How to deal with avoiders when you also can be one

Hi All,

Like many others with PTSD, I can play the part of the avoider or the person on the other side.
One thing that I have felt proud about for the most part, is owning when I know that’s what’s happening.
A recent before the recent… a friend of mine caught me saying we can’t be friends anymore because I no longer felt safe being vulnerable with her. She didn’t do anything “wrong” necessarily and her actions were a consistent trigger that I couldn’t handle. I admitted this to her, before my not so ideal action of blocking her.
This is also newer for me, to feel my feelings and admit when I know I’m not yet ready to face certain things.
A couple weeks ago, a good friend who is also an ex tried to reach out to me while under the influence. I’ve been there so I texted the next day saying “hey, sounds like you needed to talk and didn’t seem ideal…what’s going on?”
He graciously let me know I was right to assume the circumstances and shared big changes were happening that he wanted to talk to me about but we can essentially pin it.
It’s been two weeks, I texted “does it involve a move?” and he emailed me a boundaried “I can’t talk about this now. I’ll email you when I can.”
I know I can’t control the situation and I also have a really hard time deciphering how to stick up for myself while honoring the other person’s path. If someone who has been in the grey can help, I’d appreciate it. Also seeking guidance on how to handle the conversation when it comes.
I'm not sure if I understand the question correctly? Most sounds like communication is required. But then again I usually know (if not exactly the words) precisely why I feel unsafe; a trigger wouldn't necessarily be relevant to acrually being unsafe in the present. But if your friend 'caught you', it's likely you'll both want to avoid each other now , for different reasons: you because you're triggered, she because she'd likely feel betrayed. The 2nd friend, well I suppose that is less a boundary to me than them communicating that they will when able. Unless you/ both of you know, they never will. Far as I understand it, that's what is better for people to do, although being more specific would help. But if they are an ex, does it really matter? You've already both chosen that. Your paths now are no longer together,

I think we have different reasons to avoid: to protect ourselves, not burden/ protect others, fear (unjustified), fear (justified), avoidance (reflexsive), avoidance (desired), disinterest, hurt, repulsion, r'n'r, overwhelm. Etc. I avoid less when thinking of others, but that too is a problem if they don't want me around or it's a burden. After going through multiple scenarios in particular with family, I have to ask myself why I should feel soft-hearted, if that is the case (with anyone)? Why choose that- for myself? Or maybe rather, why invest in that? And to acknowledge, you too deserve respect or care, and if it's not forthcoming have more respect for your own needs and dignity and don't continue to overlook it as if it means nothing, since it's your needs or self worth.

So, all I can suggest is communicate, and if it's not wanted, carry on with your life and change what is acceptable to you.

There is some saying like that, ~that people go where they're welcomed, but stay where they're valued. I think the same applies with relationships. One way or another, both people have to do some work, and step up, or there is no point in trying. Mental illness, or ptsd, still becomes an excuse. It may be an explanation, but it won't result in a relationship of 'we', only a 'me'.

JMHO though. Disregard if not useful! Welcome to you.
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“But if they are an ex, does it really matter?” — Yes, because they are a fellow human who is also healing from PTSD. Again, I know I can’t control anything and also curious if there is a grey to explore that’s not connected to B&W societal messages.
I guess my question is also more — how do I communicate with compassion and gentleness, while also honoring my hurt in these difficult situations?
But fellow human beings, do not share as people in committed relationships do, except for support groups. That is an intimacy reserved for someone who has shown themselves to be trustworthy, but also hasn't decided to withdraw or turn away after coming to know you. But as I say, JMHO. All relationships are killed by turning away, or dead in the water already.

I think you would feel compassion and gentleness, if you felt that towards them. Your hurt would be honored through their behaviours and actions to you, as well as your own recognition or self-compassion, if you are able.
I am sorry @LilacWine1113 , I didn't intend on hurting your feelings, nor is my opinion worth anything. I sincerely apologize, especially if it felt minimizing. Which was not my intention either. And likely (obviously) too blunt, as it leaves you feeling hurt.

If you are concerned about your ex, or concerned of what he might tell you, perhaps it would help to tell him that. I doubt his avoidance has to do with you personally, or maybe he is triggered as you were.

Good luck and hope your fears turn out to be unfounded.


I also have a really hard time deciphering how to stick up for myself while honoring the other person’s path.
What’s there to stick up for?

I guess my question is also more — how do I communicate with compassion and gentleness, while also honoring my hurt in these difficult situations?
Honoring your own hurt? You’re in no way responsible for this person, if you’ve broken up and are no longer friends. It’s their life; their decisions have zero effect on you.

A) If they reach out to you and you ARE involved in their life, and you ARE effected (maybe even profoundly) by their decisions? Then, yes. They should at the very least be made aware of your opinions on important matters.

B) If you’re in no way a part of their life? (Like by being an ex, but not friends) They’re simply seeking your cousel, because you’re familiar/they know how your mind works?
- If you CHOOSE to share your opinion, after they seek it, gratis.
- If not? No harm no foul. They lost the right to your counsel the moment you stopped being a part of their lives.
- If they revoke seeking your opinion? IE they drunk dialed you (an ex who is not a friend) in a moment of weakness and DGAF what you think about A-Z in the cold light of dawn? I guess it depends on what kind of person you are. If you’re a vindictive petty person, you chase them down and demand info and shove your opinion down their throat; &/or punish them in other ways for daring to seek you out. If you’re empathetic, you write it off -at least the first time, if not the first few times- and then cut them off, maybe after explaining to them that you’re NOT friends, and you’re not a source of info, much less comfort, to them. And a whole helluva lot of in between.

There’s really no right answer. Some people remain friends with exes. And that includes all the benefites of friendship; like counsel & respect. Some people become abusive c*nts to their exes, extracting every possible measure of pain. Most people fall somewhere in the middle. Where you fall? Depends on you. If you’re not friends, you don’t owe him anything. If you are friends, or enemies, you owe him a lot. Whether that’s care & understanding, or abuse & pain? Depends on whether he’s a friend or enemy, and how much of either. And what kind of person you are.
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