Relationship Accidentally triggered my "girlfriend" PTSD. I'm a bit of shocked

Thunder98

New Here
So, i've already read a lot of threads here in this forum regarding the same argument, glad to know at least i'm not the only one with the same issue.
A bit of background: I've been dating this girl since around January 2022, i knew her since August of 2021, but we never decided to talk for as long as we did this year.
I will be honest, this is seriously the first time i am falling in love so much with someone. I didn't have many relationships back in my life because i always felt i couldn't relate the way i wanted with a potential partner, but with this girl everything is different. She understands me so much and i understand her in the same way, we discuss a lot of topics we both love regarding philosophy, music, politics and many, many others, and we are literally able to stay together for so much time per day without even being aware of it.
I literally feel like this person is and will be one of the greatest love of my life.
At this moment of life, we are not actually in a relationship. We somekind love each other, but at the same time she is scared to start a relationship because she is not sure of how to handle it, and i genuinely respect that, i've always been extremely patient to her, to her needs regarding his mental health situation and everything else, and i always felt she was in a safe place when talking and staying with me. I also always supported her in any way possible for her future, her life plans, being romantic aswell and extremely caring, and she loves that. This is afterall, for the most, my love language.

Until one day. I was a bit upset regarding something that happened few days before, i don't want to tell too much details for privacy, but it was something regarding what she told me and what she did, and i felt like teased and manipulated by that.
I decided to express my emotions, not in an attempt of telling her off, but to just let her know how i felt and talk about that. I believe that in these cases communication is the key to keep a healthy relationship between the two parts (actually not a relationship but yeee you got the point).
She went somekind of mad after that. To be honest i didn't expect that, but she was extremely upset and angry after i told those things, and i was a bit of shaken for it aswell.
I clarified that there was no intention to harm her of telling her off, as i said before, and she understood, but on an emotional level she told me that i literally hurt her and she had no clue how to react to that. She now feels unsafe to talk and stay with me and doesn't know how to overcome that.
I was literally shocked when i first hear that. I had no clue of what was going on, i felt safe to talk to her and express my emotions, i literally couldn't expect a reaction like that, but at this moment of life i feel like everything i did to support her, to make her feel safe and understood, to motivate her and let her feel my love, has been completely shattered away by those few meaningless words.
I didn't know she had PTSD, i don't know if she knew either and i'm not sure she has it, but i feel like every symptoms, reactions and emotions can relate to that.
She told me that she didn't want to talk with me in a cold and detached way because she doesn't feel it natural, as she prefer to be playful and loving when staying with me, so i decided to let her alone for a while to let the thing go by.
She told me also that she still cares about me, even if we are getting some temporary distance and not talking as we always did, that's why she is telling such stuffs, and i honestly cried when heard about that because, before that, i felt that everything was falling down and there was nothing i could do about that, and i was so much scared to lose her forever.
She is someone special for me, i've never met someone so important in my entire life, and i can tell this is the same feeling for her.

So yeah, this is the situation. It has been almost 3 weeks after that and the situation hasn't changed at all. I don't know anything anymore about her life, except for what she posts on social media, which is extremely rare at this point since i believe she is blocking me from viewing her stories on Instagram.
I don't know what to expect to be honest, she told me that she won't disappear and ghost me, that this is not a goodbye but just a "little" break to let the emotions settle, but at the same time she has no clue and no idea of how to overcome that, as she said to me.
This kind of uncertainty is literally consuming me at the moment. It was way worse on the first days of April and right now i feel much better, but still i'm not feeling ok at all. I'm just scared that she will never recover as she has no idea of how to do that, and that all we spent together, every experience, everything we did and said to each other will be gone forever.

And there is literally nothing i can do about that.

So yeah, i just really really hope this thing will settle by, i don't know how much time it will require, i have literally no idea.
I've read that some people took over 8 months to fully recover from a trauma trigger, while some took barely 1 month, but i can't tell how much severe this is for her.
I just hope this won't last for too long, i really really miss her and i just want to tell her how much i love her and care about her, and that everything will be back to normal after that.
I'm not hoping for her traumas to disappear, but at this point i know so much more about the argument that i genuinely want talk to her about that, to prevent similar situations to ever happen again, to set boundaries so that i can be extremely careful when approaching those particular arguments in the future.

