Mom of Young Son Can't Cope With Boyfriend's PTSD

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I've been with my boyfriend for a year now, and he has been diagnosed with combat-related PTSD. I don't know how to help him with his anger. My son and I love him too much to walk away, but I need to know how to deal with this in the best possible way. 

Most mornings are rough. I always seem to do something or ask something that pisses him off, and I'm constantly making sure my 5-year-old is silent so as not to disturb my boyfriend. He's been dealing with these issues for a while now, and is seeking help from a psychiatrist and recently has started taking anger management classes. He has made leaps and bounds as far as recovery goes. 

I now feel it's my turn to read all I can, or seek support, or really anything that I can possibly do to alleviate some of the stress in his life. I feel helpless because anything I do is never enough. Something always goes wrong, and somehow it's always something I have caused. I suffer from anxiety as well, so it's also affecting my well-being. Please help.

Sincerely, Worried Girlfriend

Dear Girlfriend,

My first suggestion is for you to leave this relationship. Why? Because of your son.

Why should your 5-year-old have to learn how to be silent so he won't make your boyfriend angry? It's not fair to him at all. He's just a child. You also sound like you are in fear of your safety and your son's safety.

You are walking around on eggshells trying to help your boyfriend who has a diagnosed anxiety disorder, but you have anxiety too. Something has to give.

If it were just you, I would say do as you please, but you have a son that you have to think of. His happiness is your first priority. Move out and get your own place now.

There is a lot of help out there for your boyfriend. It's great that he is working with a psychiatrist. He should consider medication and therapy to help him with his mood instability and irritability.

All in all, it's his responsibility to manage his care -- not yours. It's your responsibility to take care of your son.

Everyone would like to help a boyfriend who has served his country and now has combat stress or PTSD. I appreciate his service to our country. But you can't make everything your responsibility, OK? Keep in touch when you can.

Sincerely, Ms. Vicki

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