Peer support subsequent to trauma contributes to full recovery

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) -- including complex trauma (cPTSD) -- is debilitating, breaking down the body through anxiety and stress, and it poses a significant suicide risk in sufferers. MyPTSD seeks to help and inform those who are directly or indirectly affected by these conditions through peer-to-peer support and educational resources.

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Relationship With A Man With Ptsd And Depression

Discussion in 'Supporter General Discussion' started by GB1, Feb 26, 2012.

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  1. GB1

    GB1 Member


    I am very new to this so if I'm doing things wrong or what have you please I hope you will understand and have patience with me.

    I have just been with my ex boyfriend for around a year, we split up around a week ago. He has suffered from PTSD and Depression for a very long time, since he went to Kuwait and Yugoslavia etc in the early nineties with the army. Since around xmas time, he has been so so down which has manifested itself in not washing himself for weeks on end, not shaving (he's currently got a beard) not eating properly and not really going out much or going anywhere or speaking to many people.

    I drove down to see him last weekend, he told me he just doesnt love me anymore, he's tried but he just doesnt feel it. I was heartbroken and so confused as he would say "let's be friends" then the next moment i dont want to lose you lets stay together then the next I want us to be together but we just need some time apart for me to sort myself out.

    He's got a two week counselling session coming up soon with a charity which helps ex service men with ptsd and he has been interacting with them for years, they prescribe his meds too and help him as much as they can. I am just so so so at a loss at to how to go forward with this. We have continued to communicate this week and both agreed we don't want to give up on each other. (Due to him not being 100% I started to doubt what we had together and wondered if he was worth putting in the effort for as I was getting very little back)

    I am trying hard to understand more about PTSD, I have knowledge of it in previous jobs and a family member has suffered from it albeit different reasons. I am at a loss whether or not to give up on him totally or to quietly sit in the background and let him know I am here for him but that I'm not putting my life on hold on the off chance he gets back to feeling how he used to not just about me but life itself. I guess I'm just trying to reach out to others who may have had similar experiences and could offer me any guidance or support through a turbulent time for me....

    Thanks for taking the time read and listen
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  3. Phil1983

    Phil1983 New Member

    Hi as a sufferer of PTSD I am actually going through the same thing.

    I will admit I have said the same things to my ex partner, we split a week ago aswell after I had made plans of proposing etc but during these plans my mind didnt know how to work through the new thoughts etc as it was the 1st time they've occured since the event that caused my PTSD. I withdrew myself from her and let things build up, when she confronted me i got scared and my triggers went off and I ended up ending the relationship, biggest mistake of my life as now i don't know how to make her realise it was down to my triggers that made me react the way i did then confuse her more by 1 min sayin i didn't want her about then the next basically pleadin with her.

    All I will say is don't give up on him, he is lucky to be getting the extra support, when you both feel comfortable, see if you can talk to him about what triggers his reactions etc, it may be obvious to you anyway but with him talking about it will help him feel at ease and know you have time for him and will help you understand what to look for, avoid etc. We all have "triggers" could be violence, loud noises, etc basically anything that relates to the cause of PTSD obviously bein in the army there can be so much more that triggers him so talking together is the best way to understand him and the PTSD but keep in mind it can take time and not to pressure him as it could make you a cause of his triggers aswell, aslong as he understands you are there for him and give him time, hopefully he will open up and help you understand him and regain things between you both.

    I've made the stupid mistake of loosing the person I could depend on to listen by not opening up and now left myself with desparatly seeking professional help for the 2nd time in the hope it will help me get over things more and possibly show her that I realised the mistakes and win her back but hopefully I will be receiving a call in the morning from my previous doctor so I am can talk and not depend on just the forum as alot of other people gave up on me a long time ago due to my mood swings over the slightest issue
  4. SeekingSerenity

    SeekingSerenity I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    Hello GB1, and welcome.