So yes, that's all, i guess
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
hello thunder. welcome to the forum.

after 42 years together, neither my husband nor i can predict my ptsd triggers, much less how long it will take me to unravel the psycho snot knots which have been triggered. i am a child sex trafficking survivor, so my psycho snot knots are especially snotty. after 42 years of being fool enough to love a girl like me, he has acquired a pretty harsh case of secondary ptsd, so he has acquired a pretty gnarly collection of his own psycho triggers i feel kinda obligated to help him with as he has helped me so much over the decades.

I'm not hoping for her traumas to disappear, but at this point i know so much more about the argument that i genuinely want talk to her about that, to prevent similar situations to ever happen again, to set boundaries so that i can be extremely careful when approaching those particular arguments in the future.

i applaud this approach with the single argument that hoping these situations will never happen again is a bit like buying a house on the coast and looking for guarantees that there will never be another hurricane. life happens. plan on it. to my psycho senses learning how to navigate your ship is far more sensible than working to avoid the storms. steady as she goes through the stormy sees, cap'n. it's not about being perfect. it's about working it out.

be gentle with yourself and patient with the process.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
You have a
i felt safe to talk to her and express my emotions, i literally couldn't expect a reaction like that,
You are allowed, and should be able, to express your emotions.
If she can't hear that, whether it is PTSD reasons or other reasons, is this how you really want to start a relationship?
My response might be harsh. But from the sounds of it, your intention wasn't to hurt her but to express how something she did hurt you. But now this is about her hurt?
Did she apologise for what caused you upset in the first place?
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
I’d give some sign of willing to talk, and see. That kind of sudden flip flop is really harsh emotionally. Yourself now dropped from self place to uncertain land. Be careful with yourself. You have the right to express your upsets, as @Movingforward10 said. Her "mental health situation" doesn’t allow her to be an ass and bypass your emotional needs.

If you continue, a mistake often made is to try to avoid triggers that are unavoidable. After my DV relationship, I had to change all my sound notifications on my phone. They were stupidly triggering, and it was easy to get rid of them forever without any side-effect. Now. Getting triggered at my partner getting upset? Very understandable, and also very unavoidable. You’ll be upset. She’ll be upset. It’s gonna happen all the time. While upsetness can cause frictions, it shouldn’t normally trigger entire flight crises like this. The thing is to find ways to make these moments manageable and come back to your baseline as soon as possible. Developing trust on both sides. You cannot safeguard her from her triggers. It would crush your emotional freedom. I promise you. And you’ll start to catch fleas, that is to get some nasty triggers too. No good.

So, work in quiet for the peace of minds. People with early trauma and attachment-related PTSD have a way to make you feel extremely charmed by their presence. The energy. The care. The heavy, heavy attention. The hope. The fun. Everything is electric, dense, meaningful. Love. But my bet is that the stress of PTSD compells the survivor to put much more energy in all of those things than another person would have. I know it since I do it myself. And I also said I would never ghost, and I did. Brain overwhelmed. The woman also had CPTSD and our two brains overwhelmed. It’s alright.

There is much more love around than what we think. What is important is our capacity to see it and respond to it. It isn’t something rare. When you know how to look.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
I decided to express my emotions, not in an attempt of telling her off, but to just let her know how i felt and talk about that.

You did nothing wrong.

I had no clue of what was going on, i felt safe to talk to her and express my emotions, i literally couldn't expect a reaction like that,

You did nothing wrong.

i feel like everything i did to support her, to make her feel safe and understood, to motivate her and let her feel my love, has been completely shattered away by those few meaningless words.
You did nothing wrong.

You didn’t trigger her. *She* was triggered by something completely mundane and typical in a relationship. That is on her, not you. She is responsible for the stuff that happens in her head, not you.


she told me that she won't disappear and ghost me, that this is not a goodbye but just a "little" break to let the emotions settle, but at the same time she has no clue and no idea of how to overcome that, as she said to me.

That is typical. She asked for space. Giving her the space she needs is a loving act. Don’t rush her, and respect her boundaries.

And there is literally nothing i can do about that.

