Damage to Friendship May Be Irreparable

helbredelse

New Here
In hopefully a short summary, I have PTSD from being in abusive relationships my entire life with the exception of my now-ex fiancé. He wasn't abusive to me and was probably the healthiest relationship I had been in. A couple of months ago, he inadvertently triggered my PTSD in one of the worst ways possible by blind siding me with a breakup and then leaving me to process and deal with it on my own. It triggered my core abandonment issues and a few other core trauma issues that I had been slowly working on with my trauma therapist for years. It opened up my Pandora's Box of trauma history and I can't close it. I am doing what I can to work through it in healthier ways than before with my support system including my trauma therapist, really good friends, a weekly support group, and self care. There were days that the emotional pain was so horrendous that I almost ended my life a couple of times. Instead I inflicted some harm on myself to help me "release" the pain so I could survive the night. I am also working on finding better methods for this.

During all of this, he tried to be supportive once he realized what he had done. Before he left that night, he told me he hoped we could still be friends. Even during the last couple of months when he realized just how bad my triggers were, he still said he wanted to be my friend. There were several times where I lashed out at him with rage. I know now that was likely mostly from the trauma history. It's been really difficult for me at times to contain my rage and even my anger. I'm trying really hard to stop lashing out at him mostly because it's not good for me. I have moments of "clarity" when I feel that maybe he has "suffered" enough from my lashing out. I am struggling with what is normal and what is from my PTSD. It doesn't help that he seems to feel that I keep lashing out at him for him wanting to be happy. I've tried telling him that I lash out because he kept his feelings about being unhappy to himself for months, lied to me about it repeatedly when I had asked him if everything was okay, and then he blind sided me having known about my trauma history. We've known each other for ten years! Of course everyone deserves to be happy but I believe that it's not right to destroy someone you say you care about in order to get what you need or want, intentional or not!

I know he didn't trigger me on purpose. I know he's tried to help in his own way, which doesn't really help me much and we've tried talking about it. It got to the point where he started to give me the silent treatment when I was struggling which didn't help me either. When he admitted he didn't know how to help me when I'm struggling, I gave him some ideas that I find do help me. Like letting me know that I'm not alone, that my feelings are valid, or to even just send me a virtual "hug". That silence just makes me feel worse. When it came down to it, it seemed that he couldn't or wouldn't even try what I suggested. He keeps going silent even when I've said that doesn't help. So I'm learning to distance myself from him. That this is not working. He is either unwilling or unable to help me. Right now I just can't be friends with him. It's not good for my emotional health.

When he left, he said he could help me with things on weekends since he knows I get overwhelmed easily. In reality, it never really happened. He ended up with an apartment on the other side of town. The things that stress me out the most, he can't help with because they are daily stressors with work, kids, my ex husband (NPD\BPD), stuff with the house, etc. When I told him the things that stress me out the most and what I need help with the most, he agreed he isn't able to help with any of them. He said that the best he could do was to hopefully answer any questions I have. And yeah, he left me with a LOT more on my plate in addition to dealing with daily PTSD triggers. He didn't even realize that leaving his things here could trigger me and leaving it all for me to deal with and to sort through just adds to my stress until I told him repeatedly that it was making everything that much harder for me!

At times it feels minimizing that despite what he did to me, it seems like he expects me to still want to be friends with him after all of this. I feel really angry when this comes up. I am really trying hard to stop lashing out at him. I am trying really hard to heal myself from all of this so I can move on. For an analogy, it feels as if he accidentally blasted me with a shotgun on his way out. He may have heard some horrible noises on his way out but didn't look back to see what happened for whatever reason (I have my theories). And that even after he realized what had happened and seemed to feel really bad about it, he still left me to bleed out on my own. He didn't reach out to anyone to check on me to see if I was okay. He didn't even hand me a phone to call anyone. I had to "crawl" to find a phone to call someone to help me before I "bled out". I almost didn't make it. Afterwards, he then tried to give me some "band-aids" from afar but you can't heal shotgun wounds with band-aids. I am very thankful I had the presence of mind to reach out to a friend who helped me through that night or its very likely I wouldn't be here now. It was that bad. Yet he expects me to still want to be his friend after all of that.

I can understand accidentally "shooting" someone and feeling horrible about it. But leaving them to "bleed out" by themselves and not even calling anyone for help? That is the part I am struggling with.

How can he expect me to be friends with him after all of that? I just can't wrap my head around it. Is it possibly just to make himself feel better about how he abandoned me? Could it have been magical or wishful thinking? I just can't fathom doing what he did to someone and expecting to remain friends, even if it was accidental. I'm not sure if anyone can even try to answer this. I am working on accepting that I may never get an answer from him about it.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
Could it have been magical or wishful thinking?

could it have been healing on both sides? i solidly believe that when it comes to relationships, healing goes two ways or no way and healing is a mystery which we mere mortals often neither see nor understand.

i also solidly believe the only way my 42nd anniversary was even possible in today's divorce culture is that neither my hubby nor i like lawyers. for certain, many of my divorce advocating friends dumped me for the crime of trying to work it out rather than adding to my ex collection. can you be a real modern woman without half a dozen divorces to your credit? hubby and i have lived separately for a goodly number of those 42 years while we played out dramas that sound allot like your post here. we figure that family is bigger than a shared address and playing out those dramas instead of talking to lawyers provided more healing than i have vocabulary to describe. enough healing to have made it possible for us to pull together for a second parenting career when our only three gk's became orphans in 2019.

