Relationship I feel broken .... will I ever be whole again?

I’m in an intense push/pull relationship with a man who suffers from PTSD.

Our relationship has been mostly platonic for about 5 years with the push/pull dynamic always having been a factor. PTSD was always the issue but it wasn’t accepted by him and divulged to me until about 6 months ago. Our relationship has always had an intensity that I couldn’t explain. The push/pull dynamic and years of not understanding and taking it personally has taken a toll. When the pull was in play, he was invested, put forth effort, communication and interest. It was easy and free flowing... it felt amazing and we felt so connected. When the push was/is in play, he appears indifferent and apathetic, puts forth minimal effort and communication and interest. His interest & affections were always intermittent and it led to a state of constant confusion.

This past summer we rekindled and things were amazing for about 8 months before I started to notice things he couldn’t hide. Restless nights, easily agitated, ed, withdraw and chronic pain. My thought was depression or bipolar 2 disorder given the extreme ups and downs and my exposure to knowing both from familial experience. When he could no longer hide he was sick after a huge blowout about time and effort he told me he had PTSD. He said he’d been sick for a very long time, diagnosed the year prior. At first I was relieved, it gave reason for years of confusion and what felt like emotional abuse from the push/pull piece. I went through years of taking his push as apathy or narcissism and even after knowing, my mind often goes back to those thoughts and feelings, even though I know better.

I was the only person he told and as soon as he did, he pushed me away. I did everything I could to learn about what he may be going through. I pushed for him to communicate and include me in his experience. The more he pushed me away, the more I tried and the push/pull cycle ensued.

I never understood why he had time and effort for everyone else but nothing for me. Time and effort became our fight for months. He would tell me he didn’t have it to give and I would push back but understanding how he had it for everyone but he.

I began to become so angry and emotional, the more I pushed answers, the more he pulled away. He told me for months he couldn’t give me what I wanted and I spent months trying to understand why. One day he would say he loved me, he wanted to be together and the next day he wouldn’t speak to me. The push/pull got worse and my mental health really began to suffer. As much as I wanted to understand and be with him, it was tearing me down bit by bit.

My sadness became palpable to everyone and all I heard was negative. My loved ones would get angry with me that I was staying in the relationship even though it was making me ill. I spent months reasoning away how I felt and excusing all the behaviours because he was sick. Every day became a battleground in my head and heart. I would feel empathy, understanding & love one minute and anger, sadness and complete frustration the next.

I tried to set boundaries for both of us but he refused to communicate anytime things got difficult. He would always excuse it away for another day that would never come. I finally told him that I had been listening to him and that we should take a break. He needed time and space to heal, as did I. I asked him if we could talk about what that meant and again he put me off.

I became so upset and angry about the 5 years of push/pull, confusion and heartache.... I pushed back. I insisted we talk to figure it out so we could still maintain some type of relationship/friendship. I am completely in love with this man but realized I couldn’t be how/what he needed in order to heal. I have expectations in relationships that weren’t being met and I couldn’t sacrifice my feelings and my mental health to stay in something that I was told he couldn’t give into.

As soon as I told him we should take a break his whole attitude towards me changed. Every exchange was angry and volatile and when I pushed him to talk about it so we could have done peace.... it blew up. He showed me a side of him that I never saw before, his anger was off the charts. We solved nothing and since then (6 weeks ago) it has just gotten worse. The more I push to discuss it the angrier he gets and again the cycle ensues.

Now the push/pull has become so toxic I can’t imagine civility and kindness let alone the friendship or relationship I so desperately wanted with him.

I made a lot of mistakes by pushing for more, but the supporting without expectations and pressure couldn’t maintain a healthy partnership. It takes two people, I know the effort can’t always be equal but it takes some. My frustrations and push back became his trigger.

I feel so depleted, sad, hurt, angry and depressed. I’m mad at him, I’m mad at myself but mostly I’m mad at PTSD. How can he be so angry and volatile with me when I finally listened and accepted what he was saying. I suggested a break because he kept telling me he couldn’t do it. Last time we spoke/he yelled and blamed my pushing to communicate on his anger. He turned the tables and made it out to be that he didn’t care about the break, it was all my pushing.

