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Do sufferers know they are being hurtful?

Discussion in 'Supporter (Anonymous)' started by Agaf, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Ivosa

    Ivosa Anonymous

    You'll get a variety of responses here... some people are more blunt than others. The best advice is to take what you need and leave the rest.

    We're all supporters here. We know the PTSD beast. We know emotional numbing, push/pull, isolation, partners leaving. We've seen the moods swing and the minds change. We've seen our partners symptomatic, triggered, and sick. There comes a time when you make peace with it. It's almost zen. It is what it is. Sounds cold. It's not cold, it's real.

    Nobody is saying that we personally know it wasn't PTSD that made her leave. People are saying PTSD or no PTSD, a lot of people have breakups with no closure. Even if it was 200% PTSD, does it matter if she knows she hurt you? She left and hasn't spoken to you in 5 months. We're more concerned with your well being right now than hers. We don't like it when supporters are struggling.

    Being a supporter sucks. I've done it for years, and I know he loves me. However, I know any day my partner's switch could flip and he could bail. After he bails I would have to heal and move on. He can't handle his own emotions most of the time, so he would more than likely never be able to give me closure or comfort in a break up. He can't even comfort me when I'm having a bad day because it stresses him out. Ultimately, I'm responsible for my own emotions, feelings, and mental health.

    Never underestimate the power of letting it go.
    grimalkin and dulcia like this.
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  3. Pumuhar

    Pumuhar Anonymous

    There's definitely emotional 'numbness' that can come with ptsd.

    But the statement "I didn't realise he would hurt this much" sounds more to do with self esteem. A history of abuse can very easily lead to a very morbid concept of self, with huge amounts of shame.

    So rather than a lack of empathy, what she may genuinely mean by statements like this is that she actually doesn't believe that you loved or, because there's a good chance she doesn't believe she's loveable. By, like, anyone.

    The concethat I might be genuinely important to other people? That they might notice me disappear from their life? Wha!?! And that's a pretty common core belief among people with a history of abuse.

    That's not an excuse for hurting you. Doesn't make everything ok. But it does maybe offer a perspective that you didn't realise was there (because the shame keeps sufferers opening up about stuff like that). One day, everything is peachy. The next? Something has triggered me, and I literally am unable to conceive that I matter to anyone. Which means? I'm not gonna hurt them if I walk away.

    So, you're hurting. But quite possibly, the way she's behaving towards you comes from a very morbid self esteem, and she's potentially hurting on a very very deep level. Sux for everyone involved.
    scout86 likes this.
  4. Jakigu

    Jakigu Anonymous

    I really can't talk for her or for you, but I understand how hard it must be for you, my husband tells me quite often how hard it is on him but beside my counseling alone, we also counsel together and I could admit to him what goes on in my mind and he told me what goes on in his and after that, we were so much better together, I knew when to tell him "I need time" and he also learned to tell me "I will give you all the time you need when you are ready, we can do something together." And also learned to never come back on a subject that is in the past for vindictive reasons or revenge (bringing stuff back on the table). In my case I was hurting him because i would do/say something without thinking then feel extremely guilty about it. A guilt that makes you want to vanish and extreme shame which just led to more destruction because i would become uncomfortable with myself and would want people to feel what I feel, thus making them feel as horrible as possible. It is a hard cycle to break and in my case was just due to lack of skills and ways to communicate better. So i knew what I was doing but because I had no other way of coping he would be "thrown under the buss" and I did not know how to control it therefore couldn't
    tlc likes this.
  5. Gese

    Gese Anonymous

    I think the reason it matters to me is it because it will affect my ability to trust in future relationships. I cannot begin to emphasize how kind and caring this girl was. She really doesn't like hurting people. I avoided anything more than casual, 3-month-long dating relationships for a long time and it could be argued that trust issues contributed to that as well. So for me to open my heart like I did, have this girl tell me over and over to trust her, and then have her act so hurtful - I guess I feel like if she's lost in a sort of PTSD fog, I feel less like I've been betrayed.

    And to be honest, if she's aware that she's hurting me but doesn't care, that affects my self-esteem as well. Like you said, I have to be responsible for my own emotions and I am in therapy for myself. Some days are just harder than others, you know? Some days I can be detached and feel hopeful, others really hurt and I try to make sense of the pain (and post here).

