Request to Vent, relationship problems

Rorster93

Learning
I want to vent but have no one to vent to in person. If this is not allowed please delete.

I have been working on shrinking my inner and outer critic, inner being the critic of myself and outer being the critic of others. This critic was created by my mother's abuse.

Shrinking my critic involves a lot of convincing myself that my boyfriend is not cheating on me. I have shown improvement but am not perfect.

I digress. I am focusing on being my "authentic" self without having to be hypervigilant or self-critical. Well my boyfriend understands that I like to spend time with him. During the work week or whenever he or I am unavailable I keep my phone calls to once or twice a day. When we are off work and are available (no plans with friends/fam) we hang out all night and all day together at his house. I don't think that routine is too clingy imo.

Well one night, I guess I might have called one too many times but he became upset. He was in a good mood all day and then he just switched. I realized nothing I said would make anything better so I politely said goodnight and got off the phone. He said he was upset because I kept calling even though we had just spent the day together (which was not true. His definition of spending time together is diff than mine.) He spent the day outside, I spent it inside. That's not spending time together in my book. But I digress again. He was upset I called him one too many times. Ok I said goodnight and hang up.

This is all after he tells me he understands my "neediness" and allows me to call him whenever, no judgment. If he can answer he will, if he's busy, he'll call me back. Cool. Well apparently that's changed, idk.

The next day he went to work. He usually calls me afterwards. He did not. I waited all day to talk to him. Talking to him is, in fact, the highlight of my day.

I call him instead. I get upset because he has been off work and hasn't called me and was not going to call because "I was mad at him last night so he was giving me space". Wtf? I wasn't the one that was mad, HE was the one mad.

I told him I wish he'd call me more, does he even think about me. He said all I wanted to do was fight. So I dropped it. He stayed on the phone with me, even called me back when I asked him (I always have to ASK him, he WILL NOT just do and I can't roll my eyes back far enough in my head).

Context: He has PTSD as well as I. His is different than mine. He does not receive treatment for his. He is under the impression if he just ignores it long enough, it will go away.

During the time I stayed on the phone with him, I realized his not calling had nothing to do with me. He was in a state of being angry and pissed off at the world and just wanted to be left alone. He was short, rude, careless, cold. And his lack of reaching out threw me into a flashback because I was abandoned several times as a child. Now I'm pissed off.

I want to be understanding towards him nut I'm always the one giving room for others negative emotions, allowing others to be human but no one tolerates negative emotions from me. He just tells me if I'm feeling down "ok I'll talk to you tomorrow". No I want him to sit with me like I sit with him. Who is willing to be there for my pretty moments and the ugly ones? I'm always expected to just get it together because "no one deserves to be mistreated for what other people have done to me". Well he does not have that same expectation placed on him.

If you read all that, thank you. I want to vent and get advise that is geared toward keeping my relationship with my boyfriend intact.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
I think it's okay to vent and especially in places like here, better to get it off than to wind oneself up in having a pointless argument. Being two in having PTSD is tricky. I've been in both spots in a relationship, balancing from anxious to distant, sometimes flickering between both attitudes in the same relationship. I get anxious not being close to the person I love but also feel smothered very easily.

I guess you two could work on identifying your triggers, and to express them to each other in a way of sharing and not of reproaching. Him taking distance after having perceived you were upset and him too makes sense; disengaging when you sense you're triggered generally is a good conservative response. You generally don't worsen things.

Would it be possible to follow some couple therapy? If he doesn't want to do trauma therapy by himself that's on him I guess but having some therapy specifically designed for both of you might be good.

Another thing I noticed is that I tend to loose my grip when indeed, my days are very empty and my self esteem is like shit. Not doing anything, seeing very few friends, feeling like I have nothing to bring and that literally any activity with me is defaulting to me because there isn't anything better to do. That's a pit you can land in when you spend an immense amount of time together, and that you have unfinished business with insecurity (albeit some insecurity is normal no one is like SECURE day in day out). As much as it's cool (I spent very long rows of time with people! I like it!), when it's your partner and you're doing almost everything together there is a moment you need to catch your breath.

Probably diverting your attention in occupations that are rewarding for you (a hobby group, a nice job, volunteering, ... can be literally anything) will ease the sensation of impending doom and also divert you from calling all the time.

I have been there too sometimes calling 20 times in a row, it's super hard on the person. Even with less calls just them knowing you're getting pissed is stressful. I also had a partner who would never leave me alone and get worried or angry if I got unresponsive with messaging or calls and it was really awful. As much as I understand it's awful.

As with any compulsion, grounding exercices and techniques designed to fight addictions might also work. When I get jittered that way now I try to do something else and reassess if I still want to do that thing that I feel compelled to do right here, right now.