I don’t know what to do from here or how to leave it. It’s awful.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I’m sorry you’re experiencing this, and for so long.

For having lived very closely of someone suffering from an extreme form of Borderline Personality Disorder (that has a lot in common with CPTSD), the push-pull dynamics is something I know well. In my case it turned to be violent but it isn’t really the essence of the cycle in itself.

The essence is a form of addiction. Uncertainty reward system. It’s been tested everywhere since behavioural sciences exist, when you have an average mediocre outcome rate but that is unpredictable, you try harder and harder and you get used to it. And eventually, you become unable to pull out.

This isn’t what you want to hear but here we go.

That person is saying they don’t want this. You refuse to admit it. When you do admit it, it’s their certainties that shatter, therefore the angry response and the blame. These things mess up with our own fears and doubts.

But reality is there. He can’t give it to you and you can’t force it. If you could force it, it wouldn’t be okay. He feels you want to force and as he seems to need emotional control he pushes you away. You are losing your health and your time. The grief is horrible to tell yourself all your efforts have been vain and you tend to want to double down. There is a moment, you need to cut the losses.

What is lost, is lost, and will not be recovered.

This is what loss and grief mean.

It’s disgustingly hard, more than starting to warp your hair about a text message conversation.

I say this, and I’m saying this very much first hand. I insisted and insisted. We loved each other madly. But there is a moment one has to choose to pull out. I should have pulled out before it got so ugly. I tried. I started to push pull myself.

I hope you’ll find the courage and the peace to leave this behind and let yourself heal.
 
I’m sorry you’re experiencing this, and for so long.

For having lived very closely of someone suffering from an extreme form of Borderline Personality Disorder (that has a lot in common with CPTSD), the push-pull dynamics is something I know well. In my case it turned to be violent but it isn’t really the essence of the cycle in itself.

The essence is a form of addiction. Uncertainty reward system. It’s been tested everywhere since behavioural sciences exist, when you have an average mediocre outcome rate but that is unpredictable, you try harder and harder and you get used to it. And eventually, you become unable to pull out.

This isn’t what you want to hear but here we go.

That person is saying they don’t want this. You refuse to admit it. When you do admit it, it’s their certainties that shatter, therefore the angry response and the blame. These things mess up with our own fears and doubts.

But reality is there. He can’t give it to you and you can’t force it. If you could force it, it wouldn’t be okay. He feels you want to force and as he seems to need emotional control he pushes you away. You are losing your health and your time. The grief is horrible to tell yourself all your efforts have been vain and you tend to want to double down. There is a moment, you need to cut the losses.

What is lost, is lost, and will not be recovered.

This is what loss and grief mean.

It’s disgustingly hard, more than starting to warp your hair about a text message conversation.

I say this, and I’m saying this very much first hand. I insisted and insisted. We loved each other madly. But there is a moment one has to choose to pull out. I should have pulled out before it got so ugly. I tried. I started to push pull myself.

I hope you’ll find the courage and the peace to leave this behind and let yourself heal.
Thank you for your kind words. ❤️
 
I’m sorry you’re experiencing this, and for so long.

For having lived very closely of someone suffering from an extreme form of Borderline Personality Disorder (that has a lot in common with CPTSD), the push-pull dynamics is something I know well. In my case it turned to be violent but it isn’t really the essence of the cycle in itself.

The essence is a form of addiction. Uncertainty reward system. It’s been tested everywhere since behavioural sciences exist, when you have an average mediocre outcome rate but that is unpredictable, you try harder and harder and you get used to it. And eventually, you become unable to pull out.

This isn’t what you want to hear but here we go.

That person is saying they don’t want this. You refuse to admit it. When you do admit it, it’s their certainties that shatter, therefore the angry response and the blame. These things mess up with our own fears and doubts.

