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  • I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?



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    Old 02-28-2017, 11:43 PM   #1
    luka722
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    I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    Hey everyone I didn't know where else to put this. I have PTSD and need help.
    Me and my girlfriend have been together for almost 2 years now. When we were long-distance, things were hard, but they always worked out. Now we've been living together, and she wants me to be more physically affectionate, but I can't handle it. Even cuddling in bed or kissing her is a struggle. I'm constantly afraid that if I get too close to her, someone is going to take her away from me.
    We've argued about this in the past, and I need advice on how to show her affection without overstepping my physical and emotional boundaries. Touching is very hard for me, and I panic any time she cuddles with me in her sleep (I have a history of nightmare streaks and night terrors of her hurting me/abusing me/killing me).
    Is there any way for me to show her affection? I feel like if I go too slow, she'll think I'm not trying hard enough, but I'm honestly trying my best.

    Thanks in advance,
    Lukarawn

     
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    Old 03-01-2017, 08:00 AM   #2
    yayagirl
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    Hey

    Luk, what on earth happened to you?

    I can understand having relationship fears. My beloved dad died when I was young and it absolutely devastated me and affected me into adulthood. Over the years loved ones have moved away or left home or died, and I don't want to lose my loved ones that are in my life, either. But not much in life is in our control and nothing in life is guaranteed. If we are able bodied we can choose when to brush our teeth. But a tooth brush isn't a friend. When we have the gift of friendship we need to do the work of meeting normal human needs and hold onto the friend.

    You knew you have PTSD, but you choose to live together so you owe the relationship to give of yourself. This is no longer a 'take it slow' circumstance. I think you must deal with your own distrust, yourself. Evidently you have lost others or others treated you badly. That felt bad, but you didn't die. Nope, you lived through the loss. You can say no to fear. It is a choice.

    OK so you are afraid to let go of your fear. Does fear give you what you want in life? Does it give you friends or a companion? No, fear of loss only means you remain alone inside your own self. I remember when I realized that type of fear is actually selfishness...as a fearful young person it took me awhile to realize that focusing on my own emotions was self-centered and selfish.

    It is not fair to keep living with someone if you choose to refuse to let her in...and yes, it is a choice. You are choosing to reject her physical affection and you want her to 'understand'. Would you take her rejecting your physical affection? That is not PTSD, it is selfish.

    Really I believe if you refuse to choose to let go of your fears as if fear is a warm fuzzy blanket, then I think you need to live separately and be alone. It isn't like fear is a cancer. It may feel like a cancer to you, but your fears aren't her problem.

    Nothing in life is forever or without change. But if you won't do the work of changing your attitude so you can enjoy what you have while you have her I sincerely believe you need to leave her alone. No one gets over fear without making healthy choices. If you refuse to do that, please tell her the truth that you like your fears more than you like her and cut her loose.

    I don't want my husband to die or get tired of me and leave me alone, either. But he cannot control ordinary life. So I enjoy his company while I have it. You can make that choice, too. Just do it.

    You can get used to it.

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    Last edited by yayagirl; 03-01-2017 at 08:03 AM.

     
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    Old 03-01-2017, 10:14 AM   #3
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    Hi luka

    Have you been diagnosed with PTSD by a Psychiatrist?

    There seems to be an underlying problem where you panic from being touched. I would suggest seeing a Psychotherapist to help you work through the reason for your reaction.

    Last edited by Administrator; 03-01-2017 at 02:07 PM.

     
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    Old 03-01-2017, 01:17 PM   #4
    luka722
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    I have been diagnosed with PTSD by a psychiatrist; they misdiagnosed me as paranoid schizophrenic and when I saw 2 certified psychologists and psychiatrists to beat the diagnosis, they determined I had it.

    The underlying problem is in just that--my PTSD. I developed it due to severe abuse and neglect, and I know the problem is in that when I'm touched, my brain panics and believes my girlfriend is going to hit me or assault me. It feels like she's trying to trick me into almost "holding me hostage" before she attacks me. I know this is irrational and wrong--the problem is my brain wont calm down and realize that she isn't dangerous.

    Sometimes we still do fight (over my lack of physical affection among other things), and it only makes it worse. I feel like, though, any attempts I make to be affectionate aren't enough, even when it's too much for me to handle at times. I know it sounds really, really stupid and overdramatic though (haha).

