Relationship Learning Curves

After learning what IT is, I’ve learned not to take it personally.
I know when he’s quiet, distant and just needs to go to bed, it’s not me.
I know when he cancels last minute, doesn’t make plans or keep plans, it’s not me.
I know when we argue and he shuts down completely and refuses to fight in the moment, it’s not me.
I know when he goes to bed at 8 o’clock and I wake up in the middle of the night to an empty bed, it’s not me.
I know when he is irrational and has moments of explosive anger, it’s not me.
I know when I’m upset and having a hard time dealing with being a supporter and he can’t really support me back the same way I do him, it’s not me.

I’m not taking it personally like I was. I try to work through it on my own most times as to not add more stress to his cup but It’s really f*#king hard some days.

Most days even through him being symptomatic are great. Our relationship has really flourished in the way of communication and understanding. Some days I find so hard and wonder how I can keep doing it.

Today is one of those days….we’re fighting and I want to dive in and he retracts. I know it’s not me. I know he can’t handle the stress, the push for heavy conversation and the idea that he’s disappointing me. I know when we fight (even if it’s small to me) it effects him so negatively it’ll be days until he’s right again.

I know all of these things yet I haven’t learned how NOT to be impacted by them.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
for my psycho nickel, learning how to live and let live is the hardest part of loving.

stay strong, dented can. detaching with love is the study of a lifetime.
 
It’s been a week now of him catastrophizing and pulling away. Last week he was pleading for me to see him around the corner, telling me how I’m the only good stable thing in his life. This week after an argument that he escalated and carried on for 5 days, he doesn’t have the capacity for a relationship and needs space. I love this man and understand his illness plays a huge part but I’m having a hard time dealing with the fragile state of his commitment to us when things get tough. Instead of working it through it’s easier for him to give up. Sucks
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
We can support @DentedCan 2.0 but sufferers (been both uh) also do have to own their part to improve things and not only rely on partners to get them through. It's a temptation though and I understand it also internally very much but clinging on it only drew me aback. As much it's important you do own your feelings and don't take it personally it's also up to him to do what he can to reduce the impact it has on your own stability.
 
I’m so depleted and confused from the push and pull. One minute I’m the cats ass and the next I’m demonized. It’s cyclical every time stress mounts and being in a relationship is deemed as an extra stressor. No discussion… one minute he loves me, the next he can’t do it, doesn’t have the capacity.

I know that sufferers experience pain and emotional dysregulation beyond measure. I have all the compassion and empathy in the world. Loving someone and experiencing the roller coaster is not for the faint of heart. It takes perseverance and a strong sense of self. I didn’t know that loving someone would take so much.
 

nursenurse

MyPTSD Pro
If you are losing yourself, it is time to reevaluate the relationship. As much as we may want to be there for someone, if it is going to cause us to self destruct, then we need to pull out. You can’t love anyone out of this. What is happening now is long term, with varying degrees of intensity, and it doesn’t make you a failure or any less of a person because you decide that this isn’t for you. Seemingly “normal” relationships are hard enough. If he says he doesn’t have the capacity, listen to him. It doesn’t make him bad either, just unable to cope with even good stressors. He may not ever be ready for this relationship. Look after yourself regardless, your wants and needs are important, and it gets tiring emotionally when someone is always threatening to leave. You are not on solid ground. Hugs to you.
 

fl14

New Here
I'm sorry you're going through this. Between my experience and the others here, this sounds like par for the course with severe trauma. It's so unfair and cruel.


I know that sufferers experience pain and emotional dysregulation beyond measure. I have all the compassion and empathy in the world. Loving someone and experiencing the roller coaster is not for the faint of heart. It takes perseverance and a strong sense of self. I didn’t know that loving someone would take so much.

As someone who was on the receiving end of a break-up due to the other's trauma, I strongly heed your warning. I'm very sensitive and empathetic, qualities which probably make me a good partner for a sufferer, but ultimately make me suffer. I personally haven't spoken to her after being dumped ~10 days ago (she had the last word - that she appreciated me for offering my support). I'm still weighing if I should reach out at all, ever, or even stay connected on social media.

I feel all of this from a very recent development and a relationship which was only just beginning. I can't imagine what you're dealing with as someone who has dealt with this for much longer.
 
I'm sorry you're going through this. Between my experience and the others here, this sounds like par for the course with severe trauma. It's so unfair and cruel.

As someone who was on the receiving end of a break-up due to the other's trauma, I strongly heed your warning. I'm very sensitive and empathetic, qualities which probably make me a good partner for a sufferer, but ultimately make me suffer. I personally haven't spoken to her after being dumped ~10 days ago (she had the last word - that she appreciated me for offering my support). I'm still weighing if I should reach out at all, ever, or even stay connected on social media.

