Relationship How to get through to him?

Sweetpea76

Moderator
To answer your short questions... yes people come here all the time when their partners leave them because of emotional numbing. It’s a symptom of PTSD. Unlike a bad coping mechanism, a symptom is something they cannot help. Eventually he may be able to manage it, or it may get better, but it’s not a guarantee. He may not get better.

EMDR therapy is a pretty common treatment method, and it is rough. If it helps it’s going to take time, and he may get a lot worse before he gets better if he gets better. Same with CBT. Treatment for PTSD isn’t like other therapies where you go talk to a therapist and you feel better. Trauma therapy is pretty hellish. Think in terms of years for treatment, not weeks or months.

Don’t plan your life around him getting better.... I think that’s the biggest piece of advice you’re getting here. It’s not a cold, it’s a mental illness. I know you know this, but do you “get” this? I’m a supporter too, and it took awhile for me to understand this. My partner’s a combat vet, and I look at his PTSD like any of his other combat injuries. Trauma injured his brain/psyche/soul... how ever you want to look at it. You cannot undo that, just like you cannot undo a gunshot wound.

Most of the people answering you are PTSD sufferers themselves. I’m a supporter who’s been with my partner for years. We’re probably hitting you with a lot of information at once, and it is confusing. It is all something you have to think about when you’re considering your PTSD relationship though. They’re not like other relationships.
 
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Reread what @Sweetpea76 said! She is very wise.

There is no guarantee of him getting any better. Even if he's in treatment....he may stop going because it is so hard to relive trauma.

So whatever you're dealing with now....if thats not sustsinable long term for you, then you have to consider yourself. Yes he has PTSD, but that doesn't mean you and your needs don't matter anymore. And it is ok if you move on. I know my sufferer would be angry if he found out that I was unhappy and unfulfilled in our relationship but only stayed with him because he had PTSD. He would much rather be single than know that was my reality. In fact he broke up with me 2 years ago on that premise.

In any case, it sounds like you could use some therapy yourself. I highly recommend it for helping you sort out your feelings and what's next and best for you....whether he's part of that or not.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
To answer the question about only friendship: I don't know now if I can be just friends with him and that's what upset me a lot. I don't want to let him go because he got PTSD and that's the reason he zoomed out. Because he can't help it and he is in pain too.
I want to pause here and really recognize it is really heartbreaking to have PTSD hijack a relationship and lead to a breakup. It's a loss. I wish I had the words to lessen this pain. I remember one time I was reeling from a loss from my own life and the LAST thing I wanted to hear is that I couldn't change the other person in the situation.
That's also why I came here: to ask for advice, but also to see if somebody had experiences with somebody with PTSD who broke up with you because he/she felt numb and what that person did. And I wanted to know if somebody has experience with EMDR therapy and if/how that has helped you dealing with emotions again and get your life back on track.
I have PTSD. I have had symptom spikes, had to break up, engaged , got things calmed back down, but it didn't mean I went back to the same relationship. Sometimes that changes in big ways. It's not like a broken leg where everything gets healed up just like it was before. It can also take years to get through treatment for some. I don't know any sufferer who was the same on the other side of treatment as they were before treatment.

What you need and want in life is really important and may not be met by holding out for him. If the change you want doesn't happen, you may end up resenting him and him frustrated with you as well that you waited for him to change when he didn't seem to want you to wait.

That's why it's really important to not sit around stuffing everything you want and need in a partner and wait for him to get better.
Don’t plan your life around him getting better.... I think that’s the biggest piece of advice you’re getting here. It’s not a cold, it’s a mental illness.

Dating is about finding the right fit. This turns out to not be the right fit right now. It's a loss. It's not the end of being able to find the love you want and deserve in life.

This might be a helpful article to read: My ptsd partner left me - now what?
 
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K

kvolm

You are doing fine with expressing yourself in English, so don't worry about that. Since you recognize that you are in need of help for yourself right now, do you know how to find a counselor?
 

Rosan1507

New Here
He said before that he was a broken man (little did I know..) and that if it didn't work out with me, it wouldn't work out with anybody. He was very capable of giving love and we were happy, still very attractive to each other after one year. But I think the ' losing things' (moms partner, work) is what triggered him because his body responded the same way as when he lost his wife: auto-pilot and shutting off feelings. He went through everything before alone and that's the only way he knows to deal with things. And that's whats hurting me: because if it was for me ( i know, i'm talking in the i-perspective) I would stand by his side and want to be there for him when he needs me. For better and for worse.

