Relationship Help Please I’m eroding away from partner’s PTSD

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I wanted to post this topic because I have been at the lowest of my low in 42 years; coming out of a relationship with a woman that has PTSD. I won’t lie, I wake up feeling destroyed and it takes half the day to come around and function. I have questions, confusions and yearnings for answers because of what I went through. So maybe this is the day I will have some mental closure. I am a very analytical person during normal life operations, when something doesn’t make sense my system shuts down especially in an emotional sense. So having said all that here is my story and my questions:

I (41) met a wonderful woman (38) this summer. She had been with a guy for 17 years (10 dating, 7 married) and had a 3 year old daughter. She was divorced at 6 months when we started hanging out. At first things were amazing. She told me I was showing her behaviours that shocked her as a person and she felt like she was above the clouds. Naturally this appealed to the man in me and I kept giving while being willful about it. Now and then she would mention her ex and I would ask non intrusive questions within the flow of conversation. We kept it light, as per my request I told her 17 years is a long time I am sure you are processing things and getting your head straight. She said yes I am. So we were cool there. 3-4 weeks into the whole thing she said she didn’t warm up to the idea of hooking up and wanted to go into relationship mode. This made me happy and honored. I felt valuable and important. It really lit up the masculine side of me in the sense that I hadn’t been dating for 6-7 years and it felt good to be acknowledged and approved. I started to put aside her predisposition of being divorced because she portrayed the image of being unphased and unaffected by her split. Along with the fact that her being almost 40, a mother and someone with a well rounded family and education; I credited her as to being responsible enough to know her mental state. Oh what a mistake!

A month into our relationship we started chatting about various topics. One such was my childhood and how I had issues growing up with my father. Midway through my story she stopped me! Said she was triggered…what?? By my childhood? HOW? It appears she claimed her narcissist ex ended up being dependant and co-dependent with her and she had to care for him for years. She had flashbacks and anxiety that I would end up needing saving like he did and she would relive all her marriage again. I assured her I in no way would be near her ex in behaviour and that she should calm down. So thus I lost one aspect of my options to chat to her in my relationship about my pst or even my present troubles or daily worries. I continued to support her as a boyfriend but slowly over time her triggers increased to daily acitivities, gifts, certain restaurants, parks and even topics. Everything started triggering her. I tried to stay calm. I knew she had PTSD and it was really flaming up. I felt lost and guilty. I felt like I was the reason. I was the reason her feelings started flashing back. She was in a relationship again. I ended up having to be sucked in. She would try to set boundaries but failed. Out fights increased. Our bitterness increased. I felt trapped. What did she want and need? She wouldn’t communicate. I thought she was over her ex? I thought she wanted to be in a relationship. She started being defensive. Sarcastic. Ironic. Dismissive. Angry. Spiteful even. It hurt. It hurt a lot. I wasn’t the cause of this, her ex was but I was at the end of the firing squad. I tried to talk to her. You aren’t my father or therapist! I tried to give her space. Why are you avoiding me? I tried everything. I hugged her took her on trips and played with her hair. I am not a pity case! I was so so so so trapped! Eventually one night she called me. Told
Me she loved me and cared for me. But i was no longer making her feel good and the fun was gone in our relationship. She said goodbye. I was crushed.

I sent her a text the next day. A long comprehensive text. Saying we should calm down and sit and talk. Breaking up impulsively over the phone was not mature and we should at least meet up. She called and said me being in her life was giving her anxiety and claustrophobia and panic and that her therapist said she is now really processing her ex and facing the music. I said well I told you…at least you have a guy like me
To hold your hand along the way. She said no. I dont want you during this period. I said shall I wait for you to heal and give you space? She said no. I dont want a relationship. I said but you pulled me into this in the start and now I am in and now you are just returning an item at the store? What about me and my love and feelings?
She said she understands and she loves me but she cant take on the burden of pleasing me and supporting me. Well that sucks right!? I felt used even though that wasn’t the case… so enter next part…

