Relationships and PTSD

UrsulaleGuin

New Here
Hello there everyone,

New to this forum. I'm going through a bit of an emotional moment and I thought it would help to get my story out and hear what other PTSD people have to say about it.

Diagnosed PTSD from childhood trauma and ADHD. Then I've had some very bad experiences the past two years with dates and a serious relationship.
Right now, my new partner of six months just broke up with me this week. I've told him I really don't want to, and he's taking a few days to think things over.
He's a musician and has a kid, so he has little time.
The reason he says he doesn't want to be with me anymore, is because of my PTSD. We found out that, very sadly, he has certain moods that can trigger it: he can be 'hot' and then 'cold' the next moment and that really affects me. When someone withdraws from me in that way, my rational mind takes a permanent vacation.
We've spoken about it, but he's clear that it's just a part of his personality and he doesn't want to and can't change that. The problem is, that it brings my PTSD to the forefront and that messes with everything. When I have an 'episode', it can turn a unicorn into a beast from hell. And so he's left feeling like the enemy, while he's done nothing wrong. In a way, he takes my trust issues very personally. He doesn't understand that they're not. And I get that, because of course his moods are the reason I'm triggered.
It's so f-ing complicated.

There are other issues too, of course. But this is the big one. And I'm wondering if any of you can help me out with some tips? How do you deal with your PTSD in relationships?
I feel like I'm at a loss. Because when I really love someone, I'm actually more likely to get an episode. I feel like I'm losing my future to my past.

Thank you for reading! Writing it down has already helped a little.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Hello and welcome! Yes I understand how you can be worked up. Like S3, I'm wondering what he thinks of his own more shiftings. (And Ursula is the best!)
 
Last edited:

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Welcome!

I think that a lot of people, with or without PTSD, would find it hard being in a relationship with someone who goes hot and cold? That sends very mixed messages.

Triggers: I'm not sure. I think firstly it is understanding what our triggers are. Which I think I am still developing, and you seem to have a good grasp of that.
Then, communication is always key? We're responsible for our triggers and have to be aware of them, but we can learn how to communicate them and to communicate with a partner what we need from them in that moment. It might be that we don't know. I sure don't know at times. My safety is: retreat retreat retreat. And then communicate when I have figured it all out in my mind and feel safe enough to communicate. Which means I shut my partner out. So I wouldn't advocate doing what I do!

Basically I think learning is trial and error.
 

UrsulaleGuin

New Here
Hi, welcome to the site. Im Just curious why you said 'his moods are the reason your triggered ' ? Can you explain that?
Hi Survivor3.

Well... He's the warmest most outgoing silly person one moment, and then due to being overwhelmed or tired or other things, he can just shut down in a way. He goes completely silent, withdraws and gives no more physical affection or reassurance. I've commented that it feels like he's 'left the room'. He basically has two 'gears', or modi. He's Tigger and Eeyore in the same person. And I find his Eeyore very hard to deal with. It triggers me, because I feel unsafe emotionally and then I end up defaulting into feeling that I can't trust him. At all. Because I never know when these 'moods' might happen, or why.
Plus those triggers cause me to feel super anxious and physically sick, actually. Like I'm getting a panic attack.

He told me when he was breaking up with me, that he feels deeply disturbed by the fact that he can do something to cause me to feel such pain. That I don't trust him as a result. And he told me he doesn't want to be with someone that feels that way about him. He also said that he doesn't want to change that part of him, because it's who he is and he likes being that way. I never asked him to. I would need some reassurance, maybe a warning.

I've never gone full blown PTSD on him, but he's seen some things and felt a bunch of things that he really doesn't like. At the end of the day, he wants what everyone wants: to be happy with someone. So why should he stay with me, if it means he's not? Right? For me: I think we really could work through this. Since the problem is clear. But. But... The triggers cause the underlying PTSD to surface, and that's where it gets tricky.
Because when he asked to use my phone ten minutes to midnight on New Years, my trust issues kicked in full force. I basically accused him of sabotaging NYE. His kid was there. We didn't fight, but retreated for about 10 minutes in my bedroom to talk. His kid was in the living room, playing. But he is now worried that my PTSD will affect his child. Because the kid called his mom in those ten minutes, because we had left him alone for a moment and he thought it was his fault... Or when we are intimate, and right after he 'leaves the room', and I ask him where he's gone off to. Then I'm worried that he's either being very inconsiderate for no apparent reason. Or worse; that he knows exactly what he's doing.

