General Ptsd boyfriend constantly breaks up with me - is something else going on?

RavenK

New Here
I’ve been friends with and dated a retired marine; Honorably discharges due to a head wound, for about a year on and off and in that time he’s either decided to cut me off or break up with me a handful of times. And alway comes back. He told me when we first met he had ptsd and I understood that because I suffer with depression and anxiety myself.

So I never shut him out because he was mentally ill. I knew the basics about ptsd. The anxiety, the flashbacks, and that they push people away due to the disorder, but he pushes me away or gets upset with me if I say or do something that makes me feel like I don’t want to be bothered with him or like he’s not the focus of my attention.

Say if I don’t answer his many phone calls. Or if I don’t call him on my lunch break from work, which I regularly do if he’s awake. It’s like a switch was flipped and he goes from this grown man to this needy toddler with separation anxiety. Which isn’t the problem in itself. It’s that he lies about the real issue. Instead of admitting that he feels neglected, he fabricates another reason to be upset with me and lash out at me to make me feel hurt because I hurt him. He immediately goes into this manner of thinking that just because I did one thing that upsets, everything else is bad too. Like he just focuses on this one specific event that hurt him, even though we’ve had plenty of happy times together. It’s like the relationship just has to be the way he pictures it or it’s no good.

So we break up, I’m hurting and he’s just cold as ice to me.

But he’s calling me afterwards like nothing happens. Like if you just broke up with me, I’m upset. I don’t want to talk to you. I try to talk to him anyway because I know it won’t last and I know it’s not him, it’s his disorder. But even after the break up, he’s still telling me things to deliberately hurt me. As if he’s trying to get back at me for hurting him, which I never intentionally try to do.

If I ignore his calls, he eventually comes running back to me like some child that’s been spectated from their mother too long, and wants to be especially affectionate with me. It’s like two sides of him. I’ve recently read that PTSD sometimes be comorbid with NPD or BPD and I wonder could be suffering from one these and what I’m seeing and dealing with is the subtle manipulation they use to keep you around?? I’ll admit, he comes off as very narcissistic. When it comes to him protecting his feelings, he couldn’t care less about anyone else’s. But when he has this episodes, they seem to always stem from him feeling neglected or he’s not getting the attention he wants.

Can anyone share experiences with either a narcissistic or bpd pwPTSD? And what would be the best way to encourage him to get some help without making him think somethings wrong with him?
 
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Friday

Moderator
I’ve recently read that PTSD sometimes be comorbid with NPD or BPD and I wonder could be suffering from one these and what I’m seeing and dealing with is the subtle manipulation they use to keep you around??
Just to be super clear... I’m not saying your beau doesn’t also have a personality disorder, I don’t know the man, and am just a chick on the Internet not someone qualified to DDX; but even if I did AND I were qualified to diagnose? (which gets tricky as hell, PTSD can -to the best of my knowledge- be comorbid with any disorder, and comorbid disorders alter the expression of both shared & disparate symptoms). Personality Disorders are the BigBadVooDooPapa, WhiteWhale, of disorders. They’re rare. The odds alone say your Beau probably doesn’t have one... especially as everything you describe is totally normal for PTSD. Yep. Totally normal.

PTSD is a selfish disorder. It’s quite possibly the most selfish disorder I can think of. Because (in part) that’s just how survival mode works. Everything else falls away. There’s no future. No past. It’s just NOW, this moment, and whatever this moment entails. That just effing works in a life or death situation, but it doesn’t work well in normal life. How people handle that (like with so much with PTSD) largely comes down to personality + experience... so there is huge variation even in a single person’s own life, at different points in their lives or in different situations, much less the whole durn taste the rainbow of people with PTSD. And that’s also before looking at the other symptoms in the constellation that express as selfishness, or are not an expression but a coping mechanism, or appear to be selfishness to others (similar to how people wih anxiety disorders are often mistaken to be stuck-up & “too good for” & aloof & disrespectful... because other people are misreading why they’re being cancelled on, or their invitations turned down, or the person keeps making excuses to be elsewhere, or leaves early). So others fill in the blanks with their own misinterpretation. Or, one worse, don’t realize that anxiety can express in different ways, so even if they’ve been told it’s anxiety? Or are familiar up to their eyeballs with one version have never even heard of -much less seen/experienced- this other eleventy versions... Decide it’s actually ____fill in the blank___.

So looking at NPD or narcisstic traits to explain the selfishness of his behaviors? Would be like slapping an NPD -or traits- Dx on people who are suicidal, or blinded by grief, or rage, or laying in bed for months with depression, having a panic attack (with no regard for the people around them, how rude!), giving birth, puking in the toilet or out a window, in “the zone” playing a sport or piece of music, and a thousand other examples of selfishness that are already easily -and better- explained by what else is going on with them.

Everything you listed out? Is just super common with a lot of people with PTSD.
 
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Friday

Moderator
Bottom Line

Are you okay with being treated this way?

