New relationship triggering old feelings

sunshine1979

New Here
Howdy... I was in an emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive relationship for almost two decades. I have been free since March 2020 and recently started dating someone. We are both high functioning professionals with tons of love for life, family and friends and we are both super positive and joyful people. He is gentle, kind and also was in an emotionally abusive relationship with his ex. I did tons of healing while single, but now that I am in a relationship I have this pattern developing where I am constantly scanning conversations, texts, calls, etc for signs of conflict so I can resolve them before they happen. There have been two times where I have had panic attacks or triggered PTSD when we are talking about something that would have triggered a fight for my previous spouse. My boyfriend is calm, cool and so loving... and isn't upset about anything, but I break down in tears and revert to my unhealthy ways of apologizing and trying to fix the problem... but there is no actual problem. He thinks I am upset with him and I am not, but he is starting to pull away and I am pretty sure I have ruined what was the best thing that has ever happened to me. Help me please, I am desperate to know what to do.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hiya @sunshine1979, welcome to the site. It might be helpful to stop catastrophising the situation. Like saying that you believe your actions are ruining the relationship. No one and no relationships are ever up and perfect 100% of the time. People have moods and memories.

Can you just say to your boyfriend "I'm sorry, I'm feeling a bit like this at the moment", or "I'm a bit worried at the moment". Communication is key.
 

Defaultxlove

MyPTSD Pro
Oh how gut wrenching!

I would step back, and address your symptoms, and possibly seek counseling if you aren't. That's all I wanted my husband to do when he would pull away from me due to his ptsd from his mom, just take care of yourself right now.

Maybe he needs time to understand what you're saying too. If he had an emotionally abusive ex, he may feel messed with. Or not at all.

You can ask him what he thinks about everything going on once you're calm.

A good man will wait til you're ready for whatever it is.

Hugs. Try and breathe a lot and self love a lot right now.
 

sunshine1979

New Here
Hiya @sunshine1979, welcome to the site. It might be helpful to stop catastrophising the situation. Like saying that you believe your actions are ruining the relationship. No one and no relationships are ever up and perfect 100% of the time. People have moods and memories.

Can you just say to your boyfriend "I'm sorry, I'm feeling a bit like this at the moment", or "I'm a bit worried at the moment". Communication is key.
Thank you for your response... I didn't even realize how dramatic I am about things until this had started happening. I was told for years that I was the problem, so me ruining things is my go to line in my head. I do think you're right though... I need to calm down and not act like that. Want to learn how to do that.

Those would be helpful lines, I did tell him that I was confused and wasn't sure what was happening either, that this is new for me and needed to be able to figure it out... He lovingly took some space and gave me time to deal with it. I believe it was also him setting boundaries for himself, which is why I kind of freaked out. Going to let it go and relax

Oh how gut wrenching!

I would step back, and address your symptoms, and possibly seek counseling if you aren't. That's all I wanted my husband to do when he would pull away from me due to his ptsd from his mom, just take care of yourself right now.

Maybe he needs time to understand what you're saying too. If he had an emotionally abusive ex, he may feel messed with. Or not at all.

You can ask him what he thinks about everything going on once you're calm.

A good man will wait til you're ready for whatever it is.

Hugs. Try and breathe a lot and self love a lot right now.
Thank you for the reply... you are spot on, he was seeing things through his understanding of how he's been treated and so was I, so it was scary! Trying to repair the damage today, but it might not work out that well. He is pretty reserved and quiet. Gonna take some deep breaths and try some self care like you suggested.
 

sleeveheart

New Here
I get very anxious as well at any anticipated (or real) conflict) with an intimate partner.
It was good to know that we can relate :)
I feel very out of control when my partner/the person I am dating doesn't respond in ways I feel safe when there is a conflict.

One of the biggest triggers is when he shuts down or builds a wall.
It's hard for this to register in your brain when you're emotionally hijacked, but
when it's safe to do so, it's possible to remind yourself that he may not be responding that way because of you.
As in, it's not your fault.
This will take time to internalize.
In the meantime, I'll be honest- it's going to feel like shit (conflicts feel that way, especially because of past emotional abuse).

At those moments, it might help to recognize that your rational brain has checked out.
I've found that when I recognize how out of control I feel, and my nervous system has been hijacked,
I do feel a real sense of shame. It's hard for that shame to not feel so endless when it's related to your partner,
a person that you look to get your needs met.

I hope that you have some coping tools available to you.

When I'm in the thick of it, breath-work is often the last thing I can seem to do. Sometimes lying down, and doing an activity
that doesn't require so much thinking might help. I follow only therapists on Instagram, and just scrolling through their posts helps me
feel regulated. It's useful when you don't have family or friends or trusted support immediately available.

Once I get out of freeze mode, I try to recognize my needs- am I hungry? Sleepy? Need to go to the bathroom? Have the energy to take a walk?

It's important to take as much time as you need.

I hope this helps. Sending hugs :)
 
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