Nope. You cannot control anything in a relationship. That’s how all relationships work. You make yourself vulnerable to being hurt, and you hope the person you love doesn’t hurt you. It’s just extra-spicy when your partner has mental health issues.
 

fl14

New Here
Your situation (the timing and recency and suddenness of it all) sound really similar to what I went through 2 months ago. I'll have more to say at a later time (it's late here), but for now I'll just say I hope for the best for you.
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
Hubby and I have been together for 22 years, and for most of that we had no idea why some things just sent me into totally unreasonable fits. I would shut down, argue, avoid, and in some instances just take off. Once I got diagnosed it started to make more sense, but it didn't get any easier because therapy sucks.

When I came here it was a huge shock to me to meet the supporters and learn about the affect their sufferer's behaviors had on them. I was totally clueless -- mostly because when I was triggered I couldn't think about anything but the danger I thought I was in. It never really crossed my mind that my behavior might be damaging to my relationships

So yeah, i just really really hope this thing will settle by, i don't know how much time it will require, i have literally no idea.
I've read that some people took over 8 months to fully recover from a trauma trigger, while some took barely 1 month, but i can't tell how much severe this is for her.
I just hope this won't last for too long, i really really miss her and i just want to tell her how much i love her and care about her, and that everything will be back to normal after that.
I'm not hoping for her traumas to disappear, but at this point i know so much more about the argument that i genuinely want talk to her about that, to prevent similar situations to ever happen again, to set boundaries so that i can be extremely careful when approaching those particular arguments in the future.
I'm at year 6 and counting.
It's been a long tough road, and while I'm much better at handling them my triggers and reactions they still exist.
Sadly that is my normal.
And hubby has to carry a lot of that burden with me.

I'm not implying your gf won't recover or come back or be willing to talk
Just saying that ptsd works on it's own timeline...and sometimes that timeline can be very, very long
 
Trust me, her distancing probably better option that getting mean and nasty. I talked to a woman online about 7 months ago and my trigger hasn't stopped yet but it's less now.
 

Joenot1368

New Here
Such a delicate and brutal balance for supporters. As this is a supporter chat it is more widely accepted to admit that although the lines of “let them go and get over it” or “respect their boundaries” are of course accurate in theory, that is where the crux of the tragedy lies. Supporters who are put into shock and maybe even secondary trauma are forced to think logically and measured. But (and it’s not in any way their fault) a PTSD survivor can and will act in ways that are shocking, frankly. So it’s so delicate to respect BOTH boundaries. Boundaries aren’t just “leave me alone because I said So” if you’re in a relationship and you know you suffer from PTSD and have worked at it, either saying that is completely not cool or it is said after being triggered and perceived in that light. A supporters boundaries may be “what about the truth?” In that their actions didn’t cause the crisis. The survivor was triggered. How can anyone know this?
I suffer from some anxiety and depression and now secondary PTSD. My ex fiancé was abused by her husband. Her kids were abused by him. I helped get custody taken away from him. Bad dude.
But first fight we ever had after 3 years ? I was Out. I mustve said something to trigger them. I was in shock already reeling so I like anyine Couldn’t be expected to be at their emotional best.
The story gets way worse from here. But I dont Want to bore anyone.
I really don’t have a point one way or the other and that’s the really tough part. It’s not black and white. I do Know however that being a supporter who is abandoned, no matter how much I have Tried to convince myself that it is not in me, that is a torture that clearly and ironically causes brutal trauma.
My best to all survivors and supporters on here. Thank you for making me feel safe to say my truth
 

Joenot1368

New Here
So, i've already read a lot of threads here in this forum regarding the same argument, glad to know at least i'm not the only one with the same issue.
A bit of background: I've been dating this girl since around January 2022, i knew her since August of 2021, but we never decided to talk for as long as we did this year.
I will be honest, this is seriously the first time i am falling in love so much with someone. I didn't have many relationships back in my life because i always felt i couldn't relate the way i wanted with a potential partner, but with this girl everything is different. She understands me so much and i understand her in the same way, we discuss a lot of topics we both love regarding philosophy, music, politics and many, many others, and we are literally able to stay together for so much time per day without even being aware of it.
I literally feel like this person is and will be one of the greatest love of my life.
At this moment of life, we are not actually in a relationship. We somekind love each other, but at the same time she is scared to start a relationship because she is not sure of how to handle it, and i genuinely respect that, i've always been extremely patient to her, to her needs regarding his mental health situation and everything else, and i always felt she was in a safe place when talking and staying with me. I also always supported her in any way possible for her future, her life plans, being romantic aswell and extremely caring, and she loves that. This is afterall, for the most, my love language.

