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Relationship Met up with CPTSD ex - confusion reigns!

Anon1

Learning
I met up with my CPTSD ex over the weekend.

it had been two months, and they messaged to say they’d like to talk.

i thought I was moving on but it stirred my feelings back up again.

They seemed spiky and anxious, which is understandable.

What I struggled with though was that when we got to calmly talking, I opened with a full apology for everything I’d done that was unhelpful during our relationship.

They listened well, and were gracious, but they didn’t seem to really take in the way in which some of their behaviour had affected me during our relationship.

i wasn’t being mean, I was just gently sharing some of it, and I’d been banking on them having reflected enough to realise what had happened from their side (they weren‘t very nice at times, and sometimes a shaaade… hmmm… abusive, I think).

When I tried to share things, they listened really well, but they tended to say ‘Well, I think that was both of us really, because…’, and at one point, they said they thought I maybe envied the fact that they were emotionally messy, because I couldn’t be.
(Really, I just value trying to be calm and non-reactive. But I’ve cried with them before, and been pretty open, I think.)

I came away feeling like “They haven’t heard me somehow… there’s been space to talk, but it’s like… it hasn’t really gone from head to heart, somehow…”

Sometimes, they seem to take so much responsibility for their life, but there’s also a way in which lots of things seem to be other people's fault, and sometimes it’s almost like a blind spot they have, where very little is nuanced or with grey areas…

What really confuses me though, is that they have some good friends, a good job, and they seem pretty well liked, as far as I can tell…
So… how can someone be so great in so many environments, but then also been like I’ve seen them be...?

It makes me feel that it must be something wrong with me…

We had a lovely time in lots of ways, but I just can’t shake the feeling that they didn’t quite seem to understand my point of view, and it made me feel like it could all happen again…

Are there any helpful insights anyone can offer?
 
We had a lovely time in lots of ways, but I just can’t shake the feeling that they didn’t quite seem to understand my point of view, and it made me feel like it could all happen again…
This person is your ex. And this paragraph shows why: you think differently and have different needs.

Nothing wrong with you at all.
The ex just can't hear and take in your experience of them as they think differently. That is pretty usual for someone who is abusive. (Which you have said they were at times). Abusive people tend not to agree that they are abusive, and tend to minimise and deflect and project.

You feeling like there is something wrong with you is a classic sign of an abusive person projecting onto you. Don't soak it up. Hold yourself and your values firm. And work on overcoming the relationship.


It's not you.
It's the end of a relationship that was abusive at times.
 
Thank you - that's really helpful.

I think that makes perfect sense to me, and it's helpful to share the experience and hear that
'Hey, maybe it's not just me after all'.

I just can't wrap my head around how someone can have so much of their life together - especially socially - but have this side to them that no one seems to see.

I don't think I'm making it up or imagining it... but someone like that should really struggle to maintain their close friendships, and they don't seem to. Unless they're not very close friendships, I don't know...

I'm glad they do have friends etc, because it'd be horrible for them if they were lonely.
I don't want that.

I just don't like the feeling that... I don't know... somehow it feels unfair...
 
What really confuses me though, is that they have some good friends, a good job, and they seem pretty well liked, as far as I can tell…
So… how can someone be so great in so many environments, but then also been like I’ve seen them be...?
When you’re reeeeeeally sick…. Can you still be professional when your boss calls, or cordial to the pizza delivery guy, but an absolute snot dripping moron / groaning / I’m going back to bed bitch.. with people you don’t have to front with for a few minutes? People you love, live with, family, friends, etc. that you aren’t shoving an “I can do this” mask on in very limited ways?

It’s like that.

The closer you are to someone, the more of THEM you see. You were close, so you “got to” see all -or at least some- of the raw parts. And, like @Movingforward10 said… the core parts of you & them? Mismatched. That’s the blessing & curse of getting close to people. Sometimes we line up. Most of the time, we don’t. How badly we line up? Predicts the course of the relationship. Some people can stay in abusive relationships for decades. Doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. Sometimes, finding the mismatch? Is. The. Absolute. Best. Thing.
 
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When you’re reeeeeeally sick…. Can you still be professional when your boss calls, or cordial to the pizza delivery guy, but an absolute snot dripping moron / groaning / I’m going back to bed bitch.. with people you don’t have to front with for a few minutes? People you love, live with, family, friends, etc. that you aren’t shoving an “I can do this” mask on in very limited ways?

It’s like that.

The closer you are to someone, the more of THEM you see. You were close, so you “got to” see all -or at least some- of the raw parts. And, like @Movingforward10 said… the core parts of you & them? Mismatched. That’s the blessing & curse of getting close to people. Sometimes we line up. Most of the time, we don’t. How badly we line up? Predicts the course of the relationship. Some people can stay in abusive relationships for decades. Doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. Sometimes, finding the mismatch? Is. The. Absolute. Best. Thing.

