Relationship I triggered my girlfriends trauma and she left me a week later

swisscheese

New Here
Hey!

This is my first post in this forum.

My partner (F25) and I (M25) were together for almost exactly a year and it was the most wonderful time ever. We were completely compatible with each other and spent wonderful times together, meaningful discussions, long walks and extraordinary travels. We were completely honest with each other and told each other everything about our present and past. She told me about a trauma she had about anal sex that was caused by her ex boyfriend and sexually we were always really careful and it took a lot of time to build up trust but we managed really well and it was always a really safe environment. Up until a week ago.

We came home from a party and decided to sleep together and test out some new things as we have talked about for a long time. We were both quite drunk and test a small vibrator as well as a position we never tried which was a kind of doggy style. We used a lot of lubricant and a condom and at one point she told me "that's the wrong hole" when I tried to reenter. This happened two more times in this position and then she stopped and we went to sleep. I immediately excused for not aiming right but it was not until the next day after a long text message from her that she told me the last time my penis entered into the wrong hole... I felt terrible and we met the next evening where she told me that for her it is non-excusable what happened and I should've been more careful and she cannot understand how I, knowing all her traumas, could do something like that.

Fast forward of one week where she completely blocked me out of her life, she told me to meet up. She told me that for her the relationship is over and that she loves me but if she'd say yes to continue this relationship would mean that she accepts what happened and she cannot as it doesn't add up with her personal (feminist) values. I can completely follow her argument and yet I feel very saddened as it was a complete accident, I wasn't trying to get anal and I never meant to harm her in any way.

I feel completely lost and I don't know what to do. She told me to not contact her again and I cannot do anything else than to respect her wishes and at the same time I hope this decision was driven by anger and she will understand that it was an accident and that our feelings mean more to her than her political standpoint and that she can forgive me.
 
I'm sorry that this happened, but it sounds like she's made her decision on what feels okay to her and what doesn't, and has communicated that to you in clear terms. As painful and sad as it feels, the only thing to do is to honor her request. I agree with @Teasel - it might help to get some therapy, since it sounds like you also need to process a lot. As someone who has a loving partner who is very supportive of me working through my trauma, I must say I've come to learn how much of a journey it is for them too. Nothing wrong with reaching out and getting some support (ideally from a therapist) as well.
 

swisscheese

New Here
Yes, I'd respect her wishes and move on. Get some therapy if it will help you.
Thanks for your answer. I am going to therapy.

I'm sorry that this happened, but it sounds like she's made her decision on what feels okay to her and what doesn't, and has communicated that to you in clear terms. As painful and sad as it feels, the only thing to do is to honor her request. I agree with @Teasel - it might help to get some therapy, since it sounds like you also need to process a lot. As someone who has a loving partner who is very supportive of me working through my trauma, I must say I've come to learn how much of a journey it is for them too. Nothing wrong with reaching out and getting some support (ideally from a therapist) as well.
Thanks a lot for your answer. I am reaching out for help and going to therapy. But I don't know if I can yet accept her decision without secretly hoping she'll change her mind and her decision was driven by anger and this will calm down eventually. It is really hard to believe what has happened. Anyway, only time will tell.
 
Thanks a lot for your answer. I am reaching out for help and going to therapy. But I don't know if I can yet accept her decision without secretly hoping she'll change her mind and her decision was driven by anger and this will calm down eventually. It is really hard to believe what has happened. Anyway, only time will tell.
Good for you, I hope therapy goes well. And I think it's normal to secretly want her to change her mind; you care about her deeply and want to be with her. And sure, only time will tell. But going over what happened in your head too much and/or waiting for her to change her mind won't help you. The best thing you can do right now is to focus on and take care of yourself - mentally, socially, physically, etc. I know that it's 100000% easier to say than to do, but there you go.

