Relationship Advice When Your Man Has PTSD

Well, let’s hit another tough topic today shall we? As I’ve said, all of them are tough. But this particular issue is hitting America in volumes that are less than comfortable. Today’s topic? How to get him back when your man has PTSD. This topic is sort of a partner to a previous topic, how to get back together with someone that has a mental health diagnosis. I mentioned in that column just how common that is. When it comes to PTSD, it’s even more common.

How common is PTSD?

Before I started answering this question today, I took a little journey over to the National Institute of Mental Health to see just how common this problem is. It is a problem that as you read this right now, PTSD is affecting 7.7 million Americans.

That’s a LOT. The greatest comfort you can take from this is that, whoever you know that is struggling with this is not alone. But when you consider suicide to be one of the “side effects” of PTSD, it’s not a comforting number at all. This important fact about PTSD is why I’ve chosen to cover mental health again for all of you, because I know if it is affecting one reader, it is affecting many.

One of our readers is in love with a man who has PTSD. Before I get to her question, let me tell you something about this disorder, and about any mental health disorder really. When someone is struggling psychologically, they are very difficult to understand. They seem illogical at times, irrational at others, and just plain psychotic when they are at their very worst.

So easy to write these guys off and say, “Good luck with that!”

But for some, not so easy. When you are carrying their child or have a ring on your finger and made promises to them, there is nothing easy at all about it.

You can and you will spend hours and days and months crying about this, and wondering what you can do to help them get their heads straight. The cold hard truth is that YOU alone can not do anything. You can do SOME things, but you alone will not be able to heal them. Without you, their journey of healing may be tougher, there is no question about that. But what happened to them is NOT your fault, and is a problem that is bigger than you are able to handle.

The other thing you need to realize when you are going in and about your every day with them is that….they process things differently than you do. For example, they may freak out or melt down when they hear thunder booming, or fireworks across the street, or any little thing that is their own unique PTSD trigger. This kind of thing could destroy their day. What are they going to do? Take it out on you.

But he’s not going to say, “I am freaking out because that noise reminded me of a roadside bomb that killed my best friend.”

Instead, he’s going to freak out and have a meltdown, and when you walk into the room it will sound like, “Why aren’t the freaking dishes done already? Where the hell is my dinner? What the hell have you been doing all day?? For god’s sake woman can’t you do anything right? I go out to fight for this country and you have done absolutely NOTHING to show any respect! What were you doing all that time I was gone anyway?? Who were you with? I sacrificed so much and THIS is how you thank me??”

It doesn’t make sense to you right? You are left feeling hurt and responsible, and it doesn’t even occur to you that he’s not processing things properly and that this isn’t your fault. He’s not processing things in the same way that someone who didn’t have to make all of those sacrifices would be.

That’s because he’s not that other person, and he’s sick. And he needs help. Help that you alone can not provide.

Does that mean your relationship is doomed?

No. It just means that you need to be redirected towards the tools that will help repair it. Think of it this way. If you bought a car that you fell in love with, but it made a squeal every time you hit a speed bump, what would you do?

Would you give it away and get a new car because you couldn’t understand this problem?

Of course you wouldn’t. And you wouldn’t do that with the love of your life either. Instead, you would take him somewhere to get help, find out what is really causing the squeal, and hang in there with him until the squeal stops showing up, or shows up less and less and less.

Let’s go to our reader’s question today. Her biggest question is how to get him back, or even if she can get him back, after he’s been diagnosed with PTSD. I’m going to call her “Faith”.

Here’s what Faith wrote in, once again I’ve highlighted key points to take away.

My current ex and I were in and off for a year. He’s an army veteran and he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He is also very skeptical of anything remotely good and pleasant in his life, but overall, he was a great, sweet boyfriend… The day I told him I told him I’m pregnant, he said that he wants a paternity test when the baby is born which was a slap in the face to me. I’ve always been what you would call “sexually shy” and I despise the idea of “flings” and he knew that practically since day one and yet he dumped me a couple of days later for “cheating” on him.

