Relationship Partner of 8 years suddenly "needs space" and accusing me of things.

That's a rough situation. It does seem that the suffer that is in a bad place in the relationship tends to lash out to the one that is closest to them and hurt them while trating everybody else fairly decently. I'd like to think that this happens because deep down they know that person is "safe" and loves them and that they even if they unleash and project their pent up rage on them that they won't get "hurt" by the other person. To me it seems like its not a conscious action though nut more of a subconcious action and my current issue not withstanding I have seen my wife in the past do similar things and then feel really bad about after the dust had settled. It's just hat at those times neither of us really understood what was happening.

As for your other questions, again going off my personal experience I dont think they sit and think about it becasue they tend to be very avoidant of anything negative. Probably a lot of the same reasons that my wife won't talk to me, or come by our home, or even respond to the pics I send her of her animals. I know those are most likely all triggers to push her even deeper into avoidance which is why I am trying now to just avoid "trying" anything with her.

If he ever needs somebody to talk to that is anonymous but also has that .mil background feel free to DM me for contact info. If I can help yall out in anyway I'd love to.
You partner might also have a high level of narcissistic tendencies (covert) which might also explain why it's hard for you to understand why he would do something like this (you don't understand because you're able to empathize)
The narccistic traits really intrigue me. My wife has a narcissttic father and 2 very narcisstics brothers and a sister and hates it. She has worried her whole life that she is like them but she isnt even close. I myself was in a relationship with a a woman with a sever case of NPD who seemed to get it from her mom. The traits between NPD and a PTSD when in a bad spot or triggered can be very confusing, but after all my research it seems that they come from 2 distinct places. Where as true NPD comes from a self serving interest the CPTSD traits that are like the NPD traits seem to come from a self protect aspect.
Becoming intimate with someone took a lot of trust and a lot out of me. Moving in with someone and making future plans with someone was a big step for me. To have him suddenly become mentally ill and discard me and throw me out of our home destroyed me, even if I can tell myself it's just because he's mentally ill. I can't see a future anymore where we live together or I'm able to put so much faith in him. I don't know what to do about that.
Like you're saying - someone's behavior being connected to their illness doesn't change the impact of the behavior. And it's very valid to factor in your own mental health management, when thinking about how much capacity you have for resilience when he's highly symptomatic.

I think it's pretty difficult for both people in the relationship to have significant mental health problems. Not to say it's impossible, b/c each situation is unique, of course.

But it's good to stay mindful of how it's very possible to sacrifice your well-being in order to support his.
I don't feel that my partner displays a lot of narcissistic traits, but he truly does seem to be exhibiting the typical patterns of someone who is suffering from cycling through PTSD related to combat trauma, which is something that he has been diagnosed with. People are flawed and I think everyone exhibits narcissistic traits and tendencies at times without it coming close to being an actual diagnosis of narcissism (though I do understand that NPD is more common in males who have been abused in childhood or have experienced combat trauma, so probably a lot of the supporters here have dealt with NPD). I've had points where I wondered if I was a narcissist and my long-term therapist started laughing and told me no, that wasn't the case at all for me, but I could see bits of me in the diagnostics of it at times. I think everyone can because everyone is self-absorbed and overly sensitive sometimes. My partner and I were together for 8 years and he was very doting, attentive, loving, and affectionate and he really built me up as a person and tried to spoil me most of the time. Neither of us were perfect because we do suffer from trauma and he did some things that hurt me, but I wouldn't ever say that overall that he was even a bad boyfriend, not even close. In fact, I still would love for him to call me up and apologize and say he'd like to go to couple's counseling so that we can get back on track (my secret, stupid little hope, even as I am so scared). He made me happy and it was the first time in my life where I felt really happy and connected to another person. I hadn't realized that I hadn't ever really been happy before until I met him and we started building a life together and things started making sense to me. One time when I was crying because I "miss the person I might have been if I hadn't been sex trafficked and I wonder who that person could have been," he started crying and told me, "You are perfect just the way that you are, and the way you are is what brought you to me and I wouldn't change a thing about you. It scares me when you talk about being someone else because the person that you are now is more than enough and you should be so proud of yourself and I am so proud of you." Fast forward to present day and him getting sick and almost everything changing and it's like he can barely see the real me at all and I just stress him out by existing because he is so numb and I am so emotional and he keeps hurting me and then feels even more stressed out and acts even worse because he can't figure out how to stop hurting me right now. I think he is someone who responds to trauma with the 'flight' and isolate response and I obviously always respond with the 'fawn' response as a people pleaser, though I am feeling really rundown right now and want to curl up into a ball and disappear, so maybe I'm flighting now too. He asked for space a couple weeks ago and I said I wanted to come home and that there "has to be some middle ground that we can find," and he suddenly softened and just looked really sad and told me, "But there isn't." Since then, I've been giving the space he asked for and I reply politely to his texts and check in on him to make sure he is still going to therapy and okay every once in a while. He really needs to be in therapy and on medication and I'm proud of him for sticking to those things. He keeps saying that he's doing what I asked him to do and he doesn't want to feel like this. I have to respect everything that he's asking for and everything that he is doing.

