How Do I Trust Again

helbredelse

New Here
I searched the forums and couldn't quite find what I was looking for. I apologize if I missed it somehow.

Recently, my fiancé of two years (engaged before covid) broke up with me out of the blue. We've known each other for ten years and have been together for about six years. We instantly hit it off when we met and became good friends and then best friends. He was there for me during my divorce from my ex (NPD/BPD). He supported me when I started trauma therapy and when I was diagnosed with PTSD. He was a good step parent to my children. We had a lot in common and could talk for hours about anything. We had our bad times but we were always able to work through them together. Being together just felt right and natural. For the first time in my 40+ years, I felt I could completely trust and really love someone and that they could love me back just for who I am. No judgement. No trying to change me. Complete acceptance of me, good and bad. I thought I had won the lottery and I felt so very happy. We made plans to spend the rest of our lives together and the things we wanted to do one day together. When we got together, we agreed that if anything were to jeopardize our relationship that we would talk about it before it got to a point of no return.

Then one day recently he broke up with me out of the blue. There were no arguments and everything seemed fine to me as it always was. He told me he had been feeling unhappy for months. That he had been struggling with it for months and finally figured out that he needs to be on his own and to be his true authentic self. That he is moving out and he wants us to still be friends. In that moment, it felt like every past trauma of mine from the last 40+ years hit me all at once. I just fell apart. And what did he do? He gathered some of this things and told me he was going to stay at a motel so I could process this. Later I learned from him that he didn't realize he had triggered me. He had treated it as a normal break up. What he had actually done was cause the worst trigger of my life. It was bad, really bad.

I had been slowly working with my trauma therapist for the last 7-8 years on my core abandonment issues that go back to my childhood. In that moment, all of it came crashing down on me. Like Pandora's Box had been opened and I could not close it anymore. It felt like my entire world had been obliterated. The emotional pain I felt was excruciating and lasted for weeks. I had major episodes of depression for the first time in twenty years. I had several suicidal moments and am thankful that I was able to reach out to a good friend of mine who was there for me and helped me through those times. The emotional pain felt like too much to process or deal with but it kept coming at me wave after wave. I couldn't sleep. My PTSD nightmares returned. Sleeping pills didn't help much. More traumatic events from my past kept resurfacing. It felt like I had new horrible triggers every single day and I had to deal with them every single time they came up. It was overwhelming most days. I ended up having to compartmentalize some of it to work through with my therapist later. It was not an easy process to get to that point. I felt like I was going insane at times from the intense rage to depression and back again. My emotions were extremely intense and all over the place. He now realizes this was anything but a normal breakup for me and he says he feels horrible about what he did. That he was not thinking straight and didn't realize it at the time.

I'm working on accepting it but it's hard. I know the past can't be changed. I can't control anything or anyone but myself and my reactions. I know I have to be gentle with myself and basically be my own best friend. That he left me to deal with all this on my own because he wasn't able to be there for me for whatever reason. He had always been there for me when I needed him and now he was not. My safety net was gone and I felt I was completely on my own with the worst triggers of my life and I wasn't sure I was going to survive it. If I hadn't had all those years of trauma therapy under my belt, I probably wouldn't be here right now.

Looking back, I remember him texting someone more than usual over the course of a few months. I asked every so often if everything was okay because I knew he had a friend going through a rough spot in their life. He told me many times that everything was fine. I told myself he wouldn't lie to me and I trusted him to let me know if something wasn't right. Now I know he lied to me. All those times he lied to me. He was not fine. He was struggling with being unhappy and kept it from me. He said he didn't want to set off my hypervigilance. He now knows that was not good for me. That what he did instead made me feel disrespected, not trusted, and not considered at all. He said he considered me and knew I wouldn't take it well and it would hurt me.