    When I've gone to see psychiatrists/therapists to talk about this, though, they always just say to take baby steps and show other means of affection. The primary problem they've found is that I'm afraid if I don't do enough in her eyes, she'll take herself away from me and leave me. Obviously, though, that isn't good thinking.

    Last edited by Administrator; 03-01-2017 at 02:08 PM.

     
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    Old 03-01-2017, 01:28 PM   #5
    luka722
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    While I do appreciate the attempts, I feel it is much more than that. My trauma is embedded in a long history of abuse and neglect, where personal touch always came before assault or something much worse. When we began this relationship, we knew it would be hard. We went through periods of time where I wouldn't be able to function or tell her I loved her, because I'd have relapsed and felt that even though I meant it, she wouldn't believe me. My disorder isn't something that's so easily swayed, though I know that's not an excuse.

    I'm afraid of the potential of her becoming just like everyone else I've had to be close with, where I was used and then when I'd run out of use, I was left after being abused. I know that's not an excuse. I know I need to break out of it. We always knew this was going to be hard, but me not wanting to touch her--no, not being CAPABLE of touching her without panicking (albeit irrationally), is not selfishness.

    I don't feel I'm choosing to not let her in; it's not as though I wake up every day and say "I don't feel like loving my girlfriend so I'm not going to touch her". Cuddling, as I've said, is terrifying because I feel smothered so I can't move or break away when I've had enough. When I allow myself to be close to someone in small ways, I feel like I'm under their control. I can only stop being close to them when they want, you know?

    I understand fully that the majority of this problem is me. I'm very well aware of that. My primary issue is that we have very different ways of showing affection. I know not being physically affectionate is a problem for her, but she has also not taken into account that I need other things. She's not a bad person or abusive, but I know that's a whole can of worms in of itself.

    I came here asking for ways to maybe bridge the gap. I don't like my fears more than her; they're suffocating. That's the primary reason we decided to live together. It was for me to be able to grow and move on. Me relapsing is not loving my fears more than her. She's the first person to ever give me any kind of hope, and that's what I'm afraid of. I don't want her to be taken away. This isn't something involving loss. I'm not traumatized because someone left me. I'm traumatized because every time someone's touched me, they've severely hurt or raped me. I know she isn't like that, and I know she'd never do that. I just need a way to show her how much I care while I can learn to be physical.

    I'm sorry this was so long and so rant-y, and I promise I'm not getting defensive. Your advice was helpful.

    Last edited by Administrator; 03-01-2017 at 02:08 PM.

     
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    Old 03-01-2017, 02:34 PM   #6
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    Dear luka,

    I don't know what you think I attempted to do. I can't solve your problems. I can only encourage you to look at the reality of here and now. Ghosts of the past have no power over us. We are the ones turning to those memories. No one can turn them off except ourselves. Everyone has different desires and preferences and ways of showing affection. You want her to do that for you, but don't want to have to do that for her. Then why on earth did you move in together? Love is about meeting her needs. However, are your desires healthy and normal or related to the abusive past? That's for you to think about. I don't want any details.

    How you feel and why is completely understood, from my own experiences, which I won't describe. I was seriously emotionally and physically abused as a child which really messed me up, then I repeated it with unhealthy choices of who I would trust that I made as I grew up to be a young adult. I do understand relationship fear. It can be completely crippling.

    But the fact is there is no way to 'bridge the gap'. We either live in fear or choose to do what is needed. We can hug and cuddle with someone while feeling fear. That you were with her in a different dwelling proves it. I think what you fear is not abuse so much as it is fear that she doesn't love you enough to put up with you and she might give up on you. Yes, she might. She is only human herself.

    Other people cannot heal us. Humans cannot dwell on two things at once. It is impossible. We alone choose our thoughts. It seems you think the past controls what you dwell on. The truth is, only you can control what you dwell on. We can only heal ourselves by letting go of the past. If you have not done this work yet, in my opinion the most loving thing is to admit to her and let her go. Make her go, move out yourself if you need to. Because it would be abusing her to let her continue to believe that she has a super-human strength and power to wait you out until you make up your mind to let go of the past and take hold of the future. If you don't let go of this you will be the one abusing her by denying her love & affection. You must get well in your own head before you can give to a loving relationship. A lover cannot heal us. You may require objective professional help.

