General How long can a person disassociate after trauma?

LostPossum

New Here
My ex girlfriend went through having an abortion 7 months ago.

Since then I have tried asking her to go to therapy together to unpack it and talk about it. Her reasonings were due to covid and our lack of jobs, and her fear of her disapproving parents.

She shuts down the conversation pretty quickly and then moves on. She normally would never do this.

Further she hates talking about it altogether and thus I had stopped asking.

She had been binge watching tv shows and movies and focusing on her health which is great yes, but its as if she was not at all thinking about it and that is understandable but I just feel like sweeping things under a rug and disassociating are more damaging.

Out of nowhere 7 months post abortion, she told me she associates me to the abortion and thus she couldn't be with me any longer. Again disassociating from her trauma, which hurts, but its understandable. She put me under that rug it feels like to disconnect herself from that event altogether, despite my support during the entire time.

Finally its been 6 months post breakup and I ran into her sister at a grocery store. After catching up, I asked her about her sister. And she said "Funny you ask, we talked the other day about you. I asked her what's he been up to. And unfortunately she said that she hasn't thought about you, searched you, or any of that."

This killed to hear because we had a long relationship and I thought I was special to her in some way despite breaking up.

I felt like she was trying to disassociate me from her mind and life, sweeping me under that big rug of hers and not thinking about me.

Does disassociation ever catch up to someone and then they need to handle all those things they have pushed down?

Would she ever stop disassociating me do you think?

Can disassociation last a lifetime?

I would love to be friends just like we were before dating... but yah she doesnt want me around due to the connection, and seemingly she doesnt want me in her head either.
 

LostPossum

New Here
Mod Edit - merged thread. Old title: How long does suppression/avoidance of trauma last?

For example:

Lets say someone has a trauma incident like losing a parent, they never want to talk about it but also bury it away and any fragment or memory of it they try to remove.

My girlfriend lost her father, she desperately and almost immediately tried to remove every remnant of him from her life. Not because of negativity but because she just didn't want to be sad with reminders of her father dying.

I just think its severely unhealthy and wish I could share that with her.

But based on my question, how long can someone hide their trauma? Can they live their life and never face it?

She doesn't even want to talk to her brother because he looks like her father and reminds her of her father. Its like she wants to disconnect from reality and live in this world as though her father is out of sight out of mind and not face the trauma.

Will this or any other related trauma last forever?

Is there anything I can do?

It scares me also that she did this, because now I feel like if anything happens with us in anyway, she will remove me and it will be out of sight out of mind with me.

Whats your take?
 
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Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @LostPossum , you have started a number of threads about the same thing: that your relationship has ended and you are struggling to come to terms with that.
However heart breaking, unfathomable, and unfair it feels: by concentrating on what she is doing, has done and might do: you're not concentrating on what you do. And all you can control is what you do.

What do you need to do to accept the relationship is over?
Maybe ask yourself some questions about yourself, rather than asking questions about her? Because you are never going to be able to answer them and neither is anyone on this forum. As none of us are her.

Finally its been 6 months post breakup and I ran into her sister at a grocery store. After catching up, I asked her about her sister. And she said "Funny you ask, we talked the other day about you. I asked her what's he been up to. And unfortunately she said that she hasn't thought about you, searched you, or any of that."

This killed to hear because we had a long relationship and I thought I was special to her in some way despite breaking up.

I felt like she was trying to disassociate me from her mind and life, sweeping me under that big rug of hers and not thinking about me.

A question I have is why you have decided she is disassociating from you rather than she has ended a relationship and is moving on? Disassociation is a response to trauma. Not thinking about an ex is moving on. Perhaps you need to work on you and how you are responding to this?
 
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scout86

MyPTSD Pro
My girlfriend lost her father, she desperately and almost immediately tried to remove every remnant of him from her life. Not because of negativity but because she just didn't want to be sad with reminders of her father dying.

Around here, we talk a lot about "big T" traumas and "small T" traumas. Big T traumas are the type that the experts consider to be "Criteria A" traumas that set you up for the possibility of PTSD. There's a lot of bad stuff in this world that doesn't meet that criteria. A parent dying a reasonably normal death is a small t trauma. A parent being shot by a robber while you and they were walking down the street and then dying in your arms while you fail to stop the bleeding, would be more of a big t trauma. So, what you're asking about is more of a general "Why do people do that?" type question than a PTSD type question.