But reality is there. He can’t give it to you and you can’t force it. If you could force it, it wouldn’t be okay. He feels you want to force and as he seems to need emotional control he pushes you away. You are losing your health and your time. The grief is horrible to tell yourself all your efforts have been vain and you tend to want to double down. There is a moment, you need to cut the losses.

What is lost, is lost, and will not be recovered.

This is what loss and grief mean.

It’s disgustingly hard, more than starting to warp your hair about a text message conversation.

I say this, and I’m saying this very much first hand. I insisted and insisted. We loved each other madly. But there is a moment one has to choose to pull out. I should have pulled out before it got so ugly. I tried. I started to push pull myself.

I hope you’ll find the courage and the peace to leave this behind and let yourself heal.
I’ve read and reread this post and many others over the last few weeks. The insight, support and story sharing has been a saving grace. I was feeling so alone in being a wannabe supporter. My sufferer told me and then isolated after 4 years of constant confusion.

I’m doing my best to heal from loving a man incapable of loving me back.

I’ve gone through a constant cycle of emotions for years never understanding why. When he finally told me and sought therapy, he began to isolate and push me away. He asked for patience and understanding, never wanted to discuss anything deep, intimacy avoidance, isolation and no communication. Time and space to heal, but still wanted to be with me when his time and space allowed. His tank is often empty and although I understand his capacity is low and his cup filled to the brim... I still wanted him to show up and talk about what was happening to him, his life or to us. He couldn’t... always too much on his plate, not doing it today. Then comes more isolation and hurt feelings both ways, small issues that turn into fights that last forever days or weeks. He shuts down, angry, upset, and it’s been cyclical like that for years.

Some times he loves me and has never felt this way before, some times he cares about me and enjoys my company and other times I’m the last person he wants to hear from. I still don’t understand how he feels or where our relationship lies.

Right now I need to step back and give him the time and space he says he needs and l need to let go and heal myself. I find the hardest part of the letting go process is not wanting to give up on someone you love and genuinely want to be with.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I’m sorry it’s so hard on you, @BLH . Sometimes people just aren’t okay to live with anyone at certain points of their lives. Mine? In the best of the universes, he’d take 5 years just devoted in healing and I praise the stars, not finding any woman in his path.

Because people like this aren’t incapable of feeling love or attachment. But they’re quite impaired to do it with consistency. Too much noise, horrid memories, go to know what exactly he’s avoiding in you. It might be better that he avoids. It’s possible. Everything is on the plate, like a landmine and you find yourself waiting and slow in the way of the fast-paced beast of fear. Don’t stay there.

It is hard because you’ve waited so long for something that never came. It’s perhaps one of the most painful things in life. But try to let it go, and to see how greener the grass is on the other side. There are plenty of men over there completely capable of love, who will tell you a cat is a cat, a dog is a dog, love is love and time is time. It’s quite flaw found in many men to be avoidant emotionally, but this varies heavily in terms of degrees. For what you’re saying, you’re looking for someone affectionate. Who’s affectionate with consistency. Take your time to heal, and you’ll see these people do exist.

Gentle hugs, if you accept.
 
I’m sorry it’s so hard on you, @BLH . Sometimes people just aren’t okay to live with anyone at certain points of their lives. Mine? In the best of the universes, he’d take 5 years just devoted in healing and I praise the stars, not finding any woman in his path.

Because people like this aren’t incapable of feeling love or attachment. But they’re quite impaired to do it with consistency. Too much noise, horrid memories, go to know what exactly he’s avoiding in you. It might be better that he avoids. It’s possible. Everything is on the plate, like a landmine and you find yourself waiting and slow in the way of the fast-paced beast of fear. Don’t stay there.

It is hard because you’ve waited so long for something that never came. It’s perhaps one of the most painful things in life. But try to let it go, and to see how greener the grass is on the other side. There are plenty of men over there completely capable of love, who will tell you a cat is a cat, a dog is a dog, love is love and time is time. It’s quite flaw found in many men to be avoidant emotionally, but this varies heavily in terms of degrees. For what you’re saying, you’re looking for someone affectionate. Who’s affectionate with consistency. Take your time to heal, and you’ll see these people do exist.