I have a lot of anxiety about doing too much or too little for him, simultaneously. He wants space, but I read that you should still be gently supportive and check in to make sure that they're still okay. I sent him a care package a couple weeks ago and it arrived on Monday, filled it with some journals, shower gel, and something sentimental, along with some toys and treats for our cats. I have been polite but detached when responding to his texts. So I haven't disappeared on him entirely and he did ask for space that I am mostly giving, so maybe I'm doing just enough and I should stop beating myself up so much.

In a way, it's been a relief that my partner wants space right now because I think I needed space to stop getting hurt so badly by everything that he says and feels right now. I'm dealing with a lot of my own depression and anxiety because my person suddenly turned into someone else and I don't know if he's ever coming back and I have so many of my own strong feelings right now because he has triggered my fears of abandonment and my own PTSD. It's been a really bad, hard week for me so far, just the way that I secretly feel inside and find it hard to move or motivate much at all. I'm used to being the person who takes care of people and everything and I just have no energy right now. I'm dealing with my cancer diagnosis and doctor's appointments on my own and I'm supposed to be moving in late May and now I have to do that by myself too and I no longer have any of the future that we had planned together or his help or support. It's just all a lot for me. I've been struggling with feeling suicidal again. At least in May I will be back living with my close family and I will have their support. I won't be alone. Hopefully he starts to pull out of his own depression and anxiety in time. The most awful thing is reading that sufferers pull out of these episodes "typically in a few weeks to several years." ...
Thank you for the video; it really explained a lot of my feelings in a concise way. It has bothered me that it has become almost trendy to call someone a narcissist nowadays and every person calls their ex a narcissist, but NPD is a real disorder that isn't all that common in the population. There's a big tendency to call someone like my partner a narcissist when they are actually suffering from a very real and serious other disorder and it's important not to blur those lines because they're separate illnesses that have to be treated differently and understood differently. I see the same thing happening with my secondary disorder - I have diagnosed dissociative identity disorder along with the CPTSD - and I see all the time there are people giggling about having multiple personalities and how they 'space out' as though they have the dissociation involved in DID, which really muddies the waters for those of us who actually do have the disorder and need understanding about our actual struggles. You have people pretending to have DID on places like Tiktok and it actually makes me ill because it's spreading misinformation about something that people like me actually have and it enforces to the general public that DID isn't a real thing; it's just something that teenagers pretend to have for attention. The reality of DID is that even the people closest to me usually can't tell when I've had a switch because it's a coping mechanism to keep me safe; it's not a theater performance. PTSD shouldn't be automatically conflated with NPD either.
TikTok has done more harm than good to the entire world in general IMO. I had researched a lot on the Narcistic traits with CPTSD because of being married to an NPD in the past and I was seeing a lot of the same issues come up with the recent setbacks and called her a narcissist out of anger and having flashbacks to my ex. I knew that wasn't her though so I went down that rabbit hole and got a lot of my answers I was looking for and explained to her why I felt the way I did and why her actions brought up the reactions from my past issues and tried to explain how they were coming from different places ( all to a wall of silence though). I can also definitely see the DID in her, in her mannerisms, syntax and actions. It makes it hard because I can see it from my perspective but that doesn't help her at all.
Like how long does an episode like this usually last in a person? This isolation period.
Hours. Days. Weeks. Months. Years.

