Double PTSD Relationship : Their Trigger Triggered Me.

coldfusion

New Here
Looking for advice on how to repair a strained relationship.

Both my partner and I have ptsd from separate experiences when young.

Recently some thing happened that triggered my partner and as a result, triggered me.

Now our relationship seems strained. We're not as close as we were. We've agreed not to talk about what happened but the spark seems to have gone out. How can we relight it?
 
It sounds unresolved.
Is not talking about it helpful in letting it go or remaining unresolved?

Relationships do go through phases and communication helps a lot.

When you say spark, do you mean emotional connection?
Can you do things together that help with that?
It's definitely unresolved. We discussed it briefly but it was too emotional and decided not to continue with it as it was re triggering both of us so i guess the communication bit is a bit redundant. We both seem to be treading on eggshells. I've asked them if there's anything I can do to fix it but we both keep coming up with blanks.
 
hello coldfusion. welcome to the forum.

i'm no fan of advice-giving, but i will share my strictly personal experience from 43 years of this very cycle. my hubs is too perfect for therapy, but those unresolved trigger events have solidly permeated out 43 years together. yes, dear, your identified patient is responsible for all of it. i set the marital complications aside and focus on my healing needs. if the love of my life wanders off because i am in an hour of need, good riddance. he isn't the man i thought he was.

how lucky am i that he was/is the man i thought he was and is still around to keep the works in progress? the validation of trust has made for new, stronger bonds that were not available to us when we lost that first f*ck-buddy bond. each bond lost has left room for something new to grow.

but that is me and every case is unique. . .
steadying support while you sort your own case.
welcome aboard.
 
Mixing the past into your present f*cked up your present.

So?

Mix some present into your present. This person? Is meaningless to your past, and you’re utterly irrelevant to their past. As neither of you existed in each other’s past. Get relevant to their present. Bring them into yours.
 
It's recommended to listen, respond to bids, repair, make each other's concerns a priority, remember the good qualities, catch each other doing things right. Be curious instead of blaming why it occurred Give it time. Know it is inevitable- now what? If you don't communicate you both will likely fill in the blanks with some inaccuracies. Recognize when one or both of you are flooded and have a code word and take a break. Have some fun together. Recognize neither of you intended it.
 
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Looking for advice on how to repair a strained relationship.

Both my partner and I have ptsd from separate experiences when young.

Recently some thing happened that triggered my partner and as a result, triggered me.

Now our relationship seems strained. We're not as close as we were. We've agreed not to talk about what happened but the spark seems to have gone out. How can we relight it?

For what it's worth, this morning I have woken up trauma-triggered, wanting to escape, wanting to be alone. I don't want to engage with my partner because I don't want any more tension, which I've had enough of. We've reached that point. But that's me and I wish you all the best. It sounds like there may be far more hope for your relationship than there is for mine, so maybe the capacity love in my heart can be used to offer you some friendly encouragement.

I just listened to a psychology book which said one of the theories out there is that not talking about a difficult subject is (contrary to popular assumption) sometimes the very best thing to do to save a relationship. I think that is true in the short term at least - agreeing to park a volatile matter until if necessary it can later be addressed in a calm way.

I would recommend approaching it from a new angle. If you are communicating enough to say, "lets agree to park that in the name of peace, and only come back to it later if we really need to" you can then both compile a list of the top five things that you like doing together, and maybe the top five things that need to get done and doing them would be satisfying. Whatever thing appears for both of you on each others' list, do that. It's all about finding compatibilities and maximizing them.

Also, you can try something new and different to see if you both like it. Say - a trip somewhere, or built or create something you both want, or try out a new activity that you both like the sound of. Whatever can bring you together.

As a fellow human being am sending you both love and best wishes for the future.
 
@Applecore , didn't I read somewhere your gf now wants to have children, whereas not before? I think that might be less a ptsd-thing.. Though ptsd could certainly delay wanting to, or complicate matters. Maybe it wasn't you who said it?

Gottman has good advice. He said trust comes from all the small sliding-door moments. And putting yourself aside to meet them. Being attentive, really. And on the same team. And that most problems (~70%?) are perpetual. What's the dream inside of them you might both share?

Best wishes to all.
 
@Applecore , didn't I read somewhere your gf now wants to have children, whereas not before? I think that might be less a ptsd-thing.. Though ptsd could certainly delay wanting to, or complicate matters. Maybe it wasn't you who said it?

