before you go. He needs a medical doctor that he sees regularly, family or friends he can turn to, and a post traumatic stress disorder therapy group he can share his trauma experiences with. Of course, if he was doing all those things, you might not be leaving. You love him, but you can not force him to get help. You can leave a list of resources next to the phone for him, and maybe bookmark a few websites for him on the computer.
Do not let guilt make this decision for you. Do not let pity make this decision for you. Maybe you could help him if you stayed, but maybe your leaving will be the wake-up call he needs to get help for himself. You love him, but you have to love yourself as well. Do what feels right.
Whatever you choose, many prayers are with you.
Click here to read a sample of
Stay or Go: Loving or Leaving Someone with PTSD
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