He is still reaching out to me. Sending pictures, talk to me and he wants to meet. (I ask if he wants to meet and he decides what day :) So he can control it. Sometimes we talk over the phone, but again: when he wants it.

The positive thing is he is starting treatment next week and he acknowledge that he was way worse years ago. He already had therapy when he lost his wife, so I hope emdr treatment will help him get his life back on track.

I've already made an appointment with a counsellor to talk about my feelings and everything that has going on.

Reread what @Sweetpea76 said! She is very wise.

There is no guarantee of him getting any better. Even if he's in treatment....he may stop going because it is so hard to relive trauma.

So whatever you're dealing with now....if thats not sustsinable long term for you, then you have to consider yourself. Yes he has PTSD, but that doesn't mean you and your needs don't matter anymore. And it is ok if you move on. I know my sufferer would be angry if he found out that I was unhappy and unfulfilled in our relationship but only stayed with him because he had PTSD. He would much rather be single than know that was my reality. In fact he broke up with me 2 years ago on that premise.

In any case, it sounds like you could use some therapy yourself. I highly recommend it for helping you sort out your feelings and what's next and best for you....whether he's part of that or not.

I know the biggest part of him breaking up was because he saw me suffer and because I was upset...but that was because I didn't know what was going on so that made me mad, angry and sad. He was sand slipping through my fingers. It was after he broke up, I found out he has PTSD and thats when all the puzzle pieces came together. If I only knew...

This ' break' is also a 'positive' things, because you can reflect your relationship. I was very into him and wanted to spend every minute together. He was not like that and was also happy alone. That made me upset, but now we are having this break and i'm not seeing him that much, I have the feeling I can also focus on myself more. I still love him very much, but I now can take a step back and see that, not being together all the time, doesn't mean you love somebody less.

I don't want to stay with him because he has PTSD, but I want to stay with him even though he has PTSD. It doesn't change my love for him, it's change the way I have to look at him.
 

shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
I haven't read the comments although I have read the original posting and one thing hit me over and over again.

Actions speak louder than words. Let me quote a few things that I am seeing in your posting that are literally giving you the answer you are looking for. I think you just don't want that answer and that is going to leave a mark along the way if you don't pay attention to it in this and all other relationships you have.
Everything was lovely, there was a big chemistry between us, and we felt save with each other. We were both very happy and everything went well.
This is where you start. It sounds great. Who wouldn't want this?

After the funeral, I noticed a change in his behaviour.
This is important. Doesn't matter why. Or whether you can fix it.

he found it difficult to say nice things.
Instead of pulling me closer, he needed more space to sort his head out.
I was very upset about that and his reply was that he just needed space
it all went downhill
He cancelled 3 times
he didn’t greet me with a hug
He didn’t say or do anything on that day and didn’t want to meet up
he said his feelings were gone
he needed to tackle this by himself
I started to talk about us, and he started to shake and stutter
felt like he was breaking up with me

You continue with these same types of statements throughout the posting. The common thread from the outside (me) looking in is that this man is telling you exactly what he is thinking.feeling but you are having a difficult time not projecting your desires (to be with him and have quote #1 again) onto him.

Look at his actions. He is distancing. A lot. He is telling you in words and backing those words by cancelling and making himself scarce.

It is painful, I know, but it will be an important life skill for you going into the future to take into account what is actually happening by being aware of others and whether they are conflicted with your desires or with things that they are saying that aren't being reflected in the way they act towards you. In this case, I think he is trying to be truthful but you may be pressuring him to live up to what you want in this relationship. Could that be true?

Life can be so painful sometimes. I am sorry this has been so difficult.
 

Freida

Sponsor
The common thread from the outside (me) looking in is that this man is telling you exactly what he is thinking.feeling but you are having a difficult time not projecting your desires (to be with him and have quote #1 again) onto him.
Yes! this!
It is so hard to share what I'm thinking and how I'm feeling because KNOW its not what my supporters want to hear. No matter how hard the people here have worked with me to try to stop mindreading, it's just a part of how my ptsd works. So I say "I need space" and they respond "ok I'm here for you." That's not giving me space. That's following me into the dark. Which ups my need for more space. And then I hear "but I want our relationship to continue when you are ready" That's not giving me space. That's following me and telling me what you are expecting when I come back.

Isolation is a survival skill.
Read that again.
A. Survival.Skill
shutting down to stay alive
Putting expectations on me for when I come out doesn't help
It ends up looking just like this......
Look at his actions. He is distancing. A lot. He is telling you in words and backing those words by cancelling and making himself scarce.

