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Relationship How Big a Breakthrough Are Breakthroughs?

relationships are one of the things that heal people.

^^^ In fairytales. You cannot cure mental illness with love. That’s like curing diabetes with love. There’s a whole lot of reality in the situation and not a lot of romance once the rose colored glasses come off.

I probably sound like a downer, but accepting the fact that your partner is mentally ill is vital. It is hard, and sometimes impossible to be the supporting partner in a relationship when somebody has mental illness. You have to take a cold hard look at the reality of the situation, and then make your decisions. Set boundaries and be realistic.

Am I saying they’re not loveable or capable of loving? Absolutely not. I’ve been in love with a sufferer for more than a decade. What I’m saying is I can in no way cure him or help him get better, and I cannot wait for him to get better to do xyz. It is what it is.
 
Then I see this person, and they’re sooo good at getting regular therapy, and reading, and being disciplined, and really, really trying. They have a support group, they exercise regularly, they eat really well, they’re active in their community. They’ve made things right with their parents, and they’re like… it’s one of the things I really admire and love about them.

But I’ve spoken to therapists who say exactly what you’re saying, and I’ve also seen people discuss the cold hard reality. And I’ve seen stories of people who’s partners of twenty years have just kinda… gone…

I find it very hard to add the two positions together, where on the one hand there’s so much hope, and on the other it’s cyclical and progress probably isn’t lasting progress etc…
When I told my T about how my sufferer had CPTSD, she said that it is something that he has to live with every single day. Sometimes he will seem better, sometimes he will seem worse, but it is always there and it is never "cured". He's gone to years of therapy and seems very well-adjusted to everyone else. But they are still forever battling the demons. And if we make the decision to be a supporter, we have to accept that. And we make the decision to support them in the best way we can without losing ourselves.
 
I'm a sufferer.


Interesting - it’s good to hear something from the horse’s mouth.

Thank you for your thoughts on it.

I admire anyone living with this kind of condition.

I know that probably rings hollow, or maybe even sounds patronising, but I mean it.
It must be real tough. Hats off to you, and others!

^^^ In fairytales. You cannot cure mental illness with love. That’s like curing diabetes with love. There’s a whole lot of reality in the situation and not a lot of romance once the rose colored glasses come off.

I probably sound like a downer, but accepting the fact that your partner is mentally ill is vital. It is hard, and sometimes impossible to be the supporting partner in a relationship when somebody has mental illness. You have to take a cold hard look at the reality of the situation, and then make your decisions. Set boundaries and be realistic.

Am I saying they’re not loveable or capable of loving? Absolutely not. I’ve been in love with a sufferer for more than a decade. What I’m saying is I can in no way cure him or help him get better, and I cannot wait for him to get better to do xyz. It is what it is.

This is helpful!

I think I’ve probably been in a kind of denial - to one degree or another - for a while.

But haven’t you seen those resources that say this kind of thing about healing relationships?

It seems like the waters are muddy, even from mainstream healthcare providers, and sources which ought to be trustworthy on these things.

When I told my T about how my sufferer had CPTSD, she said that it is something that he has to live with every single day. Sometimes he will seem better, sometimes he will seem worse, but it is always there and it is never "cured". He's gone to years of therapy and seems very well-adjusted to everyone else. But they are still forever battling the demons. And if we make the decision to be a supporter, we have to accept that. And we make the decision to support them in the best way we can without losing ourselves.
That’s helpful - so, can I ask - what makes you wade in and ‘go for it’?

Don‘t answer if it’s too personal, but I guess they must be your ‘the one’?
 
That’s helpful - so, can I ask - what makes you wade in and ‘go for it’?

Don‘t answer if it’s too personal, but I guess they must be your ‘the one’?
I don't have a good answer for you unfortunately. Personally? Because I loved him. But this is not enough to make it work. It didn't work out for me and my sufferer. You need boundaries. You need to learn not to take everything seriously. In my case, he was also a tad abusive, and I have my own set of issues that I am sorting out, further complicating things. He dumped me multiple times and came back framing it as him giving me another chance. Sometimes you think going for it and/or staying is the "noble" choice, but you totally have the right to decline a relationship with someone who has CPTSD as well. Sorry this doesn't give much clarity!
 
Better than fair, exactly right.

Finally feel like I’ve orientated myself correctly on something!
I don't have a good answer for you unfortunately. Personally? Because I loved him. But this is not enough to make it work. It didn't work out for me and my sufferer. You need boundaries. You need to learn not to take everything seriously. In my case, he was also a tad abusive, and I have my own set of issues that I am sorting out, further complicating things. He dumped me multiple times and came back framing it as him giving me another chance. Sometimes you think going for it and/or staying is the "noble" choice, but you totally have the right to decline a relationship with someone who has CPTSD as well. Sorry this doesn't give much clarity!

No, it does give some clarity I think.

Because I resonate with it, and it’s a ‘real world’ story that doesn’t leave me feeling as though I’m just not trying hard enough, or something.

My feelings for this person are strong… and they’re tied up with understanding why they behaved a bit badly at times, and a sense that my heart kinda breaks for what they went through, but also wanting to just date them as a person who I fancy. And feeling like… they liked me too, but every time you get close you’re a bit worried that you’ll get wounded some more… and you want to be strong for it, because theyve had their share of unfairness in life now, and maybe someone should just give them a break, and maybe that person could be you - even if it means getting hurt.

But when I met them, I wasnt prepared for the weight of it, and it was a case of ‘learning on the job‘ and being hurt as I went.

In a way, it’s encouraging to know that I’m only human - and lots of humans can find that dynamic hard, and it’s helpful to know that someone else did!

