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Mental Health and Relationships
I've been struggling in my relationship with my significant other as a result of diagnosed PTSD from previous relationships...I catch myself in my irrational thoughts and cognitive distortions, but there are a LOT of days that it overwhelms me. I am trying to lessen my attachment and codependence, but it is a frequent challenge and I am afraid it will ultimately devastate our relationship.
I do my best to be open in our communication and check-in regularly, but I feel guilty about the amount of fear and anxiety I experience on the regular.
I love this girl very much, and our relationship is still relatively new (8 months) but I don't know what it is going to take to rid myself of these anxieties and just relax so we can better enjoy each other's company.
Any thoughts? Anybody have a similar experience?
May the Force be with you all!
I got PTSD from war.
I’ve had horrible relationship problems. I was the cause. My wife now - has a wonderful mission in life : she is my love. Significant others of Jeddist are special people. They have a special opportunity to love us. Lol love is a weird thing. You can spend all day and a life time learning what it is and never be able to ... keep the flame ablaze. As a Jeddist - connections are important for me. What type ... of connections We keep - that can be up to us. Same thing for our love. What we give can be up to us too. I’ll second your motion - relationships are hard. HARD!!! Possible but also worth the effort.
Here’s a bit of what I did to help the relationship.
I love my family and wife. I do. So rather than wonder if I do any more - I wonder .... how. How will I love them today. Changes things a bit but that’s the idea right ?
So way back when I started here, I was trying to reconcile a dying relationship I was in for 8 years. Now, in hindsight I see it but back then I did not, but the woman I was with was highly abusive. I mean, she moved me away from my family, she constantly yelled, hit and acted highly erratic. At one point I even went homeless (I don;t know why but I couldn't kick her out) because I couldn't live in the house that was in my name with her and I could not afford to pay rent somewhere else. Now during that time I developed a lot of codependent habits. It took a long time to eliminate some of the negatives, but in that process I found a few that were not actually bad things. For example, it is not bad to share emotions with your partner. I had repressed that quite a bit because anything I shared was used as a bludgeon to push me down whenever she needed too. She would even use my depression as a reason to beat me down. One thing I realized was a huge negative from this relationship was that I was holding myself fully responsible for the movement of the relationship. Obviously this causes huge problems, when you always think it's you, you look more at the storms than the sunny days in the relationship.
So over the course of the next few years I had some touch and go relationships. One serious one where in all honesty, some of these tendencies I had learned dragged down that one until it broke. However, it was a friendly split, unlike the end of the abusive one. Things though got better every relationship I was in.
Now I am a lucky lucky person to have found a woman I asked to be my wife recently (she said yes). The thing with this one and why I know I want to be with her is because all those little insecurities and issues I have with relationships, she handles with love and I try to do the same for her. We push each other to improve on them in a way that doesn't demonize either of us. But we have to be open about all of them in order for that to work. She has been with me during some pretty bad lows and some of the best times of the last year, and the flow of love has not changed (even if it's tough love).
I think that's a key is seeing if the partner is handling you with love. Taking your issues, needs and mental state in a loving trust. It has made me trust her so much, that I feel like half of an individual. We handle things together, previously I always handled finances or paid for almost everything, now we look at things together.
I guess the point is, are things and issues you have handled with love?
I think that is truly the key.
Just some thoughts,
Fighting what you cannot see, will only lead you to lash out with violence towards everyone. Know your enemy, and you may find yourself a friend.
You can act real rude and totally removed
And I can act like an imbecile- Men without hats
Training Masters: Carlos.Martinez3 and JLSpinner
I have control issues, agoraphobia/athazagoraphobia, I guess trauma from my childhood that makes me tremble and lose my ability to speak in serious verbal conflict (especially if the other party is shouting), and a history of mental illness in the family (so I'm occasionally questioning if my great-uncle's paranoid schizophrenia is setting in! Joy!)
I'm getting better, but it's kept me in a shell for much of my life, and occasionally strains my relationships.
My time here (along with therapy) has helped a lot.