Instead it completely destroyed my sense of self worth and my entire world as I knew it. I was a mess for many weeks. I can't even find the words to describe just how horrendous it felt and still does at times. He was texting his support people and they were helping him. I felt so incredibly angry with him for weeks and still am at times. That he triggered me and left me without any help or support. He and his friends knew it was coming. One friend in particular knew about my triggers yet it never occurred to her either that I might need my own help and support through this. That they felt it was better to blindside me??? That it hadn't occurred to either of them??? He didn't even reach out to check on me for days. She never reached out to me to this day. Not once did she even try to reach out knowing how bad my past was. That is another hard one for me. I thought she was my friend too but she is not and I'm working on letting her go too. I know he needs to do what he needs to do to make himself happy... but at what cost? By completely destroying me?

Looking back on that month, I realize I defaulted back to my old unhealthy coping mechanisms. Thankfully I called my therapist and had an emergency session with her. She told me to go to an ACA (adult children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families) meeting ASAP. I found one that night and it helped tremendously. I continue to go to those and it helps. I may also increase my sessions with my therapist. None of my friends saw this coming. My therapist didn't even see this coming. She had met him several times and talked with him. She gave me a thumbs up with him. That he was safe and good for me. She felt blindsided too when I told her what had happened.

My question / issue is.. how do I trust again? Part of me wants to. Part of me hasn't given up all hope. Part of me wants to build an impenetrable permanent wall up that no one can possibly ever get through again. I had completely trusted him because I felt so incredibly safe with him for years. He had shown me over and over that I could trust him. He knew everything about me and I felt he loved and accepted me for me. But in one moment, he managed to accomplish something (inadvertently, he claims) that my ex had been trying to do for years - I felt he had completely destroyed me and my world. That he can nonchalantly declare "I'm unhappy and moving out but I hope we can still be friends!" and then expect me to just be okay with it. It felt very minimizing to me. That he was either in denial or had magical thinking. That somewhere in there he knew but didn't want to acknowledge it because his happiness was more important than me. What he did and how he did it feels very selfish and inconsiderate (to put it mildly). My sense of feeling safe was completely gone. The future we had planned together was gone. The love of my life was gone. I felt so completely ripped open and shredded. That he tossed me aside like trash. My self esteem took a HUGE nose dive. The one person I had trusted more than anyone ever had betrayed me and completely blindsided me. I had never felt so alone and abandoned. How do I trust anyone ever again?

Right now I know I can't. I just can't trust. He had earned my trust over years. It wasn't something I had just given to him. I slowly let him in and he did that to me. The worst part is I never really saw it coming. I doubted my intuition because I trusted him. Will I ever fully trust again? I guess no one knows the answer to that, even me. Odds are it's going to be even more difficult now to let anyone in, even a little. Is there hope I can one day trust again or will I be alone for the rest of my life? Right now it feels like I will be alone. That I will always be alone. That I really can't trust anyone ever again and that is such a lonely feeling. Maybe there is no answer right now. I'm not even really sure why I'm reaching out with this. Thank you for reading this.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
. I felt like I was going insane at times from the intense rage to depression and back again.
I felt this too with a break up. I was young, 24, been together since we were 19. Some of the traumas came back during this period. It was very difficult. I think stress like a break up does open up the pandora's box of stuff and it can be a living hell for a while. But it does get better.,..

My question / issue is.. how do I trust again?
By working through what happened. Yes, he lied to you about how he was feeling and he didn't discuss it with you (incredibly unfair of him btw...he had months of processing what was going to happen and he gave you two sentences to wrap your head around this life change....very very unfair).
But,once you have some distance to this break up, maybe looking at the signs that you noticed and maybe there are parts of this relationship that you might not do the same again in future ones?
world. That he can nonchalantly declare "I'm unhappy and moving out but I hope we can still be friends!" and then expect me to just be okay with it. It felt very minimizing to me.
It was minimizing. It was unfair. He kept you in the dark about his feelings,until he processed them,and expected you to just manage.

Break ups are horrendous without a trauma history,but with a trauma history of course it triggers everything.
But maybe rephrase it from "he triggered you", to this break up has triggered you. Because, whilst he could have managed this break up in a more honest and open way, a break up is stress and stress can be a trigger. If that makes any sense.

