Relationship My partner has been isolating himself - what is the best way to ask about it?

D-sweet

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We are kind of in a new relationship (7months). He has once causally mentioned that he has PTSD. He is currently very stressed and has been disappearing from our relationship for week(s) each time from time to time when he was overwhelmed by demanding workloads. When he reappeared, he would be like nothing happened. i tried to talk every time but still very difficult to get to a point.

I don't want to make PTSD as an excuse for bad behaviors but I am concerned that it could be the reason. What is the best way to get an understanding?

I just wish he could give me some clues (even without telling me what the trauma was) if it's PTSD acting in between.

thanks
 
has been disappearing from our relationship for week(s)

Yah. Check out our supporter discussion section && you will find this refrain again and again.

"Fight or flight" is governed by our baser & emotive brain structures (the pons, medulla oblongata, amygdala, septum) and is an involuntary reaction to perceived physical threat. When you are in danger, these responses activate to give you the best chance of survival.

When you have PTSD, any little stress is suddenly interpreted as a physiological threat response by the brain because our neurological structures have changed and the benign is wrongfully interpreted as harmful.

Increased workloads is a big stressor & thus it would naturally result in these pathways activating. & as a result we can react aggressively (fight) isolate, or flee (flight).
 
Yah. Check out our supporter discussion section && you will find this refrain again and again.

"Fight or flight" is governed by our baser & emotive brain structures (the pons, medulla oblongata, amygdala, septum) and is an involuntary reaction to perceived physical threat. When you are in danger, these responses activate to give you the best chance of survival.

When you have PTSD, any little stress is suddenly interpreted as a physiological threat response by the brain because our neurological structures have changed and the benign is wrongfully interpreted as harmful.

Increased workloads is a big stressor & thus it would naturally result in these pathways activating. & as a result we can react aggressively (fight) isolate, or flee (flight).
Thanks for sharing. It’s really helpful. I didn’t mention an important part, I lost my patience at a point recently (cause this wasn’t the first time) and told him I felt disrespected and hurt when he kept ignoring me. I feel bad now to have said something which probably stressed him more and pushed him further away. I don’t know what I should do for remedy.
 
I feel bad now to have said something which probably stressed him more and pushed him further away.

The unfortunate reality is that all competent adults with mental illness are responsible to conduct themselves.

For me, I was an isolator and would also disappear for weeks on end. My ex would get abandonment triggers as a result. I wasn't able to change my behavior and he wasn't able to cope with long periods of abandonment, so we had to break up as we were not compatible. I just wasn't ready for or capable of being in that relationship.

Sometimes that happens. There's no need in my opinion for you to experience guilt over genuine hurt. He may not be able to change his behaviors && that is on him, but you are entitled to your emotions. A reason isn't an excuse & if he wants to be in a reciprocal relationship with another person that involves learning to communicate effectively.
 
The unfortunate reality is that all competent adults with mental illness are responsible to conduct themselves.

For me, I was an isolator and would also disappear for weeks on end. My ex would get abandonment triggers as a result. I wasn't able to change my behavior and he wasn't able to cope with long periods of abandonment, so we had to break up as we were not compatible. I just wasn't ready for or capable of being in that relationship.

Sometimes that happens. There's no need in my opinion for you to experience guilt over genuine hurt. He may not be able to change his behaviors && that is on him, but you are entitled to your emotions. A reason isn't an excuse & if he wants to be in a reciprocal relationship with another person that involves learning to communicate effectively.
Thanks Weemie for sharing your experiences. I am sorry it didn't work out but understand compatibility is one of the keys for maintaining a relationship. Is it ok if I ask him directly if it's PTSD via text while he is isolating? Would that make him feel more stressed or cared in your experience?
 
I'm a huge isolator so hubby and I had to set ground rules (when I was in a calm place)
The big one is....
My rule: I have to check in once a day if I take off and tell him where I am so he knows I'm ok
His rule: He has to leave me alone when I'm in that place.