Gentle hugs, if you accept.
Again, thank you kindly for your words.

I know my best bet is to let go and realize this man is never going to love me the way I want to be loved. To be with him means sacrificing a lot of things that make me feel fulfilled and loved in a relationship. It’s hard to accept when you can see and feel that they genuinely want to feel what they aren’t. I have a hard time believing he can’t love when I know he loves his children, his family and friends. I think, who not me?

I became triggering for him when I pushed him to talk to me, see me, respond to me... the more I pushed for it, the further he retreated. I felt obsessed with trying to fix it and did everything I could but it was the last thing he needed.
Now I’m left picking up the pieces to a heart that feels shattered and confused. My whole sense of trust and belief in my gut and intuition is tainted. I truly felt he and I were something special and he felt for me what I did for him.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Again, thank you kindly for your words.

I know my best bet is to let go and realize this man is never going to love me the way I want to be loved. To be with him means sacrificing a lot of things that make me feel fulfilled and loved in a relationship. It’s hard to accept when you can see and feel that they genuinely want to feel what they aren’t. I have a hard time believing he can’t love when I know he loves his children, his family and friends. I think, who not me?

I became triggering for him when I pushed him to talk to me, see me, respond to me... the more I pushed for it, the further he retreated. I felt obsessed with trying to fix it and did everything I could but it was the last thing he needed.
Now I’m left picking up the pieces to a heart that feels shattered and confused. My whole sense of trust and belief in my gut and intuition is tainted. I truly felt he and I were something special and he felt for me what I did for him.
I understand. But look. You can experience love on both sides in these situations. But love only doesn’t solve it all. The feeling of love isn’t the entire universe of love. It might sound nuts to say, but I know my ex loved me madly. Still he clearly wasn’t the right person to be at all. Really really really not. He loved me in the sense he felt limerence, attraction, and even a form of care, but it couldn’t be sustained against x, y, z, whatever his problems are that made him impossible to dangerous. Even more dangerous to fall in the attraction spot of that kind of person. To say that he loved me in the sense he would try to be attentive enough to make me feel safe and happy in my own terms, oh hell no.

For the love you have felt, well, it still will exist. What is difficult is to pick the pieces between the good moments, the moments of despair, the moments of hope, the moment of rejection, the moments of pure hatred for the rejection and the "this is it." They all exist and they all have a meaning, however it hasn’t been congruent.

Why not you? is a feeling that has more to do with your self-esteem I think than with his love, to be fair. Feeling special and all that thing… it doesn’t depend only on your will and it’s really hard to see it when we see it.

It depends on how well profiles blend together, how well you communicate, where you are in your goals in life and a lot of chance. I think many ways of being raised, men and women alike, put a lot of pressure in that necessity of a relationship to feel special, or to know this is The One. If the story of soulmates were true, I find it remarkable that most of the time The One is found in the nearest bar while we’re billions of people.

You can take you time to heal and try to understand why did you persist so much. Why you were willing to believe in this specific relationship. But love and attention actually isn’t that scarce. It might not always be Forever®, but it’s quite present all around if you have the right mindset to see it.

But you can keep certain that what you felt was real big time. This doesn’t go away. It doesn’t need to be given back to exist. It’s okay too, that it hasn’t been given back. It’s painful but it’s okay. Love, we always can renew it even when we think we can’t. And with time and experience we can choose more reciprocal circumstances.

I don’t know if I’m making much sense or if it helps at all. Just hope you’re ok.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
I’m in an intense push/pull relationship with a man who suffers from PTSD.

