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Relationship Had My Own Little Breakthrough Today

Anon1

Confident
I think I realised something today that might have been a breakthrough in my story.

I’ve really struggle to let go of my ex with CPTSD.

i just couldn’t understand what happened, or why it all still felt ‘current’.

Today, I realised that I’d bought into a relationship entirely on their terms.

They came in so strong at the start, I allowed that to happen and I got used to feeling really loved and cared about.

But they set the bar for trust and connection so high, there’s no way I could’ve reached the standard and if I tried to, it often felt like they were fighting to stop me.

I couldn’t bear to break it off, their demands seemed to get more involved and in the end they broke it off after I couldn’t reach them.

And I felt terrible about it, and I felt like it was all my fault.

BUT -

There were key moments early on where I made barely-noticed decisions to prioritise them and their sense of need.

I held some boundaries at the beginning and they disappeared.

After that - and after I found out more about their trauma (and knowing nothing about CPTSD) - I thought that success meant doing all I could to make sure they stayed to see if we’d be good in a relationship.

That slipped into doing everything on their terms, and accepting ‘rules of the game’ that I didn’t fully know that I was accepting until it was done.

No wonder I felt so unhappy and insecure.

I never even felt as though we really got a proper chance to see if we were compatible.

I’m not even sure I really know them, deep down. I think I do, but… I’m not even sure if their therapist knows everything.

They seemed to triangulate the therapist in a way that put pressure on me to do things (“my T said you need to deal with your bulls**t” etc), and when I asked if they’d discussed an angry outburst with their therapist (I was being gentle and supportive, not nosey), they said they hadn’t (which seemed strange, because it was significant enough that I’d have thought they‘d want to flag it up). It made me wonder if they were giving the T a less-than-fair insight into what was really happening…

Anyway, what I’ve learned is that a relationship is where two people who play a similar-but-unique game meet, and decide the rules and goals of a new game that they’ll enjoy playing together (a combination of the two separate games you used to play as individuals).

The moment you’re asked to play someone else’s game on their terms (or you ask someone to play yours), you’re in ‘control’ territory.
It almost becomes more like a ‘master-servant’ relationship as you bend backwards to appease them.
Or - worse - master-slave. (Obviously I’m not talking about the usual levels of flexibility needed to make a relationship work, and I’m only really reflecting on our specific relationship really).

Understanding this big picture view has been more important to me than obsessing over ‘why they said x’, or ‘why they did y’.

I care for them, I still feel strongly for them, and I’m still hurting.

But I also think I see things a bit clearer.

I see why the whole thing was built on a very shakey (maybe impossible) premise, and I see the role I played in it.

It doesn’t excuse them for their part, but it feels good to consider my side too.

Perhaps I can start to grieve it and let go, and focus on myself a bit more now.

It’s very early days, but… I think that’s the direction I’m heading in!
 
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Thanks everyone!

It was such a blessing to realise that's what was going on.

It's kind of made sense of everything for me, and it's given me a lot of peace.

At the moment, it feels like they hold everyone to ransom a little bit - I don't think they mean to, but it's what it can amount to, I think.

Even things like having to express yourself to them in constant positives or else they're triggered and withdraw (so saying "If you'd like to, we could grab a coffee tomorrow!" needs to be phrased "I'd love to see you for coffee tomorrow, but it's okay if you're not free! [emphasis on 'I'd love...'"] - so, so many things have to be passed through a filter or you risk really rocking the boat).

It's horrible to feel like a relationship is at constant risk if you do something which most people would find reasonable, but which they'd misinterpret.

It impacts everything.

After we broke up, lots of people said to me "You realise you didn't do anything wrong, right?" and I just didn't feel that.

I felt like I'd done *everything* wrong, and I couldn't see it. I just couldn't see that it wasn't me...

So, I haven't contacted them since.

They've contacted me a couple of times... and then dropped off the radar again after I replied...

But anyway, thank you all for your encouragement and - more broadly across the forum - thank you also for your wisdom in other threads that I've posted in, etc.

It's a nice little community here, and I think I'd have gone a bit crazy without being able to see some other perspectives from people who know the difficulties - it's been a blessing!
 
Even things like having to express yourself to them in constant positives or else they're triggered and withdraw (so saying "If you'd like to, we could grab a coffee tomorrow!" needs to be phrased "I'd love to see you for coffee tomorrow, but it's okay if you're not free! [emphasis on 'I'd love...'"] - so, so many things have to be passed through a filter or you risk really rocking the boat).
Yiiiiikes...!

My (abusive) ex was nuts like this too... It's mind-bending... He'd get upset cos I'd "looked at him wrong"... Or even when I didn't say anything... he'd get upset cos of what I should've said... Siiiiigh....

I've never been around a more high-maintenance person in my life!
 
Yiiiiikes...!

My (abusive) ex was nuts like this too... It's mind-bending... He'd get upset cos I'd "looked at him wrong"... Or even when I didn't say anything... he'd get upset cos of what I should've said... Siiiiigh....