Do they come back from it all of a sudden and want to act like nothing happened and go back to the relationship that they had before?

Is he going to isolate for so long that he just gets over me and moves on?
No way to even begin to guess, as the 2 of you haven’t gone through isolation as part of your relationship.

Does he actually feel bad for hurting me? Does he sit around thinking about what a mess he has made of our lives?
If so? It will take him a looooooot longer to stop isolating.

Guilt, shame, & pain don’t tend to be good motivators with PTSD. The opposite. Another hurdle to crawl over, rather than inspiring healthy/sane/normal actions.

What does he do while isolating? Try not to think of anything?
It could be he’s sitting on a mountain top, thinking of nothing, all zen & shit. Or it could be he’s white knuckling being suicidal 24/7; or he could be blowing off stress in whatever ways work best for him (healthy/unhealthy & everywhere in between); it could be he’s seemingly normal in X % of his life, restricting hardcore in Y %, whilst isolating from Z %; or it could be he’s changed absolutely everything in his life. Or, or, or.

It’s very much like the question of what does someone do when experiencing any other symptom? There will be trends, and groupings, but there’s no “this is what happens, to everyone” kind of commonality. VERY easy to say “that’s totally normal” once one sees what IS happening, but PTSD isn’t a personality disorder, and it functions in extremes (like fight/flight) so there tends to be a whoooooole lot of 180 degree different answers for different people. And that’s before personality and experience weighs in, ya know?

I just don't understand it because, while I have C-PTSD, I have never done something like this and couldn't imagine treating my partner this way...
When I am PERSONALLY exit-stage-left isolating from the people I love? It’s to protect them, primarily; the possibility of “us”, secondarily; and only lastly to improve my quality of life, but that is a factor. The whole stress-cup thing.

Because I not only CAN imagine doing far far far worse to them… than simply leaving… but I’ve done it.

I don’t isolate to protect their feeeeelings… I isolate to protect THEM. Because I don’t want to kill them. Or hurt them. And both of those things are split second loss-of-control.

Which, if you have PTSD, you get, at least on a certain level. As you’ve undoubtedly had a panic attack, or a nightmare, or cried for no reason, or been startled, or, or, or, or.

SPLIT SECOND loss of control?

Isn’t a big deal if you aren’t trained to kill, as fast as possible.

I’ve dated quite a few blokes who were better fighters than I am. That I can trust to throw my ass to the floor and physically restrain me, to the point of breaking bones or knocking me out if necessary… &/or …not mind a few sudden elbows to the face, as they block the throat punch, or knee break, or blinding, or weapon I’ve repurposed the nearest lamp -or whatever- into.

REAL fights? Not abusive assholes getting their rocks off, or movie-whatever, or friends/strangers throwing punches & barstools… only last seconds. People are craaaaaazy fragile. It’s extremely easy to kill -or maim for life- someone on accident.

I’m trained to kill. I have killed. And there is nooooooo way, on planet earth, that I am willing to hurt the people that I love. Much less kill them. If that means our relationship is over? Fine. It will hurt, but I’m okay with them being alive/healthy/happy in the world… rather than dead at my feet.

Other not-as-close relationships? People I don’t live with, and love, but merely interact with in brief sections of the day? I either don’t worry about keeping myself locked down around them, or the only reason I am around them is because I DGAF if they die. Which is not a pretty truth, but is still true.
Thank you so much for your post, @Friday, because I think that what you experience is probably similar to what my partner is experiencing based on his training, combat history and the things he has said to me. Your post made things make a lot more sense to me. When I was packing to leave, my partner started crying at one point and was not sure that he wanted me to go and I said I could stay for a few days to see how he felt and he told me no, because he's extremely angry after therapy and he didn't want to come home and hurt me, but he wanted to try to get better. I respect him so much for going to therapy even though he hates it and it's hard. He has also never wanted to go on medication and he is doing the intake process to see a psychiatrist to explore medication options. He told me he needs space, so I've only been replying to him texting me lately, but he is still texting me a couple times a week. I know that must be hard and I think we are both trying our best.