Kelrax "Stormcaller" Lorcken, Jedi Navigator
May The Force Guide You
I am terrible at relationships. Having identified and worked on a lot of issues I personally have with trust, control, rejection fears due to my past.
The only thing I can offer to this discussion is always be open with your partner, try even when negative though patterns shout in your head and always, always remember you aren't a prisoner of your past.
Its hard, even when we love another deeply, the past insecurities crop up and even knowing that we are creating problems that may not be present now. Getting out of that mindset can seem impossible.
I went through a long period of time when I was afraid of anothers touch. I didn't even hug my kids. Abuse and rape led to fears that I installed in myself and it took a lot of patience and self love to understand that I could love, I deserved a great relationship, and I was enougth for myself.
I find strength in positive reinforcement of good thoughts, it might sound daft but I learnt I had to convince myself first that I was deserving of love before I could accept that love from another.
The doubts and the problems dont just go away, its something we all work on everyday, but time and patience with myself has given me the confidence to try and to be open, honest and loving with another.
Lol not sure any of that helps, but your not alone and they is a lot of help out there, sometimes the greastest help is finding our strength to face, understand and let go of those past issues so that they no longer stop us finding peace with another.
I own my life
I have cPTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) from childhood abuse...and let's not even talk about my military service. You didn't go into much detail but I'd bet our reactions aren't that far from each other
I'm open about my past and my experiences so if I gloss over something that you want more details, you (everyone) are welcome to ask!
So to start, some things to remember:
1. Your pain is legitimate, just because it's mental or someone has had it worse in any way does not make your pain and experiences any less important.
2. You are not alone. Once I started talking about my situations (which is part of how I cope and heal) it was shocking and comforting to me to find others in the same or very similar situations.
I've been with my partner for ...geeze it's been 13 years now. Communication is absolutely the number one thing that gets us through. If you find it difficult to talk about what's going on while it's going on, come up with some codes.
Here's a few of mine for example:
"I don't have the mana/spoons/energy/focus." I'm utterly wiped out and can't do anything (read up on the Spoon Theory if you haven't already. It's relevant to chronic mental health conditions too)
"I'm in hermit mode" means I'm depressed to the point of withdrawing from friends and family.
Always always always remember to talk issues out, even after the problem. Apologize where needed, explain to the best of your abilities when you're NOT in Anxiety's teeth what that does to you and why you sometimes react the way you do.
Partners are just that, partners. I can't even begin to explain how my partner has been immeasurably impactful to, not only my survival, but my growth. The right partner will support you and help you when you need it.
To be entirely honest, you may not be able to get rid of Anxiety and especially not Fear. I've found it helpful to understand why they exist in our psyche. They're meant to keep us safe. Everyone has a different 'base' level of anxiety. You have your folks with nearly none who are the ones who go hunting and exploring nearly recklessly. Then you've got the folks who will stop the group because their level of anxiety will raise its head and say "there could be something in those dark shadows, be careful". They're the watchful members of the party, who are always alert to danger.
Now, what that means in our time when we don't have to worry about eagles carrying off our young, dire wolves on the grasslands, or the saber-toothed Smilodon in the forests? Well, it's still trying to do its job, but lacking dangers, it likes to invent them instead.
A long time ago I started imagining my aspects as dragons (I love dragons). Anxiety, Fear, Depression, Doubt, these were a few. Picturing them as a fearsome creature, but one I also love and respect, allowed me to separate myself from what I was experiencing. I got to have 'conversations' with these dragons, and come to love and have compassion for them. And in doing so, love and compassion for myself. This helps me with feeling less self-doubt/hate and lessons the frustration. When I can turn to Anxiety I can tell her "Yes, this is a new place we're going to, it'll be ok Love. I promise." she doesn't stress us QUITE as much, but it does make it easier to go to the new place (in this example). And sometimes I just have to tell her and Fear to shut the **** up.
Basically, don't fight it, work with it. And sometimes that means you gotta strong arm them, and others it means you have to rest until the storm is over.