You can get past this.
It's hard to pick ourselves up again. And again. But it's possible.
Learning to trust means working through the trauma, relational trauma and knowing that relationships do change and end, and holding us as whole people during those processes.
 

helbredelse

New Here
Thank you! Your reply is incredibly helpful and it makes complete sense. It's like a light bulb just went off in my head. Stress. Stress is a huge trigger. I hadn't thought of it that way before and you're absolutely right. The event was extremely stressful. The stress triggered me. I had all these "little" ones written down like feeling overwhelmed and they all have stress in common.

Thank you for also validating my thoughts and feelings and for reminding me that I can get past this. That helps a lot too. So I "just" need to keep on doing what I've been doing - taking care of myself and working through the trauma. To remember there is no timeline for any of this. I need to work through my grief and trauma at my own pace and to remember to take care of myself. I need to be able to trust myself before I can trust anyone else. It will likely take some time and a lot of hard work. I can do this if I just keep trying and working at it. Thank you again. This was very helpful.
 

Catsnoop

New Here
I searched the forums and couldn't quite find what I was looking for. I apologize if I missed it somehow.

Recently, my fiancé of two years (engaged before covid) broke up with me out of the blue. We've known each other for ten years and have been together for about six years. We instantly hit it off when we met and became good friends and then best friends. He was there for me during my divorce from my ex (NPD/BPD). He supported me when I started trauma therapy and when I was diagnosed with PTSD. He was a good step parent to my children. We had a lot in common and could talk for hours about anything. We had our bad times but we were always able to work through them together. Being together just felt right and natural. For the first time in my 40+ years, I felt I could completely trust and really love someone and that they could love me back just for who I am. No judgement. No trying to change me. Complete acceptance of me, good and bad. I thought I had won the lottery and I felt so very happy. We made plans to spend the rest of our lives together and the things we wanted to do one day together. When we got together, we agreed that if anything were to jeopardize our relationship that we would talk about it before it got to a point of no return.

Then one day recently he broke up with me out of the blue. There were no arguments and everything seemed fine to me as it always was. He told me he had been feeling unhappy for months. That he had been struggling with it for months and finally figured out that he needs to be on his own and to be his true authentic self. That he is moving out and he wants us to still be friends. In that moment, it felt like every past trauma of mine from the last 40+ years hit me all at once. I just fell apart. And what did he do? He gathered some of this things and told me he was going to stay at a motel so I could process this. Later I learned from him that he didn't realize he had triggered me. He had treated it as a normal break up. What he had actually done was cause the worst trigger of my life. It was bad, really bad.

I had been slowly working with my trauma therapist for the last 7-8 years on my core abandonment issues that go back to my childhood. In that moment, all of it came crashing down on me. Like Pandora's Box had been opened and I could not close it anymore. It felt like my entire world had been obliterated. The emotional pain I felt was excruciating and lasted for weeks. I had major episodes of depression for the first time in twenty years. I had several suicidal moments and am thankful that I was able to reach out to a good friend of mine who was there for me and helped me through those times. The emotional pain felt like too much to process or deal with but it kept coming at me wave after wave. I couldn't sleep. My PTSD nightmares returned. Sleeping pills didn't help much. More traumatic events from my past kept resurfacing. It felt like I had new horrible triggers every single day and I had to deal with them every single time they came up. It was overwhelming most days. I ended up having to compartmentalize some of it to work through with my therapist later. It was not an easy process to get to that point. I felt like I was going insane at times from the intense rage to depression and back again. My emotions were extremely intense and all over the place. He now realizes this was anything but a normal breakup for me and he says he feels horrible about what he did. That he was not thinking straight and didn't realize it at the time.

I'm working on accepting it but it's hard. I know the past can't be changed. I can't control anything or anyone but myself and my reactions. I know I have to be gentle with myself and basically be my own best friend. That he left me to deal with all this on my own because he wasn't able to be there for me for whatever reason. He had always been there for me when I needed him and now he was not. My safety net was gone and I felt I was completely on my own with the worst triggers of my life and I wasn't sure I was going to survive it. If I hadn't had all those years of trauma therapy under my belt, I probably wouldn't be here right now.

