At any rate, being in a romantic relationship with someone who has contributed firsthand to the atrocities of war is by no means a cakewalk. It requires a great deal of understanding. In my experience, combat vets largely believe they are undeserving of love. I do not know why this is. In our eyes, or at least in mine, they are selfless and valiant heroes deserving of so much more.
These veterans do the unspeakable for the sake of their country, and the aftershocks of their violence unfortunately do not leave them once they get back home. Beyond this, I would venture to say every combat vet has been touched by death. Each vet knows someone who was killed in the war they continued to fight, and there was likely someone they loved among those lost. A brother in the truest sense, in their eyes. In his words, anyone could have been killed.
It could have been me. But hopefully, it will mean enough to him that you care enough to try. I endure many a sleepless night because my vet does. But not once have I ever complained about getting punched in the head, alarmingly awakened by his blood-curdling scream, or being kept up most of the night by his muttering evil memories in his sleep. Where most women might silently protest, I do not. I endure these things because I almost feel a duty to; my vet spent 13 months in a desert so I could sleep safely at night.
This moves me to another point: My vet reminds me there is no tragedy that can befall me that cannot be overcome.
He reminds me that there is no one or thing that I should fear as long as he is in my life. Both his physical strength and emotional strength have all but totally abolished fear from my life. Many people are ignorant of what being a combat vet even really entails or means. It is an honor to be among those who respect, admire, and appreciate their sacrifices, both great and small.
Dating a combat vet is hard, but please do not mistake me: The most rewarding thing I have done in my short 22 years of existence is give myself completely to a man I had to learn to understand. The challenges of our relationship are unique to us because of his experiences, and they have shaped me into a more mature and empathetic individual. My vet has told me that my empathic nature is partly what drew him to me; my ability to truly listen where most people just wait for their turn to speak.
And there, after midnight, under the harsh fluorescent lights, he told me things about his time spent overseas he had never shared with anyone before. It was in that moment I knew that I had been chosen specifically for it. For some reason, he thought I deserved to see the darkest corners of him. It was a risky move on his part. No one had so freely shared their demons with me, yet it was the most special anyone had ever made me feel. That feeling has been at the foundation of everything else.
He designated me to help be the keeper of his darkness. These emotional content and process disturbances are suspected to contribute to emotional communication deficits and their related relationship impairments. Their theory draws on intrapersonal behavioral conceptualizations of PTSD such as the role of learning processes that account for the development and maintenance of emotional responding e.
Consistent with these theories, avoidance of trauma-related stimuli and emotions is key to maintenance of the disorder. Some loved ones consider these behaviors expressions of their affection for their distressed loved one; others feel angry or resentful about taking on extra, burdensome responsibilities.
Behavioral accommodation can also diminish close relationship satisfaction through less engagement in mutually reinforcing activities, constriction of affective expression, and limited self-disclosure, including trauma-related disclosure. An additional behavioral mechanism in their theory accounting for the association between relationship problems and PTSD is poor communication.
There is long-standing evidence of communication deficits in those with PTSD e. These communication deficits are theorized to maintain the disorder and contribute to relationship problems because of difficulties with effective trauma disclosure and poor conflict resolution and management.
Trauma disclosure in an encouraging and supportive environment can lead to the development of a more cogent trauma narrative and emotional processing of traumatic memories. Limited conflict management and problem-solving skills are also theorized to mediate the relationship between the hyperarousal symptoms of PTSD and aggressive relationship behavior.
Monson and colleagues postulate that there are also inter-related cognitive processes and thematic content that account for the association between PTSD and close relationship problems. Individual and dyadic dysfunction is theorized to arise from reliance on enduring, rigid, and maladaptive schemas in making meaning of experiences. There are a number of questions that remain unanswered about PTSD and the myriad of intimate relationship maladies that co-occur with it.
We believe that one of the foremost challenges in this field is the refinement of theories that can account for the likely interacting and recursive effects of these individual and couple-level problems. Well-articulated theories will also need to take into account the developmental course of PTSD and intimate relationship functioning. Prospective research designs, paired with advanced statistical modeling techniques, can then begin to test these theories.
