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

D-sweet

Learning
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
 

D-sweet

Learning
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 also want to ask if you would communicate with other people (less important) during the time you stopped talking to your love ones?
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
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?
So far yes. When I come back I feel fine, like there was never a problem. Think of it as an on and off switch. I'm either isolating or I'm not. There really isn't a middle ground
I also want to ask if you would communicate with other people (less important) during the time you stopped talking to your love ones?
Ah yes...the question that makes all supporters nuts ☺️

Many of us can have perfectly normal conversations with friends and co workers while isolating from our loved ones. Because they are safe. There's no expectations, no pressure, no one bugging us about "how we feel." We can keep them at a distance without worrying they are going to have an issue with it.
Its just easier.
 

D-sweet

Learning
So far yes. When I come back I feel fine, like there was never a problem. Think of it as an on and off switch. I'm either isolating or I'm not. There really isn't a middle ground

Ah yes...the question that makes all supporters nuts ☺️

Many of us can have perfectly normal conversations with friends and co workers while isolating from our loved ones. Because they are safe. There's no expectations, no pressure, no one bugging us about "how we feel." We can keep them at a distance without worrying they are going to have an issue with it.
Its just easier.
Is there anything I can possibly do to make him feel less stress from handling me while he switched off? Thanks again for your reply :) they are really helpful
 
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Sweetpea76

Moderator
Is there anything I can possibly do to make him feel less stress from handling me while he switched off?

Ok. I’m an actual supporter dealing with this from the same side. My partner is an isolator too, and that shit is for the birds in the beginning. Don’t try to make sense of it, it does not make sense to anybody but him. You have to deal with it pragmatically instead of trying to “talk it out” or reason with him. In his mind it’s rational behavior, the end.

Deciding if you are ok with isolation periods is the first step. What are your boundaries and feelings? How long is isolation acceptable to you? Are you willing to put up with this nonsense forever? Communicate your boundaries and feelings when he is in a good place. Learn his boundaries. If after all this, you both mutually decide you are ok with all this in your relationship, then you can move to the next steps.

We can’t help, and we can’t fix. Realizing that is the second step to managing this. The more you seek answers and engagement from him, the more stress you cause. If he is in survival mode he is not going to manage deep relationship talks. He can’t manage his own feelings, he’s not going to deal with yours.

Third, you’ll need to relax. This is not about you. This is about him not being able to cope. Stop taking it personally. We’re focused on our relationship. They’re trying not to drown.

Fourth, start considering giving space a loving act. He needs space to feel better, and giving him space without taking it personally, worrying about what it “means for the relationship”, or making it an issue is helping him get the space he needs without piling onto the stress pile he already cannot manage.

This has zero to do with how he feels about you. The easiest thing in the world would be for him to bugger off all together. The fact he does come back means more than you think.
 

D-sweet

Learning
Ok. I’m an actual supporter dealing with this from the same side. My partner is an isolator too, and that shit is for the birds in the beginning. Don’t try to make sense of it, it does not make sense to anybody but him. You have to deal with it pragmatically instead of trying to “talk it out” or reason with him. In his mind it’s rational behavior, the end.

Deciding if you are ok with isolation periods is the first step. What are your boundaries and feelings? How long is isolation acceptable to you? Are you willing to put up with this nonsense forever? Communicate your boundaries and feelings when he is in a good place. Learn his boundaries. If after all this, you both mutually decide you are ok with all this in your relationship, then you can move to the next steps.

We can’t help, and we can’t fix. Realizing that is the second step to managing this. The more you seek answers and engagement from him, the more stress you cause. If he is in survival mode he is not going to manage deep relationship talks. He can’t manage his own feelings, he’s not going to deal with yours.

Third, you’ll need to relax. This is not about you. This is about him not being able to cope. Stop taking it personally. We’re focused on our relationship. They’re trying not to drown.

Fourth, start considering giving space a loving act. He needs space to feel better, and giving him space without taking it personally, worrying about what it “means for the relationship”, or making it an issue is helping him get the space he needs without piling onto the stress pile he already cannot manage.

This has zero to do with how he feels about you. The easiest thing in the world would be for him to bugger off all together. The fact he does come back means more than you think.
thanks @Sweetpea76 , your sharing is really helpful. I will try to relax and not to take it personally though I still can't fully let go of the feeling of "shutting the door" when I felt disrespected.

Is your partner aware of all these? How long have you been in this situation and has is been improved somehow?
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
Could you please tell me more why it is?
from my side? I think it means that I know my person is "safe" so I want to come back to them. It's kind of hard to explain but it means that they understand this is me. The real me. The one who is going to take off periodically, be a huge raving bitch once in a while, not always be able to control the monster in my brain all the time. They accept me as me and I know they can handle life with ptsd.
But it doesn't mean that someone waited for me to come back normal. Better yes. Normal never.

Ugh I know I'm not explaining it well 🥺

Hopefully one of the supporters can verbalize it better from their side... @Sweetpea76 ?
 

D-sweet

Learning
Thanks @Freida your sharing is always helpful and i could understand what you mean.

He always sees me as a safe person however i am not sure how he feels after i shut the door on me. Do you have any advices how i can be a safe person if he ever comes back?
 

Freida

MyPTSD Pro
Do you have any advices how i can be a safe person if he ever comes back?
So I've thought a bunch about this and was trying to figure out what makes my people safe and I really don't have an answer. They just - are.

I think it's a lot of trial and error and it's really based in how ptsd manifests in each person?

I know that's a totally lame ass answer 🥺
But I'll keep thinking.....
 
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