I'm not sure if anyone can even try to answer this.

we can try to answer this, but i hold the answer is strictly personal. **your** answer is the only right answer.

I am working on accepting that I may never get an answer from him about it.

wise move. my list of questions hubby may never answer is 42 year longer than yours and gentle acceptance has gotten me far more answers than badgering.
 

DharmaGirl

MyPTSD Pro
I believe that it's not right to destroy someone you say you care about in order to get what you need or want, intentional or not!

There were several times where I lashed out at him with rage.

I just can't fathom doing what he did to someone and expecting to remain friends


I understand you are hurting from your breakup. It is a very difficult time especially when you have PTSD. It's hard to have a relationship with PTSD. I'm saying this next with lots of compassion. We are responsible for our triggers. Others don't trigger us, we are triggered by them. Holding your ex accountable for your reactions isn't ok. You can have triggers but you can't expect others to remember them and avoid them at all costs. I have asked people to refrain from speaking about violence around me, and they forget, so I excuse myself from the conversation.

Are you in therapy? Has your therapist taught you how to deal with triggers or rage? That would be helpful. There are several articles on triggers- Stressor v's Trigger - What is a Trigger and How to use triggers as a means to recovery?. This will help you in future relationships. I hope you can heal from your breakup and as @somerandomguy said, you don't have to be friends with your ex.
 
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helbredelse

New Here
I understand you are hurting from your breakup. It is a very difficult time especially when you have PTSD. It's hard to have a relationship with PTSD. I'm saying this next with lots of compassion. We are responsible for our triggers. Others don't trigger us, we are triggered by them. Holding your ex accountable for your reactions isn't ok. You can have triggers but you can't expect others to remember them and avoid them at all costs. I have asked people to refrain from speaking about violence around me, and they forget, so I excuse myself from the conversation.

Are you in therapy? Has your therapist taught you how to deal with triggers or rage? That would be helpful. There are several articles on triggers-https://www.myptsd.com/threads/stressor-vs-trigger-what-is-a-trigger.9903/ and How to use triggers as a means to recovery?. This will help you in future relationships. I hope you can heal from your breakup and as @somerandomguy said, you don't have to be friends with your ex.
Thank you replying and for those links! I really appreciate it! I will read them. You gave me good things to think about and to work on. I am in therapy. I have been in trauma therapy for several years now. I haven't had issues with anger or rage in a very long time. I'll bring that up at my next session. I will also work on differentiating stressors vs triggers. I can see now that I have been using the word trigger incorrectly at times. Thank you!
 

DharmaGirl

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you for getting what I was saying. I come across as blunt sometimes but I'm not a blunt person. You were using trigger correctly, I just thought that some of the conversations on those threads might help. I have learned so much on this forum, learned strategies and coping skills, and I hope you can get as much as I did.
 

helbredelse

New Here
Well, I actually got an answer. He basically expected me to handle it as he would have handled it if it happened to him. Also, some time ago, we had discussed how we'd handle it if we broke up. We thought we could talk it out and probably still be friends. However, that also took into consideration that neither of us would have been blind sided because we had also said that we would talk about anything that came up that could jeopardize our relationship before it got to the point of no return. That we would work through it together and remain friends.

That is most definitely not what happened. Instead, he had the whole "conversation" without me for months. He also kept it to himself and lied to me about it for months. Then he dropped that huge bomb on me, walked out, and expected me to be okay with it because that's how he would have handled it. My triggers and PTSD didn't occur to him which I now understand is not a good expectation from me. He didn't expect me to feel or to grieve as deeply as I am. He said that my reaction took him by surprise and he didn't know how to handle it.

His life experiences are much different than mine. Mine is filled with trauma after trauma. I was stuck in fight, flight, freeze, fawn for most of my life. I never really got a chance to learn to process, to accept, to let it go, and to move on until a few years ago. I've been working on trauma via EMDR with my therapist for years and I'm still working through it. Before this happened, I knew it would probably take me years to heal. Now it feels like more trauma has been added to my trauma pile and it will take me even longer to heal now. His life experiences taught him to accept things like this and to bounce back pretty quick. Mine have not.

I'm not sure what to do with knowing this. Hopefully it can help me with acceptance so I can move on with my life, regardless if he's in it or not.

I also can't help but feel like he used me based on his timing. When he left me, he had finally stopped having to pay his ex wife alimony. It's a considerable amount of money too. He had told me he was going to take me on a really nice cruise. The kind where you get your own butler. I've never experienced that before. Well, that is definitely not going to happen now. The week before he left, I had helped him get a car since she had his repossessed right after their divorce. He couldn't afford to get another one because of how much he had to pay her each month. I had helped him get back on his feet after he had a major heart attack a couple of years ago. Now his health is much better than before, per his doctor. He claims the timing is a coincidence. It doesn't feel like it to me. I know he doesn't owe me. I helped him because I loved him. It just feels horrible to be treated like this and not having seen any of it coming. I had thought we were going to spend the rest of our lives together. We had so many wonderful plans. And now it's all gone just like that and I never saw it coming.
 
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