PTSD brain will yell at you telling you have to do that thing otherwise you're gonna die, but it isn't true. It used to be but it isn't anymore. And I know how impending and convincing that voice is. But washing dishes muffles it, having a walk muffles it, taking care of the cat muffled it, working muffles, anything else muffles it. It's f*cking excruciating but it's possible to win some ground over it bit by bit. It might keep yelling stronger at first. Sometimes I literally talk to that voice and mentally give it a hug. It works.
 

Rorster93

Learning
I think it's okay to vent and especially in places like here, better to get it off than to wind oneself up in having a pointless argument. Being two in having PTSD is tricky. I've been in both spots in a relationship, balancing from anxious to distant, sometimes flickering between both attitudes in the same relationship. I get anxious not being close to the person I love but also feel smothered very easily.

I guess you two could work on identifying your triggers, and to express them to each other in a way of sharing and not of reproaching. Him taking distance after having perceived you were upset and him too makes sense; disengaging when you sense you're triggered generally is a good conservative response. You generally don't worsen things.

Would it be possible to follow some couple therapy? If he doesn't want to do trauma therapy by himself that's on him I guess but having some therapy specifically designed for both of you might be good.

Another thing I noticed is that I tend to loose my grip when indeed, my days are very empty and my self esteem is like shit. Not doing anything, seeing very few friends, feeling like I have nothing to bring and that literally any activity with me is defaulting to me because there isn't anything better to do. That's a pit you can land in when you spend an immense amount of time together, and that you have unfinished business with insecurity (albeit some insecurity is normal no one is like SECURE day in day out). As much as it's cool (I spent very long rows of time with people! I like it!), when it's your partner and you're doing almost everything together there is a moment you need to catch your breath.

Probably diverting your attention in occupations that are rewarding for you (a hobby group, a nice job, volunteering, ... can be literally anything) will ease the sensation of impending doom and also divert you from calling all the time.

I have been there too sometimes calling 20 times in a row, it's super hard on the person. Even with less calls just them knowing you're getting pissed is stressful. I also had a partner who would never leave me alone and get worried or angry if I got unresponsive with messaging or calls and it was really awful. As much as I understand it's awful.

As with any compulsion, grounding exercices and techniques designed to fight addictions might also work. When I get jittered that way now I try to do something else and reassess if I still want to do that thing that I feel compelled to do right here, right now.

PTSD brain will yell at you telling you have to do that thing otherwise you're gonna die, but it isn't true. It used to be but it isn't anymore. And I know how impending and convincing that voice is. But washing dishes muffles it, having a walk muffles it, taking care of the cat muffled it, working muffles, anything else muffles it. It's f*cking excruciating but it's possible to win some ground over it bit by bit. It might keep yelling stronger at first. Sometimes I literally talk to that voice and mentally give it a hug. It works.
Thank you so much for this and understanding how my brain works. It's refreshing when someone else understands and has been thru it themselves. I don't feel as crazy.

He would not be open to couples therapy, unfortunately..

When I waited all day for him to call and he did not was a day I did nothing.

I never considered addiction recovery techniques because I don't have any addictions so I just skip over those chapters in my self-help books. But perhaps they have some good advice. Some days it's hard because he's literally all I think about from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. Especially if I have nothing to do..that could be similar to an addiction I suppose..

In a way it is a compulsion. My PTSD is telling me that if I don't interact with my partner in some way then I've been abandoned. Even when my therapist is unavailable, I feel abandoned, left to face this world alone.

But when I'm busy all day and tired or come home late it's not that big a deal if I miss a call from him that day..I'll just call him tomorrow. And he understands.

Oh my gawd, getting this out really helped!!!
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Thank you so much for this and understanding how my brain works. It's refreshing when someone else understands and has been thru it themselves. I don't feel as crazy.

He would not be open to couples therapy, unfortunately..

When I waited all day for him to call and he did not was a day I did nothing.

I never considered addiction recovery techniques because I don't have any addictions so I just skip over those chapters in my self-help books. But perhaps they have some good advice. Some days it's hard because he's literally all I think about from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. Especially if I have nothing to do..that could be similar to an addiction I suppose..

In a way it is a compulsion. My PTSD is telling me that if I don't interact with my partner in some way then I've been abandoned. Even when my therapist is unavailable, I feel abandoned, left to face this world alone.

But when I'm busy all day and tired or come home late it's not that big a deal if I miss a call from him that day..I'll just call him tomorrow. And he understands.