No right or wrong answer.

- Some people are totally fine with the breaking up and getting back together Schtick, or even prefer it. Others cannot -or will not- tolerate it at all. (That me, by the by! Whilst I often remain friends with my exes, and have even had times in my life where that’s how I made friends, once we break up? That’s it. Done. Finis.) Others have some degree of tolerance, they’ll get back together once or twenty times, or if it’s handled this way or that way it’s some degree of okay, but end things for good when their hard limits get crossed.

- Some people like cocky men (me!). Some people like arrogant men (not me!). Some people cannot or will not tolerate either, or are fine up until here (soft limit) but not here (hard limit). Personally, I tend to relax & enjoy a lot of narcissistic people, because of the degree of honesty involved when someone DGAF what others think/feel, but remain true to themselves. Which is a totally different reaction than I have to cocky men <hell yeah!> arrogant men <yawn, you’re boring, go away> AND totally different from my reaction to petty cruelty found far more often in traits and no disorder whatsoever. IE zero tolerance / that hard limit, again. Where’s the line between any of these things? Wherever I put it. Because they’re my own preferences.

et cetera.

Personal preference? Is just that. How do you want to live your life, and what kind of people do you want to bring into it? Some of the things you need/want in your life will be the opposite of me, or the person standing next to me. Does he treat you the way you want your lovers or friends to treat you? Is this how you want to be living your life? Is this a tiny blip of a problem in an amazing relationship or a BFD?
 
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Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I second what @Friday has said. You need to question what you will tolerate in your life. Is this relationship healthy and having a positive affect in your life? Does it bring you happiness? Maybe you need to set clear boundaries about what you will and will not tolerate, rather than playing this on/off game all the time. It sounds exhausting really. Best wishes S3 🙂.
 

RavenK

New Here
Sounds like some "black and white thinking" and some "love bombing" going on there. My father is a narcissist he does those behaviors. 😒
yes he’s good for black and white thinking. If I do something that he doesn’t like or say something he doesn’t like. BAM. He breaks up with. Says I’ll never change. I’m the villain. Because I did something that hurt him. There’s been times I’ve asked him if he could not wear so much cologne when he comes to my apartment. Because he practically bathes in the whole bottle. His response will just be “okay I won’t come over anymore.”
 

RavenK

New Here
Just to be super clear... I’m not saying your beau doesn’t also have a personality disorder, I don’t know the man, and am just a chick on the Internet not someone qualified to DDX; but even if I did AND I were qualified to diagnose? (which gets tricky as hell, PTSD can -to the best of my knowledge- be comorbid with any disorder, and comorbid disorders alter the expression of both shared & disparate symptoms). Personality Disorders are the BigBadVooDooPapa, WhiteWhale, of disorders. They’re rare. The odds alone say your Beau probably doesn’t have one... especially as everything you describe is totally normal for PTSD. Yep. Totally normal.

PTSD is a selfish disorder. It’s quite possibly the most selfish disorder I can think of. Because (in part) that’s just how survival mode works. Everything else falls away. There’s no future. No past. It’s just NOW, this moment, and whatever this moment entails. That just effing works in a life or death situation, but it doesn’t work well in normal life. How people handle that (like with so much with PTSD) largely comes down to personality + experience... so there is huge variation even in a single person’s own life, at different points in their lives or in different situations, much less the whole durn taste the rainbow of people with PTSD. And that’s also before looking at the other symptoms in the constellation that express as selfishness, or are not an expression but a coping mechanism, or appear to be selfishness to others (similar to how people wih anxiety disorders are often mistaken to be stuck-up & “too good for” & aloof & disrespectful... because other people are misreading why they’re being cancelled on, or their invitations turned down, or the person keeps making excuses to be elsewhere, or leaves early). So others fill in the blanks with their own misinterpretation. Or, one worse, don’t realize that anxiety can express in different ways, so even if they’ve been told it’s anxiety? Or are familiar up to their eyeballs with one version have never even heard of -much less seen/experienced- this other eleventy versions... Decide it’s actually ____fill in the blank___.

So looking at NPD or narcisstic traits to explain the selfishness of his behaviors? Would be like slapping an NPD -or traits- Dx on people who are suicidal, or blinded by grief, or rage, or laying in bed for months with depression, having a panic attack (with no regard for the people around them, how rude!), giving birth, puking in the toilet or out a window, in “the zone” playing a sport or piece of music, and a thousand other examples of selfishness that are already easily -and better- explained by what else is going on with them.

Everything you listed out? Is just super common with a lot of people with PTSD.
I don’t mean to diagnose him, as I know that’s not something I’m qualified for. And I hope I’m not insulting anyone else who does suffer from PTSD. This is just my first time seeing it from this degree. I do love him very much and am just trying to do my best for him and for myself, as this is what I choose even though from everything I’ve read it is challenging. I’ve even had suggestions as to go into counseling myself, so I can address my own issues first. And I hoped it would encourage him to go back to counseling.
Can childhood trauma also contribute to PTSD developed later in life?
 

