General Is this normal PTSD behavior?

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paigelove

What do they panic about especially when it's doing something supposedly enjoyable liking going on a walk with someone you supposedly like? Genuine question.
 

Livinginhope

Confident
What do they panic about especially when it's doing something supposedly enjoyable liking going on a walk with someone you supposedly like? Genuine question.
Hi. I haven't posted for some time but have kept on reading. The actions of your guy (making a plan, being excited about it, then panicking and cancelling) are identical to the way my sufferer used to behave. He did it over and over again until it eventually became too stressful for him and he ghosted me completely. It sucks to be on the receiving end 😕. But I think it's fairly common. Sorry you're going through it. It's not great. Take care of yourself.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
What do they panic about especially when it's doing something supposedly enjoyable liking going on a walk with someone you supposedly like? Genuine question.
Hiya. Sometimes the idea of doing something is really appealing and there is good intentions about doing it. But due to mental illness when the time comes "we" just can't face it. It could be due to any number of reasons. Like a stressor or trigger causing panic and anxiety. Maybe not knowing what we'll say or talk about because we have to much shit on our minds. It's a bummer but don't take it personally, it's about "us" not you. 🙂
 

Friday

Moderator
What do they panic about especially when it's doing something supposedly enjoyable liking going on a walk with someone you supposedly like? Genuine question.
To add: He said he was really excited about the hike, which just makes this even more confusing :/

It’s just one of those foundational things with PTSD. Increased stress = increased symptoms. Being excited? Only INCREASES the stress level involved, not decreases it.



Think diabetes for a moment… it doesn’t matter whether a person is happy to be eating cake, or reeeeeeally enjoying eating cake. Or is being forced to eat cake, or thinks the cake tastes disgusting. The cake is a sugar bomb going off in their lives. And their body is going to react to sugar, the way a diabetic’s body reacts to sugar.

It’s not like if they REALLY liked the cake, they wouldn’t have to take extra insulin, & add exercise, & make dietary changes for days in advance/following to deal with the sugar explosion… so …if they have to do a lot of work to manage eating cake, they must not reeeeally like the cake they supposedly like. Diabetes doesn’t work that way. Sugar is sugar, and needs to be managed.

Someone with PTSD is going to react to stress the way the way people with PTSD react to stress. Good stress, bad stress, it’s still stress; and needs to be managed.
 
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Sweetpea76

Moderator
Exactly what @Friday is saying… he was probably looking forward to the outing. Then he started to think about it and the stress got to him. This kind of behavior was one of the things I found the hardest to understand when I began seeing my vet. He didn’t necessarily avoid me unless he was pretty symptomatic, but he would ditch plans, be late, change his mind, etc. It’s super irritating until you grasp what is going on. “Oh, he’s not a total flake, he’s having a PTSD moment.”

It’s still irritating at times, but you get used to it.

I’d try to determine if he’s avoiding *plans* or avoiding *you*. Maybe next time suggest doing a movie night, or cooking at home? See what he does to relax. Let him pick the activity, and don’t plan too far in advance. See if he manages that.
 

Friday

Moderator
…don’t plan too far in advance.

Also, @paigelove, quite frankly? I’d strongly suggest trying

- NOT suggesting or preplanning to do anything at all “next” during first contact after isolating. Just assume there will be things to come, and let now be enough, rather than attempting to make future plans for “More!”

- If he suggests future plans? Make alternate plans in your head for if/when he cancels because his eyes were too big for his stomach.
 

Freida

Sponsor
He wanted to go. He made the plans to go. He thought about it. Panicked. Cancelled.
Yep -- that's me sometimes.

Also in a world that preaches looking at someone's actions over their words, how else should I take this?
That this is ptsd in action
This is what life is like for many of us.

His actions say he doesn't want to go and he may not know why. I often don't until much later. All I know is something hits the panic button and I need to bail. It could he a sound or a picture or a person or a smell or a noise...the list goes on and on. Learning to manage our triggers.is a huge part of recovery and its not easy to do.

His words say "I'm trying to find an excuse so I don't have to deal with you being upset with me"

Yep. I ruin plans. And yes, I'm aware of that. And I do try not to let it happen but sometimes I lose the battle. So everyone in my life knows im unreliable and may bail with no reason. Because often I don't know the reason myself. I'm triggered, can't deal, nuff said. And no...I may never explain why...because I'm not getting drug into a conversation about their hurt feelings while I have air raid sirens shrieking in my head and I'm reliving horrible moments in my life that have just randomly dropped into my brain. I just don't have the band width to deal with all of that mess and reassure someone that I'm ok and enjoying their company. Its way easier to just not show up in the first place

And yes - it is unfair. Horribly unfair.
Even after lots of therapy ptsd relationship communication is tough and sadly it usually ends up being on the supporters to be ok with that. I have no idea how mine do it or why they stick around. But I do know it's their choice to accept me as I am, understand im a huge flake and not get undone if I end up blowing them off. Because that's how ptsd works

And yep.. it sucks. 🥺
 
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paigelove

So I found out the "thing" he had on Saturday morning was going skydiving with some coworkers. He said he was standing around while they were talking about it when they told him to come and he just went along with it. But Friday he said he was wiped after working all week. Ok, so he could cancel with me but still muster the energy to go skydiving the next day. I don't know, I've decided I'm not really going to hold my breath for this to really go anywhere. Just disappointed.
 
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paigelove

So after not having seen each other in months at this point, this morning he sent me a sexual text. I replied by letting him know that I'm not interested in being his unofficial booty call. He then said that if I thought that what he said was sexual then I must really be deprived and said he was just joking anyway (eye roll). He then had the nerve to tell me I'm being "selfish with my time." After I reminded him about how he blew me off after I invited him on a hike, he said he tried calling me the last couple of days to hang out, which is true, although it was after 8 p.m. when I was already out/doing other things. Finally, I told him that nothing should really be this complicated, and he never replied. I'm still reeling a little bit. I can see now that I'm just not a priority to him, and it sucks, but I have to accept it. Even though I know it's impossible to say for sure, could any of this be due to PTSD? It just doesn't really make sense to me.
 

Friday

Moderator
Even though I know it's impossible to say for sure, could any of this be due to PTSD? It just doesn't really make sense to me.
You can’t divorce PTSD from the person… which seems to be the hardest thing for most supporters to wrap their heads around.

It’s not like there’s “the real him” & “the PTSD”, and if they just got help the real them would be who you get all the time.

I was a combat marine and then a contractor/NGO/disaster response. Which meant that dating blokes with my own brand of crazy? Was like shooting fish in a barrel. One of the most useful things that taught me? PTSD doesn’t matter. When EVERYONE has nightmares, panic attacks, temper tantrums, dark spells, etc., it levels the playing field. As how those symptoms express and are handled??? Comes down to personality. 10 people will isolate, in 10 different ways. 10 people will get angry, in 10 different ways. 10 people will have periods of time where they’re highly symptomatic or asymptomatic, in 10 totally different ways. It’s the WAYS people are that determine if we make a good team… or not.

So… yeah. His behaviour could be 100% PTSD or 0% PTSD… but regardless? It’s him. No matter how symptomatic he happens to be in any moment, it’s all him. And if that doesn’t work? (With you, me, anybody). It doesn’t work.

Does that parse?
 
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