    Have a read through the information about PTSD and supporters that is accessible via the home page, and also in the supporters section. There you will see that its very common for the sufferer to push their loved ones away. Not because they no longer love us, but because they cant cope.

    You will find the answers you are looking for here, and you will get an incredible amount of support too.

    Be strong, and be good to yourself.
    unalaa and Pale Warrior like this.
  5. GB1

    GB1 Member

    Dear Phil

    Thank you so much for your words that have helped me things from a different perspective. I knew this perspective existed but it's always good to hear it from others. Strange how things work out isnt it?

    It's hard to hear someone say I dont love you anymore, perhaps I am naive in thinking it is just his depression and ptsd talking. We had such good times before, I know one of his triggers is the autumn time, specifically October as that is when a specific event happened when he was in the army. But it has just dragged on for so long since then and he doesnt know why. He hates it, he hates feeling miserable for no reason and he hates that it has dragged on for so long. I know he doesnt choose to feel the way he does.

    I know it is nothing I have done or not done for him to say I don't love you anymore, he did touch on it saying he just didnt get excited or happy at the thought of seeing me or doing anything to be fair. Just plodded through each day as best he could. Perhaps as you say I shouldn't give up on him, PTSD is the bugger though isn't it as it manifests itself so differently with different people in different ways! I'm hopeful that he will come to me in time and I have to recognise I can't push things with him but equally I have to be kind to myself and look after myself too.

    Please keep in touch as it seems we are both going through different sides of the same coin right now and I would genuinely love to know if you can work these things out.

    <Full post quote above reply removed.>
    Phil1983 likes this.
  6. Phil1983

    Phil1983 New Member

    Sometimes it is best to hear it from another sufferer, it is the only advice I can possibly give. I dread to think what I have put my ex partner through but I know tonight I have had another trigger and just made it so much worse for myself but wish she could understand me more and ask me to open up so we can sort things and live our dreams.

    We all have triggers though and talking through them helps alot as you will know that in autumn to expect the worse from him but deep down he really doesn't mean what he says. My triggers are mainly in January time but I have worked round those with the birth of my son 2 years ago 2days after the anniversary of the PTSD event but the other triggers can happen at anytime just by walking through the streets or having stress build ups which makes me feel trapped and nowhere to turn especially when there is 1 person I know I need to talk to but have made things worsen so easily through stress.

    I can completly relate to him, obviously the events that led to PTSD are completly different from each other and mine has only been happening since 2008 but I went through the treatment recommended by doctors, thought I had found myself and started life over again but new events happen that I have not needed to deal with before and it feels like I have gone back to square 1 where I don't know how to handle them and my ex partner doesn't understand me and has always thought I'm livin in the past, which is true in some ways but people like us need to talk about it, relive it from a "safe" distance and sometimes many times so we can understand it ourselves and know how to deal with the situations that can cause the triggers. By sticking by him he will realise he has someone to turn to and can also bring you even closer together over time and I do genuinely hope that will be case for you

    <Full post quote above reply removed.>
    HollyB and unalaa like this.
  7. GB1

    GB1 Member

    Thanks Phil for opening up and trusting a stranger!

    One thing you have picked up on which my counsellor picked up on is people with PTSD really dont know the devastation and ruin their lives and actions can leave behind. But you seem to be someone who is aware of what you are doing and how it is affecting those around you, I think only a good thing because surely this makes u a stronger person and closer on the road to recovery?

    It's a day by day recovery with any long term problem and looking at things in the grand scale of things can be so overwhelming that you set yourself up for a fall because u are trying to be like Atlas from Greek mythology and trying to balance everything on your shoulders in one go! We've all been there to some extent.

    Picking up on what you said about people getting annoyed with you for living in the past, I can see how some people think that but I understand when u say u got to make sense of things sometimes many times from a safe distance. It's so tough from the supporters perspective to see the one we love or care for immensly in so much pain and we are totally powerless to do anything to change it for the good. The healing has to come from the one in pain, to make an active choice to heal. I suppose I'm trying to work thinks out like that for myself too with my current situation. I want to approach him like someone without PTSD but I know I cannot and it is such a learning curve. I wonder why I am bothering sometimes, I don't want to sound heartless but heck we all have times when we just think this is dragging me down I just want to be free of this!!

