Relationship Boyfriend broke up with me because of his CPTSD, being in CBT and reliving CSA memories.

Ratstar

New Here
My boyfriend (23m) broke up with me (21f) on Thursday. This was a a complete shock for me because although the past month has been hard, I thought we had worked through our issues and I also thought being in a more long distance relationship would give him the space he obviously needed. I have never loved anyone like him before and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. He said that he will never love anyone else like me again. Our relationship was extremely intimate and loving and I have honestly never connected with someone on such a deep and safe level and I am struggling with losing it. The breakup was also extremely out of the blue and impulsive on his part.

It wasn’t a ‘normal’ breakup because he said he is very much in love with me and there was nothing wrong with our relationship. He is currently going through CBT and said that he is reliving trauma that he went through in the past, which involves being sexually abused by his father (and we suspect other family members.) He said that for around a month he has been feeling like he ‘can’t do this anymore’ and though his mind is telling him it’s the wrong thing, his body feels it is right. He has said that he has realised that he has no love for himself, and that he doesn’t feel like himself anymore and when I asked him if he doesn’t see a future for us, he said he doesn’t even see a future for himself. He has told me that at the moment he feels like he is going through all the abuse again and that old memories are returning and new ones are emerging. He also has addiction issues with drugs (weed, cigarettes and occasionally codeine) that he has only acknowledged now.

This is extremely difficult for me because it is so painful for me to accept that we can’t be together. He did say when I asked him that he doesn’t want this to be permanent but also that these are issues he can’t work through in the relationship and that he can’t ask me to wait for him because that wouldn’t be fair on me. He said he wants to ‘set me free.’ I know that he feels a very strong pull to take care of me within the relationship and that I was very emotionally demanding last month due to my own trauma issues which are resolved now that I am not in the environment that was triggering me. During this time I did try to break up with him for similar reasons (feeling out of control, triggered, depressed and recognising that I was not going to be able to be the partner that he deserved) but he didn't accept it, saying that he wanted to support me and not lose me. As he used to be a carer for his mum (and still is in a way) I know that he has trouble with prioritising himself and his own wellbeing and feelings.

I am struggling because I want to support him in what he is going through (he wanted to remain friends and still talk, just not be as emotionally intimate and ‘share’ in the way we used to) but at the same time I do feel the pull of just wanting to be with him again. I have my own attachment issues due to an abusive mother and so I do think that this would be a good time to learn how to give him space.

I guess at this point I am wondering how to approach the breakup. On one hand I have a strong gut feeling that this isn’t the end and that we both need to grow and heal and if we can that we will be together again. On the other hand, he seems to be adamant in his decision and has mentioned that we need to go our separate ways and seems to be trying to accept that our relationship was in the past. He has said to me in the past that even if we ever broke up he thinks we would always be together in the future, that I am the only person he wants to settle down and have a family with.

I am willing to wait for him and to emotionally support him - it may be misguided but I truly love him and have his well-being as a priority. I am also finding it hard to decipher his actions- is this because he is reliving the trauma and it is overwhelming, or am I not the right person for him.

Any advice or insight would be appreciated.
 
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Ratstar

New Here
Honestly... I’d just give him some time. Step back and see what happens. I wouldn’t try to talk relationship statuses... just be an ear if that’s what you want to do. Trauma therapy is rough.
Honestly... I’d just give him some time. Step back and see what happens. I wouldn’t try to talk relationship statuses... just be an ear if that’s what you want to do. Trauma therapy is rough.

Thank you for you reply, it means a lot because I feel very alone in this situation. I'm definitely going to take the approach of backing off, giving him space and if he wants to just having friendly chats every so often. I went through a few days of heavily blaming myself and my triggered behaviour and my being quite emotionally needy and sometimes a bit nasty last month, but the more I think about it the more I realise that he has a lot of problems that he needs to address. As much as I adore him, he wasn't the 'perfect' partner to my 'flawed' one and often he could be as challenging. The difference I guess is that I am in a healthier environment whereas he is in the midst of all of his trauma.

It is just so sad because I genuinely feel like when we were both not triggered we were wonderful for each other and our relationship was soothing and respectful and there was a real deep companionship and friendship that I never thought was possible with anyone else. We compliment each other so well, except in our trauma. I genuinely could see us being together for the rest of our lives, not in an idealistic way but in the sense that I thought we had what it took together to build a safe, respectful and loving relationship that would stand up to any test. But I guess, like he told me it is not about the relationship but about him.

