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

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 😊
How does one dm here?
 

WonderWriter

Confident
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 😊
How does one dm here?
Sorry, 😞 thought I saw somewhere we could do that on here, maybe I was thinking of something different. I’m on FB messenger or you can email: [email protected]
 

Tisch1017

New Here
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.
I am curious how things worked out. Similar to my own relationship where I notice a pattern that repeats itself, going off on me if I want to talk about things and shutting me out after we have an especially close exchange.
 
I am curious how things worked out. Similar to my own relationship where I notice a pattern that repeats itself, going off on me if I want to talk about things and shutting me out after we have an especially close exchange.
*Update*
Things have been going fantastic the last few months between he and I. Every day we are growing closer and his walls come down; with trust comes vulnerability.
It took us both being in therapy separate from one another to grow together.
Separate from PTSD or C-PTSD we both have our own attachment styles and knowing the who, what, where and why has really made a positive impact not only on our relationship but ourselves as individuals.
He still suffers sleepless nights, body aches and a mind that spins like a hamster on a wheel but with awareness, the right tools and not currently being symptomatic things are different. He’s talking it through instead of shutting down. He knows that in order for us to be in a healthy relationship there has to be communication and boundaries. He is trying every day and is “showing up” for himself, his children, me and our relationship every day in ways he couldn’t before.
I know that we will likely face many more ups & downs in our life together but I feel like we’re both better equipped and more understanding of what that looks like and our responsibilities in it.
I had to learn that when he gets quiet and needs space it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. It hasn’t been easy to retrain my brain but I have. I don’t immediately react based on my emotions anymore, instead I think what’s really going on here and what part do I play. 9.9/10 times…. It isn’t about me.

I like the quote “what’s grief, if love not persevering.” I grieved for a long time not really knowing, but we persevered and it’s been a journey I’d do again to end up here.

There’s been a lot of growth happening and if I can offer any advice it would be to work on you and what’s meant to be will be.
 
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