Relationship Do PTSD sufferers have trouble with forgiveness?

A child is dependent on their parents for love. A child will reach out to their parents for love. Normal parents will reach back to their child with love. Abusive parents do so too but only when it is convenient to them and serves their purpose, not always that of the child. The child learns that love is conditional and not normal. Love is rare. Love is short lived. Love is something that will only disappoint them. True love doesn't exist. Love is an absolute mine field.

You are expressing Love, the real kind of love. to him. But his mind doesn't believe true love actually exists, so he makes mental defenses to protect him from love hurting him. Seeing you in a control place for sex is one way of protecting himself. Not being around for emotional holidays is another.

When you rightful expressed that it seems he only is using you for sex, you expressed your frustration over the whole relationship. From his perspective, you saying the truth only further convened to him that Love is an exemption and not the Norm. It's not you. It's him.
Unless you’re the bloke she’s dating, that is some MASSIVE Mindreading.

I’m a combat vet. Zero childhood trauma, much less abusive parents, even less abusive parents who skewed my love-map in that exact way (as opposed the dozens of other ways kids with abusive parents diverge from each other in love/ relationships/ core beliefs/ etc.).

I get that he’s hurt and he has a right to feel that way but he’s acting in a way that someone would act when they find out their partner cheated.
Cheating is a common dealbreaker… but ANYTHING can be a dealbreaker for one person, no big deal to another, and desired above all else by a third.

For example? What you initially did wouldn’t ave been a dealbreaker for me, but what you did to attempt to make up for it? Absolutely is. X1000 if I’m travelling. For HIM, though? No idea if he’d love it as much as I’d hate it.
 
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UPDATE: He responded later that evening saying that he really appreciated the apology and loved my voice. He didn't know I could sing. He said that what I said hurt him pretty badly because he cares about me "A LOT" but that we still need to talk about it when he comes back. We've been talking almost every day since then. He sent me pictures from his trip and videos. Being lovey dovey. So I would say it's mostly back to normal

However, he came back last week from his trip and he still hasn't made an effort to see me. He knows it's my birthday tomorrow but still no effort. On the weekend, he said he was gonna sit down with me to sort out some things I needed help from him with but I'm not holding my breath. What's weird is that if I say "I need help" or "I don't feel well", he'll answer or take action right away. Unless I'm a damsel-in-distress, I don't feel like a priority to him. A part of me deep down feels like he adores me but then he keeps me at arms length. I can't tell if it's because of his trauma or if he's just stringing me along. I can't make sense of anything and it's driving me crazy.

Btw, I also learned that 20 years ago, his older brother was shot and killed in his arms. He was almost killed that night too but something happened with the bullet and it didn't fire when the trigger was pulled on the gun held against his chest. I'm learning it's more than just combat PTSD. I don't know how to break through that wall and get him to feel like I'm a safe place.
 
from the sufferer side?

However, he came back last week from his trip and he still hasn't made an effort to see me.
yep. Phone and text are safe. You have the ability to talk with someone without looking at them, and you control when you answer or not. In person is a different story. It's harder to escape, there are way to many emotions coming at you, you have to watch your body language so you don't upset them, blah blah blah

Theses things can seem pretty simple and it's easy to say "but that's not me". And your right - it's not the supporter setting these rules. Its me - the sufferer. My "rules" don't make sense to others without ptsd, but they keep me safe and keep me from getting agitated where someone can see me. Which my brain translates as DANGER!!!!!

So I make up rules for myself and how I handle interactions with others. People in my life know and accept that about me. If they don't? They don't stay in my life because they can't handle it.
What's weird is that if I say "I need help" or "I don't feel well", he'll answer or take action right away.
Yep - this is an action activity. It has a beginning, middle and end. You feel like you are accomplishing something, a task, what not, without your ptsd getting in the way. Plus the emotions you are showing aren't about me. They are about the situation you are in, so helping is easy
. I don't know how to break through that wall and get him to feel like I'm a safe place.
You can't. No one can.
The wall is there for a reason, and taking it down is dangerous. I think that's what supporters struggle with the most. My wall is up because it keeps me from getting shot in the head, and no one can convince me otherwise. So letting it down for someone? Took a long, long time and a crapton of therapy. Along the way there was nothing more frustrating than someone bugging me to "just let me in" because that tells me they don't understand the danger I'm in. Or they do understand and they just don't care.

I can't make sense of anything and it's driving me crazy.
Listen to what the supporters are telling you. Having a relationship with someone with ptsd is going to be hard. Very, very hard
There is no "normal" for us so if he's already making you nuts...??
 
@Freida and everyone else who contributes, thank you so much. It really helps me make sense of everything. Let me say that HE doesn't drive me crazy, it's the not knowing and lack of communication that does. I'm an only child (definitely not spoiled since I was raised by a single mom and had to work extra hard for everything I had) and I'm used to being alone, whether it was physically or emotionally. I don't need someone to constantly entertain me and always be in contact 24/7, which is why I believe this relationship would work. In fact, it even makes me happy just being in the same room with someone but us doing our own thing. I'm very low maintenance. However, without communication, all I have as a point of reference is past relationships with non-sufferers so my first thought is "he doesn't love me or care about me." The only reason I haven't walked away yet is because I have this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that tells me this man loves me but can't show me in the way I can understand.

I started to go to therapy myself to understand myself and better understand what he's going through. I just really appreciate all of you because just when I think I should end things, I come here and get some perspective and it's almost better than therapy. It reminds me that it's not because he doesn't WANT to, which is what I'm ultimately afraid of. Even when I bring up my concerns, he tells me it's not that he doesn't want to but he doesn't elaborate. At least all of you fill in the blanks for me lol
 
Nope, you nuked that one out of the universe, not happening.

