Dissociating while getting to know someone

TedWNY

New Here
I met a women while camping and seemed to connect, she also has a trauma history.
We communicated back and forth for a month and decided to talk on the phone.
As soon as I picked up the phone I dissociated. I became matter of fact, monotone, disconnected and don't pick up on cues.
Realizing what had happened I scheduled another call a few weeks later.
This time she was emotionless, cold and business like with a bite to her words...even ending the call the same way I did the first call "well I'll let you go".

My question is if I should message her about what happened on the first call; that she was talking to trauma Ted and not the one she'd been communicating with..although it hasn't helped when I've done this in the past. My motive would be to try to explain the reality of what happened. Its sad to see a potential friendship deteriorate so quickly.
 

Bluleaf

New Here
My heart really goes out to you and I empathize so much. I have also suffered with dissociation for years. Given that she has a trauma history she may be receptive to an explanation. I think it depends on her personality and how open she is to go a little deeper with you.

I have been in your shoes and have had mixed reactions when opening up to someone regarding this issue. Do you believe she could be receptive and your friendship could get stronger as a result?
 

TedWNY

New Here
Do you believe she could be receptive and your friendship could get stronger as a result?
Not sure, she was pretty closed off when we talked the second time.
I have not had any luck opening up about what happened, the dissociation, in the past but want to give her the benefit of the doubt. Or at the very least try to let her know it’s not her….who knows what scenario someone might cook up.
 

Friday

Moderator
Its sad to see a potential friendship deteriorate so quickly.
Seems like that was her choices that led to that, though… since it not only sounds like she made no allowances, nor effort to follow up -after knowing you in person she’d know something was off- but rather than reach out to you instead decided to play tit for tat, with the I’ll be a cold bitch to you, since you displeased me last time.

I mean… some people go for that in their friends? Having to “win” being treated decently, whilst smacked on the nose for any perceived failures. If that’s you, more power to you, & to each their own. I’d be grateful for a bullet dodged this early into things.
 

TedWNY

New Here
Seems like that was her choices that led to that, though… since it not only sounds like she made no allowances, nor effort to follow up -after knowing you in person she’d know something was off- but rather than reach out to you instead decided to play tit for tat, with the I’ll be a cold bitch to you, since you displeased me last time.
. I’d be grateful for a bullet dodged this early into things.
Thanks for your insight Friday. Yes, it did occur to me her response seemed a bit tit for tat and she made no allowances. Was she dissociating at the second call?
I would think she would need a foundation of secure attachment to process the first call….how many of us here have that?

A positive development is I just finished “The Body Keeps The Score” and realized “He probably will not be aware that his mind automatically associates passive surrender with the paralysis he felt” when I dissociated as a child during traumatic events. That passive surrender for me included allowing my body to relax into the flow of life…as might happen during a deep conversation with someone.
This has been a deep trigger for me my whole life and am still processing it, but can already feel a large weight lifted off my chest.
 

Bluleaf

New Here
Not sure, she was pretty closed off when we talked the second time.
I have not had any luck opening up about what happened, the dissociation, in the past but want to give her the benefit of the doubt. Or at the very least try to let her know it’s not her….who knows what scenario someone might cook up.
How someone interprets it can be so difficult. And truly one of my biggest heartaches regarding the dissociating. It seems to be human nature to automatically assume that it is them or take it as some type of rejection. At the same time it takes a truly insightful person to acknowledge that when someone is behaving disconnected, distant and what appears to be standoffish that it could be something entirely different. And not about them.

Friday has a great point that she already gave you the answer to your question. It's nice to be able to give someone the benefit of the doubt, but her actions seem to be speaking louder than words in this situation. If a friendship is not possible with her, there are other people who would be able to connect with you on a more authentic level.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
@Bluleaf is right, Idk if anger would be expected to be justified when there's so little invested, I would think talking or curiosity would be the usual course? But if there's no desire to talk, indifference is the same as anger. People aren't perfect, but they aren't mind readers either.

Just as an aside, I had a sick day (about 2nd in last 3 years and one was over a covid outbreak last year), and they did not replace my shift. Of about 40 people I serve, some for 10 years, about 30 ripped a strip up and down me, 5 cared how I was (2 worried very much), 5 were indifferent to all of it. Bearing in mind they are all 'friendly'/ 'friends', I feel out of there, I see I have probably 2. What appears and what is in the long run, can be very different or less genuine than what people let on. That I have learned the hard way.

