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Why Do Sufferers Try To Push Away Their Loved Ones?

Discussion in 'PTSD Relationships' started by CCurry, Jan 27, 2010.

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  1. CCurry

    CCurry Well-Known Member

    It's been awhile since he's done this but this morning in a phone conversation I told him I loved him and he got triggered. He told me it was be so much easier for him if I just stopped and that this was not fair to me or the kids and that initially it'll be hard for me but I'll find peace eventually if I walk away. He doesn't know how long its going to take until he gets better or if he even will. All last week he told me that he'll work on this and that we will be happy again guaranteed and now this.

    In my heart I know he is just trying to push me away and if he wanted to end this he's had every opportunity to do so, he could have just walked away from me but he hasn't.

    He did follow up with a text apologizing saying he's really f....ed up today.

    Has this have anything to do with low self-worth?
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  3. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt!
    Premium Member

    I would say his very words tell you what was going on there. He said it wasn't fair to you and the children, that you'll find peace and that he doesn't know how long this will take to get better. He recognizes that his suffering is causing you and the kids to suffer, that he upsets the peace and that he doesn't have the answers. Here he is showing both hopelessness and Guilt. Hopelessness usually comes in hard on really bad days. The guilt, well when your hurting your own family that you love with a disorder you have yet to control, who wouldn't feel guilty?

    I don't see what he said as trying to push you away, more like acknowledging the situation and that his disorder is the cause of it and giving you the option to have a more peaceful life. He's trying to keep the door open for you to let you know that it is okay if you need to choose that for your family's sake.

    Could it be from lack of self-worth? Yes. However I don't believe that is the case. It sounds to me that he is very aware of how this is affecting you all, despises it, and wants you to have a way out if you need it.

    BellaAngelo likes this.
  4. ISupportHer

    ISupportHer Supporter Member
    Premium Member

    :Hug_emoticon::Hug_emoticon:I know this hurts CCurry, I could not agree more with what Becvan says.

    I would just share with you that, one time, I posted in frustration and pain after I was told something similar. That there was regret that she puts me through hell, when I was hoping for an expression of love. Someone posted a response to me that her very statement of that was, in fact, an expression of love. And that it was maybe the only way she could say it at that particular time. That her verbally acknowledgment of her PTSD to me in that response WAS an expression of love. I carry that advice with me every day now. Wish I could remember the person who said that to me, frankly.

    Maybe, just maybe, you can look at it that way too. I hope so.

    Grainne and (deleted member) like this.
  5. 2notbedefeated

    2notbedefeated Well-Known Member

    I know it must be painful and frustrating to feel him "pulling away" and perhaps isolating himself from his family like that. I don't fully know your family situation, but I have PTSD I am sort of going through what you have mentioned going through.

    He may be struggling with with a lot of conflicted emotions and doesn't want to hurt you and give you false hope. I think he is probably trying understand what's going on with himself and how it is impacting those around him. He may just need that extra space in order to work through some painful issues.

    Having PTSD myself, I tend to isolate and pull away in order to work through confusion thoughts and feelings, and it also helps me to regain strength in order to push forward. Sometimes I feel like things with my family and me will work out and I feel postive, but then are days when things have been rough, and I feel trememdously guilty that I am putting my famly though all this.

    When I aske my husband how he was able to hang in there during the worst part of my PTSD. He and I did not plan on what happened when we married, it was laying "dormat" until something triggered me and then things went crazy for me. His response to my question was that he looked to God for the patience, grace, and strength to do so.

    I don't know if this helps, but I send a prayer your way for you, your husband and kids.
  6. Jimmy

    Jimmy Active Member
    Premium Member

    Hey CC,

    I am no Expert, but analyse myself all the time. From experience I have worked out that when I am having a tough time with something, I start blaming everything and everyone else on why I am feeling that way rather than dealing with the issue.
    This usually starts with me finding something wrong with the ones closest to me. As I am a single father, it starts with my 12 year old son, and then my girlfriend.
    I make a mountain out of a molehill, or to put it another way, something out of nothing.

    And as Becvan said
    , she is so right. I often think that my girlfriend would be better off and am basically offering her a choice only because I am not happy with myself.
    Then, when I have finished with my outburst and feeling sorry for myself, I ask for forgiveness, and explain that it is not her.

    I have only come to this reality of late, hope it helps
    WendyA likes this.
  7. Grainne

    Grainne Well-Known Member

    CCurry...It made me very sad to hear the pain in your post. Then ISH almost made me cry with his reply...I could not agree with him more. Your hubby needs you to know that he loves you and the kids and he is recognising that what is happening is not making any of you happy. It sounds very much like a true expression of love to me.

