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Relationship Was it her diagnosed complex PTSD that made her act like this?

Thread starter #1
My (now ex) girlfriend has diagnosed complex PTSD. A lot of this is tied to abuse she witnessed (but wasn't subject to) when she was younger. The condition was exasperated by being cheated on in a 10-year relationship. I was her first proper relationship after this.

There are aspects of her personality that I knew were tied to her PTSD, although they may also have been made worse by her (also diagnosed) ADHD i.e. if something went seriously wrong or 'looked' like cheating, she would go into a sort-of rage, breaking various items in the home.

She regularly accused me of 'cheating', but that was because I had mostly female friends, and I sometimes forgot to tell her when they spoke to me, so she just assumed I was 'hiding' stuff. I wasn't. I just never really felt a need to say "hey, my friend said Hi to me today"

Anyway, let's zip forward to the end of March. Her mum owned the apartment she lived in. Sadly, her mum didn't pay the energy bills, and the electricity was cut permanently off (my ex was paying her mum, but the electricity never got paid). At the same time, her mum said she was giving up the apartment as she hadn't lived there in 2-years, and my ex had 2-months to move out. If this wasn't enough, my girlfriend's entire income got cut off at the start of April, which meant I had to work double hours to ensure she could eat and pay her other bills. I did.

The thing is that this whole situation is EXACTLY like when she got cheated on. She was thrown out on the streets, and she had to build her life up again. She is even going to have to stay in the same place she used to live in (i.e. a halfway house sort-of thing)

On the last day I was with her, she sort of hit rock bottom and disappeared for hours. It was revealed she ended up drinking and some new co-worker asked to go play games with him. She couldn't understand why I was mad she disappeared in the middle of the night without telling me where she was going, and her phone was turned off.

The last day, she said she loved me a LOT, but this would be a testing month and she would try and push me away, but she never wanted to lose me at all. She said I should go home to give her time to process everything related to her current situation and I should come back in a week.

2-weeks later, she broke up with me via text message (I had been with her for a year), and she said that I was the one that caused the situation, and she started to churn off a ton of reasons about how I 'cheated' (I didn't). She said she still cares, but she fell out of love with me. She said I didn't provide the right support in the previous month (I supported her financially, and this meant I wasn't around a lot as I actually had to work double hours)

I do not know if her complex PTSD caused her to shut down emotionally as a sort of protectionist thing? She said it would happen. Hell, it has happened before and she tried to get me out of her life, but then decided she loved me too much for this to happen. Sadly, I do not know enough about complex PTSD to have any sort of idea as to whether she is shutting herself off emotionally from the world, and that is why she says she doesn't love me or, if she genuinely no longer loves me.

She has talked a little since she broke up with me, but just to borrow money.

Tomorrow, I collect my stuff and meet her for the very last time. I will be there for a few hours. I know I am unlikely to be able to repair this relationship. Not now. However, I do want her to know I will always be there and care for her, no matter what happens. How do I provide her with the support that she needs to try and get through this period of time? She doesn't really have any friends or family now, and I want to support her the best I can. After all, I still love this woman more than anything. I know she needs help, but I simply do not know how to give it to her.
 
#2
Hi. I’m sorry to read of your situation. my ex partner never went into a rage (not once) but did cut me off suddenly. My advice, as hard is it is, is to walk away and not contact her. My ex has money problems and opened up about fear of being all alone and having no where to go. She was in that situation after her ex partner took his life. She also had been hospitalised with respiratory problems before I met her and that combination worried me when it came to covid and the economic fallout. I reached out to let her know that if she was in trouble financially or health wise that I wanted her to know that me and my family would be there if needed. She is estranged from her family who are in another continent. I meant my comments genuinely as someone who would always care for her and her daughter. I loved them both and was blindsided by the sudden end of the relationship. She had unnecessary fears of my cheating. Never have in my life. Never will. That came from her insecurity of the cheating of a former partner. I’ve been on the receiving end of infidelity and would never ever put someone through that pain. I think you have to walk away and just hope that things work out for her, as hard as that may be.
 
#3
I don't know, is my answer to your question. How much is it her diagnosis or her personality or both?
But your post is all about her and what she is going through.
Maybe you need to check in on what you're going through? She's ended the relationship with you and made out it was because of you. You love her. You want to support her. But don't loose you in the process. You can't save her (only she can make herself better). And you might just hurt yourself a bit of you continue trying. (And burn out if you keep working extra hours to fund her living expenses)
 
#4
This is one of those yeah...no, type things.

PTSD/CPTSD causes a symptom, say a sudden spike of fear.
The person themselves, reacts to that symptom.

25 people with PTSD/CPTSD can very easily respond 25 different ways, to the exact same symptom. How they respond? Isn’t the disorder. It’s them. How they deal with the symptom.