This thread however someone posted may help:


Good luck whatever you choose.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I hope this is ok to add, as I thought about this today. I am very tired so I hope it makes sense.

I don't know if this will resonate with you @TedWNY , but after years I have come to 2 conclusions about myself: that nothing changes unless it changes, and secondly, part of becoming healthier is to be able to see in a perspective of someone who does not have ptsd might see. That is, from what you described, would it be fair to expect that of any alternative explanations than being sort of ~blown off this woman might make, would they include you were dissociating? (I have a feeling that likely wouldn't be in her top 10). However, as you describe you struggle with this, it may be an option to actually be honest. For me, I would not disclose to someone I didn't trust exponentially more than a 1 month (long distance?) relationship., but you may be different. But, you could say for example, ~ ' I am a person who has a hard time remaining present on phone calls. (Or something else). I hope you did not feel offended. Because when we spoke again I got a sense you might be from your tone and words. If so I apolgize, and would like to speak with you again (or whatever) if you are willing. ' Now, I only say this if you want to invest further, but it applies for any one. You mentioned you both spoke of a trauma history, but there are many variables in between. Having trauma alone doesn't necessarily make a good fit, or ensure understanding or empathy.

I say this only as JMHO, and because I felt what I said alone was too negative. I (personally) have a skewed perspective of fear of other's shortness of life, and no security or guarantees in the present. So as a consequence I feel (only for myself) that I have no desire to play games or not be authentic, or not say what I mean to someone else. Not because I am confident at all, only because why bother if not? So you may want to gamble, and be more vulnerable. But you have to remember it won't change who you are, or your struggles. Even as much as you work on them, at best it will never be an overnight change (nor could it be for others). And so if it doesn't work for the other person, that is also your answer. Much as others say, is it ptsd or the person? And it is the person with ptsd. Just as it is with others and whatever they struggle with. It may be required to think of something other than the phone, or start small. If you can laugh about it, it helps.

However it goes I hope you will be able to connect with others who can understand and accept where your challenges are coming from, and that you can communicate what those behaviours or responses (even as you work on them) do or do not reflect. Then you are being honest with the other people, and you will see who honestly cares about you, just as you are. (We all have 'warts' or idiosynchrosies and challenges. 😊🐸 . And believe it or not, some people's negatives are other's positives, and they get along like a house on fire. )

Good luck!
 
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TedWNY

New Here
I hope this is ok to add, as I thought about this today. I am very tired so I hope it makes sense.

I don't know if this will resonate with you @TedWNY , but after years I have come to 2 conclusions about myself: that nothing changes unless it changes, and secondly, part of becoming healthier is to be able to see in a perspective of someone who does not have ptsd might see.
Thank you Rosebud, it makes perfect sense.
I like this idea as I find I’m able to get more glimpses of a non-ptsd perspective, but times like this make it challenging. But not too long ago I didn’t think it possible.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
@TedWNY I think here on the forum the things that are discussed 'normally' could be met by any type of reaction (shock, revulsion, you name it) by someone unfamiliar with trauma, or ptsd. To remember that, and also on the other hand to remember that some things we might make a big deal of aren't so big for non-affected others is important.

The way I see it, as adults we're going to have to choose what's of value in our life, or how we want to live within it. There's no shock-and-awe to me, but rather decisions that build on something, or don't. If you want to build on your relationships, you will. If you don't you won't. But it's your life to live as you choose, and to take the steps to choose what brings you fulfillment or comfort or is important to you. In the long run, the only one it will matter to, is you. Or who you connect with, if you choose. Might as well be a little kind to yourself.

You're already doing great, by the sound of it! 😊
 

TedWNY

New Here
@Rosebud guess I still come back to the non-ptsd perspective. When trauma starts in early childhood finding that authentic self has been very difficult, and through healing, being able to see both sides of the coin as it were, ptsd and non, gives us a perspective that truly only we know.

As an update I sent her a note…I’ll spare you it, and apologized but from a position of strength. Didn’t expect to hear back but she called last night to ask about the “strange” note I sent. Said she didn’t have any off feelings during any of the conversations and at the end closed with “let’s talk soon”
Just go with the flow!
 
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