    I truly hope you can get through this Phil, one day at a time is the only way to approach it and I guess with the guy in my life too. I'm a very intense person and give all of myself to someone when in a relationship. I have always been told I am a very caring and supportive person in touch with others emotional needs, I hope in some ways I will be able to get through this with him by my side. I hope he will realise it but I cannot force him to.

    Please keep in touch I feel this is something positive we have started out of our mutual negative situations!
  8. GB1

    GB1 Member

    Thanks seeking serenity! I'm trying to be gfood to myself but been on a downward spiral lately I have to say, not been looking after myself, been trying but it's just not been myself a stinking cold and my eyes have gone funny i been crying so much...

    I will however look to the support here and hope it can bring me some guidance.

    <It is not necessary to quote each post you reply to. Just type directly in the box and hit post reply.>
  9. Junebug

    Junebug I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    I think we do often realize very much so the destruction and devastation ptsd leaves behind (or 'we'- 'I' do) :(
    -Hugs to you all
  10. Phil1983

    Phil1983 New Member

    It is sometimes easier talking to a complete stranger about things, I've turned towards family and friends in the past and ended up pushing them away and now my relationship with them is nearly non existant, I did have my ex partner to turn to but over the last week I've destroyed that aswell. I have sent her as much info on PTSD as I can and had other people on my post make me think from a different perspective and realise what they are saying is problems occured by so called friends who I trusted and had some kind of love my brain is telling me trust and love etc is a danger to me and that I should run, attack and avoid the confrontation before it gets to me...I've done just that, got away from the situation then looked back from a safe place and realised it is the biggest mistake I've my life as she was the last person I wanted to do it to and the last person I had who was trying their hardest for me.

    Do not give up on this man, I know how it feels having people give up and it makes things worse. It could take time before he opens up about it for various reasons, he could be scared of your reactions, may know you wont fully understand what he has been through that has led to his problems, it could be literally anything and its those things that confuse him. I always found that with my ex letting me carry on with day to day things and be there just to give me a smile or hear her voice would take me away from the thoughts cos to me I saw her as my rescue, it was the fears of confrontation, loss etc that caused the stress build ups and the reactions I gave her. Just simple everyday things that you do can make this man realise that you are not a threat in anyway and that you are willing to be there and listen when he is ready or needs to talk but at the same time you have to remember that he doesn't mean his words as you are not the cause and that you have to remain calm and happy yourself as hard as it can be at times.

    <Please remember the full line space between each paragraph>
    HollyB likes this.
  11. ProudWife99

    ProudWife99 Well-Known Member

    GB1- So sad to hear you're going through a difficult time, but so glad to see you're able to find this place and seek out even the smallest amounts of comfort. Your story is like many others and here you will find you are far from alone.

    When my husband told me like he didn't love me anymore I believed him! He hadn't treated me with love and so long and was always so angry with me it just made sense to me that he stopped caring. When I spoke with his counselor (updating her on what was going on at home. It's vey important we as supporters don't ask questions their counselors/ therapists can't answer. That privacy and trust is the only reason they even feel remotely safe there!) she told me that when he spoke of me with her it was with love. He convinced himself he had stopped loving me because he couldn't actually FEEL love at all. It wasn't just me he couldn't love, it was anyone. He had to come to terms with that before he would stop projecting his numbness on to me.

    I know that doesn't necessarily help, but it changed my perspective. I stopped feeling so hurt that the man I loved didn't love me and tried harder to understand why he couldn't feel love for me.

