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Just Found Out My Ex Girlfriend May Have PTSD

Discussion in 'Supporter Discussion' started by EastCoastFog, Aug 4, 2006.

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  1. EastCoastFog

    EastCoastFog New Member

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    I am in my mid 30s and started seeing a woman in her mid 20s in January. She had come out of an emotionally abusive relationship about 6 months prior and had moved back to her parent's house with her daughter. For months, everything was great. The only issues we had were that we lived about 1-2 hours (depending on traffic) apart and could only see each other on weekends. She also worked all day and then spent the evening with her 6 year old daughter, so we could only speak on the phone for about an hour before we went to bed.

    Things crashed for us about 3 months ago when her ex-boyfriend overdosed and died while waiting for her daughter to get out of school. This happened right in the school's parking lot and although she didn't see his body, she did withness him covered on a gurney. He was so emotionally abusive and my ex was so concerned when he had custody (every other weekend), so I thought that this would eventually be a positive thing for her and her daughter.

    It started slowly, but my ex began to block me out. It started with a few nights where she didn't call me. We would text message on the phone while working and this slowed down a lot. Since she now has her daughter every day, I accepted that as an excuse as to why we didn't see each other often. Me and her daughter get along great and I have my own house with extra bedrooms, so there was no real reason why she stopped visiting. Over the course of the past few months, she has shut me out more and more to the point where it became an issue. For weeks, she had been telling me that she loved me, but she has such horrible fears and worries. I told her to take some time to find herself, but I didn't realize how badly she was troubled. Since her ex died, she now receives social security checks that are double what he was paying in child support, so she was freaking out that once she had all of her debt paid off, she would have no choice but to move out of her parent's house. She says she is scared to death of failing again. I am positive her parents would never push her out and that these thoughts are irrational.

    To make a long story short, last week she stopped calling me and I'd be lucky to get a phone text message in a few days. She asked to take me out for my birthday, but this situation has also put me into a depression, so I wasn't able to go, we went out on Saturday. We talked about these issues and she told me that she didn't want our relationship to end, but her problems were consuming her. I didn't hear from her for a few days and then on Tuesday, she texted me on the phone that she could not continue hurting me like she knows she is and that I was very good to her and don't deserve this. I was confused and thought she was asking for me to end things, which I couldn't because I love her and we had such wonderful times before this drama. Eventually, she texted me that she can't handle the responsibilities of having a boyfriend because she has so many issues running through her head constantly.

    I wrote her a letter telling her that I love her unconditionally and that I understand she needed to end the relationship so she didn't have to battle her feelings of being obligated to contact me. I told her I am here for her if she is ever lonely or needs someone to talk to. I also told her that I don't expect her to come back, but the door is open. I also included information on PTSD (I didnt know about it until I went to my doctor after we stopped communicating) and I asked her to get help.

    Does anyone have any knowledge of an experience like this? I realize I have to move on as if I will never hear from her again, but we really did have a great relationship and since we struggled for so many weeks before she finally ended it, I have to think she has strong feelings for me.
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Hi ECF,

    Welcome to the forum.

    I understand that you must be hurting a bit now, as losing someone you love dearly, with no control, is nothing short of depressing. I am not sure if she has PTSD though, as PTSD is a bit more than just pulling away socially and the aspects you have listed. I doubt that she got PTSD from her ex dieing, as she didn't witness it, however; depending on the amount of abuse she suffered from him previously, this could be something to do with possible PTSD. Smart move on sending her some literature, just to cover bases and possibly get her to move herself to some help.

    I would say that she nees counselling now... ASAP, to ascertain exactly what the issue is, because she is bottling it all up. When one bottles it up, is the point where PTSD begins to stem, and if formed, there is no return if she has it.
     
  4. nml

    nml Active Member

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    Hi ECF and welcome

    I understand where your GF is at. My second husband and I divorced and approximately 9 months later he passed away as the result of a drug overdose. He was an addict. I divorced him out of necessity. I had a hard time dating even while sperated and after the divorce. Hima nd I were still emotionally tied. His death brought many emotions. One being guilt. He had been trying to reconcile though I knew he wasn't clean and sober. He could be abusive in many ways. I know today he was bound to have PTSD also as I am more informed of PTSD and I already knew his childhood. It was much like my own. Til this day, I can see him still laying inthe casket. Your ex GF is also grieving a life she use to know and her daughter probably has features which are also reminders. Truth be known, she probably did love the man and the abuse tore them apart. She does need counseling of some sort even if its not PTSD and her daughter probably does too considering she had been with her father and he was suicidal.