I get what you mean about the split second loss of control because I do that too, except I hurt myself, which really isn't anything better because I know seeing me all cut up, bruised, and stitched up has been painful and scary for my loved ones too. I take everything out on myself, and I'm someone who finds the endorphins and dopamine from the pain to be incredibly addictive when I am stressed, but I know that it still affects the people around me and that I've been suicidal and my loved ones worry about finding me dead some day.
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@LittlestBird Cha. I kind of bridge the gap between you two. I have combat PTSD. I’ve also been captured/imprisoned & tortured, have been raped hundreds of times across sooo many different circumstance, and was married an abusive POS for 11 years. It gets complicated in my head/heart, sometimes. But? My knee-jerk always reverts back to combat, prolly because that’s where lines were first drawn. When push comes to shove? That’s where my instincts just seem to hardline.
That is all so much to go through, Friday, and no one should have to go through any of it, much less so many compounded traumas. I really feel for you. And it seems like once we are traumatized, we just become a magnet for more abusers who see our vulnerability from a mile away, so it's so hard to trust anyone. I know very well what it feels like to be trapped, tortured and sexually assaulted. I had to stop watching The Handmaid's Tale because I felt like it really captured some of the deeper sentiments and issues that I felt during the time that I was held captive. Watching the main character, June, flip between trying to be pleasing to get things from her abusers and captors to just absolutely losing it and trying to tear down everything and everyone around her... I watched the show with other people and a lot of them couldn't figure out why she couldn't "just play nice" to get what she wanted or to keep calm and escape and I was like, "I get it. The human spirit just cannot stand being treated that way. I did the exact same things. I'd make a plan, I'd be manipulating my captors and getting extra special treatment, and then everything in me would rebel and I'd be fighting and angry and attacking. I couldn't stay calm and focused for an extended period of time." Plus, I have dissociative identity disorder, so I'd be flip flopping so much when I was stressed. I even had moments where I knew I could escape and things finally lined up and I froze from the agoraphobia and not knowing what or who was on the other side of a door or if they'd bring me back and I'd be in even more trouble. I still, to this day, can't walk through doors or around a corner by myself when I don't know what's on the other side. I'm terrified of spaces where I might be out of control or surprised or have to interact with strangers who might be unsafe. I can do a lot when I'm with someone who I trust and love, which my therapist says is me using that person as a secure base to revolve around in new spaces without having to actually assess the new space or deal with it mentally or emotionally, but I can't do a whole lot on my own (as far as leaving my own home). The only time I conquered that in any way was when I flew by myself to visit my partner and return to our home, and that was me getting to a secure place and I couldn't have more than a 45 minute layover or I'd start dissociating and need assistance, but it was still a big step for me as a person. I know I couldn't do that right now with how I'm feeling again. I wouldn't even make it into the airport, much less through it.

Losing my partner was a big loss of a secure attachment for me and a loss of a 'safe base' and it also really messed me up because I realized someone can love me and tell me that I'm their whole world and best friend for 8 years and get me to open up to them and rely on them and then, bam, I'm nothing to them and everything is different even though I didn't do anything wrong. I had trust issues to begin with. I know rationally that it isn't his fault, but I have a hard time controlling the itchy feeling inside of me that is laughing at me and telling me that he tricked me and no one will ever really love me and I'm an idiot for letting someone get so close to me and letting myself love them so much. I keep thinking that even if he gets well and wants to get back together, I don't think that I can go back to our house and I am not sure that I can be okay. As I moved all of my/our stuff out and as he pushed me away, the house seemed very scary, unsafe, and unfamiliar to me, and so does he. I don't even know that I will ever actually get over him looking at me so coldly and telling me that he feels nothing for me and he sees me crying and scared and just can't make himself care. The thought of being around someone that I loved and trusted to care for me and knowing that they can turn on me like that... it all really triggered a lot in me because I was sex trafficked and abused by my own half-brother and half-sister. I looked at my partner and felt the same sick, sinking feeling of "but you were supposed to love me and protect me; I belong to you; I loved and trusted you; how could I have been so wrong and so stupid." Sometimes what scares me more than wondering if my partner is going to come back from everything is wondering if I will be able to come back from it.