And this is one of the major problems for PTSD relationships. Her stating how she felt shouldn’t be considered nuking one out of the universe.

This is one of those situations where a mountain was made out of a molehill in PTSD-land. If she hurt his feelings by saying she felt used for sex, he hurts hers by treating her thusly… but now she has to apologize over and over for feeling used and god forbid, saying something about it? Why isn’t he nuking things out of the universe for making her feel used?

Make that make sense in any other situation.
 
And this is one of the major problems for PTSD relationships. Her stating how she felt shouldn’t be considered nuking one out of the universe.

This is one of those situations where a mountain was made out of a molehill in PTSD-land. If she hurt his feelings by saying she felt used for sex, he hurts hers by treating her thusly… but now she has to apologize over and over for feeling used and god forbid, saying something about it? Why isn’t he nuking things out of the universe for making her feel used?

Make that make sense in any other situation.
I’m glad I’m not the only one that felt the previous comment was a bit insensitive. With that logic, no one should be in a relationship with a PTSD sufferer unless one is perfect and we all know no such person exists.

To be honest, I wouldn’t be able to commit to relationship where I’m not allowed to make a mistake ever (as long it’s not something along the lines of cheating). That wouldn’t be healthy for me. It seems like that’s not the case here because he didn’t break up with me, he didn’t block me or ignore me, and I know he’s committed to me. We just need to work on the communication front which I need help understanding (and why I’m posting on this form).
 
Just reading through this thread, it doesn't sound like it's the PTSD symptoms that are the problem.

I'm not relationship expert, but it sounds more like you have different needs regarding how often you communicate. That sounds normal for a couple and is probably something that you can talk about.

There might be more danger to the relationship if you assume his responses are all related to PTSD. I don't know if you've ever had a man assume you're reacting as pre-menstrual because you're female, it's the same kind of thing with PTSD, to assume it's a symptom can be very invalidating.
 
We just need to work on the communication front which I need help understanding (and why I’m posting on this form).
yep. For example. Hubby and I have been together a long time and right now I am totally ignoring him. I know it's my pstd acting up so I'm not being reasonable and everything he says will piss me off. Hell, even if he's breathing in my general direction it's going to piss me off. He just walked by me and looked at me and it pissed me off!

But we both know it's just me being knocked around by my brain, so he knows to ignore me and not get tied into thinking it's about him. He made the mistake of asking me what I'd like to do for dinner and my response was..... let's go with not friendly.

Learning how to communicate when we were in a good place helps us to keep me from taking off when I'm in a bad one.

But...

There might be more danger to the relationship if you assume his responses are all related to PTSD.
This ^^^ is very smart. I don't get to always blame bad behavior on random ptsd issues. Sometimes I'm just bitchy - and that's on me. The hard part is knowing the difference.

I'm really proud of you for going to therapy -that is going to help a ton.
But if he's not in therapy? Ya, that's not ok. You shouldn't be the one doing all the work. If he's not willing to get help himself then....that's an issue.
 
Just reading through this thread, it doesn't sound like it's the PTSD symptoms that are the problem.

I'm not relationship expert, but it sounds more like you have different needs regarding how often you communicate. That sounds normal for a couple and is probably something that you can talk about.

There might be more danger to the relationship if you assume his responses are all related to PTSD. I don't know if you've ever had a man assume you're reacting as pre-menstrual because you're female, it's the same kind of thing with PTSD, to assume it's a symptom can be very invalidating.
@KayW Very fair response. I will say that I've never brought up his PTSD because I don't think it's appropriate or my place to assume. I'm sure it's a really sensitive topic for sufferers so anything I know about what he's dealing with is because he has volunteered that information. I just pour my thoughts out here so those who have a ton more experience than I do can give me perspective.

I'm really proud of you for going to therapy -that is going to help a ton.
But if he's not in therapy? Ya, that's not ok. You shouldn't be the one doing all the work. If he's not willing to get help himself then....that's an issue.
@Freida Thank you! It's been a little bit of a struggle for me because I grew up in an environment where "mental health is not a thing and you need to suck it up" but I know that's not the truth.

He is in active therapy and has strongly encouraged me to continue. I do think there's a lot more that he's dealing with that he hasn't quite shared. Understandably so since it's a fairly new relationship. I'm realizing now looking back on the evolution of this thread that maybe his "overreaction" to what I said has a lot to do with the "Stress Cup" analogy. His explosive response was not proportional to what I said regardless of whether he's suffering from PTSD or not. What I do know is that at the time this happened, he was so stressed out that my comment sent him over the edge. I've noticed that he normally avoids me or ignores me when he seems triggered but this time he did not.

There are a lot of layers to peel on this onion and while it's happening in real-time, I'm receiving guidance from everyone here. Sadly, "PTSD" is a term that's thrown around left and right, not taken seriously (I sure didn't until I started dating my bf). It's really opening up my eyes so I appreciate all the insight.

Out of curiosity, for the sufferers that are in long-term relationships or are married, what has kept you from completely bolting on your partner and cutting off all contact at any point throughout the relationship?
 
Out of curiosity, for the sufferers that are in long-term relationships or are married, what has kept you from completely bolting on your partner and cutting off all contact at any point throughout the relationship?
Mod Note:

This is totally worth a new thread. (Just use the title in the supporters section to direct it towards sufferers). As a mod I cannot edit threads to do it for you, I can only move entire posts. But I CAN tell you that you won’t be dinged for duplicating content for starting a new thread on this topic.

Friday
 
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