Relationship Please help. Im at a loss - she makes me the target

GrayOwl

MyPTSD Pro
Enabling and complicity w/bad behavior don't seem to have any positive place in recoveries or relationships.
You seem to be asking for advice with both.
She needs to be willing to seek help. And you should not enable bad behavior or actions.
There are certainly many many positive routes. It seems that she has the GPS programmed.
And you're not getting any input in where the relationship goes.
I agree with everyone else. Wholeheartedly.

Keep searching and working on you. Hopefully she will find some tools and work on herself.
Unfortunately, many humans learn through pain and loss - not by listening. You can't force her to change anything.
Plant the seeds. Hopefully she can nurture them into recovery. And maybe a relationship.
If not.....reread the last two sentences from nursenurse right above.
My wishes for good direction and serenity to you as well.
 

SirRaabit

New Here
Universally everyone seems to be on the same page. Thank you everyone for the support and feed back. Perhaps stupidly I felt obligated to be here for her on what is deemed the most traumatic day of the year. She's been tossing and turning having nightmares all night, I stayed up comforting her the best I could, I was having my own struggles as well. Rubbing her shoulders or feet when she whimpered from an invasive thought. She had been flipping back and forth since 7, moaning, sitting up, back to snoring. I was doing my best to do the things that help her relax and sleep. The dog was whining at the door. Her kids were getting more restless. I left to let the dog out to pee and I brought back coffee at 9. I sat the coffee down and sat down at the foot of the bed. She moaned and flipped once more. I began rubbing her feet once more and all hell broke lose.

I'm now the monster that woke her up. I had been woken up by her nightmares at 4. She medicated and went back to sleep. I laid there with my thoughts in the dark till I began having panic attacks. I made a cot in the floor to not bother her. I sat in the dark quietly hyperventilating and trying not to cry too loudly for 2 hours in the dark till I got it mostly under control. I wanted her comfort so bad. I felt like I needed it. I laid in the floor begging in my head for help. But some of the things you guys said played in my head. It's not her responsibility to make me feel better. It's my trauma. She had a symptom (the nightmare) that woke me up. That was her condition. I had a symptom (my panic attacks) that is my condition to deal with.

I'm writing to see if it gives her time to moderate like many of you suggested. This is probably a little ranty but my therapist has suggested that I write down the situations surrounding my attacks and this seemed relevant. I don't know how to let her go. I don't want to let her go. Ive had severe depression for over 35 years. I have questioned if I've ever been happy or if I've just had periods of being content. She answered that question. She brings a light in me I've never experienced. But all of those things don't change or excuse the rest. When do the benefits stop being enough? Does it always escalate or if I can tolerate this much is there a chance this is as bad as it gets?

I realize this isn't PTSD specific at this point so if the thread needs to be closed I understand. I just feel helpless and needed a moment to vent.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
During months I had my partner going to me and then leaving. I hate you / you're my angel sort of thing. I managed to get through despite it being super uncomfortable, he made a point sleeping on the floor telling me it was the last time I'd see him and then in the morning, systematically he'd come at me crying and saying he was sorry, then tell me all about his past traumatic experiences. Then I'd go make some coffee or tea and he'd go make breakfast. It all was very exhausting and while in the beginning I really did believe well, okay this is over now, then I knew he would flip back and from there you never know. In my case domestic violence started to dwell in that too, it was very insidious. But even without anyone being physically hurt, this Schrödinger state in a relationship is really hard to bear. It triggers you to do anything and I know this begging space only too well. I do maintain that despite the madness of that relationship there was genuine shared love and interest, but it all went so south and abusive on his part that love becomes a spec in a thousand other problems and ultimately it doesn't help you solve anything, perhaps even the reverse. When you move someone madly, you're so scared of losing them that you aren't going to take the decision that would help BOTH of you the most. You'll take the decision that will maintain that person close to you, right here, right now, and perhaps at the cost of being harrassing or accepting to be harrassed. An actual physical fight has closer contact than being ignored. If on the top of it both parties tend to respond in that way and are never capable of de escalating in ways that are reassuring (going out mad af and coming back drunk doesn't count), then you're set for a deadly spiral of at the very least, heavy emotional abuse or distress.

However in your defence even perfectly normal healthy driven caring loving well bred with milk white bread and honey people do lose their hair when in contact with people with unmanaged BPD. It's just terrible and scary, even for folks with mild moderate forms, it's at best very distabilizing.

I myself did suffer from symptoms very close to BPD back in time. I'd start to accumulate anger and paranoia and would make a fuss against my partner, at midnight precisely, I think now I know why. And I'd ask, why do you love me, this is impossible, actually you don't care, here are the proofs a, b, c, omega and aleph. If he engaged it would clearly escalate in a fight, which happened a few times until he got that the only response possible despite wanting to help me is to ignore it, which has made me suffer climbing on the walls and hitting my head against it. It was the last thing I wanted but it did extinguish the behaviour because I never got any attention in that way. As a collateral effect the relationship also extinguished because I felt disconnected. However what could have he done differently? And he was a guy double of my weight, much older, with placidity, gentleness, experience. All the other boyfriends did run to the hills the first time they saw the beginning of the attitude I described before. I don't blame them.

