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Question
Posted by: emotional | 2011/04/18

military

Doc, my bf was in the special forces in the military for 2 years. The only emotion he experiences is anger and nothing more. I am a very emotional person but it feels like I am talking to a brick wall and get no empathy, sympathy, nothing. Except when I try and get a response from him and push him too far, then all hell breaks lose. Is this normal?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

It is really very common that men who have been in combat, especially in the more extreme forms some special forces encounter, develop emotional problems such as PTSD. And they need expert assessment and treatment. An extreme susceptability to anger is common, with rather minor trigger points of vulnerability to set it off ; and emotional deadness is also a common complaint. In an effort to wall off what might be ugly and tragic emotions within them, arising from some of the horrible experiences they have encountered, they may end up walling off the normal levels of experiencing and expressing emotions which one might normally expect, as you do.
Chat calmly and sympathetically with him about this, and ask if he has experienced any difficulties arising from his military experiences, and it he has though of seeking any help for this, as doing so could enhance his life and enjoyment of it, as well as yours.
Don't keep pushing him for whatever sort of response you expect or want, as that is fruitless at best and can be very unwise

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Our users say:
Posted by: Mike | 2011/04/19

Your b/f is by nature the way he is. The military has nothing to do with his personality. It is really not very macho to be an ass.
The military story is just an excuse. I was there too - I know!

Reply to Mike
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/04/19

It is really very common that men who have been in combat, especially in the more extreme forms some special forces encounter, develop emotional problems such as PTSD. And they need expert assessment and treatment. An extreme susceptability to anger is common, with rather minor trigger points of vulnerability to set it off ; and emotional deadness is also a common complaint. In an effort to wall off what might be ugly and tragic emotions within them, arising from some of the horrible experiences they have encountered, they may end up walling off the normal levels of experiencing and expressing emotions which one might normally expect, as you do.
Chat calmly and sympathetically with him about this, and ask if he has experienced any difficulties arising from his military experiences, and it he has though of seeking any help for this, as doing so could enhance his life and enjoyment of it, as well as yours.
Don't keep pushing him for whatever sort of response you expect or want, as that is fruitless at best and can be very unwise

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: whena | 2011/04/18

Unfortunately this is what we were trained to do.It has taken me many years to overcome this and to this day I still battle with it

Reply to whena

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