What you are doing does make sense and it would probably be perfect in a normal relationship. But ptsd isn't normal. So your techniques need to change.
 

shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
So I say "I need space" and they respond "ok I'm here for you." That's not giving me space. That's following me into the dark. Which ups my need for more space.
Circular. In Excel there is something called a circular reference. It means that you are asking the solution cell to be incorporated into the equation. A1 + C1 = C1. Which of course, is impossible.

Which is exactly what you are describing I think @Frieda. When I say 'I need space to think without your presence' that means I will come to you if I need you but please consider that a statement, supporter, to stand right back and do not approach me unless I ask you to. Otherwise it is an extreme boundary breach that I - personally - take into account when I decide whether I want to be involved again with that person. And for someone who has breached that boundary with me while I am in crisis? It is a hard no in putting myself into the position again with them.

I don't want to be around people that don't hear me. That is a PTSD thing with me too.
 
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Rosan1507

New Here
I haven't read the comments although I have read the original posting and one thing hit me over and over again.

You continue with these same types of statements throughout the posting. The common thread from the outside (me) looking in is that this man is telling you exactly what he is thinking.feeling but you are having a difficult time not projecting your desires (to be with him and have quote #1 again) onto him.

Look at his actions. He is distancing. A lot. He is telling you in words and backing those words by cancelling and making himself scarce.

It is painful, I know, but it will be an important life skill for you going into the future to take into account what is actually happening by being aware of others and whether they are conflicted with your desires or with things that they are saying that aren't being reflected in the way they act towards you. In this case, I think he is trying to be truthful but you may be pressuring him to live up to what you want in this relationship. Could that be true?

Life can be so painful sometimes. I am sorry this has been so difficult.

True, he said he wanted space so he was clear. But when he said it, i didn't know it was because he was suffering from ptsd. But I gave/give him space. I'm waiting for him to contact me, which is basically almost every day. So that's what's confusing me a bit ;) But i'm the one who ask if he wants to go for a walk and it's up to him if he wants that and when. So he is in control over that. So yes, he needed space (and still needs it), but he is also reaching out to stay in contact with me.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I was thinking about this a bit, Idk if it's at all useful as it's JMHO. I was thinking, in general, esp as we (all) age, and even as a 'sufferer', in some ways there's no excuse for not being forthcoming, or communicative, or what-have-you. There's very little space for mind games. Just to step up and do it/ be it, say what you mean and mean what you say.

But on the other hand, a non-important eg, I have a friend who's asked me out for years. He will text or say in person, "when are we going for that dessert/coffee/ beer/ dinner," etc. But all I can think (but not say), is "friday, or never. And I'll have a better idea by thursday night or friday a.m which one.". Of course I'd never say that, but the awful part is I mean it- literally. And that would sound like being a real jerk, not caring for feelings at all or jerking him around, but that's not so, and why I can't give an answer. Giving one would be as unfair. I used to think it was my pblm with commitment, but actually, it was honesty, and taking in to account how my choices/ actions/ (limitations/ idiosynchrisies/ self) could affect the other person. And that would be wearing on them, and wearing on me to know it.

And then, worse yet, he had facial hair (superficial, I realize) that was triggering. After about 3 years of knowing him, he shaved it off to have surgery. Now I can't recognize him, and it feels- Idk- unsafe? So much so I keep calling him the wrong name, not even a name of anyone I know. :confused: Yet I fully know it's 'nothing', and I *do* recognize him. But that's the truth (which I also won't say). And it's like, honestly, why do you persist with me with these deficits? :( But, that's just 'me'. Idk how to describe it. The whole thing- expectations, stuff- it's just too much. I can't be heard if I wanted to, because I can't speak a language that describes it or that can be understood. And even if it was, in good conscience that's not fair to someone.
 

GrayOwl

MyPTSD Pro
Welcome.
PTSD is very painful. And very REAL.
I can't add much to the knowledge or wisdom already expressed.
I will sure agree distancing is a critical survival tool and very painful to experience. I commend you on your path toward learning and healing.
As painful as it may be to do and to hear, focus on healing yourself that you may be able make the best decisions for yourself and those you care for.
There are incredible resources here and you are very very welcome to partake.
I send my wishes for strength and healing.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Just came back to add/ change, on the other hand, when I said above, I've also said to that person I'm not going out as in dating, and he doesn't stop for years. Others have done that & I regretted it. Usually just caved as took time as equivalent to trust, and it's not the only factor.

But I'm not interested. I do think your situation @Rosan1507 is different. That is probably why he's trying, & probably doesn't want to hurt you when it's not your fault.

Best wishes to you.
 
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