Thank you, that’s a really helpful analogy and persective.
I know CPTSD is a very real condition, based in brain biology, but I still find it easier to understand that a broken leg stops someone from running. Mental health conditions can be really confusing, even if I understand in principle. It’s the practical out working… how I see them as so competent and well put together, but also so unpredictable and unable to manage the sort of relational things that I probably take for granted a little bit.

I also have to learn to see this as a mismatch, and not as me being unable to keep them because of a flaw in me.
I have an idea theyll meet the love of their life soon, and I guess I should be really happy for them after all theyve gone through. But then, maybe that means I wasn’t good enough, or brave enough, or strong enough, because someone else dealt with it better than me.

I guess I just have to get over that idea...!
 
The closer you are to someone, the more of THEM you see. You were close, so you “got to” see all -or at least some- of the raw parts. And, like @Movingforward10 said… the core parts of you & them? Mismatched. That’s the blessing & curse of getting close to people. Sometimes we line up. Most of the time, we don’t. How badly we line up? Predicts the course of the relationship. Some people can stay in abusive relationships for decades. Doesn’t mean that’s a good thing. Sometimes, finding the mismatch? Is. The. Absolute. Best. Thing.
This. Sometimes you wonder how sufferers can seem so put together in front of others, socialising with friends, their career going well etc, but with you - the person they say they love the most - they are a totally different person. We think that we should be treated similarly if not better than other people in their lives, but this will set us up for hurt. It is because we are the closest to them that we experience all the rough edges and not just the facade they show to the rest of the world.
I also have to learn to see this as a mismatch, and not as me being unable to keep them because of a flaw in me.
It's very easy to start blaming yourself about why it didn't work out. I've beaten myself up many times thinking I wasn't good enough to make the two of us work, and my self-esteem took a big hit. Mismatches do happen, where core beliefs and values don't align. Also, abusive partners can make you feel small and at fault. And yes, sometimes it not working out will be the best thing for both of you.
 
This. Sometimes you wonder how sufferers can seem so put together in front of others, socialising with friends, their career going well etc, but with you - the person they say they love the most - they are a totally different person. We think that we should be treated similarly if not better than other people in their lives, but this will set us up for hurt. It is because we are the closest to them that we experience all the rough edges and not just the facade they show to the rest of the world.

It's very easy to start blaming yourself about why it didn't work out. I've beaten myself up many times thinking I wasn't good enough to make the two of us work, and my self-esteem took a big hit. Mismatches do happen, where core beliefs and values don't align. Also, abusive partners can make you feel small and at fault. And yes, sometimes it not working out will be the best thing for both of you.

Thanks for the reply!

Yeah… I think accepting the ‘mental health condition’ side of it is really important for me.

When they seem so together, it can be it hard to remember that their CPTSD is still there... It even makes it seem like it actively *isn‘t* there.

Then it seems like… why do they choose to be a different way with me?
(Which of course isn’t their choice at all - it just feels a bit that way.)

I then also struggled that they’d tell me that their friends saw some things a certain way, and I’d think ‘well yeah… you’re presenting things that way to them… but if they saw the whole situation, they might at least see why it’s trickier than that’.

It’s very easy to lose yourself in that, and it’s easy to try to ‘logic’ yourself through something which probably isn’t following a tight logic at all. Which causes further struggle.

They’re really great though - it’s just hard for all concerned, I guess - and hardest for them most of all.
 
Then it seems like… why do they choose to be a different way with me?
(Which of course isn’t their choice at all - it just feels a bit that way.)
I totally understand that feeling. Why do they treat me like this when all I want to do is support them? They don't treat others like this!

You will drive yourself CRAZY. Is it because they don't love me? Is it because I did something wrong? No, it's because they have a mental health condition.
I then also struggled that they’d tell me that their friends saw some things a certain way, and I’d think ‘well yeah… you’re presenting things that way to them… but if they saw the whole situation, they might at least see why it’s trickier than that’.
This probably applies to all relationships, not just one with CPTSD. It's always a "he says, she says" kind of thing. When we speak to our friends, our friends only get our perspective. Same when our partners speak about things to their friends, their friends only get their perspective. Like you said, it's way trickier than that. In reality, it takes two hands to clap.
 
I totally understand that feeling. Why do they treat me like this when all I want to do is support them? They don't treat others like this!

You will drive yourself CRAZY. Is it because they don't love me? Is it because I did something wrong? No, it's because they have a mental health condition.

This probably applies to all relationships, not just one with CPTSD. It's always a "he says, she says" kind of thing. When we speak to our friends, our friends only get our perspective. Same when our partners speak about things to their friends, their friends only get their perspective. Like you said, it's way trickier than that. In reality, it takes two hands to clap.
Aye, this is really helpful - thanks!
I think i’m finally starting to see the situation as it really is.

And they have my full love and respect, and we’re still friends.
But… I see why it may not have worked out for us in particular - even if they definitely deserve *someone*!
 
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