Oh my gawd, getting this out really helped!!!
Happy this resonated with you @Rorster93 ! I hope your partner can find some help too but I guess everyone has their timelines. Good luck with everything
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
My PTSD is telling me that if I don't interact with my partner in some way then I've been abandoned. Even when my therapist is unavailable, I feel abandoned, left to face this world alone.
This is a really good thing to work on. Build that sense of security in the relationship whether you are spending time with your partner or not.
He isn't abandoning you, nor you him, if there are times where you speak or see each other less. Even though it triggers abandonment.
 

Rorster93

Learning
This is a really good thing to work on. Build that sense of security in the relationship whether you are spending time with your partner or not.
He isn't abandoning you, nor you him, if there are times where you speak or see each other less. Even though it triggers abandonment.
It's esp hard when I'm flashing back because it feels like the only thing that can make me feel better is interaction, no matter if it's healthy or not which is also a problem..

I know based on past experience I can rely on him in an emergency. This I can tell myself.

I have been working on shrinking my inner/outer critic who has me convinced all men are cheaters and that no woman is worthy of fidelity. I've been making progress little by little by countering those thoughts and allowing myself to feel negative emotions such as distrust but choosing not to react or reacting in a healthy way.

I suppose my critic is telling me that I am also in danger of being abandoned. Which makes sense. My trauma has left me with two main fears in life: betrayal and abandonment.

But I am not helpless. I am in an adult body, fully capable of caring for myself. Plus he's always there when I need him. And if that's the case, I've not been abandoned.

I am so glad I wrote this because I did not realize my inner critic was also telling me I've been abandoned in addition to being betrayed. This is amazing!
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I hear you. It's so hard when your whole body and mind is telling (sometime screaming!) you that what happened in the past is happening now. But that is the PTSD/trauma brain taking control.
Trying, even if we don't fully believe it, to tell ourselves counter messages helps.
As you say: you know he is there for you. You know you are adult you now .
Just got to find that magic answer in getting all those parts of you to believe it!
 

Friday

Moderator
But I am not helpless. I am in an adult body, fully capable of caring for myself.
Yep yep.

One of my mantras… (in normal life)… You can only abandon kids and pets. Everyone else can take care of themselves.

(Addendum to that which often gets added on : They may not want to. I may not want to let them. But they can.)


***

There’s a related thing (for me) where I start trying to make decisions for other people, because I have trust issues in spades, where the long version looks like this:

Agency. The incredibly powerful right to make decisions for one’s self. Show them the respect, if not trust, to make their own decisions; respect that they have the capability to carry those decisions out, and act as they see fit.

The short version = Don’t cut their balls off.

***

I come from a world where moving your hand, much less walking away for 10 seconds, can be leaving someone to die. Where anyone I don’t have eyes on, is very possibly dead.

Even in perfect circumstances -no stress, no stressors, no triggers, all’s well- I revert to that line of thinking. Which makes it fall in “core belief” territory, and I have to actively work against it. A lot. Even just leaving the room, much less going to work, to play, to sleep. It can FEEL like I’m abandoning someone to die. I’m not. I know I’m not. But the distance between head & heart can be a very, very long one.

It can be doubly tricky when I’m with someone who has the same level of abandonment issues, in reverse. Because that means that we’re both most comfortable operating out of each other’s pockets? It rarely comes up, until it does. And then it becomes a massive double trigger/stressor, and pulling back to real life when one of us is actively yanking the other back into the past? <low whistle> It can get dark fast.
 

Rorster93

Learning
Yep yep.

One of my mantras… (in normal life)… You can only abandon kids and pets. Everyone else can take care of themselves.

(Addendum to that which often gets added on : They may not want to. I may not want to let them. But they can.)


***

There’s a related thing (for me) where I start trying to make decisions for other people, because I have trust issues in spades, where the long version looks like this:

Agency. The incredibly powerful right to make decisions for one’s self. Show them the respect, if not trust, to make their own decisions; respect that they have the capability to carry those decisions out, and act as they see fit.

The short version = Don’t cut their balls off.

***

I come from a world where moving your hand, much less walking away for 10 seconds, can be leaving someone to die. Where anyone I don’t have eyes on, is very possibly dead.

Even in perfect circumstances -no stress, no stressors, no triggers, all’s well- I revert to that line of thinking. Which makes it fall in “core belief” territory, and I have to actively work against it. A lot. Even just leaving the room, much less going to work, to play, to sleep. It can FEEL like I’m abandoning someone to die. I’m not. I know I’m not. But the distance between head & heart can be a very, very long one.