Looking back, I remember him texting someone more than usual over the course of a few months. I asked every so often if everything was okay because I knew he had a friend going through a rough spot in their life. He told me many times that everything was fine. I told myself he wouldn't lie to me and I trusted him to let me know if something wasn't right. Now I know he lied to me. All those times he lied to me. He was not fine. He was struggling with being unhappy and kept it from me. He said he didn't want to set off my hypervigilance. He now knows that was not good for me. That what he did instead made me feel disrespected, not trusted, and not considered at all. He said he considered me and knew I wouldn't take it well and it would hurt me.

Instead it completely destroyed my sense of self worth and my entire world as I knew it. I was a mess for many weeks. I can't even find the words to describe just how horrendous it felt and still does at times. He was texting his support people and they were helping him. I felt so incredibly angry with him for weeks and still am at times. That he triggered me and left me without any help or support. He and his friends knew it was coming. One friend in particular knew about my triggers yet it never occurred to her either that I might need my own help and support through this. That they felt it was better to blindside me??? That it hadn't occurred to either of them??? He didn't even reach out to check on me for days. She never reached out to me to this day. Not once did she even try to reach out knowing how bad my past was. That is another hard one for me. I thought she was my friend too but she is not and I'm working on letting her go too. I know he needs to do what he needs to do to make himself happy... but at what cost? By completely destroying me?

Looking back on that month, I realize I defaulted back to my old unhealthy coping mechanisms. Thankfully I called my therapist and had an emergency session with her. She told me to go to an ACA (adult children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families) meeting ASAP. I found one that night and it helped tremendously. I continue to go to those and it helps. I may also increase my sessions with my therapist. None of my friends saw this coming. My therapist didn't even see this coming. She had met him several times and talked with him. She gave me a thumbs up with him. That he was safe and good for me. She felt blindsided too when I told her what had happened.

My question / issue is.. how do I trust again? Part of me wants to. Part of me hasn't given up all hope. Part of me wants to build an impenetrable permanent wall up that no one can possibly ever get through again. I had completely trusted him because I felt so incredibly safe with him for years. He had shown me over and over that I could trust him. He knew everything about me and I felt he loved and accepted me for me. But in one moment, he managed to accomplish something (inadvertently, he claims) that my ex had been trying to do for years - I felt he had completely destroyed me and my world. That he can nonchalantly declare "I'm unhappy and moving out but I hope we can still be friends!" and then expect me to just be okay with it. It felt very minimizing to me. That he was either in denial or had magical thinking. That somewhere in there he knew but didn't want to acknowledge it because his happiness was more important than me. What he did and how he did it feels very selfish and inconsiderate (to put it mildly). My sense of feeling safe was completely gone. The future we had planned together was gone. The love of my life was gone. I felt so completely ripped open and shredded. That he tossed me aside like trash. My self esteem took a HUGE nose dive. The one person I had trusted more than anyone ever had betrayed me and completely blindsided me. I had never felt so alone and abandoned. How do I trust anyone ever again?

Right now I know I can't. I just can't trust. He had earned my trust over years. It wasn't something I had just given to him. I slowly let him in and he did that to me. The worst part is I never really saw it coming. I doubted my intuition because I trusted him. Will I ever fully trust again? I guess no one knows the answer to that, even me. Odds are it's going to be even more difficult now to let anyone in, even a little. Is there hope I can one day trust again or will I be alone for the rest of my life? Right now it feels like I will be alone. That I will always be alone. That I really can't trust anyone ever again and that is such a lonely feeling. Maybe there is no answer right now. I'm not even really sure why I'm reaching out with this. Thank you for reading this.
I don’t know if I can help but I really understand the triggers you are going through. My partner who I love dearly has triggered relationship ptsd from my past marriage and I have spiralled down hard it’s really scary. I was super happy for the past six years and thought I had processed the trauma but nope, it was hiding deep inside and now the door is open I’m terrified it will never close again. I don’t know how to advise you but I know the f*ckton of pain you are experiencing. I’m sorry this is happening to you.
 

leggirl

Learning
Sorta get this. I have a friend, and we can't leave each other, but doses are small because we can trigger each other, yet we seem to heal each other spiritually. It's too connected to be toxic. He has childhood PTSD, I have life PTSD. I am one of those people who are mobbed daily. I have been bullied and groomed to do something l won't do.
 