Besides (and please take this with a grain of salt, since I'm a total stranger who doesn't know you or her...) it sounds from your original post that anger isn't all she's feeling. And "calming down" won't necessarily make a difference. She probably also feels shock that she re-experienced her worst trauma, betrayed by someone she finally trusted, conflicted between her values vs. her feelings for you, and all-round hurt and anguished at the possible resurgence of her traumatic memories. These things are really hard to work through and overcome. For you, as someone who cares about her but hasn't (I assume) had a similar traumatic experience, it may seem like she just needs to understand it was a mistake. But for her, there's a potentially insurmountable number of feelings and pain linked to that one experience.

Lastly, I think when it comes to people who have experienced trauma (especially in situations where they were forced to do something they didn't want to do), their current support network absolutely needs to allow them to use whatever coping strategies they need, and must help them to feel that they are 100% in control of their bodies and choices again. If she needs to be alone, then she needs to be alone, no questions asked. No one can know what's best for her than her. She heals in whatever way she needs to heal, because this trauma and the impact on her is way bigger than your relationship - it's about her life and how she feels she can live it safely and comfortably.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
ADMIN POST:
Lastly, I think when it comes to people who have experienced trauma (especially in situations where they were forced to do something they didn't want to do), their current support network absolutely needs to allow them to use whatever coping strategies they need, and must help them to feel that they are 100% in control of their bodies and choices again. If she needs to be alone, then she needs to be alone, no questions asked. No one can know what's best for her than her. She heals in whatever way she needs to heal, because this trauma and the impact on her is way bigger than your relationship - it's about her life and how she feels she can live it safely and comfortably.
@QuirkyTofurkey - I want to check in and make sure you've seen this thread: Sufferers: You MUST Read This Prior To Posting

As a sufferer, I understand what you are saying.
But in this forum, supporters are posting asking for support; it doesn't mean they are always right, but it does mean that responses need to be contextualized to them - not framed from the perspective of the person with PTSD.

In this case, telling the supporter that they should expect to put all their own needs to the side (in order to be there for their PTSD partner) isn't going to serve them OR their relationship. It'll just lead to imbalance, and deep resentment.

Sufferers are useful in this forum sometimes; we just need to keep a strong eye out for the issues that are addressed in the mandatory-reading thread.

If you have any questions, please ask them via Contact Us. Thanks!

Now, back to the OP's thread, sorry for the interruption.
 
ADMIN POST:

@QuirkyTofurkey - I want to check in and make sure you've seen this thread: Sufferers: You MUST Read This Prior To Posting

As a sufferer, I understand what you are saying.
But in this forum, supporters are posting asking for support; it doesn't mean they are always right, but it does mean that responses need to be contextualized to them - not framed from the perspective of the person with PTSD.

In this case, telling the supporter that they should expect to put all their own needs to the side (in order to be there for their PTSD partner) isn't going to serve them OR their relationship. It'll just lead to imbalance, and deep resentment.

Sufferers are useful in this forum sometimes; we just need to keep a strong eye out for the issues that are addressed in the mandatory-reading thread.

If you have any questions, please ask them via Contact Us. Thanks!

Now, back to the OP's thread, sorry for the interruption.
Thanks for pointing this out @joeylittle ! I'm glad you did. I'm only a few weeks into this community and am still learning how to work through my own PTSD while also trying to support others on the forum. I read the post you shared with me and understand your point. I really didn't mean to say that OP should put their own needs aside, but I can see how it must have come across that way. I was rephrasing (maybe too emphatically) that we should all try to respect one another's decisions and requests.

@swisscheese - I'm sorry if my response confused or hurt you in any way, or made your frustrations feel invalid. That was really not the intention. I just wanted to be helpful. I'll be more careful with how I phrase things in the future.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
I feel completely lost and I don't know what to do. She told me to not contact her again and I cannot do anything else than to respect her wishes and at the same time I hope this decision was driven by anger and she will understand that it was an accident and that our feelings mean more to her than her political standpoint and that she can forgive me.
I think there is a lot wrapped up in that feeling and I agree, I'm glad you are seeking therapy as this seems to be effecting you. But, I can't help but to wonder, (something to talk over with your therapist), is part of that badly wanting her to see it was an accident? Because you can't get her to see anything she doesn't want to see. I'm just wondering if that's part of it. Could be way off base.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
I think there is a lot wrapped up in that feeling

Or it’s the normal grieving process after somebody ends a year long relationship over what would normally be some run of the mill fumbling in bed.