    Hugs to you!
    HollyB and GB1 like this.
  12. GB1

    GB1 Member

    Thanks for the support phil, means a lot in what feels like a very alone place right now. I have lots of friends and family supporting me right now, so I know I am loved. Just tough to explain to those who don't know much about PTSD, that it is more complex than "oh he's clearly a w****r"

    As for you and completely mucking things up with the ex, surely not? There is always hope! Always. You're reaching out to the important person in your life and trying to share things with her, albeit from a distance, giving her information to help understand u better as a person....try and remember this is a steep learning curve for her too so she may need to take some time to think about what you have given her, I only hope she can reflect on what u show her and allow it to enrich her undertsanding of you and make u both a stronger unit long term. We're both hurting pretty bad now, it's still very very raw for both of us. And we're still trying to make sense of what has happened.
  13. GB1

    GB1 Member

    proud wife99 many thanks for your lovely message, it raised my spirits.

    Your perspective is not something I haven't already considered myself, I don't however want to put it to him in case he thinks i am trying to put words in his mouth or put ideas in his head and he pass it off as the truth cuz he doesnt want to hurt me.

    I felt so much love from him at different points in our relationship and I am sad I don't have it anymore. But I am not giving up on the possibility that it may return. I know I didn't do anything to stop him loving me and it is something he has to work on himself with no interception from me. I can support from a distance but still have to protect myself and carry on with my life.

    He did say to me that he hasnt felt anything close to any positive emotions in around a month, that includes feelings of desire, love, passion, fire in his belly or wanting to go anywhere or do anything....for the whole spectrum of his life. I don't want to be stupid or naive to think everything is going to be ok if I show him endless patience because it may not be. I can only hope he works things out on his own, independantly of me and he finds a way to get back to me.

    Thanks for all the love shown by you all
    HollyB likes this.
  14. Phil1983

    Phil1983 New Member

    I'm glad I have helped in some way, unfortunitely for me, today has been a very bad day. The only good thing I have achieved is sending her as much information as I possibly can about how PTSD effects people and how it might be effecting me this far since the event happened. Maybe she will read it and start to understand but I know now that a few triggers today have set me off, 1 being, seeing part of the cause to my problems which has made me react in a bad way, i've tried taking myself away from the situation but it followed til I couldn't control things but at the same time I had her telling me by text messages that she doesn't believe that what I have sent her is the reason behind my moods, as it was easier to attack her through a trigger than it was to attack the cause I know i have sent a message that she has taking too far now and her and her family have all decided not to have anything to do with me, on top of that I had tried calling my doctor 10 times today for self referal and not one call been returned so it has been the worst build up in a very long time and the worst result I could of ever wanted but now am realising so much why they have chose their way and I can't argue against it.

    I hope my advice helps you in some way and you can understand things abit more clearly and i truely hope he will eventually realise you are not a threat and your there to help him any way you can so he will open up to you and realise his pressure aswell
  15. Anna1954

    Anna1954 Member

    Phil I wrote a thread the other day and I need a mans prospective on it please look it up. I am not sure if you can. Please let me know if you can't.

    <Full post quote removed.>
  16. Anna1954

    Anna1954 Member

    OK it is me again the thread is "Caring for someone with Ptsd that is pushing you away' Just need your persective.

    <Full post quote removed.>
  17. GB1

    GB1 Member

    Yes just someone to listen is marvelllous, I hope I am repaying the favour in some way? I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a really bad day today. Be confident that you have recognised you have done something positive today in sending her information. You can’t make her believe it, at least not straight away.

    It’s very easy looking in from an outsiders perspective to assume what u see is someone behaving in the perameters of “normal” whatever that is. But PTSD has so much about it that is so very unknown and people know so very little about it. If you knew nothing about PTSD and someone behaved in a certain way, it’s human nature to not be able to put the pieces of the jigsaw together and just see the person as acting in such a negative way for no reason when there is a reason!! She does have a point, it is easier to attack those we love than the route cause of our problems isnt it? But be heartened you are not being an ostrich with your head in the sand, you’re taking a very brave step to trying to heal yourself. It may take more time for people around u to see that and work with you.