His “evidence” was a sincere letter I had written to a friend he and I shared that passed away. That friend happened to be a guy by the way. The whole break up was a total nightmare and I could never repeat the things he said to me. Long story, short, he blamed me for the relationship falling apart. He said that he’ll stick around to be the father, but I’m seven months along and he won’t bother to come visit at all. He got a new girlfriend a week or two after the breakup. I told him that I need to meet her if she’s going to be around the baby and he refuses.

I know him well enough that he doesn’t like the fact that I’m pregnant so he made up a different excuse to be mad about and he’s just with this girl till I deliver the baby and he gets his paternity test. He says that he doesn’t want to be involved with me, only the baby, but he has repeatedly tried to convince me to “get my rocks off” and the last time I did see him, he was all cuddly (that was about two months ago). I know he still gives a damn, but he thinks he can hide it. Recently, he did text me and ask me how I was doing and what I was up to, which was odd to me.. At the most, I talk to him once, maybe twice a week.Any tips to help get his head straight?

This is one of those questions that offers more hope than others, even if it doesn’t feel that way to you right now, Faith. You’ve said a lot of great things about this guy, even though you are clearly frustrated. “Overall, great sweet boyfriend.” You’ve mentioned that he still checks in on you, that he’s cuddly, and that he’s even passed on a few innuendos on occasion. As far as I’m concerned, all green lights for this relationship.

If you want my gut instinct hunch that I received when I was reading your letter, Faith, as soon as that paternity test comes back as his baby, you won’t need to write me letters any more because you will be happy and in your mommy bliss…with the man that you love. Of course, I hope you do come back and continue to help our readers with your experiences, but you won’t have a broken relationship anymore. I may be wrong, but about these kinds of things, I seldom am.

Why do I say this? Because there’s nothing bad about this guy. You said so yourself. He has some jealousy and insecurity issues obviously. Any man that would ask you to get a paternity test without probable cause is jealous and insecure. But you have to remember, he processes things differently.

It is very difficult for him to see anything good in his life right now, because he is an Army Veteran and has seen the worst of the worst in terms of the sanctity of human existence. Once someone is traumatized by something they have experienced or witnessed, it takes years for them to overcome that one image or that one experience and believe that there IS good in the world. He will realize that however, with the right help, and the right slow and steady journey from you, see the good in the world. And, since there’s a new baby on the way, miracles will become more believable to him sooner than you might think. You can’t ever stop remembering that the way he processes things right now has nothing to do with YOU, and everything to do with what happened to him AFTER he took that long flight to who knows where into the middle of war not that long ago. How can you remind yourself of this?

Put yourself in his shoes.

On top of the trauma and destruction and havoc that war wreaks on someone’s brain wires, think about this. If you went away for 18 months and had to leave him for that long, wouldn’t you have some of your own insecurities about how he passed his time as well? What if you ran across a letter that he wrote to some other woman while you were gone? You would question him, no matter how much you love him, wouldn’t you?

The answer is yes, because we ALL would. That’s normal. Outside of his PTSD, there is nothing abnormal or wrong with this guy. The girl he is with now? You said so yourself. He’s just with her to pass the time until he sees the black and white DNA results.

If he’s texting you, he’s thinking about you.

You also said he is still texting you. If he was in love with her, whether you were carrying his baby or not, he wouldn’t be doing that.

You also asked, “Any tips to help get his head straight?”

For that, my advice is, get him to a doctor that he can see regularly to help him cope with his PTSD until or after the baby is born. You can’t get his head straight. And from what I have seen, you are doing just fine handling things on your own right now.

You however, may want to work on getting your head straight. NOT saying there is something messed up with you, but merely suggesting that you turn your head away from your own pain and problems, and look directly at his and the truth that he is showing you. That truth is that he IS struggling with something, and that he DOES care enough about you to keep checking in on you, and that you KNOW he still “gives a damn”.

So give him a chance to give a damn, without judging him for his actions that are in all likelihood caused by his mental health struggles. You don’t need to and you shouldn’t be texting him all of the time to see how he is or ask whatever excuse you come up with. But you can give him a tremendous gift by giving him some space, and drawing close to him when he draws close to you the next time he texts you. He will realize at one point that this girl he is with right now is not the one that has stood by him through thick and thin.   I can assure you, he is not in love with a person that he took into his life one week after he broke up with the mother of his child.  And when he takes that bundle of joy into his arms for the first time, he will see you in an entirely different way. THIS I promise.