    Someone in love with you is not an objective person. It is you that holds onto the past. The abusive people are not in your life, are they? If they are, why do you allow it? It is unhealthy to around abusers.

    When was the last time someone truly took control of you and physically abused you? Really, luk you need to face these realities. The sooner that you do, the sooner that you can relate to a partner in a way that won't destroy her own self-esteem. You seem like a decent person. You don't want to visit the destruction inside of you onto your partner or friend, do you?
    __________________
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    Last edited by yayagirl; 03-01-2017 at 02:51 PM.

     
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    Old 03-01-2017, 03:40 PM   #7
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    Hi luka722,

    The kindest thing you can do for yourself is to seek help with a Therapist. The past, abuse and all, can be laid to rest but you need to be willing to work the process. It's a difficult process and can take time, sometimes years, but it is so worth it. You were strong enough to live through the abuse so I know you are strong enough to fight and do therapy.

    It's not easy luka but worth every little step. If you choose not to do therapy it's very possible you will struggle with every relationship. You don't want to do that, do you?

    Medications can also be helpful during the difficult journey you would embark on. A Psychiatrist would be helpful in this area.

    Luka I would really like to encourage you to follow the path to better mental health and a better life without fear. Please see a Therapist and stick with it.

     
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    Old 03-01-2017, 07:02 PM   #8
    luka722
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Snoopy61 View Post
    Hi luka722,

    The kindest thing you can do for yourself is to seek help with a Therapist. The past, abuse and all, can be laid to rest but you need to be willing to work the process. It's a difficult process and can take time, sometimes years, but it is so worth it. You were strong enough to live through the abuse so I know you are strong enough to fight and do therapy.

    It's not easy luka but worth every little step. If you choose not to do therapy it's very possible you will struggle with every relationship. You don't want to do that, do you?

    Medications can also be helpful during the difficult journey you would embark on. A Psychiatrist would be helpful in this area.

    Luka I would really like to encourage you to follow the path to better mental health and a better life without fear. Please see a Therapist and stick with it.
    Oh yeah I'm definitely intending on getting medicated for my issue; the only thing stopping me now is money for that actual medication. I'm sure once I get prescribed something most of my problems will stop--I was just looking for other options until that way became available!

     
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    Old 03-01-2017, 07:11 PM   #9
    luka722
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by YaYagirl View Post
    Dear luka,

    I don't know what you think I attempted to do. I can't solve your problems. I can only encourage you to look at the reality of here and now. Ghosts of the past have no power over us. We are the ones turning to those memories. No one can turn them off except ourselves. Everyone has different desires and preferences and ways of showing affection. You want her to do that for you, but don't want to have to do that for her. Then why on earth did you move in together? Love is about meeting her needs. However, are your desires healthy and normal or related to the abusive past? That's for you to think about. I don't want any details.

    How you feel and why is completely understood, from my own experiences, which I won't describe. I was seriously emotionally and physically abused as a child which really messed me up, then I repeated it with unhealthy choices of who I would trust that I made as I grew up to be a young adult. I do understand relationship fear. It can be completely crippling.

    But the fact is there is no way to 'bridge the gap'. We either live in fear or choose to do what is needed. We can hug and cuddle with someone while feeling fear. That you were with her in a different dwelling proves it. I think what you fear is not abuse so much as it is fear that she doesn't love you enough to put up with you and she might give up on you. Yes, she might. She is only human herself.

    Other people cannot heal us. Humans cannot dwell on two things at once. It is impossible. We alone choose our thoughts. It seems you think the past controls what you dwell on. The truth is, only you can control what you dwell on. We can only heal ourselves by letting go of the past. If you have not done this work yet, in my opinion the most loving thing is to admit to her and let her go. Make her go, move out yourself if you need to. Because it would be abusing her to let her continue to believe that she has a super-human strength and power to wait you out until you make up your mind to let go of the past and take hold of the future. If you don't let go of this you will be the one abusing her by denying her love & affection. You must get well in your own head before you can give to a loving relationship. A lover cannot heal us. You may require objective professional help.