    You called in Pumuhar. Early on, before she ever told me about her trauma and what she suspects is PTSD, she told me about her low self-esteem. I never really saw evidence of it - she's beautiful, intelligent, funny, and presents as confident - until now.

    She kept repeating that this has nothing to do with me, that I'm "perfect." Oh man, that girl must have called me perfect a dozen times both during our relationship and after the breakup. No one's really called me that before (and trust me, I'm not even close). It made it all the more confusing - if I'm so perfect, why are you running away and talking to me like a stranger? Maybe that is connected to not feeling lovable or deserving of love. It's just another feeling that I am unfamiliar with.
    scout86 likes this.
  6. Pumuhar

    Pumuhar Anonymous

    Yeah, this sounds really familiar. "You're perfect" is pretty typical of a person who is sitting there thinking "I'm not good enough for you, I'll never be good enough, I'm not worth it..." etc etc.

    Shame comes out in a lot of ways. This is a pretty typical one. All I can say is that she's probably hurting a lot on the inside.

    Having pushed away guys for being too "perfect" for me in the past? There's no way you could hate her as much as she potentially hates herself for this whole thing.
    scout86 likes this.
  7. Ito

    Ito Anonymous

    Your girlfriend's numbing has nothing to do with how she felt about you or your relationship. She was unable to cope with the stress that she was experiencing, and her brain could not think of any other solutions except to turn off. It's kind of like when an animal plays dead. For some people, it goes beyond emotional numbness. Physical sensations might be numbed. Their mind might be blank causing it to become hard to think or speak. You mentioned she was suicidal. Would it help to think of her behavior as her mind's last effort to save her life? You are still hurting and in pain, but you can at least take solace in her making it through this and making some changes in her life.
  8. Gese

    Gese Anonymous

    I am sorry to hear that this is something you are familiar with, but I really appreciate you being willing to share your experience with me. I can assure you that, like me, those guys who you didn't feel "worthy" of probably felt that you were more than worthy and I'm sure would have wanted desperately for you to see yourself the way they did. I know I wish there was something I could say or do for my ex, but understand it is a personal journey.

    Ito, if I could hug you I would. This resonates with me a lot. On my better days when I am feeling stronger -- feeling less hurt and angry, more able to access compassion -- this is exactly how I think of it. I've read some articles on how the brain shuts itself down in response to overwhelming and painful emotions like she was experiencing. I'm glad that this protection mechanism may have very well saved her life, just sad that it takes the good feelings along with the bad.
    scout86 likes this.
  9. Izefec

    Izefec Anonymous

    My sufferer says the same thing about therapists. It's always someone else that is the problem. It's like he knows that he has twisted views and actions but at the same time he wants them that way. Admitting he has a problem is too hard.
  10. anonymous

    anonymous Anonymous Premium Member

    I'm going to come from the other side of the coin here. I've got CPTSD and my husband has his own problems which stemmed from childhood neglect/abandonment. Sometimes he's the culprit and causes problems in our relationship. It's not always me.

    More often then not, two people come together and both are wounded. (Referring to survivors attracted to survivors.) The degrees to which the're wounded are different. People are drawn to the familiar, similar dynamics as to those they grow up with in their family of origin. So although you may be the "victim" of this relationship breakup, you might have played some part in its demise. As they say, "It takes two to tango."

    One person in the relationship appears "perfect" compared to the one who is profoundly wounded. That so often happens with my husband and I. He often says he's been wronged, when many times through his dysfunctional ways of communicating, expressing emotions, etc., he does the wounding and he doesn't even bat an eye at doing so. (He's never been diagnosed with PTSD and he's been in therapy.) That is until I call him on it and then he stops copping the attitude. He rarely has to call me on my stuff as I usually "police" my own behaviors. I know when I'm hurting someone. I don't like to do it. Don't like how it feels during and afterward.

    If you're not in therapy, Gese, it might be a good idea to find a therapist and explore the reasons you were attracted to your girlfriend. Do you have your own wounds?
  11. Zeni

    Zeni Anonymous

    Minu and Wekoz: Me too. It's hard to take the emotional battering.
  12. Fomeri

    Fomeri Anonymous

    (Gese here). I'm curious, Pumuhar - and any other sufferer who struggles with extreme insecurity and low self esteem - what was the thing that enabled you to finally feel worthy of love? What turned around your negative self image? I understand it's a constant work in progress, just curious if there was something that gave you the strength to take control of your life and start managing your insecurity rather than always believing the lies it told you.
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