Having said that, "How long can a person live while avoiding stuff?" Pretty much forever in my experience. And there's not a lot anyone else can do about it. Especially if that person isn't really involved in their life anymore. It's one coping style of many. I don't know that it's the best way to deal with stuff, but I do know plenty of people who deal with stuff that way.
 
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joeylittle

Administrator
My girlfriend
Is this person the same as the ex-girlfriend that you have been posting about? If so - please be consistent in how you refer to her. It's misleading to pretend in some threads that you're still in a relationship with this person.

And if it's a different person, you can clarify that as well. But assuming it's the same...

She shuts down the conversation pretty quickly and then moves on. She normally would never do this.
What you think is "normal" for her, based on your pre-breakup relationship - that's not necessarily how her "normal" works, now.

People change.
We may not always like it or think it's for the best- but it happens. It's hard to accept sometimes.

@LostPossum , do you think it's possible your ex has changed?
 
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Sweetpea76

Moderator
Does disassociation ever catch up to someone and then they need to handle all those things they have pushed down?

Would she ever stop disassociating me do you think?

Will this or any other related trauma last forever?

Yes this could last forever. She may never want to speak to you again.


I thought I was special to her in some way despite breaking up.

I would love to be friends just like we were before dating... but yah she doesnt want me around due to the connection, and seemingly she doesnt want me in her head either.

It scares me also that she did this, because now I feel like if anything happens with us in anyway, she will remove me and it will be out of sight out of mind with me.

This is what a break up generally is. Typically it’s the end. Not everybody wants to be friends with their exes. It hurts. You have to go through a grieving process, just like for any other loss.

Is there anything I can do?

Not a damn thing. That’s why relationships and breakups hurt. You make yourself vulnerable to the whims of other people. You cannot control anything that anybody else does.
 

Freida

Sponsor
Does disassociation ever catch up to someone and then they need to handle all those things they have pushed down?
maybe --- took me 30 years
Would she ever stop disassociating me do you think?
nope
maybe
who knows

I agree that the challenge you are having is that you are trying to look at this thru the lens of "normal" behavior and ptsd doesn't work that way.

But what she is doing makes perfect sense to me

It's actually pretty simple...
She's linked you to the trauma
So she's gone
She's not coming back

I can make that ^^ jump because her behavior has been consistent all along. Is she dissociating or is she just done with the relationship? Really there is no difference. She has made her choice - and that choice is to leave

What many supporters don't realize is how incredibly easy it is for some of us to just walk away. I'm notorious for it -and it is much less of a struggle than you would think. Once I've connected someone to trauma? They are pretty much dead to me. Don't get me wrong - it's not all melodrama and angst. I can be polite if necessary if I have to interact with them. But as far as a relationship?

Nope. It's over
I'm just done.
Read that again
I Am Done
Yes, it's a form of dissociation - as a way to protect myself.
And it works pretty damn well so why wouldn't I do it?
Because it is way easier to bail than to deal

This is the part you are missing.
It really is that easy
Here today, gone tomorrow.
If I'm triggered I can walk away from anyone in my life with no explanation and never come back
And their feelings don't even cross my mind.

Does that mean I'm a horrible person?
Nope
It means I have ptsd.
It's just how my brain works

Like the others have said - you keep asking the same question in different ways.
But sadly the answer is always going to be the same

She's gone
Now it's up to you to figure out how to move on without her
 

enough

MyPTSD Pro
sit down and write it out-

the things I know for sure are:

She wanted to separate
we separated
I tried to get it back and it didn't work
I tried to understand why it happened and I am still not sure all of this time later.
Time spent ruminating does no good ( I tried to understand......)

Been there, even after 34 years of faithful marriage to my wife I still have a hole in me left by every turn down for a dance, every weeks long or months log dating relationship gone bad, every best friends girl I was secretly in love with. Honestly, I don't think there is a single rejection or suppressed attraction I don't remember. But I am doing OK, this I know for sure.

You got this from here buddy
 
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