    As for your bad day, you sound in a lot of frustrated pain. Have you conisdered speaking to the Samaritans? They may be able to help you work things out or at least let you vent verbally tonight. If the docs are not assisting you, keep at it tomorrow but remember Samaritans are there right now. Just an idea.....

    As for me and my situation, just trying to take it day by day, understanding more and more about this condition. I managed to have some sort of communication today with him and it was positive. Tomorrow is another day of course but at least he’s talking and trying to make active positive choices.

    <Edited for text formatting>
  18. Phil1983

    Phil1983 New Member

    I am confident that she will read the info I have sent but I know the damage is done now and she is already on her way to change her number etc to cut contact.

    Where you have said "putting pieces of a jigsaw together" thats exactly what people like me are doing everyday, we are constantly working out what happened during the event, what we could of done differently to avoid it or avoid the damages of it etc but we never realise that as much as we think it there was a time limit in which it all happened... in my case I was brutally attacked unexpectedly by two so called friends with steel toe cap boots. I know I can look after myself so I was constantly thinking why did I come out of it so bad? My Therapist talked through this with me and we worked out that in the time the 1st blow landed and confused me to my reaction time was about 5 seconds...not enough time for me to come to terms and protect myself against the two men..I've been able to work on that and realise that it couldnt of been avoided but I still try putting the rest of the puzzle in place as to what happened, where, how why etc but its all areas where i was knocked out so my brain was switched off to those areas. My confusions now are rebuilding my life to a normal way of living, loving and enjoying what I have and not attacking the ones close to me by closing up or arguing as it is not going to help me and I lose the 1s I really need.

    Since my bad day tho I have had to make calls for some support and calmed myself down in time and now levelling myself back out hoping my family can tell my ex that I know what I've done is wrong but need to keep her close, I would be doing it myself but as she has already said no and that she is changing her number etc I'm hoping that she will see sense aswell from my perspective.

    We've all got to take each day as it comes though and one day hope that there is some kind of break through and so far if your ex is talking and making positive choices for himself then you know he is feeling comfortable today and can give you a conversation and show you he is stil the person you know, over time it does get easier, I promise

    <Full line spaces inserted between paragraphs>
  19. ProudWife99

    ProudWife99 Well-Known Member

    Phil - I hope things continue to move forward in a positive way for you! Please try to remember how important it is for you to focus on yourself and not simply trying to get your ex to be with you. There is No cure for PTSD, only coping skills and management and if she is making the decision that she cannot be that extra support system for you, then you need you respect that choice.

    One thing I've learned is that those symptoms, those outbreaks, those moments of rage my husband sometimes thrusts on me...ARE a part of who is is. Often I see people say "I know this isn't him" is. It is him now. He can work to cope with this new characteristic of himself, but it is an aspect of him. If you carry around this thought that all this work you put into will make you all better and tell her you'll never act that way again, you're only hurting you both. Building up false expectations can be worse than the breakdowns themselves.

    Focus on you, do what is best to get yourself healthy, and respect that not everyone can go through the ups and downs that PTSD pushes on relationships. She may be doing what is best for her and in turn, what is best for you.

    Stay strong!
  20. Phil1983

    Phil1983 New Member

    Thank you proudWife.. Your comment makes so much sense to me and in the last hour I have had 1 bit of contact so I have just opened up completly to her to help her understand what was going on in my head.

    I have learnt to deal with the original problems that caused my PTSD and I know my ex knew my triggers for that side and has always kept me away from them as much as possible, even down to reading a newspaper, she'd pick up on mood changes if i read something that would relate to my past and pull me back into a happy mood.

    My problem is the new feelings of love and trust that I have wanted to take into the future with her, as this is the 1st time ever that I have had these thoughts it has confused me in a big way, mainly as to me I was hiding things from her as I wanted everything to be surprise but wanted to ask her families permission before the proposal and to my brain was telling me the love and trust are my danger areas. This all led to confusion and the outbreaks.

