Supporting a long distance partner through EMDR while going through my own intensive trauma therapy, need advice

My current partner and I both have C-PTSD caused by similar CSA experiences. We've been together for 5 months now, and it's been the most healthy and fulfilling relationship I've ever been in. We both just started therapy for our traumas around the same time, them in mid-september, and mine at the beginning of october. They're doing EMDR therapy, and I'm just doing traditional talk therapy once a week. I'm trying to learn more about EMDR and how to support someone through it, it's been particularly hard for us to be as supportive as we normally are for one another, we're obviously both working through some pretty heavy shit, and I experience PNES episodes because of my trauma that've been leaving me exhausted and out of it.
They currently live across the country from me, which makes this exponentially more difficult. I just had a discussion with them about how they've been uncharacteristically neglectful and dismissive of me lately, which I've been brushing off because I know theyre having a hard time with EMDR, but it's been getting worse and is getting to a point of being really harmful to my own wellbeing when I'm also doing some heavy trauma work-throughs. They apologized and said they'd do better, and then shared with me what their mental state has been like since starting EMDR, and I really don't know if it's a typical response to this kind of therapy, and am worried that maybe it's being done incorrectly or inadequately. They've been irrationally paranoid and on edge and distrustful of everyone, and go into these negative and bitter thought patterns that they said have been scaring them, and that theyve been trying to repress and ignore in fear of saying something hurtful that they don't really mean. I'm worried they havent been provided with the right tools to deal with this level of trauma unearthing by their therapist, and their insurance only allows one session every 1-2 months, with no in between appointments. They also are pretty isolated irl, and don't have any support at home while they're going through this. They just shared with me that their mom gaslit them about their trauma being imagined when they tried to talk to her about needing more family support and patience right now.
Just am very worried and looking for advice on how we can both get through this and best support each other!


one of the special magics of peer support is that supporting other people through their recovery gives me extra insights into my own recovery. however, the extra detachment of therapy peers versus loved ones is important. with a therapy peer, i can be far more objective about their struggles. with loved ones, i want to be part of everything they go through and am verily incapable of full detachment, even when i sincerely need to detach. with my loved ones who are also in recovery, we place the personal boundaries to just outside the therapy room doors and put the value on trusting each other than full knowledge of what goes on inside the recovery process.

in you, i trust, my love. you can do this. i believe in you.


The more messed up you seem with EMDR the better its working.

Unfortunately along with that comes reduced capacity for everything else. Your brain is busy reprocessing and along with the higher level of stress you start your day with because of PTSD. On top of that your executive function is more of a mess so interpersonal stuff gets really difficult. Executive function problems happen in varying degrees but some of the stuff that comes with can cause those issues. The one I found was affecting me is called Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. What it does is color my input so almost every interaction with other people seems negative. It's very difficult but grounding, reducing stress, and countering messed up core beliefs are what I use to help control it.

That and now that I know whats going on I can stop and realize I'm reading in stuff that's just not there. That's where using counters to cognitive distortions before talking to someone help change perceptions of those interactions with people. It will lead to a lot of questioning of relationships in your past, that I can tell you for sure.

Get some counters to your partners cognitive distortions and do them together before you talk. Last of all - no word games, no ambiguity, no getting upset without clarifying what was said and why. Make it a rule for when you talk. Hopefully your partner can apply that to other interactions with people.


The more messed up you seem with EMDR the better its working.
Story of my life!!! Asking my partner to simply bear with me and all my mood swings, panic attacks, depression….the list goes on…has been the most effective. I just try and tell him what I need say by day (moment by moment sometimes). I know it’s not been easy for him, but he also knows there’s only so much he can do to help.

I'm worried they havent been provided with the right tools to deal with this level of trauma unearthing by their therapist,
This may be a very valid point. I felt very resourced with tools and support, and it’s still been extremely extremely difficult. Definitely encourage your partner to discuss this with T.


Story of my life!!! Asking my partner to simply bear with me and all my mood swings, panic attacks, depression….the list goes on
Communicating isn't something I do well when I'm affected. Its a hard sort of thing because in my dissociated mind I did well with communications.

My wife now recognizes when I am zoning out and can navigate me away or explain to others wht going on.


So grateful for these posts. I can so relate. In reading it is bringing a feeling of order, sense and like because I'm not alone in it, it's somehow okay.
I have been getting EMDR treatment with CBT for 12 months for PTSD. Long time partner is also suffering from traumatic event without being able to find a T that can connect with. It's been a roller coaster.

Finding new terms to explain what I'm experiencing like rejection sensitive dysphoria and suggested coping approaches (self acceptance) helps keep exploring, searching in hopes of having longer periods above the waves. This site has literally provided the only light I could find in some very dark times. It does get better; once you've found something that brings you light it's easier to find it again.