What do you do next?

The best relationship advice I can give you right now, Faith, is, hang in there. That’s why I changed your name to Faith. Every time you feel that baby kick, remember that he IS with you, more than it feels on those dark hours. Take care of YOU for the next two months, and by doing so, you will in some way be taking care of all three of you. Your child is the most important thing in your life right now, and the rest, from the sounds of it, will fall into place sooner than later.
We wish you the best of luck, and are eagerly waiting your update!!! Readers, drop some notes in the comments to wish our Faith well until we hear from her again!

Relationship Advice for Women That Can’t See The Not So Subtle Signs of Abuse

Today’s topic is a tough one. Oh, they’re all tough. From mental health issues to paternity tests there is no easy answer for any love dilemma. But the toughest ones for me to read are the ones where abuse is so obvious to the rest of the world, but not so much to the poor ladies that suffer with this every single day. Many of you women write in on this very topic and I wish I could answer them all. Today we are going to cover this topic and I hope and pray that those of you who have not had a letter answered yet will take note! Here is a very common question I get, “I think he’s abusive and I want to know how to get him back. Help!”

That’s pretty much the gist of today’s question, and I’m here to say, let that fish go sweetheart. See, the unfortunate thing is that most of these questions do not even use the word abuse, which suggests to me that you poor women don’t even realize that it’s happening. It doesn’t have to be hitting or slamming or slapping or punching for it to be abuse. If a man is not treating you with dignity and respect, and is hitting or slamming or slapping or punching your emotional heart strings without any concern for your emotional welfare, it’s abuse. Period. You don’t need to know how to get him back, you need to know how to move on, heal, and find the man that will give you the dignity and respect you so deserve.

The problem is that we don’t think highly enough of ourselves to even admit when he’s behaving oh so wrong. A mean word here or there, hey, it happens in the throes of fighting. But when this is happening every single day of your relationship, you need to get out. There is no length of No Contact Zone that will save your relationship, unless he experiences some heavy therapy before you even consider taking him back.

Today’s reader, I am going to call her Angel. Let’s look at her story, one that I know is all too familiar with many of you.

Hi,I hope you can help me sort out things..my situation is very hard and even I can’t understand why things are like this now..First my bf is like a hard to get guy, I can’t ask questions, I can’t ask where he’s going or whom he is with…he always said it’s a business matter and I should not question him.

We’re living together but when he’s angry with me he will always have this habit of slapping me that I don’t have the right to ask him anything even if he comes home with a woman or [sleeps with] all the women he wants…It hurts you know, even sometimes those things make me paranoid..

We had some serious problems and some of it was my mistake..wrong decisions and it affected him..He doesn’t trust me with anything anymore because of my fault, but we’re still living together…But sometimes he wants me to look up for my own place..I’m just at home and running errands for him….then last month he said he will have a visitor from his family so I have to look up for a place to stay..Then when I found a place after a week he broke up with me..he said he doesn’t like my attitude that always asking things that he doesn’t like….I can’t help but txt or call him because ,he promised me he will call and txt me, but if I dont txt or call he won’t remember me..

Then, I beg him to meet me because I miss him so much. He agreed and we watched movie..then while eating he told me there’s no relatives coming to the house he just wanted me to learn something being away with him,..he said I can always go back whenever I want so I decided to go back that night too…then on his laundry there a used clothes like a sign that someone made love..and I asked him, he said it’s a man thing because he missed me but it’s strange ….

I hope u get what I mean…I’m 2 weeks now back here on his house, but last night, I saw an email on his laptop..I mean on a notepad..it broke my heart..he’s flirting with someone..I txted him and told him about it..He told me I should go back to my house and I am imagining things that there is us…and he doesn’t look forward for us to stay longer..

My world stop last night with the SMS. I replied to him and asked why he lead me on and asked me to start a family, thats why I came back …and he didn’t reply me…but I’m still here. I didn’t talk to him today and he didn’t make a move to talk to me…

I hope you can help me with what’s the best thing to do..