Some of the most pressing issues to be answered in these models include discerning the role of relationship variables in trauma recovery in the acute period of recovery, or development of PTSD, versus their role in the persistence of the disorder, and vice versa.
Longitudinal, laboratory-based paradigms and daily diary methods may be particularly well-suited to examining such questions in this work. Also, much more investigation needs to be done to isolate the unique relationship between PTSD and family functioning measures when accounting for other forms of psychopathology, and we have much to learn about how PTSD may interact with physical trauma e.
A relatively unchartered but exciting area for future research is investigation of the interacting cognitive variables underlying the PTSD-intimate relationship connection. For example, is disclosure of all types and forms of trauma beneficial for the traumatized individual?
https://dakevalary.ga What are the potentially positive and negative effects on intimate relationship functioning and the person bearing witness to the disclosure? In this vein, more fine-grained research that carefully operationalizes vicarious or secondary traumatization is needed. That said, careful empirical research is needed to test these assertions.
Nearly all research heretofore on the association between PTSD and intimate relationship problems has been done with samples of heterosexual male veterans who have had chronic PTSD for years. In these times of a growing number of women who are serving in a range of positions in frontless wars, we need to better understand the potentially different associations between PTSD and intimate relationship functioning by gender. In addition, we need to conduct research on these associations in same sex couples.
We are aware of no empirical research on this topic, in spite of high rates of victimization in sexual minorities e. As reviewed above, there is an association between poorer parenting satisfaction and PTSD, and there is some evidence of greater behavior problems in the children of parents with PTSD e.
More research is needed on broader family functioning and the effects of parental PTSD on children in order to better intervene at the family and parent-child dyad level. Moreover, a significant proportion of veterans are not in a longer-term romantic relationship. With regard to treatment of PTSD and intimate relationship problems after they have developed, we believe that one of the pressing questions to be more systematically addressed is how family members can be used to facilitate engagement in mental health treatment in this cohort of veterans. There has been discussion about the role of family members in overcoming stigma and facilitating engagement, but this discussion has been met with minimal empirical research see Manguno-Mire et al.
This research has important health services implications in terms of developing staff capacity to deliver more or less complicated interventions.
Down the road, there are interesting dismantling study designs that will help elucidate the active ingredients of these interventions and increase the efficiency in delivering them e. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought greater attention to the consequences of military trauma exposure on the individual, but also on the intimate relationships and loved ones of those who serve. There has been significant progress in explicating the role of intimate relationship functioning on PTSD and vice versa, but the work is not yet complete. As increasing numbers of veterans return from war, it is imperative that we continue to conduct basic research on the interpersonal processes that affect their adjustment and innovate prevention and treatment interventions for them and their loved ones.
We remain hopeful that these efforts will result in improvements in healthcare and ultimately the well-being of our newest generation of veterans and their families. This is a PDF file of an unedited manuscript that has been accepted for publication.
As a service to our customers we are providing this early version of the manuscript. The manuscript will undergo copyediting, typesetting, and review of the resulting proof before it is published in its final citable form. Please note that during the production process errors may be discovered which could affect the content, and all legal disclaimers that apply to the journal pertain. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Author manuscript; available in PMC Dec 1. Monson , Casey T. Taft , and Steffany J. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer.
The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Clin Psychol Rev. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Intimate Aggression and PTSD Findings across settings and study methodology indicate that male veterans diagnosed with PTSD are more likely to perpetrate psychological and physical aggression against their partners and children than are veterans without PTSD Carroll et al. Theories Presuming a Bidirectional Association We are aware of only two more fully elaborated models that account for the likely reciprocally causal association between intimate relationship problems and PTSD.
Future Directions There are a number of questions that remain unanswered about PTSD and the myriad of intimate relationship maladies that co-occur with it. Contributor Information Candice M. References Ahmadzadeh G, Malekian A. Aggression, anxiety, and social development in adolescent children of war veterans with PTSD versus those of non-veterans. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences. Victimization over the life span: A comparison of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual siblings.
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That feeling has been at the foundation of everything else. More From Thought Catalog. Anonymous May 24, at 8: They call him lazy, retarded and say that he only wants to live life as a movie. These communication deficits are theorized to maintain the disorder and contribute to relationship problems because of difficulties with effective trauma disclosure and poor conflict resolution and management.
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