So… yeah… it gives me some peace that maybe I’m not a failure if it didn’t work out.
And I think theyll find someone. But I think it’d be better if it was someone who’s life was rooted in the same city, so they have mutual support networks etc…
 
From the sufferer side?

Think of ptsd like the ocean

Someday it's calm, almost like glass. You can sail on it and swim in it with very little effort
Sometimes it's like a huge winter storm, with crashing waves and raining wind, difficult but survivable
Someday it's a tsunami crushing everything in its path

Sometimes you can see it coming
Someday you can't

Ptsd is the ocean of my life. Always there,always waiting for me. It will never go away

You can't love the ptsd away for us
It's up to us to learn to swim
The best you can do is offer a life jacket on the days we are drowning - and then accept we may ignore it

Relationships can work - hubby has managed to stick it out for 20+ years
But he had to find a way to be at peace with the bad days, set boundaries and hold them, and give me space to fight the battle without his help and without making it about him

It sucks
But thats just life with ptsd
 
When I met my husband I didn't have a formal ptsd diagnosis. I just new I had some serious issues. I told him I'd sabatoge the relationship and push him away. He knew it and promised to stick through it all. There has definitely been days I've pushed to hard and it's been hard for him. I don't doubt his commitment. He has faith and believes he was meant to be with me. I felt the same although now that my symptoms have escalated suddenly its hard to accept it.

There are good times and bad times. But I expect I'll never be totally healed. I will struggle. The " improvements" are just learning to handle it better and thrive despite it. Or so I'm told. I'm still working on that.
 
From the sufferer side?

Think of ptsd like the ocean

Someday it's calm, almost like glass. You can sail on it and swim in it with very little effort
Sometimes it's like a huge winter storm, with crashing waves and raining wind, difficult but survivable
Someday it's a tsunami crushing everything in its path

Sometimes you can see it coming
Someday you can't

Ptsd is the ocean of my life. Always there,always waiting for me. It will never go away

You can't love the ptsd away for us
It's up to us to learn to swim
The best you can do is offer a life jacket on the days we are drowning - and then accept we may ignore it

Relationships can work - hubby has managed to stick it out for 20+ years
But he had to find a way to be at peace with the bad days, set boundaries and hold them, and give me space to fight the battle without his help and without making it about him

It sucks
But thats just life with ptsd

This is a really helpful perspective and beautifully put.

I think the online resources for understanding CPTSD are really thin on the ground, because outside of this forum, I can’t find much about this stuff at all - and certainly nothing like you’ve written.

Have you seen a general upwards trajectory in your condition, or has it stayed kind of up and down?

When I met my husband I didn't have a formal ptsd diagnosis. I just new I had some serious issues. I told him I'd sabatoge the relationship and push him away. He knew it and promised to stick through it all. There has definitely been days I've pushed to hard and it's been hard for him. I don't doubt his commitment. He has faith and believes he was meant to be with me. I felt the same although now that my symptoms have escalated suddenly its hard to accept it.

There are good times and bad times. But I expect I'll never be totally healed. I will struggle. The " improvements" are just learning to handle it better and thrive despite it. Or so I'm told. I'm still working on that.

Sounds like a special relationship - I bet he must get a lot of love back on the good days.
I guess when it’s right, it’s right 🤷‍♂️
 
My feelings for this person are strong… and they’re tied up with understanding why they behaved a bit badly at times, and a sense that my heart kinda breaks for what they went through, but also wanting to just date them as a person who I fancy. And feeling like… they liked me too, but every time you get close you’re a bit worried that you’ll get wounded some more… and you want to be strong for it, because theyve had their share of unfairness in life now, and maybe someone should just give them a break, and maybe that person could be you - even if it means getting hurt.

But when I met them, I wasnt prepared for the weight of it, and it was a case of ‘learning on the job‘ and being hurt as I went.
I understand. There is the love and attraction for who they are, but also knowing that they've been victims before makes you feel even more protective. But like you, I was not prepared for the reality of what it was like trying to support a person with CPTSD. "Learning on the job" is such an apt description. And did I f*ck up? More than once. There were also times I let him get away with behaviour I shouldn't have tolerated because I thought "Oh he has a reason to act like this". Boundaries were not my strong suit.

People who can make it work? I applaud them, I look up to them. It is possible, but it takes a TON of work and determination and belief and self-work. Not everyone can do it, and that's perfectly normal. You tried your best with the amount of knowledge you had at that time, and even if you did have ALL the tools and resources to support someone with CPTSD, it still might be a challenge. Please don't beat yourself up if this didn't work out. I've done that so much to myself, and trust me it's not worth the self-doubt and the pain. Take is as a learning opportunity for the future.
 
Have you seen a general upwards trajectory in your condition, or has it stayed kind of up and down
Oh it's still up and down - always will be. But I've learned better coping skills so it's not as destructive when it happens, and my downs don't go as far into the deep.
 
Never anything legitimate. That is the kind of stuff that people like to write and read to make themselves feel better. Legitimate sources would never say PTSD can be loved away. Look at the source that makes the claim.
@Anon1

This >>> Traumatic resilience: avoiding ptsd

Once someone already HAS ptsd? The game has changed. It’s not about support, or resources, or other ways the brainsz relates trauma to a memory / the past… instead of overlaid onto the present. Re-LIVING, & re-EXPERIENCING. not remembered.

AVOIDING PTSD? Sure. There are a helluva lotta avenues for that. But once someone already has it? They’ve climbed onto the Rollercoaster. And love doesn’t make it a serene and lovely place. Even if one loves roller coasters.
 
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