Relationship A recent story to share - could use some support or to know I'm not alone

Hello to all supporters and sufferers here who read my ( very long !!!) new post. I want to tell you my story so I can reach out to anyone who feels connected to it or has any supportive insights they want to share in response to it. It would be much appreciated.

I have read some of the discussions, and advice on this sight and firstly I want to thank everyone who has had the energy and time to share their feelings and views here. Thank You.

My story:
I was ( or am still) a very confident independent person , a musician and composer , working with people with disabilities and in mental health settings, mainly brain injuries. I write music and work with people who have not written music before. I also walk the hills and camp on my own, teach yoga once a week and generally have a lovely lifestyle with my dog. 😊

My mum died last year and then a couple of months after unfortunately I went into hospital with stress cardiomyopathy. That took a lot of working through. I am on medication for my heart now , it’s taken only a year and I’m back walking long distances in the hills with a big pack on. I’m lucky I have worked through my illness and my body wants to exercise to reduce stress.

Before I went into hospital I met a wonderful man. ( haha that sounds like he drove me into hospital. It’s possible it had an affect on stress levels yes !) We started to build a very grounded relationship together, that felt freeing and open. We talked too. No subject was off the table. He was so kind and supportive.

I was resistant to start with because I am not used to someone being so supportive or being with someone who could talk about anything with me. I’m a very open person, but was not expecting to meet someone so open and engaging back. There was something that did make me question his mental health however ( only a tiny bit ) and that was he talked sometimes excessively and dashed around too much. He was very intense ( I am too, but he seemed a bit physically manic - doing tons )

He met me on the back of my mum dying and I was still in a lot of stress. He helped me through this time amazingly and while I was in hospital and out of hospital. I’ve never known such support ever in my entire lifetime ! It meant so much to me. More than he could ever know.

His background to his ptsd:
He was in the army in Northern Ireland and then went into specialist crime and terrorism work as a cop for 30 years. He’s been married and has two lovely daughters.

I would resist his full on approach for a while but eventually got to trust him and thought “ he is in it with me for long term” ( not that it mattered if he wasn’t but it was lovely that he said he wanted to be) and also he used to say “ you and I can talk about anything. Even if we decide to move on from each other , we will talk about it “. So it felt realistic and grounded. That we could communicate. I have never had so much good communication from anyone before either. We just clicked and laughed loads and loads too.

I have always understood that life can go in different directions. I wasn’t asking for marriage or this external commitment, however I hoped that he would be in my life for a long long time and we were building an emotional commitment. After a few months , around six, he suggested he told his daughters and ex wife and family. I said let’s wait until after Christmas - thinking it might be easier for daughters, although I look back and was probably not quite ready for this yet. Which I think is fine after only six months. It may have put him in an insecure place I think.

We discussed this and were happy to continue and he would tell his daughters ( age 16 and 20, so an old enough age to understand a new partner) after Christmas. I think he felt some kind of pressure to do it ( he wanted to tell them beforehand and it got confusing to him) even though I didn’t at this point put pressure on him.

In December an army anniversary date came up for him. It was the anniversary of his friend and army colleague. I don’t need to say anymore. The story is very bad. He’s had many other traumas to deal with since being in crime and terrorism too.

He usually can cope with the date and move on, but this year there was a picture that he saw instead of just the date. He said this triggered ptsd. He was diagnosed with it at age 23. He is 52. He said by sheer will, he would not “ let it beat him” so all through his marriage he said he kept busy and had no time to be emotional or think about his condition. So this makes me realise now, he loves to help others and be really useful more than himself. That’s his attachment style, to support others.

He said he did everything to fight his ptsd and won his battle ! Until last December it seems.

The first sign of things going wrong was when we were on a trip to the mountains and he was crossing a river. He fell in . He mentioned that he was stupid to fall in. There were signs before this and he’d mention I was getting well and fitter again and he was less fit !! So there were little signs of him feeling inadequate I suppose. I took him in my arms because he said he felt “ wobbly” and he cried and cried.

( I must mention that I first met him when he was trying out my yoga classes because he said he was hit by a skip arm from a lorry and got a brain injury ? They treated it like a stroke and he couldn’t walk or talk for six months - this is why he decided to get back to yoga and exercise again and this is when he met me - but I’m wondering if I don’t know the whole story and it’s connected with ptsd. Or that the brain injury could be connected to his trigger for ptsd. No one will ever know and I suppose it’s not something to have to know now. I did suggest he went to see a specialist though. )

We recovered from this river incident although he would not go back into the van with me and wanted to stay outside in the freezing cold to prove he was ok!!! I thought this seemed very macho and not really like him.