I love him so much but I don’t know why he’s like this? Do you think he loves me?
thanks in advance.

More power.

Let’s break this down. I am not going to go line by line, as you can see I’ve bolded some of the “areas of concern” to me. Angel says, I can’t do this, I can’t do that, I don’t have this right, I don’t have that right, and the list is quite lengthy and goes on and on. She also mentions that this person who has the audacity to call himself a man has this “habit of slapping me”. That to me is the most disturbing, however, I do need to say, even without that, this is an abusive man.

An abusive man is one that doesn’t need to hit to be abusive. He is manipulative, controlling, narcissistic, and will ALWAYS put his own needs before hers. When his words don’t work, he uses his hands to get the message across. For this couple, he calls the shots in every single area. He has even tried to break up with her, but clearly has a difficult time finding a woman that will put up with these antics, so he “lets” Angel come back into his life when he is lacking what he needs in a relationship. Which essentially is servitude and an obedient woman who will shut up and do what he says and do what he wants with whoever he wants without giving him flack.

That is not okay. That is not a healthy relationship. And if you do get him back for good, the only thing that you can guarantee for yourself is that these problems are going to continue, and get worse.

When an abusive man finds a woman who will let him get away with one little thing, he loves it. He starts stripping away her rights one by one until she does exactly what he wants, when he wants. Then, because he feeds on power and manipulation, this one little thing will not be enough. So he will escalate to another bigger thing. First she can’t ask where he is going and who he is with. Once he’s satisfied that he has controlled her in this way, he will escalate that to blame shifting. “Well, you did something in the past so now I can’t trust you and you deserve everything that I give to you now.” Pretty soon, she has no rights left and she has no idea how this happened to her.

She, having absolutely no self worth left to call her own, takes it. When that has worked well for him, he escalates to more control when she protests his manipulation tactics. With every escalation there is more risk of danger to this woman. He has now escalated to hitting her to quiet her, and…as we can see…gotten away with it. What’s next on his list? Because I know from history and from a multitude of research studies that this is not going to be enough for him. He WILL escalate to bigger things to use in his quest for power and control, and this is very dangerous to you.

For some women Angel, the mistake of staying with this kind of man will sadly, cost them their life. This is not worth it. No man is worth it. He’s lying about his relatives to play a game with you to see if you want him badly enough. You are falling for it, because he has shredded your self esteem and you can’t see the forest through the trees.

But you know it’s wrong. A little voice inside your head told you it was wrong, and that’s why you wrote me your letter. And I’m so glad that you did. You need to leave, Angel. You just do. Because I seriously fear for your safety if you stay with this man. This cycle will NOT stop unless you break it yourself.

I’m not going to directly answer the question, “Do you think he loves me?” What do YOU think, Angel? Before you answer this honestly, consider these very important things about when a man loves a woman. A man that loves a woman will joyfully respond to any text messages she sends him. A man that loves a woman will not strip her of the basic rights of asking questions. A man that loves a woman does not hit her. A man that loves a woman does not lie to her to get her out of the house just to see if she will come crawling back to him. A man that loves a woman will not blame her repeatedly for her past errors of judgement, particularly when he is quite guilty of his own errors of judgement every single day he is with her. And, a man that loves a woman will not carry on a relationship with someone else online, WHILE waiting for his other woman to come crawling back to him.

I don’t want to tell you how to get this man back, Angel. Because I think you deserve better. You deserve a man that won’t hit you, that will cherish your text messages, and that will give you all of himself and be grateful for the all of you that you give back to him.

I find it interesting that you signed your letter “More power”. Interesting because MORE POWER is something you need desperately right now. More power to leave him. More power to pick up your broken self, seek out your support system that he has probably alienated you from, and more power to become strong again so that you can find the man that WILL treat you the way you deserve.

The real man you deserve is out there. But you won’t be able to find him if you stay with this one. It’s your life, why are you letting someone else call the shots? Break the cycle, Angel. And please come back and tell us how it went!