I keep wondering if he will ever speak to me again, sometimes I feel like he never will and he will never look back. Or that he reached a breaking point and has written off everything we had. But that is just my insecurity speaking. I just have no experience with this so Im struggling to cope with the uncertainty. I hope we have a chance to rebuild our relationship at some point in our lives. Is it possible or am I just hoping against hope?
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
Anything is possible... he could come back and he may never. It is hard to say. Boundaries are very important with PTSD sufferers, so respecting his boundaries will be key. If he says he cannot handle a relationship, I would take him at face value.

Also... as hard as it seems... relax. He didn’t cut off all communication. He is still in your life. Stop worrying about labels and relationship statuses and just spend a little time in your new situation.
 

Ratstar

New Here
Anything is possible... he could come back and he may never. It is hard to say. Boundaries are very important with PTSD sufferers, so respecting his boundaries will be key. If he says he cannot handle a relationship, I would take him at face value.

Also... as hard as it seems... relax. He didn’t cut off all communication. He is still in your life. Stop worrying about labels and relationship statuses and just spend a little time in your new situation.

I am trying to relax, it is just difficult because it was so abrupt and out of the blue. Thank you for your advice though, I appreciate it massively. He blocked me today on his social media then unblocked me so I'm confused about that but at the same time its probably normal.

I wish I had been able to respect his boundaries more fully earlier but I am glad that I am learning to more now. These forums have been so illuminating in understanding his behaviour, even as someone else who doesn't necessarily have PTSD or CPTSD but definitely has behaviours in common when I think about how I have felt in the past reliving my own trauma or being triggered I find his behaviour understandable.

I am hopeful for the future I guess whilst still respecting that the current situation might be permanent. It's a hard place to be in but I'm trying.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @Ratstar , I second what @Sweetpea76 has said. It's obviously a shock for you that this has happened but that said there are still positives in the situation. It's best to try and re-frame the relationship consciously with new boundaries. Just try to be a good friend and understand that he probably is going through alot mentally at the moment. Having to talk about his trauma in therapy and to process that means he's probably having flashbacks and is reliving it. Having to participate in a close relationship whilst doing that would be really tough to manage. It sounds like he's actually been quite honest with you in a good way, so just try to go with the flow and you may find that you remain good friends or even get back together in the future if that's the right thing to do. Best wishes to you and hope your ok. ? S3
 

Ratstar

New Here
Hi @Ratstar , I second what @Sweetpea76 has said. It's obviously a shock for you that this has happened but that said there are still positives in the situation. It's best to try and re-frame the relationship consciously with new boundaries. Just try to be a good friend and understand that he probably is going through alot mentally at the moment. Having to talk about his trauma in therapy and to process that means he's probably having flashbacks and is reliving it. Having to participate in a close relationship whilst doing that would be really tough to manage. It sounds like he's actually been quite honest with you in a good way, so just try to go with the flow and you may find that you remain good friends or even get back together in the future if that's the right thing to do. Best wishes to you and hope your ok. ? S3

Hi @Survivor3, thank you. Its been difficult for me to find advice on this that I trust, because most people I know aren't aware of PTSD/ trauma and its general impacts, let alone CPTSD caused by CSA and being a carer for a parent. I've been pretty ignorant about it for a long time too, so reading responses from people who actually understand is refreshing, because in a lot of ways this isn't a 'traditional' break up, not that such a thing exists.

He did tell me that he feels numb, and having flashbacks of his abuse. When I step out of the situation I empathise completely, until my emotions take a hold of me, then I just feel sad at what we have 'lost'. What I keep wondering is whether he will give me another chance if I can learn to fully respect his space and not push him. Its tricky because he said he didn't want to break up with me, but I can't tell what that means. Who knows. I will try to be grateful for the situation, that he is getting help and still wants to be friends. I will admit that I can be quite dogged and persistent in a relationship (half attachment issues and half personality, I think) so if anything I'm proud of him for setting this boundary with me so I can respond to it, as I know he finds that very hard. I will try to go with the flow. Is the general advice in terms of contact to let him initiate, and not push him to talk about anything, just listen and bring up casual things to talk about, and reassure him that I care for him?
 

Ratstar

New Here
I just wanted to update this mainly as an outlet - nothing has really changed and I am more confused than ever. I guess I am trying to decipher how much of his behaviour is the CPTSD and how much of it is just normal breakup stuff. I know I shouldn't really be ruminating so much over this but he was so important to me and I was so committed that it is still baffling me. On the other hand, I have been focusing on my studying/ exploring a new city so I am definitely moving on with my life if not with my feelings.

