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Laur_12th's avatar

How to help someone who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress?

Asked by Laur_12th (59points) April 17th, 2020

My boyfriend broke up with me after 4 years over a long distance relationship of 2 months. The loneliness triggered his past abusive family relationships and his difficult childhood. He is having mood swings from anger to crying and feeling alone. He doesn’t have many friends in the country and breaks ties with his family. I think he is in therapy atm (PTSD). I felt his anger, disappointment and desperation, he was calling me names. I didn’t respond. A week after he mentioned me by my nickname in his anonymous posts (he told me the website in case I want to follow up on him), where he deals with his past. I ensured him if there is anything I’m there for him. I feel helpless. I still have strong feelings for him, it hurts me to hear he is in so much pain. I’m trying to stay away from this website to protect myself, the break up also wasn’t easy for me.
How can I understand his behaviour, does he need time? Space? What is my role in it? How can I support him? PTSD and borderline is a new subject to me. Thank you.

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7 Answers

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Hi. I’m going to tell you some things you probably don’t want to hear, but as someone with a PTSD diagnosis since I was about 15 I want to say in a situation like this, you don’t. You help yourself.

Having been in relationships with people who have borderline PD also I want to say that, while I know there is a lot of ugly stigma around cluster B personality disorders, I understand why it’s easy to love someone despite the disorder. However, people who are unable to control their symptoms can be toxic to be around and that isn’t something you should be tolerating. Lashing out at you, taking mood swings out on you, calling names, etc, that’s unacceptable and even possibly abusive behavior. That’s something that should be looked at over the whole of the relationship, not based on one incident like you’ve described here, but it’s not appropriate regardless of his diagnosis and your pain over the loss matters as well. Take care of yourself first.

I can’t say what your boyfriend needs, only he can tell you that. Without comorbid BPD, I can say that most of the time what I need is space. But, if someone is feeling abandoned and that is the trigger, I have no idea if space is what they need or if it’s classic “I hate you, don’t leave me” type behavior. The only way to know that is to ask him.

janbb's avatar

Your first sentence says it all. He broke up with you. He is now in therapy. You may still care about him but he is not your responsibility and it is probably above your skill set to be helpful. The therapy will hopefully help him. You need to heal from the relationship and the best way to do that is to get on with your own life. This may sound harsh but it is what you need to do.

Patty_Melt's avatar

You can’t fix him. If he is getting therapy then he has taken the first step to helping himself.

Take your cues from him. If he seems like he wants to talk, you listen. If he says he wants to be alone, let him have that.

As for yourself, you can’t stay tied up in knots. It is not healthy. What he is going through is not a quick fix. It’s a process. If you love him, you will just have to find diversions for yourself which can occupy your attention. You need to not obsess over him,

KNOWITALL's avatar

I would respect his request to break up and let him focus on therapy.

Many women are especially susceptible to broken men, it’s our maternal instinct that can turn into a ‘rescuer’ mentality that follows you your whole life. That being said, it’s often unhealthy for us and leads to unhappiness.

Here’s an article about it that may help you understand how to move forward in a healthy way.

jca2's avatar

He broke up with you. He’s in therapy which is probably the best thing for him and beneficial.

He gave you a website to follow him and you’re following it to see what he says about you? I don’t think that’s a good way for you to move past this. It seems like he wants you to know what he is thinking or saying and maybe he likes that he can send you messages, indirectly, by posting things on the website.

If I were you, I’d stop following him on the website. I’d try not to be in touch with him at all. I’d consider therapy to deal with the breakup and feelings you’re having about it. I’d try to busy myself with family, friends, and activities. Even with the virus, you can still be in touch with family or friends and maybe even take walks, solo or with others as long as you keep a distance.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jca2 Maybe therapy would do her some good, too. Find out why she’s equating negative emotions and name-calling with love.

Laur_12th's avatar

Thank you all for your input and your support. It definitely arrived. I keep my distance, concentrate on myself. I know I was always understanding and loving that’s all I can do. Even though up until now he was not the type that needed fixing, its the first outburst in this
scale, Im discovering myself more aswell in therapy. Why can he treat me like that? Are my boundaries to low (selfworth)? Which place have I had in our relationship? Lots to discover. Im happy about this new chapter. Thank you again.

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