    I know its hard to let go. Ive had to learn how to let go and others have had to let go of me because I wasnt ready to begin a new relationship and new life. We have to be over th eold in order to begin in the new.
     
  5. EastCoastFog

    EastCoastFog New Member

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    At this point, I still have a lot of questions and not many answers. Since everything was so good until the death of her ex, I know that her emotional state had everything to do with our breakup. We never had fights when we were physically together, everything unraveled because she was pulling herself away from me. And when we did talk, she would talk about huge amounts of pressure and issues flooding her mind. She would always tell me that I deserved better than her and that her problems were only making me upset. She told me she did love me and knows I was very good to her, but she was unable to feel anything and she was confused about everything. From what I was told by my shrink and what I've read about PTSD, she has a lot of the symptoms. She did witness her ex in coroner's van and this also took place in her daughter's school parking lot. Imagine if he didn't die when he did and her daughter got into the van with him when it happened. Also, a childhood friend of her's, who she just recently got back into contact with, died suddenly of a seizure only a few weeks before her ex's death. So I can understand she is going through a lot. I don't think she will ever come back to me or anything, but I hope she seeks help and I know I'd love for her to call me one day if she was able to cope with her issues.
     
  6. desert4now

    desert4now Active Member

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    EastCoastFog,

    Hey. I'm a spouse of someone w/ PTSD from war trauma. I've been where you are at. It is like they are pulling you in with one had and pushing away with the other and it is soooooo confusing and emotionally draining. My experience is that when I tried to walk away from the relationship (because that is what I thought he wanted) he would be the one calling me back in. We are newly married and have just suffered a tough spot. He knows he has PTSD but refuses treatment. Today, after some real honest talk, things seem to be a little better. When things are good....they are sooooo good and when they are bad...it hurts everywhere.

    I think she is very lucky to have you in her life. If you can take the friend role for a while....maybe that's what you both need. It's okay to love her from a distance if that is where she's at. Just be there for her, make sure she knows that you are there for her, and be patient. She's very scared and can only try to protect herself.

    Hang in there and keeping checking on this site. It helps so much and we are all here for you.
     
  7. EastCoastFog

    EastCoastFog New Member

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    Unfortunately, I learned about PTSD after pushing her away. Since her ex's death, things have gone downhill. For weeks, she cut me out more and more. I know she works all day, then spends the rest of her time with her child, so I know there wasn't another guy in the situation. It just got to the point where she couldn't call me on the phone or anything, we were existing on a few phone text messages and some days, not even that. Last week, she finally started texting me that she was so sorry and that she couldn't continue doing this to me. I pushed her in text messages until she said she couldn't handle having a boyfriend due to all of the things rushing in her head. I did mail her a letter telling her that I loved her and that I know she needs space, so who knows what will happen in the future. I feel that she cares about me, but I know it's not possible to consider other people's feelings if you are struggling to get through each day. I don't know what to expect now, I am grieving, but I haven't given up hope on her yet. And whether she comes to me again or not, I really hope she at least admits she needs help and seeks it. This has been spiraling for many weeks, but we haven't had any contact in 5 days. I thought by having her end the relationship, I would have closure and feel better, but after reading about PTSD and doing a lot of thinking, I feel worse than ever. I hope my letter hits home with her and she gets the help she needs.
     
  8. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    ECF, one of our significant factors that "we sufferers" think will help us, is to push everyone we care about as far away as possible. Why? I believe we think it will help us cope with what is happening to us, though we don't really understand it ourselves. It is very much a coping mechanism.

    I tried this with my wife now, as it worked with my first wife, the problem is, is that my wife now didn't accept this crap, and she fought for me, and pushed me to realise that all she wanted to do was love and support me. So... I got help, and here I am today.

    If you believe this has nothing more to do than what I explained just now, then most certainly do not accept it, and fight her to understand you just want to love her, help her, and support her, and push her to get professional help. This may work, this may not, but it certainly puts us sufferers in a different mindset to how we perceive spouses and those around us.

    The things that go through our minds are quite unbelievable, and the largest though is generally that we don't want to drag anyone else down where we are headed, and even with support, we are still going down until we reach the bottom, to then work our way back up. PTSD does that too us, we have little control in the initial stages.

    The issue you have, is that your apart by location, and phones are often not a sufferers best friend, because they become a distraction and annoyance to us, so we often turn them off or disregard them when they ring. You honestly sound like a great person, who is loving and careing for a person you can see wants help, needs help, but just doesn't know which direction to turn in order to get it.