    I think I've told you this before, but the guilt and helplessness I feel when it comes to my husband and son during a bad spell is almost intolerable. It is a physical feeling that chokes me...leaves me feeling like I can't draw a breath. If I manage to say anything through that, it's usually something along the lines of "why are you here? I'm so awful to be around. How can you stand this? Why do you stay?" Feeling so out of control makes me feel Hopeless and watching the way it affects my family brings me to my knees.

    It's really hard to deal with, is what I'm trying to say, and sometimes I think it would be so much easier to be on my suffer through all of this alone. And then D stays, and waits, and my little boy doesn't care if I'm up or down, he still wants his mom to hang with him while he plays....and things fall back into place....eventually.

    I'm sorry this is such a hard time for you guys. You have been on my mind...I'll keep you in my thoughts.

  8. She Cat

    She Cat I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    This is only from my personal experiences.... I can't get that close to people... I feel vulnerable, exposed, and it's to close for comfort. When I was in a relationship, the frustration was so great that I started to push the other one away....It's frustration with myself, that I can't get beyoned my own issues that causes me to push them usually has very little to do with the other person.....
    BellaAngelo, Prettysmile and Jimmy like this.
  9. Tiger Kitten

    Tiger Kitten Well-Known Member

    I push people away because I am afraid they will run away. If I give them a choice, I have a little bit of control over the timing. I don't deal well with negative surprises. I have more to say on this, but my head is a lot foggy right now and things would come out all muddled. I only push away those I care about the most.

    BellaAngelo likes this.
  10. CCurry

    CCurry Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone for your replies, I read each one carefully and helps reassure me that what he's feeling is no different than anyone else having ptsd.

    Bec- I thought about what I said about "pushing me away" and upon reflection I don't think he actually pushes away, yes he withdraws from me (again normal) but what he wants most in this world is for me to find peace. I know that, he's told me that a couple of weeks ago. His guilt for what he knows the affect of this on me is gnawing at him.

    Before his flare up if someone asked me if I loved him, I would have said a ho hum yes but due to my circumstances I've had so much time to figure out exactly how much I love him and I've realized that I'm willing to sacrifice what I need to for this time in my life AS long as he's willing to keep working on himself.
  11. SpringRain

    SpringRain Guest

    Hi CC - I'm really sorry that you are both going through this. I can only speak from personal experience, I don't know if this will help, but hopefully something will.

    I am useless at relationships. I would much rather isolate. I even isolate from myself by shutting myself off from my emotions so that I can be numb to my pain. That said, I have been in a loving marriage for over ten years now with a very patient man, who at times reaches the limits of his patience just as I reach the limit of my ability to cope with my pain.

    I don't push my husband away, or my son, however I do feel a real guilt that through me they experience PTSD. I have worked on this in therapy but here's my thoughts that seem close to what you describe. My trauma meant that I will spend the rest of my life with PTSD, sometimes doing well, sometimes struggling. By being married to me, or being my child, these people - who I love dearly - will spend the rest of my life with PTSD. Sometimes they will have an easy time, sometimes it will suck. I can not even tell you how many times I have thought, "the truly selfless thing would be to live alone the rest of my life and not inflict my PTSD on others - especially these most important people in my life."

    My husband and son do not want to lose me. I do not want to lose them. And so we ride good times and rough. We have both learnt how to communicate better - although not perfectly. He understands that my struggle with my pain is not a reflection on how much I love him. He knows that when I hug him and get close to him at night when things are particularly rough that it is a huge sign of my love - something I should never have been able to do.

    On my part, I am learning to say, "things are bad," or, "triggered," or some signal that I am struggling. We have talked in advance that this does not mean, "I don't love you," it means, "I am hurting and I just don't know how to get through today."

    So, my two-cents worth. Have no idea if this is helpful or not. This is just me and I can't speak to your personal situation. However, isolation is very, very common in PTSD - and the reasons above are just a couple. Being a person with PTSD it is so hard to connect to anything or anyone, including ourselves. The fact that he talks to you in the way that he does after he has struggled, and during struggles, speaks of real love to me. Only something really worthwhile would make anyone with PTSD try to connect to anything or anyone.

    With deepest respect,

  12. CCurry

    CCurry Well-Known Member

    Thanks Rain, that is comforting. I happen to ask him tonight if he was at all comforted by me telling him I love him. He said I know this is going to sound strange but it actually in a very small way triggers me. I'm not a therapist but I'm guessing once again guilt seems to be the source of his trigger.