Friday

Moderator
Thank you for your replies. Firstly let me clarify, I don’t mean to be rude or diagnose him. Or insult anyone
It’s not rude... it’s a learning curve is all. 😁 And it’s perfectly natural when one already has a disorder that they’re conversant with, to seek to understand their loved ones disorders at the same level. The 2 biggish risks IMO/IME with that are:

A) shifting from learning/understanding to filling a therapist’s role, instead of a friend/lover role as it’s a ZWIP! OOPS!! Crap. Far too easy a slip to make when you’re used to being the one doing the work to manage your own disorder, into trying to help someone else manage theirs. When, really? That’s their job.

B) Making excuses. There’s a big difference between understanding where something is coming from, and taking responsibility / making excuses for what someone else is doing. The same way your disorders aren’t a blank cheque to treat other people like crap? And I’m fairly certain you don’t use them as such? His disorder(s) aren’t an excuse to treat you like crap. Whether he’s the one making excuses or the “Oh! This suddenly makes sense!” Aspect of learning means falling into the Supporter-Trap of excusing bullshit. Of course, the definition of craptastic assholio behavior, is highly subjective. Like the cocky/arrogant thing. Where our own limits are and what boundaries we have? Are our own choices to make. Someone else crossing those limits? Are not your fault for having them. But again, even if you’re totally secure in your own boundaries/limits 99.9999% of the time? It’s a weird thing, that happens more often than not, that when learning about XYZ, people start excusing behavior they’d never put up with in a million years. It’s wacky. But water-is-wet common.

(Which is my giant freaking caveat with the following links)

yes he’s good for black and white thinking. If I do something that he doesn’t like or say something he doesn’t like. BAM. He breaks up with. Says I’ll never change. I’m the villain. Because I did something that hurt him.

Keeping the above caveat in mind? 😉

((And, really, far more important than the links below are the Important Supporter Info links pinned to the top of the Supporter Discussion Forum Because supporting someone with a disorder is a totally different ball game, with wildly different challenges... and it’s a bit of a mindf*ck from experience, to learn to pull from an entirely different toolbox. Says the mom wih ADHD-C & PTSD (who, as I said above mostly dates my brand of crazy, although my exHusband was not) with the kid with ADHD-C & a not short trauma history. ))


PTSD Stress Response

Cognitive Distortions in PTSD-Land

 

RavenK

New Here
It’s not rude... it’s a learning curve is all. 😁 And it’s perfectly natural when one already has a disorder that they’re conversant with, to seek to understand their loved ones disorders at the same level. The 2 biggish risks IMO/IME with that are:

A) shifting from learning/understanding to filling a therapist’s role, instead of a friend/lover role as it’s a ZWIP! OOPS!! Crap. Far too easy a slip to make when you’re used to being the one doing the work to manage your own disorder, into trying to help someone else manage theirs. When, really? That’s their job.

B) Making excuses. There’s a big difference between understanding where something is coming from, and taking responsibility / making excuses for what someone else is doing. The same way your disorders aren’t a blank cheque to treat other people like crap? And I’m fairly certain you don’t use them as such? His disorder(s) aren’t an excuse to treat you like crap. Whether he’s the one making excuses or the “Oh! This suddenly makes sense!” Aspect of learning means falling into the Supporter-Trap of excusing bullshit. Of course, the definition of craptastic assholio behavior, is highly subjective. Like the cocky/arrogant thing. Where our own limits are and what boundaries we have? Are our own choices to make. Someone else crossing those limits? Are not your fault for having them. But again, even if you’re totally secure in your own boundaries/limits 99.9999% of the time? It’s a weird thing, that happens more often than not, that when learning about XYZ, people start excusing behavior they’d never put up with in a million years. It’s wacky. But water-is-wet common.

(Which is my giant freaking caveat with the following links)



Keeping the above caveat in mind? 😉

((And, really, far more important than the links below are the Important Supporter Info links pinned to the top of the Supporter Discussion Forum Because supporting someone with a disorder is a totally different ball game, with wildly different challenges... and it’s a bit of a mindf*ck from experience, to learn to pull from an entirely different toolbox. Says the mom wih ADHD-C & PTSD (who, as I said above mostly dates my brand of crazy, although my exHusband was not) with the kid with ADHD-C & a not short trauma history. ))


PTSD Stress Response

Cognitive Distortions in PTSD-Land

Thank you. That very much clears up the black or white thinking. As I thought that was something more aligned with BPD. These forums are such a relief to me in not feeling like I’m going crazy. Feeling like I’m being gaslit and manipulated. I understand that I also need the counseling for myself so I won’t be so prone to letting his actions from the PTSD upset me so much. And admittedly I’m and guilty of making excuses for him. He’s so unreasonable and hard to talk to, that I tend to let it go and get swept up in it.
 
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