Our relationship has been mostly platonic for about 5 years with the push/pull dynamic always having been a factor. PTSD was always the issue but it wasn’t accepted by him and divulged to me until about 6 months ago. Our relationship has always had an intensity that I couldn’t explain. The push/pull dynamic and years of not understanding and taking it personally has taken a toll. When the pull was in play, he was invested, put forth effort, communication and interest. It was easy and free flowing... it felt amazing and we felt so connected. When the push was/is in play, he appears indifferent and apathetic, puts forth minimal effort and communication and interest. His interest & affections were always intermittent and it led to a state of constant confusion.

This past summer we rekindled and things were amazing for about 8 months before I started to notice things he couldn’t hide. Restless nights, easily agitated, ed, withdraw and chronic pain. My thought was depression or bipolar 2 disorder given the extreme ups and downs and my exposure to knowing both from familial experience. When he could no longer hide he was sick after a huge blowout about time and effort he told me he had PTSD. He said he’d been sick for a very long time, diagnosed the year prior. At first I was relieved, it gave reason for years of confusion and what felt like emotional abuse from the push/pull piece. I went through years of taking his push as apathy or narcissism and even after knowing, my mind often goes back to those thoughts and feelings, even though I know better.

I was the only person he told and as soon as he did, he pushed me away. I did everything I could to learn about what he may be going through. I pushed for him to communicate and include me in his experience. The more he pushed me away, the more I tried and the push/pull cycle ensued.

I never understood why he had time and effort for everyone else but nothing for me. Time and effort became our fight for months. He would tell me he didn’t have it to give and I would push back but understanding how he had it for everyone but he.

I began to become so angry and emotional, the more I pushed answers, the more he pulled away. He told me for months he couldn’t give me what I wanted and I spent months trying to understand why. One day he would say he loved me, he wanted to be together and the next day he wouldn’t speak to me. The push/pull got worse and my mental health really began to suffer. As much as I wanted to understand and be with him, it was tearing me down bit by bit.

My sadness became palpable to everyone and all I heard was negative. My loved ones would get angry with me that I was staying in the relationship even though it was making me ill. I spent months reasoning away how I felt and excusing all the behaviours because he was sick. Every day became a battleground in my head and heart. I would feel empathy, understanding & love one minute and anger, sadness and complete frustration the next.

I tried to set boundaries for both of us but he refused to communicate anytime things got difficult. He would always excuse it away for another day that would never come. I finally told him that I had been listening to him and that we should take a break. He needed time and space to heal, as did I. I asked him if we could talk about what that meant and again he put me off.

I became so upset and angry about the 5 years of push/pull, confusion and heartache.... I pushed back. I insisted we talk to figure it out so we could still maintain some type of relationship/friendship. I am completely in love with this man but realized I couldn’t be how/what he needed in order to heal. I have expectations in relationships that weren’t being met and I couldn’t sacrifice my feelings and my mental health to stay in something that I was told he couldn’t give into.

As soon as I told him we should take a break his whole attitude towards me changed. Every exchange was angry and volatile and when I pushed him to talk about it so we could have done peace.... it blew up. He showed me a side of him that I never saw before, his anger was off the charts. We solved nothing and since then (6 weeks ago) it has just gotten worse. The more I push to discuss it the angrier he gets and again the cycle ensues.

Now the push/pull has become so toxic I can’t imagine civility and kindness let alone the friendship or relationship I so desperately wanted with him.

I made a lot of mistakes by pushing for more, but the supporting without expectations and pressure couldn’t maintain a healthy partnership. It takes two people, I know the effort can’t always be equal but it takes some. My frustrations and push back became his trigger.

I feel so depleted, sad, hurt, angry and depressed. I’m mad at him, I’m mad at myself but mostly I’m mad at PTSD. How can he be so angry and volatile with me when I finally listened and accepted what he was saying. I suggested a break because he kept telling me he couldn’t do it. Last time we spoke/he yelled and blamed my pushing to communicate on his anger. He turned the tables and made it out to be that he didn’t care about the break, it was all my pushing.