I feel all of this from a very recent development and a relationship which was only just beginning. I can't imagine what you're dealing with as someone who has dealt with this for much longer.

I can only say that in my 5+ year experience it is cyclical and I have come to realize I can’t hope or fix it away. This is the reality of our relationship, his illness and our individual coping and attachment issues. We fit together like pb&j or explode like gas and fire. He is just coming to terms with this, understanding how to cope with a brain that doesn’t feel like his own. His anxieties are huge and being in a relationship has only exacerbated them.

I am an empathetic and nurturing individual, and like you I have found that while it makes me an understanding supporter, it has taken its toll. Being a supporter is not for everyone, I don’t even know if it’s right for me. The only thing I know is that the pain I feel being dumped on or ghosted when he vilifies me or our relationship is traumatic in itself. I don’t want to minimize what he endures but I think giving up on mending the relationship is my only salvation.
 
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coraxxx

Sponsor
When things get cyclical it’s the proof that it isn’t set for change. As much as it’s possible to grow together even with someone with a mental illness (if I remember well, your partner had PTSD + BPD?) sometimes there is a huge part of that way that one can only take alone. In my previous relationship the combo PTSD/BPD + undiagnosed CPTSD with a close-to-BPD-presentation-but-not-enough-enough revealed itself to be a total nightmare. One must already have solid nerves to get through the instability that is it, but if on the top of it you’re unstable yourself and get easily triggered at the idea of being abandoned and believe it every time, it’s just set to throw you in a lake on fire. I personally think that stating "people with PTSD can be emotionally dysregulated beyond imagination" is true in a sense, but also an overstatement. It’s not because they’re indeed very dysegulated and probs more than you that your own dysregulation doesn’t count. Getting into the suffering Olympics is easy when we’re a supporter, because we tolerate gradually more and more stuff that we wouldn’t have of anyone else who hadn’t a history.

And gradually forget that we too, have feelings or build resentment for being so drained and worried and unstable all the time. What a relationship cannot survive is that kind of huge amount of resentment and unfairness. The only reason I still do speak to the ex above is because finally he’s decided to actually do something to get better and not just saying he’s gonna be better, heard all that I had to say and didn’t contest my point of view, justify himself with trauma or anything. Things have reasons to exist but a reason isn’t an excuse. You can understand and still find it unbearable or indefensible and that’s a valid point of view.

I think true connection and understanding can happen even in the dire conditions of these conditions, but it’s not always sustainable. At the end we just get one life and getting stuck in a relationship that dysfunction in cyclical patterns that invade all areas of functioning definitely is bad. Breaking up with my ex was one of the most horrid moments of my life but the perk price is to have my life back. I don’t resent him having been the way he was, oh well, still yes on some points, but the resentment is much less poisonous since my entire world doesn’t revolve around someone else’s mood anymore. We deserve better than being the satellite of someone’s mental struggle even if it isn’t their fault.

Now it doesn’t mean that the connection doesn’t or never existed, it’s just it’s so strenuous to have it constantly compromised that it isn’t possible to maintain. Nothing is as expensive as your own mental health. Honestly healing from that kind of relationship sucks so much, but the awards are pretty nice.

I’m also saying this thinking of my first long-term relationship that has supported me through crises that were absolute nightmares. It’s just now I understand they were flashbacks. I honestly don’t know how this person managed through, I guess my limit is that I never threatened to leave, it was more a collection of absurd meltdowns. That person did help me to stabilize and probably avoiding becoming worse than what I was, but I also remained stationery and couldn’t work on my issues because I was given no reason to change. At some point it’s up to the sufferer to decide to make a difference and being tired of being that way. I did get tired of having stupid meltdowns. It still does happen. But I manage them to be annoying and not harmful and decrease the criticality. That work also does suck big time, because the releasing effect of a bona fide meltdown is something that is had to give up.

It first demands to identify that there is a pattern, then accepting there is a pattern, then being tired of the pattern, then feeling motivation to change the pattern, then finding ways to change the pattern, then implementing them, failing, have an existential crisis, rinse and repeat. None of this is fast and all steps are a pain in the ass. But hey, I don’t want to do that to anyone anymore. I’ve done it and have lived it, I know both sides and they both suck.

Both relationships still are important in my life. But they’re not in that space anymore and really it’s for the best. You can gently separate without throwing the whole thing in a ditch. Even then, there will be grief. Even in positive change there is grief. And that’s okay. It’s a very hard curve to face and after having placed so much effort in something. That grief is going to be nasty and profound, but it won’t be eternal. At some point the daylight comes back in.
 
