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Relationships and PTSD? How do they work?

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Kudos if you catch my reference of the post title. Fun fact, I joke a lot when I’m sad.

To preface, what happened today was a trigger, but the feeling dates back years and I came across this website in search of a support system of unbiased opinions - mission accomplished. This is going to be a long post, and I appreciate anyone who is willing to read it all and I apologize for anything that appears as “pity me”

So I’m sure we all know what PTSD is so I don’t need to explain it. I’ve been in therapy for years now, and am medicated, I used to self medicate and I’m grateful I have removed that from my life, I’m better for it. Yet, I don’t feel good often, I feel empty and lost, I feel tired and defeated, and I’m starting to actually believe I do not deserve anything good for me and it’s really starting to scare me because I’ve been down this road before, which has led me to seek therapy in the first place.

Since returning to this country, I used to get really mad but it was always internal for the most part. I never was abusive physically, but when a girl would blow me off for example, I’d let her have it. I hate to admit that, but it’s important to note because I’m now the exact opposite due to meds/therapy.

More recently I should at least share this story as to why I feel this way. About 3 and half years ago I landed basically my dream job of getting paid more than I ever did in the Army and had great medical benefits and basically the same level of job security. The only problem with that is you don’t move very far and you’ll max out in 8 years worth of raises and will retire at $50,000 or so, which isn’t really a lot when you account that your pension is half of that. So one year after getting the job, I basically met my dream girl, smart, beautiful and sexy, a real pleasure to be around and has an amazing personality. She felt bad for me and my issues which when I told her, I immediately trusted her with all my being. A couple months roll by and I realize that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been as far as I could remember, she believes in holistic medicine and, like me, hates big Pharma. At that time, I personally was having a dilemma of taking medication as I felt less than human, and I’ve known many people to be happy without medication and I convinced myself that I was just missing “my person” which I had found, and so we discussed me going off my meds with full support and approval from her.

A month goes by, it’s fine, I’ve weened myself off, despite my Doctors huge warning of “I strongly advise against this”. I make a decision to look for a new company to work and found one. There is a story from this, but I used to work in a different field and felt like going back because I used to do a lot of good doing that kind of job, I felt that I was missing the drive I used to have. So I land the job, and so begins the worst decision I ever made (now you witness how hard I am on myself)

I start this new job, and right off the bat shit is wild and weird, they had just legally ousted a co-creator of the company, who decided to warn me working for them -important to note I should have taken the hint but I digress-. So I’m taking someone’s position, who is moving ahead of me and who is training me to do her work, she’s a Navy vet, I’m Army myself, we bond on our shared service history, I felt like the dudes “warning” was just him being sour. So I’m doing the training, and she needs to review it when I’m doing it, it’s also important to note that I’m doing all of this in front of people I’m supposed to manage, which was weird but whatever, one team one fight right? She comes and looks and it and loudly declares “wow, um, don’t take this the wrong way, but this looks like absolute shit, my god, I’m sorry but I’m blunt”. I laugh it off, and try to do better.

Nope, this shit continues for 3 weeks and finally I had enough and I pull her into the office and say “look Tabitha, I’m just gonna start this off with an apology, because I really feel that I may have done something to upset you, we need to work together and to be candid I need this job, so how can we move forward and work together?” I find out from her that she’s worried that I’m replacing her completely because she makes 90k a year, and it was bad timing for me to start working. I’m like, what? Absolutely not! I stress to her how important her role is and that if it ever came down to that, I’d just put in my two weeks because homie don’t play dat. Altruism as f*ck right? We set our differences aside, and I feel relieved. A week goes by, my final week mind you and on that Friday our boss asks what my progress is, and is kind of pissed that I’m not doing what I was hired to do and he wanted to figure out why (he often is traveling out of the office). She tells him this “well, he’s just not understanding how I want things done and he’s also slower on completing tasks than the people he’s going to manage”. At that point I internally explode because she just threw me under the bus, lied, right in front of me, I immediately interject “excuse me? Tabitha I can complete what I’m doing because we are waiting on a shipment of parts, they are basically done and it’s just the case fans we are waiting for as they are back ordered”. She was visibly shocked and Our boss is like “why are there no fans? And why am I just hearing about this, we need to move forward, is he ready to go forward” she requests to talk to him privately and I depart and find things to keep me busy. Monday rolls around, she’s being all nice to me and I’m surprised, but I take it as a positive thing. An hour rolls by and our boss pulls us both in a meeting and he says “okay, so Rob, it’s just not working out, I’m sorry” and some silence and I said “wait, are you firing me?” And he said “yes, and it has nothing to do with Tabitha, it’s just not working out, it’s things you have going on and we feel it’s best to just stop before it gets worse” and I’m like “what is it Jason? I’m fine aside the appointments I’m going to, my bills are paid, people here like me, what do I have going on?” And he replies “it’s not for medical reasons, it’s just things you have going on and that’s all I have to legally say”. I walk out as calmly as possible, drive onto the street and punch the f*ck out of my steering wheel and call my girlfriend and she’s surprised as shit and says “we’ll get through this, I promise” I calm down, knowing I found my person.