I don’t know what to do from here or how to leave it. It’s awful.
So much of this sounds like my marriage, but he won’t accept anything is wrong and refuses to seek a professional for fear of finding out. I’ve been with him for nearly 25 years, and my acceptance of his inability to love me has caused me to start planning my exit. I give you tons of credit for being supportive, coming from a place of familiarity, I completely understand how agonizingly lonely and frustrated you must feel. Sending bear 🤗 in the hopes that you find your peace and he finds his whether in or out of the relationship.
 
So much of this sounds like my marriage, but he won’t accept anything is wrong and refuses to seek a professional for fear of finding out. I’ve been with him for nearly 25 years, and my acceptance of his inability to love me has caused me to start planning my exit. I give you tons of credit for being supportive, coming from a place of familiarity, I completely understand how agonizingly lonely and frustrated you must feel. Sending bear 🤗 in the hopes that you find your peace and he finds his whether in or out of the relationship.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I can't imagine having been in a PTSD relationship for 25 years without insight or admittance. I was in a previous relationship for 23 years and I never experienced anything like this before. It's been the most taxing relationship I've ever had and the way I have felt or behaved in it is nothing I've experienced.

I understand. But look. You can experience love on both sides in these situations. But love only doesn’t solve it all. The feeling of love isn’t the entire universe of love. It might sound nuts to say, but I know my ex loved me madly. Still he clearly wasn’t the right person to be at all. Really really really not. He loved me in the sense he felt limerence, attraction, and even a form of care, but it couldn’t be sustained against x, y, z, whatever his problems are that made him impossible to dangerous. Even more dangerous to fall in the attraction spot of that kind of person. To say that he loved me in the sense he would try to be attentive enough to make me feel safe and happy in my own terms, oh hell no.

For the love you have felt, well, it still will exist. What is difficult is to pick the pieces between the good moments, the moments of despair, the moments of hope, the moment of rejection, the moments of pure hatred for the rejection and the "this is it." They all exist and they all have a meaning, however it hasn’t been congruent.

Why not you? is a feeling that has more to do with your self-esteem I think than with his love, to be fair. Feeling special and all that thing… it doesn’t depend only on your will and it’s really hard to see it when we see it.

It depends on how well profiles blend together, how well you communicate, where you are in your goals in life and a lot of chance. I think many ways of being raised, men and women alike, put a lot of pressure in that necessity of a relationship to feel special, or to know this is The One. If the story of soulmates were true, I find it remarkable that most of the time The One is found in the nearest bar while we’re billions of people.

You can take you time to heal and try to understand why did you persist so much. Why you were willing to believe in this specific relationship. But love and attention actually isn’t that scarce. It might not always be Forever®, but it’s quite present all around if you have the right mindset to see it.

But you can keep certain that what you felt was real big time. This doesn’t go away. It doesn’t need to be given back to exist. It’s okay too, that it hasn’t been given back. It’s painful but it’s okay. Love, we always can renew it even when we think we can’t. And with time and experience we can choose more reciprocal circumstances.

I don’t know if I’m making much sense or if it helps at all. Just hope you’re ok.
I understand what you're saying but it's hard to accept regardless. I have had a 23 year relationship, a 2.5 year relationship and this one that has been off and on for 5 years. When I'm in love, I invest myself in trying to make it work. I did push back when he pulled away, for my sanity and self-respect. I have always been a strong, independent woman with loads of self confidence, but when you have a man tell you one minute you're the greatest thing since sliced bread and in the next you're the last person he wants to talk to .... that effects a person. The push/pull... changing emotions... isolation, I don't care who you are or what coping mechanisms you have.
 

Friday

Moderator
I find the hardest part of the letting go process is not wanting to give up on someone you love and genuinely want to be with.
Might make it easier to consider that he’s NOT someone you genuinely want to be with?

The idea of who he was, from 5 years of mostly platonic friendship & the part of the 8mo that was honeymoon? Is who you wanted to be with. But that’s just part of him. Him as a friend, you understood, and got on with for the most part. Him as a lover/partner? You learned, very quickly, was not someone you get on with.