That's all a kind of crisis management. Actions in the moment. There's also a good handful of things you can do to ensure your stability and the more "stable" you are, the less Anxiety and Fear have to gab about so you don't get the panic attacks and all that as much. That's a bit of a long topic that I'll be happy to go into if you'd like I'm just not sure how much or deep you're looking to get at this moment
Feel free to PM me or reply here!
Relationships are more like you're own body - endless damned effort.
You can't just eat a good meal once, or go to the gym once, and then you're fine. If you want strong shoulders, you have to work (and rest) them over and over again, and no matter how strong you get them, if you get an injury, or get too busy to maintain them for even a few weeks - you'll lose years of effort.
Think how much time you spend eating, washing, sleeping, exercising, all the things you do to keep your body going and in good condition - that's what it takes to keep a relationship healthy, and you have to be endlessly vigilant for a rolled ankle, or a bit of old chicken, or some pollen that will knock you off your feet for days.
The most important thing about all this is time. I don't want to sound like the old man of the mountain, and somewhere there is someone older than me that is saying I don't know what I am talking about - but I like to think I've got a good relationship with my partner, and it took us both fifteen years to make it that way.
We went through hell together, we went through hell apart, and now individually and collectively, our relationship is "fit" enough to overcome challenges that others may not.
I suppose the other part of my metaphor is to know where your relationship is up to - don't do things with it that it is not yet able to do, or you might break something....
Don't ever expect a serious relationship to fix your problems or be easy. It's a long term investment that can be incredibly rewarding.
If all relationships give you anxiety, be honest with that: it's not first date material by any means, but don't let someone you like have a relationship with someone who isn't you. At the same time, if one person gives you anxiety, that's not your fault and you're not obligated to keep up with them.
At the same time, someone you're in a relationship with isn't in charge of your mental health. You need to take care of yourself before you consider taking on a serious relationship. Be your best self - be the kind of person your ideal partner deserves.
IP Team Lead
TM: Carlos Martinez
ὁ δὲ ἀμυχηδόν νεξέταστος βίος γίγνομαι βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
In a good relationship you put in effort as well as get things out of it. A book I suggest to young couples is "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. It goes to explain that everyone speaks one of five Love Languages (receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch.), and your partner may not always operate on the same one you do. You'll both be more connected and fulfilled by learning to speak the other's Love Language.
Funny enough, this was what started the last argument with my partner just the other night. He felt his acts of service were doing good (and I appreciated them) but I needed quality time to feel loved.
Please forgive me about calling you out Rex but this is something that I've seen a lot of people say and I feel it can be a bit damaging You're not the one to spread this idea but you just happen to be the one I 'caught' at it this time lol.
One thing I'd personally counter on Rex's post is this:
You need to take care of yourself before you consider taking on a serious relationship. Be your best self - be the kind of person your ideal partner deserves.
I don't feel you need to be your best self before you get into a serious relationship. In a good relationship, you both will grow from it. You can support each other in the lows, and both celebrate the victories. I tell my partner every once in a while that I don't know how he tolerated me when we first got together lol. Looking back, I feel like I was a brat! But Rex is absolutely right that a relationship in itself can't fix your problems.
But it makes me think of something that Plato is said to have written: “According to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.”
You don't have to wait to be 'whole' to search for your partner. They can help make you whole, but it's a long and hard journey. And to be brutally honest, folks who struggle with mental health will absolutely find it much harder, and so will their partners. Partly because so little is actually known about mental health compared to physical health, and there's still a stigma around it.
Speaking of health, I feel like I have more to write but I'm already getting brain fog so I'm gonna stop here lol.
The right person will bring the best out in you, but you're ultimately responsible for you. I didn't mean what I said in the sense of "you need to be captain perfect before dating someone." It's more that I've seen too many people expect that dating someone will fundamentally change who you are
IP Team Lead
TM: Carlos Martinez
ὁ δὲ ἀμυχηδόν νεξέταστος βίος γίγνομαι βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