This stuff doesn’t make sense to people without PTSD. It’s 100% normal to go through stages of grief, including denial, after a break up. It doesn’t mean he needs therapy.
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
at the same time I hope this decision was driven by anger and she will understand that it was an accident and that our feelings mean more to her than her political standpoint and that she can forgive me.
But I don't know if I can yet accept her decision without secretly hoping she'll change her mind and her decision was driven by anger and this will calm down eventually. It is really hard to believe what has happened. Anyway, only time will tell.

I'm a classic runner. The minute I feel threatened or uncomfortable or just not "right" I bail. And I didn't have any idea that was what I did until I got into therapy and understood how ptsd ran my life. I did a lot of damage to my relationships along the way - including ghosting on people for things "they did" rather than "how I reacted".

In other words, you didn't do anything wrong. She got triggered and she ran.
Will she forgive you? Maybe, maybe not. The bigger question is ...did you do anything you need to be forgiven for? From where I see no. You and she agreed to try something, it triggered her, she bailed.

And no -- It doesn't make sense.
because ptsd doesn't make sense.
and that sucks.

One thing I've learned since being on this site is that supporters often end up carrying way more of the relationship than they should just to accommodate our issues-- which is just damn unfair.
So your self care is super important.
That you are already reaching out for help? Is fabulous because whether or not she comes back you are taking care of you.

And that matters.
 

Rosebud

Not Active
I'm sorry for your situation @swisscheese . I think trigger has become an overused word culturally to some degree. I know for myself a severe trigger can make me lose my mind, (or feel like it at least), and really deeply question what I thought I knew, and the decisions I've made or will make. If I'm in a better frame of health I might come back around to realizing I wasn't as 'healed' or as impermeable as I thought. Or conversely- not sure how to describe it- maybe be filled with a feeling of mistrust or aversion? Similar analogy to how someone might feel when they can't forgive something (yet often with triggers it has no need for forgiveness because nothing is wrong). And I just mean by analogy of the depth of the feeling/ cognition, not that she doesn't forgive you. Just that kind of slammed-door-over-the-edge-everything-has-changed feeling . I do hope since you were also both quite drunk as you said that she factors that in. Though I have experienced that triggers can kind of expand or become associated with more than they started with.

Good luck to you both.

**I came back to add, just if it helps for understanding: Idk if anyone else feels this way, but as per triggers and memories, I think what gets me is the emotion recalled more than the memory. For example, I burned myself accidentally today cooking, and the 1st thing I was reminded of was doing that often as a child. (Just a thought, not a flashback or anything). But out of my mouth popped, "Of course". Which was the 'feeling' of, this has been happening since a child, and a prevailing sense of deep hopelessness and feeling trapped. Though cognitively I don't even care about my childhood, and wasn't feeling imminently hopeless at this present moment, nor did I mean or feel that I'm a clutz cooking that will never get it right. It was more like remembering an aversive stimulus or pain, but not the memory of it occurring for me so much as specifically remembering how it felt ( physical, but more so how emotionally I guess I felt at the time. Doing the best I could as a little kid with the tools I had and trying to keep up a brave face, but I guess feeling otherwise).

Which I guess if reminded of often (without wanting to be, intrusively) it feels too like it never ends, and feels like I'm fooling myself if I think it ever could. Because I've been living with the reminder(s) so often.

Not sure if that's at all helpful, expressing myself in words is not my forte. 😕 Disregard if not useful.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Friday

Moderator
The bigger question is ...did you do anything you need to be forgiven for? From where I see no. You and she agreed to try something, it triggered her, she bailed.
Ditto.

You didn’t do anything wrong @swisscheese . You really, really didn’t.

Missing a stroke or three happens. With lube it’s almost a foregone conclusion.

Someone else did somehing to her a long time ago, and those effects are still being felt. That’s a sadness, but please, do not accept the blame for evils others did or do. Even though you’re feeling those effects, you didn’t create those effects. You’re both dealing with what someone else did. Together, or separately.
 
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