Readers, show Angel some love and offer some of your own relationship advice to help give her MORE POWER! Drop your comments for Angel in the box below and let her know I’m not the ONLY ONE that sees this abuse! Dear Angel, more power and peace be to YOU as you take this next very important step in your journey of healing, and your quest for the love that you so deeply deserve. We’re all rooting for you, and waiting to hear your update!

How to Get Him Back When Your Man Has a Mental Health Diagnosis

Okay, I already know what most of you are thinking from the title of today’s post. Many of you with exes you are trying to get back, or even those you never want to see again, are certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that if he hasn’t come crawling back to you by now he must be a flat out crazy person.

What woman hasn’t thought that? Men do too, ever hear the term “psycho chick”?

I feel your pain, I too have had my share of men in my life who I have referred to as sociopathic, schizophrenic, or even bipolar, because they acted like two different people at multiple different times. It’s EASY to think someone is certifiably crazy when they say they love you one minute, but are out posting profiles to pick up other women the next. Truthfully, there’s nothing crazy in those kinds of behaviors, it just FEELS that way at the time. When something doesn’t make sense to us, we find it a little insane in our world. In fact, anything that veers from what you know to be normal seems crazy. There’s nothing wrong with a few incorrectly placed diagnoses during a heated breakup moment, we’ve all done it. I urge you to try and not do that toooo often, otherwise it won’t be the man that looks like the crazy person. Get it out of your system and move on girl, if he is acting bipolar you certainly don’t need that in your life.

But that’s not what I’m talking about today. What I am going to talk about today is the pain that comes with dating, being engaged to, or even being married to someone that has been given a certified diagnosis of a mental health issue.

Why would you want to talk about that, you say? Hardly anyone ever has to deal with THAT, you say?
Wrong. The truth is, mental health issues are on the rise, and you would be very surprised to learn just how much so. It is estimated that one in five people suffer from one of these hidden illnesses, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and the list is actually quite long. That means a lot of the people you know are suffering from these issues! That ALSO means, your chances of dating someone with a mental health problem is one in five. That’s right, scary number right?

Not really. The scariest thing about mental health issues is the unknown. When you don’t know what you are dealing with, you don’t know how to deal with it. It’s scary!

When you love someone that is dealing with this, it’s even harder. It’s more difficult, more scary, and more frustrating than the average relationship. If you are a woman that loves a man with a mental illness, then your chances of being in the position of having to figure out how to get him back increase as well, because their history of stable relationships is slim to none. Sound even scarier?

It doesn’t have to. We have a question from a reader on this very topic, and I am posting it today because I know there are millions of other women out there just like her that are confused, scared, and frustrated that the man they love is too sick to ever love them again.

Our friend Ashleigh has written in about her man who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Let’s have a look at the tough ride she has been on and see what we can do to help her out.

Me and my boyfriend have been in an on again off again relationship for about 3 years now. We’ve been through so much together, but he has a bad temper, bipolar and he’s slow so its very hard to deal with someone like that. He always thinks that I do him wrong and that I’m always against him, but that’s not the case! We argue all the time over little stuff. I try to talk to him down and calm him down before he starts getting upset, but instead he hangs up and get mad and doesn’t answer or return my calls.

He always does this especially when he know he’s wrong. His family really can’t put up with him because he talks down on everybody. Every time he messes up I always take him back, nobody will ever put up with his behavior except me. When we’re in public he acts like a little kid he’s(24). I do all I can for this man, and it seems like he doesn’t appreciate the things I do for him. Either he’s too dumb to realize or he just doesn’t know it yet.

Every time we argue we say mean things to each other but then I realize I was wrong and try to call him back, but he doesn’t answer. And when he does, he says I’m doing him wrong. So he went to stay with this girl, she kicked him out, called the police on him, and took all his money and left him lying there on the street. I fed him, took him back, washed his clothes, and since he had no where to stay I let him sneak in my parents house which I got into a lot of trouble for.

I brought him money and got him out of jail twice. He got drunk somewhere, passed out, I rushed to the hospital to see him twice nobody eles was there for him. After all that, I helped him get a side job. Now he’s saying to me that work is more important and that he doesn’t want to talk to me and that he doesn’t have time for me anymore. So he called the phone company and had them to turn my phone off.