It can be doubly tricky when I’m with someone who has the same level of abandonment issues, in reverse. Because that means that we’re both most comfortable operating out of each other’s pockets? It rarely comes up, until it does. And then it becomes a massive double trigger/stressor, and pulling back to real life when one of us is actively yanking the other back into the past? <low whistle> It can get dark fast.
I suppose you would understand the difficulty my partner and I are facing. I use the term partner loosely because it doesn't feel like he's being very "partner-ish". My fear of abandonement and shame of reaching out to quiet that fear finally bubbled into anger and I didn't want to talk to him for a night which pissed him off now he's stonewalling which is his default when things become difficult. I hate to admit but had a panic attack when he wouldn't answer the phone. (He's dealing with a lot right now in addition to this so don't think he's intentionally trying to hurt me) I fear abandonment and he stonewalls, not sure if that's a mix that's destined for success. We'll see, I guess.

Right now, feeling depressed. Wouldn't complain if I got hit by a bus. No one to talk to. Just tired of it all.
 

Friday

Moderator
I suppose you would understand the difficulty my partner and I are facing.
Tricky doesn’t mean impossible.

The natural inclinations line up, just fine.

It’s the triggered reactions that blow everything up outta proportion.


When looked at under that lens? It can even be kind of exciting to be with a person on the opposite end of the spectrum, both because I know I’m going to get called out if I start going off the Rez… it’s not a subtle thing when these blow outs happen… aaaaaand because it lets me work on my own shit, (and they on theirs), in various ways.

Tokens happen to be one of my favorites. Something I can hold, in my actual hands, that connects me to them mentally/emotionally. So when I’m fighting every instinct in my body to go lay eyes on them, hear their voice, feel their touch, to KNOW they’re alive? I have a very physical reminder -of them- in my hot little hands. Or around my neck. On my wrist. Whatever.

It’s putting that broken little piece of my brain that forms connections to things that aren’t actually connected, hello triggers & stressors, to good use for once. 😉

That’s only one of many possible solutions, but I already feel a bit guilty bringing it up. So I’ll stop there.
 

Friday

Moderator
Wouldn't complain if I got hit by a bus.
I hear that.

There have been times I’ve stood in front of a car and told the driver to go ahead, I could use the insurance money & a few weeks of vacation. Keep revving your car at me, and I’ll jump ON it, rather than outta the way.

And more times that I’ve deliberately gone looking for a fight, or put myself in harms way, than I can count ( <blushing> or that I care to think too much on, truth be told).

No one to talk to.
My kid is like this. An outgoing extrovert is craaaaaaazy rare, but even shy extroverts still feel the same PAIN & exhaustion of being by themselves, as outgoing ones.

It’s a very difficult paradigm to deal with, on top of everything else in trauma-land.
 

Rorster93

Learning
Tricky doesn’t mean impossible.

The natural inclinations line up, just fine.

It’s the triggered reactions that blow everything up outta proportion.


When looked at under that lens? It can even be kind of exciting to be with a person on the opposite end of the spectrum, both because I know I’m going to get called out if I start going off the Rez… it’s not a subtle thing when these blow outs happen… aaaaaand because it lets me work on my own shit, (and they on theirs), in various ways.

Tokens happen to be one of my favorites. Something I can hold, in my actual hands, that connects me to them mentally/emotionally. So when I’m fighting every instinct in my body to go lay eyes on them, hear their voice, feel their touch, to KNOW they’re alive? I have a very physical reminder -of them- in my hot little hands. Or around my neck. On my wrist. Whatever.

It’s putting that broken little piece of my brain that forms connections to things that aren’t actually connected, hello triggers & stressors, to good use for once. 😉

That’s only one of many possible solutions, but I already feel a bit guilty bringing it up. So I’ll stop there.
Thank you. I hadn't thought about the potential of this kind of relationship. It does provide plenty of practice quieting the critic and sitting with my emotions/flashbacks.

I don't want to be this way. Sometimes I stress myself out, I can be insufferable even to myself, self compassion is still a work in progress. I wish I could be ok with not hearing from someone for a couple days and not freak out.

I absolutely love the idea of a token and think it could def help!

I hear that.

There have been times I’ve stood in front of a car and told the driver to go ahead, I could use the insurance money & a few weeks of vacation. Keep revving your car at me, and I’ll jump ON it, rather than outta the way.

And more times that I’ve deliberately gone looking for a fight, or put myself in harms way, than I can count ( <blushing> or that I care to think too much on, truth be told).


My kid is like this. An outgoing extrovert is craaaaaaazy rare, but even shy extroverts still feel the same PAIN & exhaustion of being by themselves, as outgoing ones.

It’s a very difficult paradigm to deal with, on top of everything else in trauma-land.
Haha! No judgement from me, we could all use an insurance payout and get our minds off the pain at the same time.

I live by myself so whatever socializing is offered I try to take but sometimes there's no one to talk to about these specific problems. I have yet to meet anyone in person who can understand me on the lvl that others who use this forum does. But I'm counting on the day when I do :)
 
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