    I don't know the answer to this and I could be off the mark but because his ptsd is caused by 23 years of Combat, I'm assuming that guilt consumes a Combat vet and hence maybe the association to me and his guilt. Again I'm no therapist just a woman who wants to see her man get better.
  13. helena

    helena Well-Known Member

    Hi CC.

    Not sure if this will help but if you can imagine if you had done something really bad that caused you to doubt yourself and who you were and caused you immeasurable guilt and torment.

    Then someone without any guilty/torment/trauma comes into your life and tells you they love you. You cannot reveal this 'ugly' truth about yourself. However, you have too much of a conscience not to feel guilty because deep down you feel unworthy of this love. You feel and believe that you are not good enough to be loved by this person whom you see as 'whole.'

    That is how it may be for your bf so 'love' can be a trigger imho. When I think back to the early years with my significant other it was the guilt and his lack of self worth/identity that caused so many of the problems.

    Take care

  14. CCurry

    CCurry Well-Known Member

    Thanks Helena and yes I can totally connect the two together, it makes sense to me.

    I'm trying to feel positive today but to be honest I've moved the box of kleenex onto my desk this morning. If he was triggered by the smell of gunpowder then that's easy to avoid a shooting range but if the source of his trigger is me and my love for him and his guilt towards not being here for me, I feel it's utterly hopeless.
  15. SpringRain

    SpringRain Guest

    Hi again CC - I also think it's important to realize that it is possible to work on triggers. Please don't think it is utterly hopeless. I could not handle the concept of being loved at all - and yet I have been married for ten years now. I am currently in therapy and one of the things I am working on is my triggers - how to cope with them and handle them, and even how to alleviate them. I know it must hurt so badly to think you are a trigger - but my husband and I think of it more not as him being the trigger, but the feelings that can come up. Like Helena said, my husband was never a trigger for me, love was. I know this still hurts, but please remember it is not you - it is a very real brain injury called PTSD.

    I am sending you healing thoughts that he can work on his triggers - and that you will keep that kleenex handy and use it as you need to because you also need to grieve and take care of your emotions and hurts. They are very real and valid also.

    With peace,

  16. helena

    helena Well-Known Member

    CC, it can and will get better.

    Soldiers have a lot of guilt but your BF is in therapy and is working through these issues. I know that it is hard for you so I don't want to say anything that makes it worse for you. It kind of helped me to know why things happened because I could deal with it better but, yes I understand, it is a lot easier to understand 'gunpowder' or 'bullets' as triggers rather than affectionate words or gestures.

    I am so sorry that you are crying over this CC.
  17. Andre

    Andre Active Member

    I wonder sometimes if this tendency to isolate and push people away isn't just perpetuating the negative impact of all this. What I mean is the goal is to live with this, so part of that has to be having a goal of living. No man is an island, or woman for that matter. So, while it can seem logical from one side as people dealing with this on the deepest level, for everyone else around us they are justifiably hurt by it. Of course safety is important, but beyond that extreme situation isn't isolating from others who care about you counter productive? There must be ways around this at some point. I think maybe self-work sometimes needs to be shifted for practical purposes like this. That doesn't mean to stop it, just to recognize the greater problem and what it takes to resolve it. Does this make any sense?
  18. CCurry

    CCurry Well-Known Member

    Hi Andre,

    Thanks and I quoted the above because only someone with ptsd can answer the isolation being counter-productive comment. From a carer's point of view I would say yes BUT isolating and ptsd has nothing to do with "we" as a couple, like many carer's in my situation I'm pushed aside right now so this isolating is about him. Actually there was a thread earlier about the difference between isolating and withdrawing and after learning the difference I've figured out that he's not so much isolating as withdrawing.