I spoke about it with his mum (who also has PTSD), she is honestly telling me that she wouldn't approve of me being with him for my own good at this point. Strange to hear from her perspective. He doesn't seem well from how she describes him, apparently he is mostly angry at her and his friends, has cut his hair drastically and has already spent most of his school money on weed. One of my friends posted a video he made on her social media (I was really trying to avoid seeing him online) and he looked very troubled and gaunt and just not himself at all - almost haunted. It is hard not to worry about someone who is so important to you and in another city. Sometimes I wish I hadn't moved, even though he seemed to be fine with it I know he would have appreciated me being there for him right now. But he honestly didn't communicate to me that he would find long distance unmanageable (difficult, yes, but not impossible) or that he was feeling the way he did as a result of therapy. I honestly had no clue but my heart still aches that I am so far away.

It is really difficult because my reaction to the breakup was quite 'bad' from the perspective of a supporter. Of course I am very new to this (and really we are not together or in much contact so am I really a supporter? in spirit I guess) and again, he didn't communicate to me at all about what he was feeling. I sometimes feel quite guilty that I told him we could not be friends for a while or talk on the phone. After he broke up with me he was still telling me he loved me and calling me affectionate names and I asked him to stop because it upset me. A needed boundary for me but still regretful, I would give anything now just to talk to him. I also feel guilty that after he told me in detail how his trauma was affecting him that I didn't back down more and try to be more supportive instead of pressuring him about the relationship. Honestly, I was in shock because of how completely sudden it was - one minute we were talking completely normally and the next he was sobbing and breaking up with me. He hasn't initiated contact with me at all, I think me calling him twice after he broke up with me to essentially try to compromise with him in order to preserve the relationship didn't go down well (I offered to give him more space, he didn't have to visit me etc.) I tried to set some boundaries on how we would interact which he agreed to, then I broke them etc. Classic mistakes it seems. In the end he went from saying we should be friends to saying we should go our separate ways - again not surprising to me having read these forums because I was pressuring him. I have since messaged him just to tell him I was thinking of him and hoped he was well, he replied saying thank you, that he was okay and that he hoped I was enjoying my studies. I replied and he didn't reply after that, but to be honest I was surprised that he replied at all. I just really miss him and am struggling with the radio silence. I am thinking of sending him a similar message once a month, just so he knows I don't have any ill will towards him as his mum told me that he thought I hated him.

I am going back to my home city next week and will probably see his mum and go out with her and spend some time at her house (I used to live with them and we are very close). He doesn't live with her now and I doubt I will see him as I'm sure someone will tell him I will be there and he will avoid me. I think about letting him know I will be around in case he wants to spend some time together but I honestly feel that it is important that I leave him alone for now and he can initiate any contact if he wants to. But then will he think I am avoiding him? I'm just going to give him his space I think, I don't want to put him under pressure.

Then there are the weird regrets I replay in my mind over and over to try to blame myself for the breakup. Me being triggered and lashing out at him once or twice, me being upset and venting to him over the phone a lot because I was in such a bad place etc. Stuff that happens in relationships and probably wasn't 'the cause.' In a way I feel that we were in the midst of a perfect storm - just as he started therapy I was moving away, he was moving house and we had already had a stressful month previously. I definitely think his stress cup had run over by the time he broke up with me. Apparently he told his mum that there were three reasons he broke up with me one being that I asked him to change one of his song lyrics, and honestly, having known him so well I don't believe it. I feel that the combination of the therapy and him smoking so much weed has much more to do with it. When I think back to when he opened up to me that the effect his therapy was having on him - reliving old and new memories that he 'didn't know how to deal with', being numb and suicidal and having body flashbacks, my heart breaks. Then of course I become cynical and upset and think he is just bored of me and the therapy didn't play any role in it, but those moods are just moods and I let them pass. At this point I realise that he genuinely isn't capable enough to be in a relationship at all, let alone a long distance one. Still, I wish I could regain his trust and be his friend to support him as I care about him deeply. I hopeful that that can happen in time as I am so close to his family. But who knows, its just a really sad situation that I don't really understand so if anyone had any thoughts I would be welcome to hearing them. Although having written this, I guess I do understand but what I understand is upsetting and to accept. It might be selfish, but if I knew he still loved me that would make everything easier to bear. There is a certain shock that comes with thinking that someone can fall out of love so abruptly, though I know the situation is much more complex. I remember days before we broke up he was so loving and affectionate, telling me he missed me and wanted to visit me and build a future with me. How does someone change their feelings so quickly, it is hard to wrap your head around.

Im not sure if this is the right place for this post/thread but I am reluctant to make a supporter diary because I wouldn't have anything to write in it seeing as we don't talk anymore.
 
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