But what did I do? I just tried to get a grip on that. I don't find acceptable to do that and I see it's counter productive. I started to design alternatives. At least I had the lucidity to understand it wasn't okay, not even because my feeling was inherently wrong but because I'd never get what I want or need by doing that. I can't fight myself or fight ghosts in the dark and hit the person next to me as a casualty of that stupid battle.

But would have been with someone fragile, that could have turned into a horror show. I know it. I can sense it. And at a certain point in my life, it did and I'm not happy of it. This is a lightbulb moment that happened before I knew anything about BPD or PTSD or at least wasn't considering it was something I was susceptible to have, but I just decided that was incorrect and it was crucial in changing my attitude. Until it was so challenged with my violent ex that it came back angrier than ever.

As a lesson: if you can't manage yourself, don't stay close to people who can't manage themselves. Being next to a trigger machine is going to overwhelm you. Even if things aren't your fault, yes you enable them to keep happening because you think at some point something will change. But only you can change. And it's not cool to change to fit someone else's pathologies. You'd just lose yourself in that and all that it brings is pain and self disgust because you start to think you're such a mop. I've been there. I've been begging love and mercy to someone literally throwing me against a wall, the nose bleeding. Not exactly the best self image available. BPD also causes "fleas" as you mirror the behaviour to survive the behaviour. Not good neither.

Honestly I'd make a stop and take time to think before the carousel of what I call unpredictable reward system is truly engaged. It pushes you to try harder and harder because you don't know the outcome, nothing else really exists, you're focused on an impossible task and the rest of your life starts to dwindle too. You don't need physical violence for it to become super harmful. It's not going to happen in one single time to pull out, but you have to do it. When you're alone you can gather your thoughts back. Peace. Not depending on someone else's ultra volatile moods.
 

SirRaabit

New Here
Is there any threads or suggested resources for bringing up these subjects? When I'm not in the middle of my own mental health ( or perhaps because of it) I'm hyper rational and literal which drives her nuts in general and goes very poorly in an episode. As I've said when I try to lay things out in cause and effect or when you did this I felt this way explanations I met with claims of victim blaming. I think she wants help. She pushed me to go down this research hole of PTSD but I don't know that she is going to like what I have to say. She often goes to extremes, If I say we need better time boundaries she's going to hear I don't want to spend time with her. I've already looked a little into local couples therapy. Any other suggestions? Are average couple therapist equipped to even deal with a situation like this?
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
Bringing up what subjects?

If you need comfort, sympathy, and affection, good luck getting that from a symptomatic PTSD partner. It’s not going to happen.

You have to be realistic about what you need from a relationship. “I need them” isn’t realistic, it’s codependent. Stop and think... am I happy and healthy being with them? Can I live the rest of my life feeling like I do now? Is this good for my own mental health?

You’re not helping her by staying around to rub her feet and get yelled at. A relationship only works if both people are healthy enough to participate in it. How is she participating in the relationship?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I agree with @Sweetpea76
But....you got to make decisions you are happy with.

I don't know what started your gf's PTSD. But if someone tried to massage my feet when I'm triggered: I would yell at them too. Did she say this is something that helps when she is triggered? If she did, does she say she wants you to do it or did you assume it would work as it worked a time before?

I understand how hard it is to express your needs to another when they are in a bad place. But: if in a relationship you can't get support from a partner when you need it, you have to ask yourself what your limits and boundaries are. If she can't do that for you, then being in this relationship the way it is means accepting that?

I'm sorry you are in this position. I still think: 7 months in is meant to be fun.
Couples therapy at 7 months, whilst great you are open to it, beggars the question about longviety.
How do you see this relationship in 5, or 10 or 15 years? And are you basing that on hope or on evidence?
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Yep, I also think at 7 months you should at least having fun most of the time. I understand that once you land in a supporter’s forum, it’s because it’s not being fun. And you aren’t here to describe the nice moments. If she’s been diagnosed with BPD, it’s not a matter of couple’s therapy. It’s a matter of HER therapy. And perhaps yours too for codependency. I’d suggest you two start therapy on an individual basis and stick to it. Keep your therapy spot for yourself, not mixed up with that person.

PTSD/BPD might well blame you whether you want to spend time with them (you’re being sticky) or not (you don’t love them). I did that quite a lot myself. So, just don’t change what YOU want and find out what you want, what you like, what you don’t like, what you concede, what you’ll never accept and will make you leave at least for a few days. Boundaries don’t work if you can’t enforce them. For each crossing, there is a readjustment and frankly, for some of them being disengagement. She might (and probably will) understand that like a petty retaliation against her without seeing that if you don’t do this, stating boundaries doesn’t make any sense.

I know it doesn’t make sense neither to talk you out of this relationship. I didn’t listen to that kind of advice and I know the hope, the love, how much you want it to work against all odds. And it’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Codependency sounds super awful and it’s not a nice label. But it doesn’t mean you haven’t courage or strength.