I've never been around a more high-maintenance person in my life!

Yeah, it's no fun, hey?

It was eye opening to find out that much of this isn't necessitated by CPTSD too...

I always thought "They've had some very, very difficult things go on, and they're trying, and the least I can do is try to help out."

Which is all true, it's just... if you don't know any better, you're liable to just 'buy in' to some things thinking it's expected for the condition, and it may not be that way at all...
 
Even things like having to express yourself to them in constant positives or else they're triggered and withdraw (so saying "If you'd like to, we could grab a coffee tomorrow!" needs to be phrased "I'd love to see you for coffee tomorrow, but it's okay if you're not free! [emphasis on 'I'd love...'"] - so, so many things have to be passed through a filter or you risk really rocking the boat).

It's horrible to feel like a relationship is at constant risk if you do something which most people would find reasonable, but which they'd misinterpret.
My (abusive) ex was nuts like this too... It's mind-bending... He'd get upset cos I'd "looked at him wrong"... Or even when I didn't say anything... he'd get upset cos of what I should've said... Siiiiigh....

I've never been around a more high-maintenance person in my life!
My experience is sooo similar! Say one word wrong, or NOT say one word, and he'd blow up. He would even quote the EXACT sentence he would have wanted me to say in that situation, and then when I say it back to him, he would say that it's not genuine and I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN what to say in the first place without him telling me...

It had to be perfectly scripted to HIS standards. He didn't understand (or didn't want to?) that people are different. It was only after I got out of it that I realised the entire relationship was abusive and that was only a tiny part of the mess. He was a CPTSD sufferer, but I know none of these actions were due to CPTSD.
 
My experience is sooo similar! Say one word wrong, or NOT say one word, and he'd blow up. He would even quote the EXACT sentence he would have wanted me to say in that situation, and then when I say it back to him, he would say that it's not genuine and I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN what to say in the first place without him telling me...

It had to be perfectly scripted to HIS standards. He didn't understand (or didn't want to?) that people are different. It was only after I got out of it that I realised the entire relationship was abusive and that was only a tiny part of the mess. He was a CPTSD sufferer, but I know none of these actions were due to CPTSD.

It makes everything sooo hard.

When they broke up with me, they said they wanted space, but they broke up with me partly because they thought I didn’t like them.

And it left a ton of scope for overthinking, because it was like… if I don’t give them space, I’m going against what they want. But if I do give them space,it might play into the idea that I don’t want them - which is what got us to that point in the first place, and it wasn’t even how I felt!

Then everything that follows from that catch 22 makes everything feel more and more tangled.

Clearly - when you’re not in the emotion of it all - it’s easy to see how you behave so that everything stays boundaried and clear, but it doesn’t take too many steps into the forest before you lose a sense of orientation…

I don’t want to disrespect anyone struggling with the same things they struggle with (far from it), but boy that specific situation was hard… it’s a lot to ask of someone to get that sort of situation ‘right’, and I’m not even certain if it’s possible to get it right anyway…
 
It makes everything sooo hard.

When they broke up with me, they said they wanted space, but they broke up with me partly because they thought I didn’t like them.

And it left a ton of scope for overthinking, because it was like… if I don’t give them space, I’m going against what they want. But if I do give them space,it might play into the idea that I don’t want them - which is what got us to that point in the first place, and it wasn’t even how I felt!

Then everything that follows from that catch 22 makes everything feel more and more tangled.

Clearly - when you’re not in the emotion of it all - it’s easy to see how you behave so that everything stays boundaried and clear, but it doesn’t take too many steps into the forest before you lose a sense of orientation…

I don’t want to disrespect anyone struggling with the same things they struggle with (far from it), but boy that specific situation was hard… it’s a lot to ask of someone to get that sort of situation ‘right’, and I’m not even certain if it’s possible to get it right anyway…
IME… That’s why what doing is best for you… works.

Whether it’s blasting through boundaries like a dozer on a rocket, or pulling back. Whatever it is, that YOU can live with, as being you, doing you.

Sometimes it works for them, sometimes it doesn’t, but? It works for you. And you’re the only one who has to / gets to live your life.
 
IME… That’s why what doing is best for you… works.

Whether it’s blasting through boundaries like a dozer on a rocket, or pulling back. Whatever it is, that YOU can live with, as being you, doing you.

Sometimes it works for them, sometimes it doesn’t, but? It works for you. And you’re the only one who has to / gets to live your life.

It’s interesting to hear you say that - I had in mind that it was probably the biggest “no no” to go against a PTSD
”Give me space!” I wanted to honour that, but it was super hard for two days before I pulled myself together a bit.

I get what youre saying though, because i also kind of think… if your feelings are absolutely exploding out of you, it seems unhealthy not to honour those. And as long as you’re being as gentle and respectful as you can be when your emotions are flying everywhere, it’s a case of “One person needs ‘x’, one person need ‘y’, can they be honest with each other and figure it all out somehow?” If yes, great. If no… well… at least everyone did what they genuinely thought was best, and no one walks away with any regrets…
 
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