    I have told her that this is the way I am, I know I can burst into arguement at any time over the slightest thing in the past and that is why she kept me away from the triggers we both knew. As this is a completly new part we were not prepared for it in the slightest so we couldn't see warning signs properly and if we did we were trying to work out where the known trigger was instead of the unknown. I have since tried my hardest to explain what was going on at the time and said I can not blame her for her decisions and my loss but have asked if she can consider atleast being there for me as a friend as she helped me through everything for the past 4 years the best way she can. I have rose above my earlier thoughts and now have a nice calm level again, I really hate myself being like this as it does get stressful when I can switch between things but the more people are replying and the more posts I am reading, I am starting to understand more about why I could be doing things and it starts clicking switches in me and giving me a clearer view of myself :)

    <Full line spaces inserted between paragraphs.>
  21. GB1

    GB1 Member

    Hey Phil

    Wonderful news! The gates of communication may have been closed temporarily but they were not locked!! I'm so happy you ended the day with a little more positivity.

    The event that triggered your PTSD really sounds mucked up...I'm sure it is a question you have asked yourself a million times but how could they? That is something u can and will get past, slowly slowly catchy monkey.

    Your last message indicates you have had some sort of breakthrough in terms of understanding yourself more on a deeper level, brilliant. Love is the most wonderful amazing thing but the obstacles that others and we can put in front of ourselves sometimes to stop ourselves are disorientating. In many ways, it is a way of self sabotaging do you think? Oh I'm not good enough, oh I don't deserve it, oh it won't last so I'll kick it first, oh I'm going to get hurt so heck defence is the best form of attack! Fight or flight too.....

    How has she responded to you asking for her support, albeit as a friend right now? Don't be surprised if she wants or needs some time to think to herself to make sense of all that has been going on, the fact she is entering communication with you shows me she is slowly coming down from the emotional roller coaster that has been the last few days and starting to perhaps curiously consider the events that have happened. She still feels something for you otherwise lets be serious, if you dont care for something or someone, you don't make the effort do you?

    PLease don't hate yourself either, that is not going to get you anywhere positive! Acceptance that this is you is a point you need to reach. Beating yourself up when u feel everyone else is isn't going to help you. Like so many people say here, this will never be something that just "goes away", it will always be with you. But you're starting on a journey to try to manage this for the rest of your life.
    chicken sammich likes this.
  22. SeekingSerenity

    SeekingSerenity I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    Wow GB1,

    I have been reading your posts with the advice and support for Phil, and it seems that you have already grasped the main concepts of PTSD already! I wish I could have done it that fast, it may have saved me so much heartache.

    You are doing well, now just follow the advice you have been offering ;)

    Jeez, I sound like my blooming shrink :eek:
    Phil1983 and GB1 like this.
  23. GB1

    GB1 Member

    Hey Seeking Serenity

    Not so much a case of grasping the points quickly....but rather having had a lot of experience of it in my life, perhaps more so than others. Family member suffers from it so I had an understanding of it before I even met the ex. Tried to learn more about it with him when we were together too.

    As for the advice I have been offering....I don't know hasn't that been for the person who has it? I'm still in some ways at a loss to my situation, just think to myself I could be with someone who doesn't have all of these problems. Harsh but true. I must still feel something for him if I continue to discuss it here and enter in communication with him....or maybe I just can't let go...
  24. SeekingSerenity

    SeekingSerenity I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    I think you still love him....

    I think you know that when he gets his PTSD sorted that he will make a wonderful partner for you...

    Maybe I'm just a Hopeless romantic?
  25. GB1

    GB1 Member

    I really dont know seeking serenity.....he has a gambling problem which I do not like and he has started to address now after some suggestions from me. Is that the makings of a good boyfriend for me?

    I'm a bit all over the place today, not very well. Going to try and have a lie down, chat later?
  26. SeekingSerenity

    SeekingSerenity I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    You'll figure it out. You will do whats right for you.

    Have faith in yourself. :tup:
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