- Some people? Are going to assign blame / need a reason to “explain” their fear, to make it a real thing to be valued & taken seriously... rather than a symptom spike to be managed. Instead of seeing it as a symptom, they target their sudden spike of fear onto something, someone, or some place. >>> What they do AFTER they misdirect their fear? Is hugely varied. <<< Some people lash out, others run, some have a brand new thing to be afraid of (attached with a logic that can make a pretzel at a yoga studio feel like an underachiever), some dare their fear to be true in various ways (counterphobic is the technical term), some avoid (don’t date, can’t be cheated on, voila), some self sabotage, some fall into a puddle of begging/weeping/wailing (one type of fawning) wanting the other person to make them feel better, others kick into manipulation maven doing whatever they think will control the other person into not doing what they’re afraid of... list goes on. Really. Dozens and dozens of possibilities for just ONE of the 25 possible/common reactions to a sudden spike in stress and fear. Back to those other options! ...
- Some people, go for a run/swim/what-have-you to burn off the sudden adrenaline.
- Some commit or attempt suicide
- Some people drink, or use drugs, or take meds, or have sex, or gamble, or cut themselves, or pick a fight, or overeat/starve/binge/purge/kick into active eating disorder land, or any of a hundred other things to numb out the emotion &/or feel in control.
- Some people distract themselves with work, or crisis-hopping, books/movies, gaming, going out with friends, starting a new project, travel, etc.


Now... I’m not going to actually list out 25 different ways people respond to the same symptom, much less all the variations that follow. Because that would be super boring both incomplete... and not very useful, in any event, because when you’re dating someone? It doesn’t really help to have 500 ways people CAN choose to live their lives with this disorder, when you’re dealing with 1 person... and how they choose to live their life.

What you know about your GF/xGF? When she’s stressed &/or afraid (Or at least sometimes, when she’s stressed &/or afraid), she assigns a reason to that fear (being cheated on), and then lashes out (accusing people of cheating on her), gets angry, and leaves. You know this, both because she’s told you she does this AND she’s now done it to you.

The only part that’s PTSD? The stress response / fear spike.

The rest of it? (Blaming those around her, lashing out, & leaving) Is all her.

So, is what she’s doing common enough with PTSD? Sure. As are 1,000 other ways to treat people badly. But is it caused by the PTSD? Nope.

I know that can seem like splitting hairs, but it’s an important distinction... because PTSD is lifelong, but not so how they choose to manage it. A drunk with PTSD? Can get sober. By learning new coping mechanisms. As can someone who lashes out and accuses people of cheating and ends their relationships. But whether or not either person will? Is up to them. Because their disorder didn’t make them do it.
 
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Mee

MyPTSD Pro
#5
This is one of those yeah...no, type things.

PTSD/CPTSD causes a symptom

, say a sudden spike of fear.
The person themselves, reacts to that symptom.

25 people with PTSD/CPTSD can very easily respond 25 different ways, to the exact same symptom. How they respond? Isn’t the disorder. It’s them. How they deal with the symptom.

- Some people? Are going to assign blame / need a reason to “explain” their fear, to make it a real thing to be valued & taken seriously... rather than a symptom spike to be managed. Instead of seeing it as a symptom, they target their sudden spike of fear onto something, someone, or some place. >>> What they do AFTER they misdirect their fear? Is hugely varied. <<< Some people lash out, others run, some have a brand new thing to be afraid of (attached with a logic that can make a pretzel at a yoga studio feel like an underachiever), some dare their fear to be true in various ways (counterphobic is the technical term), some avoid (don’t date, can’t be cheated on, voila), some self sabotage, some fall into a puddle of begging/weeping/wailing (one type of fawning) wanting the other person to make them feel better, others kick into manipulation maven doing whatever they think will control the other person into not doing what they’re afraid of... list goes on. Really. Dozens and dozens of possibilities for just ONE of the 25 possible/common reactions to a sudden spike in stress and fear. Back to those other options! ...
- Some people, go for a run/swim/what-have-you to burn off the sudden adrenaline.
- Some commit or attempt suicide
- Some people drink, or use drugs, or take meds, or have sex, or gamble, or cut themselves, or pick a fight, or overeat/starve/binge/purge/kick into active eating disorder land, or any of a hundred other things to numb out the emotion &/or feel in control.
- Some people distract themselves with work, or crisis-hopping, books/movies, gaming, going out with friends, starting a new project, travel, etc.


Now... I’m not going to actually list out 25 different ways people respond to the same symptom, much less all the variations that follow. Because that would be super boring both incomplete... and not very useful, in any event, because when you’re dating someone? It doesn’t really help to have 500 ways people CAN choose to live their lives with this disorder, when you’re dealing with 1 person... and how they choose to live their life.

What you know about your GF/xGF? When she’s stressed &/or afraid (Or at least sometimes, when she’s stressed &/or afraid), she assigns a reason to that fear (being cheated on), and then lashes out (accusing people of cheating on her), gets angry, and leaves. You know this, both because she’s told you she does this AND she’s now done it to you.

The only part that’s PTSD? The stress response / fear spike.

The rest of it? (Blaming those around her, lashing out, & leaving) Is all her.

So, is what she’s doing common enough with PTSD? Sure. As are 1,000 other ways to treat people badly. But is it caused by the PTSD? Nope.