    Someone in love with you is not an objective person. It is you that holds onto the past. The abusive people are not in your life, are they? If they are, why do you allow it? It is unhealthy to around abusers.

    When was the last time someone truly took control of you and physically abused you? Really, luk you need to face these realities. The sooner that you do, the sooner that you can relate to a partner in a way that won't destroy her own self-esteem. You seem like a decent person. You don't want to visit the destruction inside of you onto your partner or friend, do you?

    Of course I don't want to hurt her, and trust me, if I could go back and move out on my own without her, I would have. However, money is much more than an object now, and I'm far from home with no money to make any direct actions. The idea of us moving in together was supposed to fix me and help me out, but it wound up trapping me somewhere that I can't get away from.

    I don't want to be afraid of her, and I'm not even sure she knows how really scared of her I am. The thing with her showing me affection is that all I need is like, her to say she appreciates me for doing housework. I know it's not the same thing and she's still supporting me, but it's not hard or uncomfortable for her to do the things that I need to make me happy. And I know that's rather unfair because yeah obviously I'm much less maintenance than she is. But that's probably part of the problem here--I require so little to feel appreciated, but she requires more, and I'm not stable or good enough at this to let her know how much I care.

    The point of me moving away was to get away from my abusers, so if I leave her, there won't realistically be anything to keep them or me from getting back involved. But that's not why I'm staying with her. I'm not using her (at least I don't think I am).

    Admittedly, I know the answer to this is extremely self-explanatory. All I have to do is work on it. There aren't any quick or easy tutorials on how to be affectionate--you just have to DO it and find a balancing point with your partner. I made this forum thread after a huge mental breakdown and couldn't find any advice (everything involving "physical affection" in relationships comes down to sexual affection from what I found). I know things will get better, and I know once I get medicated/see a counselor about specifically this relationship and my experiences, things will be easier. Thank you.

     
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    Old 03-02-2017, 08:06 AM   #10
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    Hi Luka,

    I am glad to hear you are willing to use medications, that is a step in the right direction

    Quote:
    I know things will get better, and I know once I get medicated/see a counselor about specifically this relationship and my experiences, things will be easier.
    Again, I am very pleased to hear you're willing to do Therapy (counseling)

    Quote:
    The underlying problem is in just that--my PTSD
    It's important for you to acknowledge to yourself; The underlying problem is the abuse you experienced, the PTSD is a result of that abuse.

    I think it's important for you to understand that, in therapy, you will need to go back and relive what you lived through. As difficult as this is and as scary as it may feel it will help you to move forward and leave the ghosts behind.

     
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    Old 03-02-2017, 10:13 AM   #11
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    Hi...have you and your girlfriend gone to see your therapist together? It'll be a neutral place for both of you to learn about each other.

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    Old 03-06-2017, 12:29 AM   #12
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    Re: I want to love my girlfriend and show her it ... ?

    Dear luka,

    At least you are safe.

    It seems that you really need to be more honest and admit that all you need for now is just friendship. We don't 'need' a mate or sex. That is in the want department. Most of us want that but then we find out it is much harder work than expected.

    As you are finding, relationships aren't based on getting what we 'need', but rather what we can give. You just don't have it to give. There has to be significant healing on your side before you will be free to feel & give genuine affection. We can't give of ourselves just be cause we are thankful someone is nice to us. Humans don't work that way.

    What you really need is to be more open and honest with yourself, then also with this lady, appreciating that she cares for you, but admitting you want to, but you just can't give of yourself the way she wants, at least not yet.

    You really need to be more honest with her. This isn't about sex or affection.
    You just aren't ready for a partner. What you need is friendship. Unfortunately, everyone wants something. And no one can re-parent us. We have to do that work for ourselves.

    In my experience medication at times can help calm us but it doesn't resolve our emotional blocks and issues. That takes talking to a good counselor. There are also good books and online articles to read about PTSD recovery. Understand yourself first and allow yourself to be where you are at. That is the first and most important step.

    There is no magical thing to work on...there is nothing you or she can do to bypass the time that is needed for you to heal from the past.

    Really, it seems like you both need to just be friends and let go of romance and sex and see if you both can relax together for 'perhaps' something more in the future.
    __________________
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