The first isolation:
A few days after this incident we both got covid !! Ahhh and he was sat on my sofa and said “ I have to leave”. It was below freezing outside and he had covid. “ I have to go and see my daughter .” He said. I explained that it was not appropriate to do that. I was totally shocked at this. ( at this point he had not told me about ptsd because he thought he’d beaten it I guess and probably didn’t know it was ptsd at this point )

He got stubborn ( not angry or aggressive) just completely focused and stubborn without any care other than needing to go and see his daughter. I said “ you’ll give her covid “. He just looked at me strange. Even his eyes looked different to me somehow . Pupils bigger or something.

That was it, he left ( I said “ f*ck” at this point to him) he isolated for a week and I had no idea what was happening. I was simply broken. I had put so much trust into the emotional side of our relationship , I just could not believe it. I didn’t know if he was ok! I also had been working on things myself with a therapist last year which connects to “being abandoned” , as I had not had emotional support as a child. I do not have any conditions as such diagnosed, but obviously being abandoned can be most upsetting to me.

He came back after two weeks and I was extremely gentle. No emotional talk, just walking and eating food and watching tv.

He then decided to go to therapy , go off work and completely get to grips with this. He tried sooooo hard. But he had to wait for therapy until May 2022!!! So we were dealing with it from December to May. We did really well. We went on trips together into the hills and I was patient with him when he wanted to spend less time with me or work on his car and other stuff that took him away from emotional pressure.

BUT…. I do t think I knew how ill he was. I still don’t think I really do. I asked to come to therapy with him but he only had two weeks at the police treatment centre and then after that it went massively down hill.

He just didn’t want to spend as much time with me. I asked him when he was going to tell his daughters about me and he said he felt too much pressure and emotion for it. I just assumed it was like a normal fading out relationship thing and that he just didn’t want to be with me or commit anymore, like he’d had enough. I was having enough of this too and was getting stressy !!!

This is where I think it gets confusing. He was adamant he did not want to be treated differently because of the ptsd and that he didn’t want to be felt sorry for.

I think I treated him respectfully in this way but unfortunately pushed his condition away in my mindset too much. In the posts I have read here, it seems the opposite where supporters in this very broken state can ( understandably so) kind of make it all about the ptsd.

So it remains confusing to tell whether it was him wanting to break away slowly or rather willingly or whether he didn’t want to break away, but just had to follow what his body was needing to do to survive things. I will never really know this part . Neither will he perhaps.

What I do know is that he tried and tried so hard to make it work with me but the pressure of leaving this incredible full on job, getting treatment and then… wait for it !! His daughter got sick in hospital and then his brother !!
I was too broken up to wait and wait for him at this point and I just needed up texting him, asking if I could help but also pushing him to let me know what was happening between us every week.

He just left( this was around the end of May2022) He stayed in contact via text and once we both calmed down ( a month) he said he loved me and wanted to come back.

I pushed him to be clear. I put my boundaries in place to say “ please don’t leave me floating , we have to make a decision soon about what is happening”
These were my errors ;what I think were my errors) I made after he left, more than before. When I saw him face to face I could be calm, insightful and understanding.

To try and communicate with text was very difficult for me. I find it hard to write emails and texts ( since mum died especially) at the best of times ( Although how long is this post ? Haha are you still reading !!)

So I messed it up a bit from when he left. I assumed it would be like last time and he would come back. He said he was coming back twice, would love to spend time with me again and have a proper relationship and be my boyfriend.

I was so happy and just thought we’ll work everything else out later. Just to get him to be face to face again will help us both to discover what the next steps were even if it was to part.

Then more obstacles - A photograph my friend found on fb of him at a family event with his daughter and ex made it very very difficult. I had to ask if he had gone back to this family and wife and tried hard to say it was okay if he had, but to let me know so I can move on. I told him this hurt me especially as I didn’t know what was happening .

He said it was just an event and he was with me. I found it difficult that he could work and go to events with his family but not see me. This made me think it wasn’t just ptsd in the mix here. But even all this emotion for him was obviously the things that were keeping him back from seeing me too.

