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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I communicate with my partner who has PTSD?

    I am my partner's first relationship since being diagnosed with PTSD. His last partner committed suicide in their home. We really struggle with communication and he goes off on rants and just puts me down verbally and it's becoming more frequent because he's upset that I'm not behaving in the way he needs me to in order to not add extra stress on top of his PTSD.
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    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about ... View Profile

    It's important that your partner gets the treatment he needs for PTSD. This, however, is quite a separate issue from the one you are concerned with - that he is being verbally abusive in the relationship. It sounds like your partner may be using the PTSD diagnosis in order to justify his abusive behaviour and make you feel responsible for it by requiring you change YOUR behaviour, rather than taking responsibility to change his behaviour. This is NOT OK. Relationship counselling may be beneficial if your partner is willing to work on making changes with you. It is unlikely to be effective if he continues to hold the view that you are the one to blame. You may also benefit from individual counselling to support you to assertively ask for the changes you need in order to feel that the relationship is meeting your needs.

  • Daria Florea

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I nurture you through your issues, teach you healthy coping skills, and coach you to formulate and achieve your goals. I empower you to live ... View Profile

    Vivienne is right. I wish to add that it sounds like you may be acting as a carer and prioritising your wellbeing is thus essential. You could perhaps attend counselling with someone from your local branch of Carers support (such as ARAFMI) who specialise in carers and family and friends of those with a mental illness. They may help you develop skills to communicate better with your partner, help you build healthy boundaries and educate you in co-dependency. Besides counselling ARAFMI usually has a support group where you share tips with others, feel supported and avoid isolation. Wishing you well, Daria

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