Friday

Moderator
By working through what happened. Yes, he lied to you about how he was feeling and he didn't discuss it with you (incredibly unfair of him btw...he had months of processing what was going to happen and he gave you two sentences to wrap your head around this life change....very very unfair).
But,once you have some distance to this break up, maybe looking at the signs that you noticed and maybe there are parts of this relationship that you might not do the same again in future ones?
This.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
These ones are really horrible. The suddenness of it does make it worse; I had difficult breakups in life but the ones where I was ghosted or semi ghosted where proportionally the worst ones, in the sense it really had that way to open the ground under my feet and I felt swallowed by it.

I really get you with the feeling of unfairness where he robbed you the decision of what you could do about him feeling unhappy. This is lowkey suggesting that you're so broken you couldn't figure anything to help, which is really a blow to your capacity of being resilient, which you are. Then him just leaving like that also is a contradiction with himself—if he lied to you to make you more comfortable, he also lied to you leaving you in the most uncomfortable way possible? This doesn't add up, and it just looks like a rather coward way of getting a way out without first facing it.

I know it doesn't feel good at first but over time, feeling in the right will help.

You didn't anything wrong. Yet he still took that decision.

This at first is majorly triggering because it shows at the end relationships never are entirely in our control. Not only we cannot keep people against their will, but there is no magical recipe that will make someone to stay forever even if understanding and everything is great. So we have to tolerate greyness because inside of the greyness itself, there still is plenty to live and to feel joy and experience good things. It just doesn't need to be total.

For those of us who've been faced with constant instability, it's pretty much intolerable. There is this very acute sense of not having a safety net. And it's horrible. After some break ups I also iterated between sheer rage and sheer despair, and honestly it's even hard to remember what I did at this point. It's all a blur and just thinking of it I have flashbacks of the rage. I also got extremely unhinged and engaged in risky stuff I would never have done normally, then flipped over and spent a year in almost total isolation because I was too scared of myself. Not great.

But at the last I got to know all the opossums that are sitting inside of myself and I have a good lookahead of what these different facets of me might or might not do given X situation. Over time alone, you develop enough trust in whatever is in there, I wouldn't even go as far as to say I trust myself, I just trust the mechanisms that have been set in place, no matter how wobbly they are. If anything PTSD made me good at surviving, so that's my true last safety net and despite it not being the healthiest on this shelf, I do find it valuable because it's not something anyone can take away from me, no matter how much I invested in someone else. The moments good and bad that I have spend with people, even the shittiest ones, they cannot be taken away from me. Yes some memories are very weird and blurry, still there are mine and that mumble jumble of a recollection still is me—no matter how estranged I am from it, it still is me, and in a way I do find a lot of comfort in that idea, and let's say this does more or less equate with the idea of trusting yourself.

As to trust others, you don't need to do that all at once. Trust builds up gradually in every relationship. I find it very hard not to double down when I feel it's clicking with someone, especially if they got that tendency too, but relationships that have lasted the ages were the ones where things went slowly and steadily and were subject to many adjustments. And I never take them as a given. They can disappear from day to night. Every time I forgot that someone disappeared or died and it was a painful way to be reminded nothing is eternal, so I'd better move my ass and make this a good relationship now and not to wait until it's too late.

I hope this doesn't come across as hard or cold because it's very not the case. It's I guess the way I did find to navigate through this issue and I hope this helps a bit, because I know the state you are and I'm not even entirely out of it. But still, I do know that it gets better.
 

Tickety-boo

New Here
I have been let down by too many people to trust anymore. To me it doesn't feel emotional, or cynical, just pragmatic realism. There are amazing and wonderful people out there. You just can't ever know if you're with one until you're actually dying and they're still there holding your hand. Any time before that and you just don't know if you're really with someone who loves you or you're just being played. My advice is to learn to be truly happy on your own. Not cynical or anything, but truly at peace and feeling stable and self-sufficient. There are a lot of people who kid themselves that they've reached that stage. Don't do that. Keep working until you really feel it in every part of you. Peace and happiness.
 
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