BUT keep close to your friends. Talk about your struggles. Seek therapy for yourself, do things you enjoy. Do things that strengthen you, that don’t weaken you. Form a place where you do exist and don’t lose yourself in someone else’s struggles. Being supportive doesn’t mean to endure. And the only way you truly can help her is to be absolutely clear on what you want and how. With the acceptance towards the other person’s quirks and limitations but not in that all-forgiving, dramatic and strenuous fashion. For doing that you have to be clear with yourself too and that’s difficult.

And in any case, admit your own limitation in this. My ex did literally asked me to help him seek for therapy. The first day a crisis of magnitude happened, I said I didn’t want to see his face again before he came back with a paper stating he was on a waiting list. Which he did. But each step of the way he managed to forget his appointments, loose a document, a zillion problems before getting into it. Another time I said either you go to the ER NOW either you never see me again and I mean it. He’s got intervention with immediate follow-up which was a miracle given how that hospital was packed. The team was ready to have him as an impatient because his case looked that bad. He still managed not to get there.

I had a mandate to find it out. I read all I could about BPD and eventually landed on PTSD, CPTSD and reached… here! Which I don’t regret! Now I don’t have my ex but I have this forum! Please feel at least welcome here 🤗 Perhaps we forgot the most important!

If cost management is something she has in mind, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy books are easily available. (This one is really good for being comprehensive, progressive and not requiring you to be in a group to start it: "The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation & Distress Tolerance". It doesn’t replace therapy but as a start, it’s better than nothing.) They’re quite inexpensive on epub formats or even hard copy. There are also DBT groups online that generally aren’t covered by insurances but offer the advantage to be inexpensive compared to individual sessions with a therapist, but it’s heavy to implement. There is also a website called DBT tools or something alike which summarizes the DBT skills in a concise way, but it hasn’t the density of a proper workbook and isn’t very clear if you aren’t familiar with it beforehand.

There is also the YouTube channel of Dr. Fox (I’m not inventing…) who explores BPD giving tips to manage it and while I have certain reserves on certain aspects, he’s got a very encouraging, non-dismissive way to consider the problem and promote behavioural change. There also is a workbook he’s designed for sufferers and full of methods to understand oneself, manage and/or extinguish problematic behaviour. I did it for myself and I think it’s a great resource to anyone suffering from recurring problematic patterns of behaviour, BPD or not.

For supporters, there is a subreddit called BPDPartners that is very supportive to the partners trying to stick to the relationship. Another called BPDLovedOnes that is more supportive of the moment you’re wanting to depart the relationship, unfortunately it’s full of misinformation and also of raging people so it’s quite strenuous to read. On books for supporters, there is the very classic "Loving Someone With BPD". It’s very well written, it’s full of insight but at times it’s irritating because it’s so full of compassion with the sufferers that it seems to forget that yourself are quite going through a hell, even if there are moments that are validating because you can tell you aren’t the only one experiencing it.

All these are, in my sincere year of research, the best resources I think one can find regarding BPD apart from physical, committed, sustained therapy. And don’t forget that you aren’t her therapist. What I found on the web, my ex could perfectly find it by himself. But he didn’t because he still was ambivalent towards it. The fear of finding out what’s wrong with you in PTSD/BPD can really be something. I am ready to confront my old demons now but I spent years first thinking there was no problem at all, then considering that I might have a few problems, then thinking that was how it was in life in general, then facing really hard issues to understand that nope, the way I am now is impossible to sustain, … and that’s only the beginning. Of course everyone has phases like this, but with this family of mental health issues, the reality of it you can really touch.

Sorry for the wall of text. I just hope this helps you to see things more clearly for yourself and take your best decision. For yourself and nobody else.
 

EvenStrongerNow

MyPTSD Pro
I hope that you will spend some time thinking about how you were raised by a Narcissistic mother and then think about how this dynamic might be playing out in your current relationship. You mentioned your father and how you hunkered down, but I notice that you haven't assessed the relationship to see if anything bares resemblance to your Narcissistic mother. It is so awful what you are going through. Please take care of yourself. You are worthy of love. Of proper love. This is not it.
 

SirRaabit

New Here
Yes I link my childhood trauma and my mother's behavior with my girlfriends behaviors. It's that realization and the feelings involved that pushed me to my edge. Vocalizing that and the places fighting in that manner was taking me was one of the first times I was accused of blaming her for her condition when I was in reality only sharing how her actions were effecting my mental state.
 

SirRaabit

New Here
I left this morning, well kicked out. Packed all my things. Same things, the catalyst was missing a tub of chicken salad to go in the refrigerator last night. I came home from the store, made dinner, put up the other refrigerator items, got kids fed and ready for bed. She was taking a bath because she wasn't feeling well. So when the chicken was found this morning it was a melt down. My relationship ending over a fight about 3 dollars sandwich fillers is a new experience. I hope I'm strong enough to steel my resolve. My anger is starting to wain and sorrow is creeping in. How do you break the cycle when an other person has this much control over you?
 
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