So it's a wonderful mesh of triggers and PTSD, and someone that I'm really in love with but mistrust because of it.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I understand your feelings. I'm very sensitive to ritual/communication stuff, like someone leaving without saying they're going to the bathroom, I know nothing happens but it stresses me. I don't like the discontinuity and the unpredictability. I just don't see why he "likes" that about himself. I also would definitely be worried about it and ask what it is. Perhaps your are just in front of an incompatibility here.
 

UrsulaleGuin

New Here
Welcome!

I think that a lot of people, with or without PTSD, would find it hard being in a relationship with someone who goes hot and cold? That sends very mixed messages.

Triggers: I'm not sure. I think firstly it is understanding what our triggers are. Which I think I am still developing, and you seem to have a good grasp of that.
Then, communication is always key? We're responsible for our triggers and have to be aware of them, but we can learn how to communicate them and to communicate with a partner what we need from them in that moment. It might be that we don't know. I sure don't know at times. My safety is: retreat retreat retreat. And then communicate when I have figured it all out in my mind and feel safe enough to communicate. Which means I shut my partner out. So I wouldn't advocate doing what I do!

Basically I think learning is trial and error.
Hello,

Thank you for your reply.
I've tried that with him too: to have a few days of agreed on 'no contact' (max 3 days), to recuperate and clear my head. My version of a healthy 'retreat'.
But that almost resulted in a break up too. He was very hurt by my needing that. He had withdrawn almost completely, even though the 3 days had been mutually agreed upon. I felt something was wrong and went over there to talk. It turned out he was already half out the door, with the explanation that he had found his life to be better without me in it. But that he was happy that I had 'come and get him back, before he floated too far off'. So yeah...

He actually has had past issues with relationships because of his moods. And he knows that it can be difficult for people. For me especially. So I really don't know why he doesn't or can't deal with them in a more conducive way.
 

UrsulaleGuin

New Here
I understand your feelings. I'm very sensitive to ritual/communication stuff, like someone leaving without saying they're going to the bathroom, I know nothing happens but it stresses me. I don't like the discontinuity and the unpredictability. I just don't see why he "likes" that about himself. I also would definitely be worried about it and ask what it is. Perhaps your are just in front of an incompatibility here.
Hello fellow Ursula reader! :) That makes me happy.

Yeah, me too. I get nervous when people do that. I don't know why he does that, what he likes about the moods. He says that when he's alone, he loves to just zone out and stare into space. I get that. Of course I do. But 1) that's not the feeling I get when he does that. 2) He's also not alone! hahaha.
I think it's basically about a man just not wanting to change this identity he has for himself. For some reason, it makes him feel as if that threatens his autonomy. He told me that he wants to be accepted for who he is completely. He actually told me that it hurts him that I'm triggered by his moods.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Hello fellow Ursula reader! :) That makes me happy.

Yeah, me too. I get nervous when people do that. I don't know why he does that, what he likes about the moods. He says that when he's alone, he loves to just zone out and stare into space. I get that. Of course I do. But 1) that's not the feeling I get when he does that. 2) He's also not alone! hahaha.
I think it's basically about a man just not wanting to change this identity he has for himself. For some reason, it makes him feel as if that threatens his autonomy. He told me that he wants to be accepted for who he is completely. He actually told me that it hurts him that I'm triggered by his moods.
I find that quite disheartened that he's hurt by your response and then leaving you alone in this. That sounds pretty selfish and it would be possible to find a way in between. I tend to zone out a lot myself but I don't do that in people's presence in the middle of an interaction as much as I can or if I see it upsets them I'll try to fence the zoning out and say it, it's not you, I'm pensive. I used to have an ex who zoned out quite a lot but told me too ah I'm thinking of this or that. In the most recent one, D, it really was a bad sign of paranoia starting to tighten its springs before a crisis. And in my mother too. So it's so dependent on the person, but it's really difficult to sort out the specific blend it creates with everyone. But the fact that your partner finds it's constitutive of his personality and something he enjoys... Yeah it sounds a bit irresponsible and not taking your reality into account. I get that everyone like to have their privacy and alone moments but no transitioning is harsh. Perhaps you're in front of a real incompatibility here
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
He actually has had past issues with relationships because of his moods. And he knows that it can be difficult for people. For me especially. So I really don't know why he doesn't or can't deal with them in a more conducive way.

think it's basically about a man just not wanting to change this identity he has for himself. For some reason, it makes him feel as if that threatens his autonomy. He told me that he wants to be accepted for who he is completely. He actually told me that it hurts him that I'm triggered by his moods.
^^ that makes me agree with what @Survivor3 says.

Is how he behaved actually what you want in a partner?

The first 6 months should be fun. It sounds as though his behaviour made you feel unsafe.
Maybe this isn't all about your PTSD, but just that he wasn't right for you.
Doesn't stop it hurting.
 
Top