I said you are right. Let me come to your town and take my things and give you a hug and say goodbye properly. She agreed and i went to see her 5 days later. She picked me up from the airport. Dressed up. Done up (why???) took me
To a nice restaurant (easing the guilt?) then we had dinner and a nice conversation. Then i said well this is it. Thank you. Tomorrow we are normal people in the world again. We cease to exists in each other’s world. She was shocked. She goes “what??” What do you mean? I said i cant love you and watch you like this. I need to delete you and move on. We are broken up for reasons that are not my fault. The pain sucks and I need to protect myself! I cant live knowing you love me but dont even want to work to building something. Like it feels like shit to not even be kept on the side! I feel worthless! Plus you dumped me on the phone like a hit and run after I was there for you for months!
She said her decision was final and she couldn’t take on the burden or anxiety of knowing someone was waiting for her and heal. I said ok i understand but im out. She dropped me off at my hotel and came up to say goodbye (here comes sex). I had prepared for her a small speech. Sayinf sorry for the times I broke her boundaries. The times I overstepped and acted analytical and therapisty..she cried and said she was amazed how I could criticize myself so objectively and it took a really hardcore persona to get on a plane see her and say sorry and say goodbye. She was crying like mad. I said you never cried before. Why now? She said since her “box” had opened up concerning her past she had become a sob story. I said great. Process. Progress. Heal. Then we had sex (damn it). And she left saying she loved me and cared for me….

A week later she called me. f*cked with my mind. Said she missed me. But didnt want to see me. But loved me. It destroyed me. You like me enough to talk but not enough to fight for us. You cant imagine the self esteem blow I took. So here I am today. Broken. Thinking she is selfish and a covert narcissist. I need advice and direction.

What is going on?
Why can’t she committ to something even passively?
What is the point to healing if you dont want a man in your life?
Did she love ME? Or the attention I gave her?
Did she take our her anger of 17 years on me?
What am I to do? She wont say stay but she wants to see me when she is ready but wont talk about a future. Is she that selfish?

Anyone with any input please help me. I cant sleep or function I feel like crap and I feel worthless. Thank you guys!
I hope you get some more replies to this, because there are a lot of people out there who are better at this kind of thing than I am. My first thought (as a person who's been diagnosed with PTSD) is to wonder if PTSD is actually her problem. You don't get PTSD from being in a "dependent/codependent" relationship.
What am I to do?
My advice would be to run. Fast and far. I don't know what her issues actually are, but she sounds like someone who would be very hard to be in a relationship with. YOU can't fix that. (Unfortunately, I guess. If all the wonderful supporters here could fix their partners with PTSD, the world would be a better place and dealing with PTSD would be a lot easier.)

My take on what happened is that you knew her long enough to have to real version of her surface. I hope she gets help and gets better, but the person you were dealing with..... When you think about it, that was probably the same person her ex was dealing with, right? And maybe there's more than one version of how the divorce came to be? There's some weird stuff in her story. I have no idea what it means. You sound like a nice guy, but you also sound a little like you might be inclined to want to rescue people. That impulse probably comes from a good place, but you can't actually rescue anyone. We have to rescue ourselves. Help along the way is wonderful and great, but we all have to be responsible for our own rescuing.

About your self esteem and all that. I'd suggest that you don't take any of that as being about you. Chances are no one, anywhere, would have gotten a much different result. And if you had, I'd bet you'd have found yourself "trapped" in a relationship that just got more and more difficult as time went on. And harder to get out of too. I'd say you probably dodged a bullet.
YOU can't fix that.
Ever! Ever, ever, ever. It's up to that person to take on therapy and recovery. You can support and help them but they need to put in the work to move toward recovery. If they don't and you stick around, they will just drag you through the highs and lows of PTSD along with them.

My advice would be to run. Fast and far.
Yup......Run Forest Run........
Yup, she is very unhealthy be it PTSD or not....calling you when she is up for it and tossing you to the curb when she's run out of the emotional steem necessary to handle a two-way relationship. She maybe be a lovely person but needs lots and lots of help, from a professional...not you. Don't pick up the phone...mend your wounds, your putting yourself out there, getting hurt, and, move forward. Actually, run

She will too when she realizes you will not give her any more emotional supply. She'll find someone else willing to be an emotional yo-yo for her. It is NOT you, it is HER.

This is coming from a fellow PTSDr who has had to work on a lot of the same issues.

It is not fair to the supporter, and I think there is 7 miles worth of deeper unresolved trauma that you nor she knows about.

Good luck.
You had only been with her for a month before things went downhill? That’s a big red flag that she isn’t healthy enough for a relationship.

What about me and my love and feelings?

If she is breaking up with you your love is not something she wants.

What is the point to healing if you dont want a man in your life?

Ummm… to be healed?

Break ups suck because it only takes one party to the relationship to end things. It doesn’t matter what you want if she doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you.

I’d grieve and move on… worry about your own mental health and not hers.
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