Letting go of an idea of someone is often a helluva lot harder than letting go of the actual person. People cling to the idea of who someone might be, could be, IF ONLY... they weren’t who they actually are. IF ONLY they didn’t have this disorder, or those kids, or that job, or this, that, the other. But they do.

And that’s one of those things that has to be sorted entirely in one’s own heart/mind... because it really has nothing to do with the other person. There’s nothing they can do to bring resolution to that process, because they aren’t the ones with the idea they’re grieving. That’s something we make up, in our own heads.

If it helps at all? Try thinking of someone completely different from you. Since you mentioned being strong and independent, earlier, let’s start there... and flip to a collectivist/supporting role person who wants constant reassurance/validation and needs reliable/steady presence. And keep on ticking down the list. If you’re professional? Stay at home. Stay at home? Professional. If you’re athletic and outdoorsy, someone who loves staying home and reading by the fire. If you’re a leader? A follower. Whatever. All your character traits, needs/wants/desires, and personal preferences? Reverse them. Now picture someone being mad at you for not being those things you aren’t... and wanting your help in resolving their grief over that. Ummm? How are you supposed to make them feel better about not being the person they imagined you to be? Are you supposed to apologize for being strong & independent??? It doesn’t work... does it? Their idea of you, their hopes of who you could be, their grief that you’re not who they wanted you to be.... that’s not something you can help resolve. That’s something they need to sort. Because who they hoped/wanted/imagined you to be? Has nothing to do with you. That’s all them.
 
Might make it easier to consider that he’s NOT someone you genuinely want to be with?

The idea of who he was, from 5 years of mostly platonic friendship & the part of the 8mo that was honeymoon? Is who you wanted to be with. But that’s just part of him. Him as a friend, you understood, and got on with for the most part. Him as a lover/partner? You learned, very quickly, was not someone you get on with.

Letting go of an idea of someone is often a helluva lot harder than letting go of the actual person. People cling to the idea of who someone might be, could be, IF ONLY... they weren’t who they actually are. IF ONLY they didn’t have this disorder, or those kids, or that job, or this, that, the other. But they do.

And that’s one of those things that has to be sorted entirely in one’s own heart/mind... because it really has nothing to do with the other person. There’s nothing they can do to bring resolution to that process, because they aren’t the ones with the idea they’re grieving. That’s something we make up, in our own heads.

If it helps at all? Try thinking of someone completely different from you. Since you mentioned being strong and independent, earlier, let’s start there... and flip to a collectivist/supporting role person who wants constant reassurance/validation and needs reliable/steady presence. And keep on ticking down the list. If you’re professional? Stay at home. Stay at home? Professional. If you’re athletic and outdoorsy, someone who loves staying home and reading by the fire. If you’re a leader? A follower. Whatever. All your character traits, needs/wants/desires, and personal preferences? Reverse them. Now picture someone being mad at you for not being those things you aren’t... and wanting your help in resolving their grief over that. Ummm? How are you supposed to make them feel better about not being the person they imagined you to be? Are you supposed to apologize for being strong & independent??? It doesn’t work... does it? Their idea of you, their hopes of who you could be, their grief that you’re not who they wanted you to be.... that’s not something you can help resolve. That’s something they need to sort. Because who they hoped/wanted/imagined you to be? Has nothing to do with you. That’s all them.
You make perfect sense. It's not that I had an ideal him, I had an idea of how our relationship would go and I based that on the times we had, not the ones I imagined in my head. It was a reality, our reality... just as it is when he is isolating and pushing me away. That's the tough part.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
Thank you for sharing your experience. I can't imagine having been in a PTSD relationship for 25 years without insight or admittance. I was in a previous relationship for 23 years and I never experienced anything like this before. It's been the most taxing relationship I've ever had and the way I have felt or behaved in it is nothing I've experienced.
Absolutely 😊 Like you, I too felt alone, but I learned quickly that others have experienced similar and many in this forum have been key to the things I now recognize within my husband and myself. Feel free to DM me if things get rough and you just need to let it out 😊
 
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