When things get cyclical it’s the proof that it isn’t set for change. As much as it’s possible to grow together even with someone with a mental illness (if I remember well, your partner had PTSD + BPD?) sometimes there is a huge part of that way that one can only take alone. In my previous relationship the combo PTSD/BPD + undiagnosed CPTSD with a close-to-BPD-presentation-but-not-enough-enough revealed itself to be a total nightmare. One must already have solid nerves to get through the instability that is it, but if on the top of it you’re unstable yourself and get easily triggered at the idea of being abandoned and believe it every time, it’s just set to throw you in a lake on fire. I personally think that stating "people with PTSD can be emotionally dysregulated beyond imagination" is true in a sense, but also an overstatement. It’s not because they’re indeed very dysegulated and probs more than you that your own dysregulation doesn’t count. Getting into the suffering Olympics is easy when we’re a supporter, because we tolerate gradually more and more stuff that we wouldn’t have of anyone else who hadn’t a history.

And gradually forget that we too, have feelings or build resentment for being so drained and worried and unstable all the time. What a relationship cannot survive is that kind of huge amount of resentment and unfairness. The only reason I still do speak to the ex above is because finally he’s decided to actually do something to get better and not just saying he’s gonna be better, heard all that I had to say and didn’t contest my point of view, justify himself with trauma or anything. Things have reasons to exist but a reason isn’t an excuse. You can understand and still find it unbearable or indefensible and that’s a valid point of view.

I think true connection and understanding can happen even in the dire conditions of these conditions, but it’s not always sustainable. At the end we just get one life and getting stuck in a relationship that dysfunction in cyclical patterns that invade all areas of functioning definitely is bad. Breaking up with my ex was one of the most horrid moments of my life but the perk price is to have my life back. I don’t resent him having been the way he was, oh well, still yes on some points, but the resentment is much less poisonous since my entire world doesn’t revolve around someone else’s mood anymore. We deserve better than being the satellite of someone’s mental struggle even if it isn’t their fault.

Now it doesn’t mean that the connection doesn’t or never existed, it’s just it’s so strenuous to have it constantly compromised that it isn’t possible to maintain. Nothing is as expensive as your own mental health. Honestly healing from that kind of relationship sucks so much, but the awards are pretty nice.

I’m also saying this thinking of my first long-term relationship that has supported me through crises that were absolute nightmares. It’s just now I understand they were flashbacks. I honestly don’t know how this person managed through, I guess my limit is that I never threatened to leave, it was more a collection of absurd meltdowns. That person did help me to stabilize and probably avoiding becoming worse than what I was, but I also remained stationery and couldn’t work on my issues because I was given no reason to change. At some point it’s up to the sufferer to decide to make a difference and being tired of being that way. I did get tired of having stupid meltdowns. It still does happen. But I manage them to be annoying and not harmful and decrease the criticality. That work also does suck big time, because the releasing effect of a bona fide meltdown is something that is had to give up.

It first demands to identify that there is a pattern, then accepting there is a pattern, then being tired of the pattern, then feeling motivation to change the pattern, then finding ways to change the pattern, then implementing them, failing, have an existential crisis, rinse and repeat. None of this is fast and all steps are a pain in the ass. But hey, I don’t want to do that to anyone anymore. I’ve done it and have lived it, I know both sides and they both suck.

Both relationships still are important in my life. But they’re not in that space anymore and really it’s for the best. You can gently separate without throwing the whole thing in a ditch. Even then, there will be grief. Even in positive change there is grief. And that’s okay. It’s a very hard curve to face and after having placed so much effort in something. That grief is going to be nasty and profound, but it won’t be eternal. At some point the daylight comes back in.
I appreciate your words and wisdom. I agree wholeheartedly although it’s incredibly disheartening to come to terms with.

I understand what you’re saying about emotional dysregulation, I apologize for the blanket statement, that wasn’t my intention. In my situation, it very present and in times like this where he pushes away the emotional upheaval is magnified and fed off the other. I’m not always super confident in it, never have been because there has always been this push and pull. Its in these times that it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. I am impacted no matter whether I think it’s a cycle or not. He doesn’t treat it like that, it’s absolute… until it’s not.

Its interesting how our attachment styles change with certain relationships and people and their attachment styles. I have always had a fearful/avoidant attachment style. My whole life really, in all of my relationships. My previous romantic relationships were with secure attachments, we worked well and I never questioned their feelings or commitment to me. I never felt anxious, insecure or so emotionally up and down.
My sufferer also has fearful/avoidant attachment style and who knew that would make me become anxious.
 
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