He can't break thru the isolation - no matter how much he wants to help, because when I am in that place it's like my supporters just vanish. My brains are so undone that all I see is danger and darkness. I think that's the hardest part for supporters.
You cease to exist in my world

Now - with that being said. PTSD does not give us the right to treat people like crap,
I lost my patience at a point recently (cause this wasn’t the first time) and told him I felt disrespected and hurt when he kept ignoring me.
You have every right to this ^^^ because it is disrespectful. Chances are high that right now that doesn't mean anything to him, but when he gets past this round it gives you a starting place for how you want your relationship to work.
If he can't agree to those rules? Or he refuses to get help? Then you will have to decide if that's how you want your relationships to work or if you want to move on
 
s it ok if I ask him directly if it's PTSD via text while he is isolating?
Sorry - just saw this.
Nope
Because it's an unanswerable question
Now, after years of therapy, I get when my ptsd is kicking in and making me isolate
But before that? I wouldn't have been able to answer if that was the problem or if I just hated people, so asking me that would have just pissed me off. Because it's pointing out that I have ptsd - the very thing I'm running from
 
I'm a huge isolator so hubby and I had to set ground rules (when I was in a calm place)
The big one is....
My rule: I have to check in once a day if I take off and tell him where I am so he knows I'm ok
His rule: He has to leave me alone when I'm in that place.

He can't break thru the isolation - no matter how much he wants to help, because when I am in that place it's like my supporters just vanish. My brains are so undone that all I see is danger and darkness. I think that's the hardest part for supporters.
You cease to exist in my world

Now - with that being said. PTSD does not give us the right to treat people like crap,

You have every right to this ^^^ because it is disrespectful. Chances are high that right now that doesn't mean anything to him, but when he gets past this round it gives you a starting place for how you want your relationship to work.
If he can't agree to those rules? Or he refuses to get help? Then you will have to decide if that's how you want your relationships to work or if you want to move on
Thanks Freida, I would love to have a conversation with him how to face this together when it hits. but I still haven't got a chance to talk to him especially I don't even know if he will come back this time after I pushed him away by criticizing him hurting me even though I know not being unreasonable to feel that way. I will be patient and wait until he reaches out and try to speak him.

If it were me I would just literally ignore it. I'm isolating! LOL. But I was also very communicative and up front about my shit when I was with him. It was just the logistics of the reality of those things that wasn't sustainable.
Do you always come back to your partner after you feel better and how did you feel when you have come back after being away for a while?
 
Do you always come back to your partner after you feel better and how did you feel when you have come back after being away for a while?

I eventually broke up with him after recognizing my lack of capacity. (I also transitioned into being male & he was straight.) So that should answer that question. I don't have a good answer for this one.

Yes I did usually try to reach back out, but I found it exhausting because he would immediately react in a hurt manner. && I lacked the affective ability to appreciate his emotional needs (I "handled" him a lot) & knowing that if I came back I would have to do that, usually made it more challenging to come back.

So I would apologize and attempt to explain that it wasn't him, it was me. But he didn't believe me && la de da. For good reason, since I frequently vanished for days/weeks at a time. And if this reads as totally selfish, it's because it is. I shouldn't have been in a relationship with him because I wasn't comfortable with literally being near other people.
 
Is isolation common? Oh yeah. It’s a coping mechanism. You’re allowed to be irritated about it, and there is nothing wrong with telling him. Don’t start holding back your opinions and feelings this early on. You will never get that back.
thanks a lot, it's assuring and comforting :)
I eventually broke up with him after recognizing my lack of capacity. (I also transitioned into being male & he was straight.) So that should answer that question. I don't have a good answer for this one.

Yes I did usually try to reach back out, but I found it exhausting because he would immediately react in a hurt manner. && I lacked the affective ability to appreciate his emotional needs (I "handled" him a lot) & knowing that if I came back I would have to do that, usually made it more challenging to come back.

So I would apologize and attempt to explain that it wasn't him, it was me. But he didn't believe me && la de da. For good reason, since I frequently vanished for days/weeks at a time. And if this reads as totally selfish, it's because it is. I shouldn't have been in a relationship with him because I wasn't comfortable with literally being near other people.
I tried not to stress him in the past months because I understand the stress he needs to face with when he returns but without us managing to talk about it, I ended up became drained. I guess the only way to create a safe place is an honest conversation or it's all about timing.
 
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