these appoints are VA related, and they front loaded me sick/vacation leave. I arranged them with my manager and top boss and they were fine every single f*cking time. So it couldn’t have been that. I actually learn two years later, from a person who was also f*cked over, called me and said “it was because you weirded them out Rob, remember that meeting where you just dazed out and Steve called you out and asked “are you alright? I know you were overseas, and I don’t care at all, but do you have PTSD? It’s cool if you do but I just wanna know”. I was extremely uncomfortable when this was asked and I just replied “I wanted to avoid this, but yes I do”. After the meeting I told him that I was trying a new therapy method and was transitioning from medication, which I guess me dazing out like that was a side effect, he seemed perfectly understanding of that and even leveled with me.

So thankfully I had savings and things I could sell if it came down to it. I go and look for jobs, land interviews with ease, but that f*cking job came up every time. It had to because nobody leaves a damn county job with benefits for no reason, also, background checks. So I just tell them “it just ended up not working out and they had to cut back on spending which meant cutting out the last person to be hired, is what they told me”. Once the background check happens, I hear nothing for a month despite reaching out and I finally hear “we made the difficult decision to go with someone else”. I hear this every job I apply to, no matter how well I think the interview goes. This was all of 2018 mind you, I came to learn two months ago why because I was offered a copy of my last background check. Those f*ckers tell them and all my employers that I’m “not rehireable”. So it makes me look like a liar and that I’m hiding something when I say what I say during interviews. People tell me to sue them, but I can’t go up against a company like them who literally bleeds money, I can tell you from experience that it’s not in my financial interest to do this.

That whole experience seeped it’s way into my relationship with my “awesome girlfriend”. She suffered through me completely beating myself up and feeling sorry for myself and battling against the repo man and a couple eviction threats. I could not land a good job because of that stupid ass remark. I worked at a grocery store at minimum wage and got yelled at for little things “why wasn’t this product fronted? Why is this out of stock?” They stuck me in the dairy section and I was the only person there, I hated my days off because nothing was stocked by an employee, but a manager, and I would hear about it when I came back to work. My girlfriend left me while I worked there, said it was too hard to watch me fall the way I was and I’m not the man she fell in love with. I naturally did not take this well and would get drunk and text her and feel sorry for myself and begged for forgiveness and another chance, just being pitiful. Eventually she created a lie that I did something to her that wasn’t true at all and all of my friends found out and said that was f*cked up (apparently I threw away a necklace that was given to her by her mother, I remember that clear as day, she told other people that it was given to her by her recently deceased father before he passed, and that I threw it away to hurt her). So I lost all of my friends. Where I was living, I didn’t have any family as they both live in Vegas and Illinois respectively, I was in Maryland at the time. There was one night specifically that I almost wouldn’t be here anymore, but I drank too much and passed out because it all hit me at once. I wanted to just not wake up anymore, it was a horrible time at the beginning of 2019.

Now I’m working a temp job, it pays very well, and I’ve been single ever since. I’m back on meds. 2019 is a year I’d long to forget, I moved to three different states and was homeless in Oklahoma and am now in Illinois (moves here late last year) I’m very fortunate now and am back on track and moving forward. I’ve removed all of those people I called friends, who I essentially grew up with, completely out of my life and am much better for it. Hopefully this job I work for right now will help quell employers from paying attention to a company who wants to, after two years still tell people that I’m “not rehireable” and they pay attention to the glowing reviews of this place (Argonne National Lab).