Until one day. I was a bit upset regarding something that happened few days before, i don't want to tell too much details for privacy, but it was something regarding what she told me and what she did, and i felt like teased and manipulated by that.
I decided to express my emotions, not in an attempt of telling her off, but to just let her know how i felt and talk about that. I believe that in these cases communication is the key to keep a healthy relationship between the two parts (actually not a relationship but yeee you got the point).
She went somekind of mad after that. To be honest i didn't expect that, but she was extremely upset and angry after i told those things, and i was a bit of shaken for it aswell.
I clarified that there was no intention to harm her of telling her off, as i said before, and she understood, but on an emotional level she told me that i literally hurt her and she had no clue how to react to that. She now feels unsafe to talk and stay with me and doesn't know how to overcome that.
I was literally shocked when i first hear that. I had no clue of what was going on, i felt safe to talk to her and express my emotions, i literally couldn't expect a reaction like that, but at this moment of life i feel like everything i did to support her, to make her feel safe and understood, to motivate her and let her feel my love, has been completely shattered away by those few meaningless words.
I didn't know she had PTSD, i don't know if she knew either and i'm not sure she has it, but i feel like every symptoms, reactions and emotions can relate to that.
She told me that she didn't want to talk with me in a cold and detached way because she doesn't feel it natural, as she prefer to be playful and loving when staying with me, so i decided to let her alone for a while to let the thing go by.
She told me also that she still cares about me, even if we are getting some temporary distance and not talking as we always did, that's why she is telling such stuffs, and i honestly cried when heard about that because, before that, i felt that everything was falling down and there was nothing i could do about that, and i was so much scared to lose her forever.
She is someone special for me, i've never met someone so important in my entire life, and i can tell this is the same feeling for her.

So yeah, this is the situation. It has been almost 3 weeks after that and the situation hasn't changed at all. I don't know anything anymore about her life, except for what she posts on social media, which is extremely rare at this point since i believe she is blocking me from viewing her stories on Instagram.
I don't know what to expect to be honest, she told me that she won't disappear and ghost me, that this is not a goodbye but just a "little" break to let the emotions settle, but at the same time she has no clue and no idea of how to overcome that, as she said to me.
This kind of uncertainty is literally consuming me at the moment. It was way worse on the first days of April and right now i feel much better, but still i'm not feeling ok at all. I'm just scared that she will never recover as she has no idea of how to do that, and that all we spent together, every experience, everything we did and said to each other will be gone forever.

And there is literally nothing i can do about that.

So yeah, i just really really hope this thing will settle by, i don't know how much time it will require, i have literally no idea.
I've read that some people took over 8 months to fully recover from a trauma trigger, while some took barely 1 month, but i can't tell how much severe this is for her.
I just hope this won't last for too long, i really really miss her and i just want to tell her how much i love her and care about her, and that everything will be back to normal after that.
I'm not hoping for her traumas to disappear, but at this point i know so much more about the argument that i genuinely want talk to her about that, to prevent similar situations to ever happen again, to set boundaries so that i can be extremely careful when approaching those particular arguments in the future.

So yes, that's all, i guess
What you’re going through is very similar to what I have been for a long while now. I can only say that I have had my share of pain and bad breaks in my life. I’m not young and I have grown children. BUT none of the bad breaks or pain I’ve had compared to that I have endured due to being caught in the cross fire of someone’s past trauma. I cant telll you how empathetic I am for these people. Their goodwill will always come first if it means I must stay away. But if you are torn apart right now that’s only because that’s the right way to feel. Very little can prepare even the most stable of minds for what follows a trigger. It’s tragic for all involved. I send you well wishes and strength
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
I didn't know she had PTSD, i don't know if she knew either and i'm not sure she has it, but i feel like every symptoms, reactions and emotions can relate to that.

Putting this here because OP is diagnosing his girlfriend, she apparently has never told him that she has PTSD, and is assuming that she has it because she has shut him out after a fight.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
@EveHarrington he did not diagnose her, he said he suspects… in fact he specifically said he does not know if she has PTSD and she did not tell him she did.

People can give whatever advice they’d like and a lot of it is valid for any relationship… for example, respect boundaries and be patient.

He came here for advice because he was confused by an over the top reaction from somebody he suspects has PTSD. This part of the forum is dedicated to supporters seeking advice about what happens in relationships, including shutting out after fights.

 
Top