He doesn’t realize that if it wasn’t for me he wouldn’t be where he’s at today. He needs to open his eyes and realize the things I do for him. When I call him, he ignores my phone call and tells me that I’m using him and taking advantage of him which is not true. Also, he tells me that he has a future with this girl that they are in love and all that stuff. Please help me give me some advice tell me what should I do.

Okay, well, this one is less tricky than it looks. I’ve highlighted some of the most important things in this letter. Before we break it down, let me just say “Ashleigh” that I am sorry you are going through this. It is very difficult to be with someone struggling with a seesaw of mental things going on inside. Even so, that doesn’t make your relationship any less normal than any of the rest of ours. What I am trying to say by that is, your prescription will be the same as everybody else’s which will make this process so much easier for you.

It is important to never forget there are two people in every relationship. That means, both parties need to take responsibility. It is not ONLY up to him to fix this, it is also up to you, if you want to really know how to get your ex boyfriend back, the RIGHT way.

You have a three year thing happening now, which is a good thing in the sense that you have a history to work with. Unfortunately it does not sound like a lot of that history has been good. You have taught him how to treat you by putting up with a lot of this, given the nature of his mental health. This is normal. When we have someone in our life that is mentally ill, we tend to give them a little more slack than we would the average person.

There’s nothing wrong with that. But this cycle becomes wrong when that’s all you do! If you are constantly giving, he is constantly going to be taking, and you wind up with all of the resentment you have here. What is he going to do? When you get bitter and resentful for not wanting to give anymore, he is going to move on and find someone that won’t be so bitter. Like the first girl who ended up calling the police on him when he took from her, and like this second girl who he claims he is in love with.

Given the history of relationships with most mentally ill people, I am going to put money on the fact that he won’t be with this new one any longer than he was with the last. It’s just the sorry cycle that he has to deal with unfortunately because of his mental health problems. What I mean by that is, he doesn’t know any better. And he won’t unless someone teaches him otherwise. And the woman that does, is going to be the one that keeps him.

That can be YOU, Ashleigh!

How are you going to do this? The same way every other woman here is trying to figure out how to get her boyfriend back. No contact zone, followed by some honest pure discussion. What I suggest to you is that you break up with him before you enter the No Contact Zone.

WHAT? Break up with someone you are trying to get back?

YES.

By doing so, you will teach him that you won’t be the giver 100% anymore. You teach him that you deserve better, which you do, and that if he wants you back, it will be on terms you can both agree with. You don’t need to be mean about it. All you need to do is write him a note, a text, or leave him a voicemail that sounds something like this:

“Hi honey, so glad to hear things are going well with you! You know how much I care about you and how much you mean to me. I’m so sorry that after all we have been through we really didn’t get the traction in our relationship that we both wanted, no matter how hard we tried. I hope after all this time we can be friends, because I want you to know that your well being and health means so much to me, and that I would do anything to help you. I only want your happiness because that’s how much I care for you. I’m sorry it worked out this way, maybe one day there will be hope for us after we have grown and healed. Thank you for everything that you have been in my life. If you ever need me, give me a call. Until then, I wish you all the best! Love, Ashleigh.”

When he sees or hears that, he will realize who the real woman in his life is. But once you do that, you HAVE to cut the ties in a NO CONTACT ZONE. He won’t call you or write you back right away, anyway. He will use some time to digest this, and try and process it. If he is with someone else, there is a chance that this letter or voicemail will begin to highlight to him what this other person is NOT. He will either very seriously consider coming back to you, or at the very least, begin initiating contact again.

For 30 days, you are not to answer him. You are to live your life and remind yourself how happy you are without this stress. Then, when you hear from him, you ask him to meet you for a coffee or a lunch and…take it from there.

How do I know this works? Well, I know it has worked for me, and I know it has worked for other ladies that have sought my same advice on this very topic. At this point, showing him you are a woman worth appreciating by letting him go for 30 days is a good move, because you have absolutely NOTHING to lose at this point. And, it shows him that you DO appreciate him as well!

Good luck, and drop us a note and let us know what happened!

What do you think readers? Have I missed anything? Pop your thoughts in the comments box if you have any other thoughts on how to get your boyfriend back!