I had to preface all of that, because it contributes to me greatly of my depression that I fight every single day. You wouldn’t believe that I’m sad because I put on a great mask, I’ve been through a lot in just two years, not much really bothers me anymore and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. None of my old friends try to get in touch, which every now and again makes me feel like a demon. I’ll go on dates and when women find out about my PTSD and why I moved the Illinois, they either ghost or tell me “I’m sorry, but this is too much for me, I hope you find someone!”. I can’t be mad at either really, because it’s their choice and they’re doing both them and me a favor by being honest. Still, it makes me feel like I don’t deserve happiness. I can name a few women I know who get abused by their men, or that they date deadbeats and I often wonder, why am I not desirable? I’ve recently, just today, had a girl and, god bless her, told me she couldn’t deal with my PTSD. She says it’s because she needs a rock because she suffers from anxiety. I wanted to tell her that I’m more of a rock for her than she gives me credit for, but again I respect a woman’s thoughts and boundaries so I agreed to her not wanting to continue. I encounter this more times than I want to count. You may ask “hey Rob, why are you telling women that?” Well, I’m glad you asked. I don’t come out of left field with it for sure. Sometimes I offer it during conversation, maybe a couple days into it or a week of communicating, there’s always a reason for me bringing it up, and I want to be honest and upfront and I tell them it’s there but managed, still can’t shake the stigma. On a rare occasion, I just get asked that straight up when they find out I was in the Military like “oh, you were in? Do you have PTSD?” And those girls just piss me off by how casually they asked and I don’t even worry about them ghosting, I welcome it honestly haha.

So here I am, with my thoughts all wrote up for the Internet to see. I’m doing this because I called the crisis line and they suggested I find a support network, of which I don’t have (yet another story). This is all I can scrounge up at the moment, but I appreciate it more than you know. I’m currently afraid to make new friends, because of how easily 20 or 10 year friendship were broken over a f*cking princess that everyone basically wants to f*ck but won’t admit it (she flirts with everyone, loves attention, I’m better without her and I know and believe it haha). I’m starting to truly believe that I’m not worthy of a relationship, or to start a family. My ex specifically told me “I worry about having children with you, I feel like you have some issues mentally and it makes me worry”. I just.... don’t trust anyone anymore, but we all find comfort in strangers yeah? I definitely do things for myself and I don’t look like a slob, like I said you wouldn’t believe any of this if I said this to you in person. The only giveaway right now is my puffy eyes if we’re gonna be honest. I volunteer my time to help out at VFW’s or help a vet if they want answers or just need to vent. I rarely ever vent to anyone as I don’t have friends I absolutely trust anymore, or even family members as most of them are “tired of hearing it, can’t you just grow up and suck it up? Everyone goes through what you’re going through”, I f*cking hope not!

I just needed to vent, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for getting this far. You’re amazing, don’t let anyone tell you anything different. I just feel really low about myself, and I’m getting tired (it literally hurt saying that), and it’s really starting to scare me. Haha, I’ve done things I never dreamed of doing while in the Army, but making a new friend or trusting another woman frightens me to death, how does that work?
Baby steps?

I try to insulate myself by design. Friends, family, work, EVERYTHING is separate. Work people are only work people, not friends. Friends are separate from family. When I was in school, that was separate, too. I don’t have a friend group so much as individual friends who don’t know each other. This helps to ensure that if one area goes to hell, I still have support elsewhere. I will never be the person who works with my partner, or the person who makes my partner be friends with all of my friends. I’ve learned that even people you’ve known for decades can turn on you in a heartbeat, so this is how it’s gotta be in order for me to not lose everyone all at once.
Hi @FullSpeedMrSulu, I think you did a great job sharing your story. There is a lot of support here and I do hope you stay. I’m a supporter and I want you to know, there is someone out there for you, you just haven’t meet her yet. I know it’s very hard not to take it personally. It’s more about the person your dating personal wants, needs and how they perceive relationships. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, I don’t know them.
I want you to know there is someone out there for you, that would be a loving and supportive partner. I know it can be hard at times, value yourself in who you are, remind yourself of who you are. I’m sorry your friends turned their backs on you. It happens a lot when couples break up, it hurts and it sucks. There’s a saying,” people come into your life for a reason, season and forever” I believe it. Sending you support and Welcome to the forum ?
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