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Feeling Overwhelmed by Partner's Needs

If you're concerned about, or care for, someone with mental illness
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Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:01 pm

Feeling Overwhelmed by Partner's Needs

Postby bee-ok » Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:25 pm

Hey all. I do hope everyone is okay and putting on their own oxygen masks before trying to help someone else.

I'm in a new relationship (less than 3 months) with someone who has complex PTSD (stemming from childhood abuse and being injured while at war), anxiety, and a host of other things. She goes to therapy once a month at the moment, and she needs to be there more often but doesn't see it that way. I'm just feeling unbelievably overwhelmed. A "good morning" text typically results in her telling me about another nightmare that has caused her to have a panic attack or resulted in her being nauseous. Usually, the first words I read are, "I need you." So before my feet even hit the ground, before I've even brushed my teeth, and before she even bothers to ask how I'm doing, I have to push down however I'm feeling and be her emotional support and talk her down via mobile call or text. Bloody exhausting.

In addition to all of that, she's incredibly insecure, so at least once a week, she starts looking for problems in our relationship, telling me that I should date someone who doesn't have all the issues she has, and it becomes a vicious cycle because she has really critical moments where she says things like, "I don't know you. You don't put me first You're not meeting my needs. I was a fool to fall in love with you. You made me feel like it was okay to be vulnerable. You're going to leave me like all the others. I always end up with emotionally unavailable women like my mother." Then, 24 hours later, she's all, "I love you. You're an amazing woman. You DO meet my needs. I want to marry you." No form of apology or any mention of what happened mere hours before. It's to the point now that I have become immune to it, and I expect it, so I can kind of brace myself when I feel the waves turning.

The other night really scared me because she was like, "Oh, I'm going to give away everything, and I'm feeling a "bit" suicidal. My counsellor gave me the number to a help line earlier today. Oh, it'll pass. It's just a "bit" of sadness." It sounded like someone preparing to end their life. Some hours later, she purported to be okay, and I'm thinking to myself, "What the bloody #%^@?"

I'm at work right now, and she's texting back to back to back. I know PTSD has highs and lows, but she has more lows. She was on an antidepressant and just quit without telling her psychotherapist. Her clinginess and neediness is stifling at times.

Putting on my oxygen mask and taking deep breaths because I don't know how to support someone who won't seek the help they desperately need and preserve my own sanity.

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Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: Feeling Overwhelmed by Partner's Needs

Postby robin71 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:43 pm

Hello B
well done for posting.
I have similar problems with giving support, but came to it more slowly, try not to let the fact that you don't know how to deal with it make you feel bad.
Deep breaths are great and try to relax back to your 'normal' self when you can.
Your emotion reaction can become more stable, but it is something that grows rather than is learned quickly.

I'll think a bit more then post again, take alook at some of the other posts about ptsd.

Posts: 42
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: Feeling Overwhelmed by Partner's Needs

Postby robin71 » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:57 pm

Hello B

If mornings are a key time for support could you build in some time eachday to ckeckin. It's hard to take time out in the morning because we al want to get the day started. But some kind of slow routine might help you both, and give time to address any overnight issues?

Her emotional instability also might be helped by lots of routine. Have you heard of "favorite person" especially in bpd, alot of what you said about fast changes in mood seemed familiar.
Try not to think of it as being immune, think of it as being more in control of your emotions. With mh care I believe we learn more about our selves than the caree.

Suicide fear is a big one, it's hard not to really worry, but ultimately you can,only do what you can do. I heard the idea that you could put the samaritians number in her phone, and get her to dial, one of you can then just explain to them why you are ringing. Then you know she has the number and knows how to make the call.

Try to make space to call friends and family, if you can find someone to talk to do. Clingy ness is tough but remember to fully be with her as well. If you need to concentrate at work try regimenting when you check your phone, bottom draw?

Thanks for caring about her, take it easy. R

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