    I know he still cares and even though he's really suffering right now, we are still somehow part of his life. It hurts to see him holding his head, stroking his head to soothe his emotional pain, the trick is finding ways to support him without making him think that he's causing us distress for what he's going through.
  19. growingpains

    growingpains Active Member

    I am someone with PTSD who can answer the isolation as counter-productive comment. It feels like I am suffocating if people care about me are too close when I am isolating. I can take the smallest comment or criticism as a personal attack and am very easily frustrated. My pain surfaces as frustration. There is no way around this--I cannot help that I feel this way when triggered and under stress. It is not impractical for me, it helps me get through it. I think it is counter-productive to try to tell someone that they are wrong to do whatever they need to do personally to feel safe. Isolation feels like safety for me when I need it. I see it more as protecting my love ones from my hurt/pain rather than not isolating and sharing all of my pain with them. Does that make sense? I hope it at least gives some clarity for how it is on the PTSD side...hope others will chime in on how their personal experience. We all "suffer" differently.
    bleve31, Khemical and Prettysmile like this.
  20. CCurry

    CCurry Well-Known Member

    Hi Growingpains,

    Oh I totally agree with you which is why I've never asked him if its okay to pop over his place that he rented away from our home because I am aware that this is his safe place. I never thought of looking at it that way "protecting my loved ones...." but now that you said it like that I shines a new perspective on it.

    Even though I as a carer may not understand that concept of having a safe place doesn't mean that I personally would not respect it.
    bleve31 likes this.
  21. Jimmy

    Jimmy Active Member
    Premium Member

    Hey CC,

    I am a sufferer and am actually struggling with this very situation right now, but the other way round.

    Some days I would love to have someone doting over me, telling me they love me and having their children running around the house, making noise, and playing games, yet others I just want to lock myself in my room and be alone. And for me, there does not have to be any triggers or stressors, I can just wake up feeling that way. The reason to me why I lock myself away is so I do not hurt my loved ones. I have even gone to the stage of turning all my phones off so I don't offend anyone.

    I am a single father to a 12 year old boy, so as you can imagine he goes through a living nightmare himself some days. No matter how I feel though, he always has access to me, and that in itself is a real challenge sometimes. But I am fortunate to have him.

    As for my GF, although she says so, I really don't think she understands the nature of the beast, or maybe it is just me not letting her know how I feel.
    So this morning I handed her an article Anthony wrote on this site. It is in the carers section. Here is the link to it. [DLMURL][/DLMURL]

    Hope this can help
  22. CCurry

    CCurry Well-Known Member

    Hi Jimmy,

    Thanks for the post and I was happy to hear that your little 12 year old still has access to you, I think it's really important for your little guy.

    I actually have that same article saved on my desktop, I've emailed to his parents because they have never seen him like this. In the past he's always pushed his parents out of his life and now they are starting to understand why. I am their link to him for the time being.
  23. Annicus

    Annicus Member

    I am exactly the same way as he is. Its hard for to hear or say certin things. The guilt is a horrible monster as well as the worthlessness. Its hard to explain something that you can't seem to control or even begin to understand. For me itd easier if people are angry with me, rather than them being hurt or feeling guilty about the way I am feeling. At least he apologized though it shows that he didn't pull back as far as he could of.
  24. Mayhem

    Mayhem Active Member


    PTSD is a demon. You are being pushed away to keep you and the kids out of danger. I will explain.

    Some of us that suffer from PTSD have different things that we deal with, one of those things being "blind rage." The smallest thing can and does set us off. In that "blind rage" we do and say things that we would not normally do. Once the rage has past and the mind is clear we see the aftermath of what we have done. Which makes us feel like crap for hurting those close to us.

    Yes that aftermath sometimes includes hurting the ones closest to us. And I am talking about physical.

    So when a suffer pushes you away, it might be they don't want to hurt you, mentally or physically. They do it because they really deep down love you and don't want you to get hurt.

    When an animal is hurt or in pain, it lashes out and attacks those trying to help it. The only difference is that humans can verbally tell you they are hurting and they want you to go away.

    I hope this sheds a bit more light and helps you to understand us a bit more.

    bleve31 and Nicolette like this.
  25. Tessa

    Tessa I'm a VIP
    Premium Member

    We often lash out at those closest to us because we know it is safe to do so. Only in unconditional love can a person truely express themselves and their frustrations.
  26. Ammonsgirl

    Ammonsgirl New Member boyfriend just went into the PTSD clinic at the V.A. in Menlo Park and already he's understanding why he pushed his family away for so long. He also pushed both his 2 wives's a strange trust issue from what he explained and an age thing. He was 18 when he went in and got married the first time, now he's 37 and has come to grips with what he's done. I'm the first girl he has EVER trusted with his experience in the service. It's not YOU at's him and most likely him thinking that he doesn't deserve trust and understanding. My bf was in the service for 13 years and saw/did a lot of horrible things, (in his my mind he had NO CHOICE but to do it) he didn't think anyone would understand or stand by him if they's taken him 7 years to get help and I think it will be really good for him. Don't give up on your dude...he may just be having a really hard's not you at all girl!
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