I know that can seem like splitting hairs, but it’s an important distinction... because PTSD is lifelong, but not so how they choose to manage it. A drunk with PTSD? Can get sober. By learning new coping mechanisms. As can someone who lashes out and accuses people of cheating and ends their relationships. But whether or not either person will? Is up to them. Because their disorder didn’t make them do it.

Friday I would really love to print save this - take out your name and reissue it if the subject ever arises.

One of my favourite mental health experts says ‘ it’s not an excuse to be a jerk’ while still being supportive and compassionate. And my best friend reminds me that ‘no one is a saint’.

I think a key word here is ‘EX’ . The limit has been set. The best thing to do is put your own gas mask on.

I have a couple of times suggested leaving to my husband ( because I think it would be for his benefit). He has made it clear that’s not my decision to control but his.

Moving on from any relationship is tough as hell - more so when it seems nonsensical- but it’s the only thing- ptsd or not- in our control.

Good luck in defining your boundaries And healing OP . Hugs if you accept them.
 
#6
Yes to everything @Friday said... PTSD causes feelings. Not actions. Actions are the way somebody chooses to respond to those feelings.

Don’t fall into the supporter trap of excusing bad behaviors because your partner has PTSD. Supporters want to blame everything on PTSD. It justifies somebody they love doing very unlovable things to them... it’s easier than taking the rose colored glasses off. Shit behavior is shit behavior though, even if your partner has PTSD. Tolerating everything, or excusing this crap is codependent and toxic.

Would you feel the same way about her constant accusations, lack of gratitude, inconsiderate behavior, and blameshifting if she didn’t have PTSD? What would you do if somebody else treated you this way?

Just as an aside, she has some nerve borrowing money off somebody she just dumped!!! Please don’t let your empathy and compassion make you her doormat.
 
#7
Hi, David Mitchell,

Hope you have a way to cope with it tomorrow, endings are stressful - do you have any in person support for yourself?

As to the questions, yeah, that sounds more just how she chooses to treat people.

Ditto Sweetpea on the cash.
You owe her nothing.
She ended the relationship.
She isn't entitled to any sort of support or consideration as if it were still going on...

Because that relationship is over.

You deserve to support *you*, do nice things for *you*, coping with this heartbreak.

Don't let her use you and manipulate you more.

You care a lot and sound like a good guy - you deserve better than people who treat others like her.
 
Thread starter #8
Hi, David Mitchell,

Hope you have a way to cope with it tomorrow, endings are stressful - do you have any in person support for yourself?

As to the questions, yeah, that sounds more just how she chooses to treat people.

Ditto Sweetpea on the cash.
You owe her nothing.
She ended the relationship.
She isn't entitled to any sort of support or consideration as if it were still going on...

Because that relationship is over.

You deserve to support *you*, do nice things for *you*, coping with this heartbreak.

Don't let her use you and manipulate you more.

You care a lot and sound like a good guy - you deserve better than people who treat others like her.
Nope. No support structure in place. I am currently living alone in a foreign country, and due to the 'considerations' I have had to make to her other the year, I have zero friends left. So, tomorrow, I have a 4-hour train journey to her, and a 4-hour train journey back completely alone.
 
#9
Sounds super rough, David.

Well, we'll be here in every case, if you feel like talking to someone after, about anything.

Probably can magic up a cuppa tea / coffee / whatever of fancy if you want quiet, too.

Just don't be alone with it all, yeah? Break ups like these can do a number on one's head, more when one ain't got the friends to kill time with after where they at at the moment.
 
#10
I’m sure tomorrow will be hard. Just go in with a plan and stick to it. I understand it’s hard to just walk away, but she has made a choice to end the relationship. Which also means losing you and financial support. You have to look out for you, that’s part of your process of healing from the ending of the relationship. It’s ok to set boundaries to protect yourself. Giving her money isn’t going to bring her back or make her think differently. I understand you love her and only want to help. But what will more then likely happen is, it sets the way she feels she can treat you. To be honest, if I was a cussed of cheating and it wasn’t true I would be pissed. To me that’s an attack on who I am and also an eye opener on how someone I love sees me. As hard as it may be, a clean good bye and break I feel is the best way. Just know we are all here to support you and help you through this. Sending a hug if you accept.
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
#11
Nope. No support structure in place. I am currently living alone in a foreign country, and due to the 'considerations' I have had to make to her other the year, I have zero friends left. So, tomorrow, I have a 4-hour train journey to her, and a 4-hour train journey back completely alone.

OK - that’s super tough. Can you seek to resolve that? There are some great expat websites and while obviously In person socialising is out for now that might be one avenue to explore.

Another is to develop social contacts through work/ study colleagues.

You have my total sympathy.
 
#12
I have zero friends left
Anyone that makes you stop having friends has problems deeply ingrained so much so that they expect you to change your life and give up your life to become dependent on them. Please do take time to look after yourself because what you say about her makes me very worried that she is controlling.
Can you pick up your old friendships?
 
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