Gottman has good advice. He said trust comes from all the small sliding-door moments. And putting yourself aside to meet them. Being attentive, really. And on the same team. And that most problems (~70%?) are perpetual. What's the dream inside of them you might both share?

Best wishes to all.

That was me but it's not so simple. Firstly, there are very many things going on with her and us at once. Secondly I don't use the term PTSD very broadly and often rather use terms such as post-traumatic or complex trauma. According to the strict clinical terminology I don't think we have PTSD; she and I both had traumatic childhoods that effect the rest of our lives, and we both get triggered by each other.

She was and may still be bulimic, which appears to come at least in part from a traumatic childhood relationship with her parents, which still anguishes her in her 40s. I am willing to refer to it as post-traumatic. She's also had multiple massive shocks in recent years, which are traumatizing and would be for anyone. She has sudden mood swings, anxiety, irritability to the point of rage addiction, certain traits of vulnerable narcissism and borderline personality, depression and what are in my opinion cognitive distortions such as pessimistic bias. I don't call that PTSD, but responses to trauma.

She's got a variety of illnesses, is long-term unemployed and won't get a job, lives in my apartment, told me to legally transfer her half of my assets, and that she has changed her mind about marriage - which in my jurisdiction would de facto transfer her half of my assets. Her comments about possibly having changed her mind about having a child were one of her very many complaints about her life and me in passing rather than a definite commitment, and in this context.

Certainly, our traumatic childhoods were what we agreed at the start put us off wanting to have children and seemed to be a lifestyle compatibility of "child-free by choice." I have told you only the bad stuff here, which has risen from 30% to 50% of our relationship. The remainder has been wonderful and very loving.

From my point of view, our relationship seems to be ending principally because my body cannot cope with the stress of her anger and emotional blackmail. No matter how legitimate her complaints about me may be, I just don't have the willingness to carry on trying in an atmosphere of hostility which causes my heart to race and my spine and jaw to seize up. That is a consequence of stress hormones, which are a known killer. I'm listening to my body.

My intrusive thoughts and flashbacks were once much worse than they are today. I used to shout and I used to drink too much and I don't any more. People who behave as if constant complaining and frequent shouting is a legitimate and effective form of communication of their needs are going to learn the hard way that they are wrong.
 
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@Applecore I apologize, I shouldn't have thought out loud. At the risk of derailing the OP's thread, which seems a whole different challenge, just to say it is evident the pain you feel. I am certainly no authority, and especially regarding power struggles, but it just goes to show how although relationships share commonalities the differences or timing of those differences are also immense. Which makes sense as not only are people unique but so are their histories, and their dyadic.

I can only think, as the OP said, to try together to address them is a way through. And for me I think focus on addressing my own flaws and thoughts (Anthony pointed out to me years ago cognitive distortions are not unique to ptsd, we as humans do it every day in some way most often). But really, working on my own flaws could be a full time job. That, and recalibrating my thoughts and heart always to a gentler, sweeter space. Something that gives me a wider perspective before I begin?

Good luck to all. I am sorry for your heartaches and frustration.
 
@Applecore I apologize, I shouldn't have thought out loud. At the risk of derailing the OP's thread, which seems a whole different challenge, just to say it is evident the pain you feel. I am certainly no authority, and especially regarding power struggles, but it just goes to show how although relationships share commonalities the differences or timing of those differences are also immense. Which makes sense as not only are people unique but so are their histories, and their dyadic.

I can only think, as the OP said, to try together to address them is a way through. And for me I think focus on addressing my own flaws and thoughts (Anthony pointed out to me years ago cognitive distortions are not unique to ptsd, we as humans do it every day in some way most often). But really, working on my own flaws could be a full time job. That, and recalibrating my thoughts and heart always to a gentler, sweeter space. Something that gives me a wider perspective before I begin?

Good luck to all. I am sorry for your heartaches and frustration.

No need to apologize. I don't think anything's been derailed, it's all the theme of relationships in which traumatised people are drawn to each other because of shared experiences of trauma, and then get triggered by each other.

And please be kind yourself. While it's admirable to face your own flaws, being too agreeable with a flawed person - and not telling them the truth when they are doing wrong - is going to make them get ever worse. I have learned that the hardest way, with several people.
 
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