    See how you go and fight for what you love... it just might come out in your favour if she wakes up and see's the light to the reason you want to be with her, and understand you don't expect anything from her, you just want to love her and support her.
     
  9. permban0008

    permban0008 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    ECF,

    I'm with Anthony. They will tell you all sorts of bs to get you to back off because it is hard for them emotionally. What they don't realise, often until it is too late, is that the journey is made much easier by someone who cares about them supporting them. I'm just too stubborn to give up on Anthony, in fact I'm like that with everyone I care about, takes a lot before I will throw my hands up in despair and walk. Anthony told me heaps that he was going or that I should go, I told him to 'bite me' as I just don't give up that easy. He didn't make it easy for me but I still have this theory that underneath all that boofhead exterior is someone with a deeper emotional capacity and love for me and our children than he will let himself believe. I have seen it rarely but I believe it exists.

    I'm not suggesting that my stubborn approach will work for you. Anthony and I are very pigheaded so I guess he could see where I was coming from. I guess at the moment you don't really have anything to lose by approaching her. From what you have described, I am convinced that she cares but is running scared at the moment. You can't really blame her, her last partner was a bast$%^ and her little one has been through enough rubbish. How does she know that you are trustworthy and have her best interests at heart? The only way that she will know is if you tell her and tell her again and again.

    Another thing that has just come to mind which I used to say to Anthony, is that it is not really his choice to decide for me. If he really didn't want me there then that was one thing but as far as I could see I was an adult and free to make my own choices. I knew what I was getting into (well I thought I did) and if he loved me, as I did him then it is my choice to stay and support.

    Oh and just so you know, I have yet to meet someone with PTSD who can handle phones. Anthony wouldn't even have a home phone if it weren't for me. When we first started dating, I had to ring him a couple of times just to get him to come to the phone. He used to get his housemates to answer it for him and say he wasn't home. I used to get offended but then I learnt that he is like that with everyone and so are others with PTSD. Hope this helps, please keep posting. Take care of you.
     
  10. EastCoastFog

    EastCoastFog New Member

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    You really know what you are talking about. And since we are apart, we relied on the phone for contact during the week. When we were physically together, there weren't any problems. It all happened when I'd complain we didn't talk enough during the week. I only wish I knew more about PTSD before, rather than now. We haven't spoken in person since last Saturday and we "broke up" in text messages 6 days ago. I mailed her the letter telling her that I loved her unconditionally and that I have the door open for her to contact me if she wants in the future. I have not heard back from her and at this point, I think I should leave it up to her. I don't want to push her and I don't think it's appropriate to just show up at her house.
     
  11. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    And that would be your mistake now if she does have PTSD. She will not pickup the phone to call because her anxiety will be overpowering her, she will not come back, because her anxiety will be overpowering her, she will not do anything, except rather wait for you to make one last move.

    You need to understand that PTSD and the withdrawals it imposes upon us, are not something we control well, and we will not go out of our way to get back something even if we love it. I was just saying this to a mate last night in discussion, in that even though two people with PTSD can mutually just get along because they both understand, neither will pickup the phone to contact one another easily, nor when it comes to meeting, boths anxiety will be running a little rampant until actually feeling comfortable with one another.

    Your girlfriend will not move, trust me on this. If you want one last shot at it, you need to go to her, talk from the heart, fight a little for her, and if she still rejects, then cut your loss, as hard as that is.

    Just take my word on this, you have about a 5% chance of her actually making contact with you if she has PTSD in full flight, or growing at a rapid rate.
     
  12. EastCoastFog

    EastCoastFog New Member

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    But the problem is that she won't answer the phone if I call and the only way to contact her will be the phone text messages that caused all of the problems. I did write a very heartfelt letter and at this point, I don't know what else to do. Maybe she does need her time and space, I just can't think clearly enough to do anything.
     
  13. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Let me explain this another way ECF. You can ring and write letters till the cows come home, and if she has uncontrolled PTSD, or is in denial about PTSD, then you will not likely get any responses from her.

    The only way you are going to know for sure, is get in the car and visit her unexpectedly once. Talk with her face to face, and if she doesn't listen to you face to face, and be pushy, trust me on that, then you need to backoff at that point, and wait for her to make contact if she desires.

    If you get rejected when face to face, I have no doubt it is going to hurt, but because you are only girlfriend boyfriend, and not married as such, you would need to backoff at that point and most likely move on with your life. If she wakes up and realise that she lost the person she loves, and you are not within another relationship, then maybe give it a go from that point.

    Trust me though, if you are saying she most likely has PTSD and doesn't know about it, then you need to speak with her face to face, not by phone or letter.
     
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