He would be consistent in saying “ I’m so sorry , I can’t deal with talking or seeing you at the moment “
“ I’m trying to avoid anything intense “ I’d ask him if he thought I was too intense “ he said “ no, it’s me that is making it intense and emotional.” But again, even me asking these things I guess was putting him under pressure.

He did say a few weeks ago that he thought he had not fulfilled me and failed me and therefore failed our relationship. He told me to just move on.

Instead of trying to get him to validate things for myself ( as I was doing that at times when I didn’t really know how sick he was) I just said how about we do this ?

I put the boundaries down and said” I will keep in touch with you , light stuff , message you a bit for now and see how that is.”

He agreed and said “ let’s see how things go. I do love you. I just don’t want you to change. Just let things go for a bit and we will be ok.”

It’s very sad isn’t it!! It’s so akin to a lot of your stories here. I try to live each day and not expect anything. Not expect him coming back or not coming back. Just to let him be. It sounds so goodly moral, but it’s so hard !! I don’t feel a doormat in this situation , but … this is something I find hard to express and also to my friends - It’s broken my heart more than anything else ever has done. It’s been worse for my body and its reactions ( crying and crying at times totally involuntarily ) than when mum died. It’s very like many people’s stories here - the shock of someone going when you think you are completely in love and actually bonding more and more together.

If you have read to the end ! I hope that my story will help others who are supporting or suffering somehow ?’ ! Just to know there are people out here that have similar stories might help , but also if you have any supportive words to say I would be so grateful as I’m doing this alone at the moment. Thank you so much. X
 
Hello, thank you !

My post is perhaps too open ended as I was looking for people that might say “ ahh yes this is typical behaviour of someone with ptsd “ perhaps I should have requested this ?

I also want to help anyone else that has been through these ups and downs too and to say I’m ok but feel terribly broken for him as well as myself.

Yes it’s the inconsistency that is very confusing, spot on! But since reading your posts about ptsd on this forum , I feel as though inconsistency is very common.

I didn’t even believe he had it or the diagnoses was real for some reason. How strange is that ? Is that usual denial I wonder .

Thanks for replying . Many thanks
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
I think most people are shocked when they see what actual PTSD looks like. They have the TV version in the head. I also think it is easy for PTSD to fly under the radar in the honeymoon phase of the relationship. Eventually your partner will actually be symptomatic enough where they can’t mask it, and then it’s a wake up call.
 
I think most people are shocked when they see what actual PTSD looks like. They have the TV version in the head. I also think it is easy for PTSD to fly under the radar in the honeymoon phase of the relationship. Eventually your partner will actually be symptomatic enough where they can’t mask it, and then it’s a wake up call.
It certainly was a wake up call. It did build and build if I properly look back over it. Thank you so much for replying again.
 

FlyingDove

Learning
I think most people are shocked when they see what actual PTSD looks like. They have the TV version in the head. I also think it is easy for PTSD to fly under the radar in the honeymoon phase of the relationship. Eventually your partner will actually be symptomatic enough where they can’t mask it, and then it’s a wake up call.
Thank you for your insight. My husband has PTSD but claims it is not an issue as a veteran told him immediately leaving the service - just throw it away in the trash can. It does not work this way. I have it too. He has refused to get help or couples counseling. What is happening is he is preparing for doomsday. Like so many others. I have just begun setting firm boundaries. We create our future.
 
Thank you for your insight. My husband has PTSD but claims it is not an issue as a veteran told him immediately leaving the service - just throw it away in the trash can. It does not work this way. I have it too. He has refused to get help or couples counseling. What is happening is he is preparing for doomsday. Like so many others. I have just begun setting firm boundaries. We create our future.
Yeah… where’s that trash can at? I wish my vet could find it! Sorry your husband listened to that guy.
I’m sorry about that too. I think for my boyfriend ( I’m not sure if he is or not) he said he thought “ he could beat it”. And other colleagues if his had the same “trash can” mentality around him. He put himself down when the guys with him ( experienced the same horrors) didn’t get diagnosed ptsd. He Wanted to stay in his job so much he said he pushed it away, but I’m not sure if that is true, especially as I have seen the effects after only a year. It’s something that affects your whole life, everything. I’m not sure if we ( me and him) really saw all this coming and how it would damage us. We thought we were strong enough to get through it together. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and I wish you so much support and luck for you and your husband.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top