We started hot and heavy. Power couple. I'm afraid the next time I approach dating, I'll be gunshy if they're too nice, too accepting of me, because the brightest beginnings led to my most problematic relationships. Including the one likely to end tomorrow.

I was describing it to a friend tonight, one who has been a sort of guru to me in my last year of living with fibromyalgia to complicate an already toxic miasma of a living situation and a health record. She and I have both struggled with substance abuse in the past, and so she knew exactly what I meant when I said the first little bit of an abusive relationship is like coming up on your first Ecstasy pill. It's exciting, nerve-wracking, and the moment you go from "dating" to "a couple," it's euphoria like you've never felt before. It's like everything bad in the world has fallen away to reveal this person you feel like you know better than yourself.

But that's the trap. If you can be content with coffee or beer or a joint now and then, you have no interest in trying a psychedelic or a club drug. You feel like that "ol' reliable" is enough. But with PTSD, C-PTSD in particular, nothing on earth seems reliable. And if you can't rely on anything or anybody because you're too hyper vigilant, and that has been your truth as long as you can remember, then hell yes, I'll take the scratch card, hell yes I'll take a chance at something which reminds me of the beauty life can have, even for a night.

You can't party every night. It will eventually catch up with you, and if you keep trying to chase that dragon, you'll leave behind no more than a shell of your former self. You need to find a way to trust the future will come and that you can experience beauty without a crutch.

I thought I would be safe from the trap of my last two years because I've dated an abuser before, I have a psychology degree, I've been in therapy myself for over a decade. I thought I should know better.

It's hard to sum up in anything short of a novella, but I turned 26 in the middle of March in 2020. Her other partners dumped her for different reasons, she moved in with me two days after my birthday, two days later we both had COVID. COVID kicked what symptoms I was justifying as stress into eventual "inability to work" territory, but I tried. PTSD flared up real hard because I love meeting new people and lockdown was rough, but I tried.

One thing I tried a month before our first anniversary was a new pill my psychiatrist recommended. Buspar. I had a TERRIBLE reaction. My PTSD and anxiety got so bad I lost much of the year to dissociation while trying to find the right balance of meds. On top of that, the minute I climb out of the psychosis from just a week on Buspar, I look at her and tell her I don't remember being in so much pain all the time, she told me I'd been complaining about it for months. I finally started seeing doctors for it when my feet went numb.

Particular highlights of our relationship include many instances in which we've triggered one another. My friends swear she's abusing me (they're right,) her friends say the same (I could see how they would think that off her impression of me,) us both saying or doing things we've told the other is a trigger. It just seems impossible at this point.

Before she went to sleep, after we argued about how she wanted to fall asleep cuddling and I wanted alone time to process how ugly our fighting has gotten, she said I had better get plenty of rest cause we're having the Big Talk tomorrow, and also that if I had any hope of salvaging this relationship, I had better come to bed with her when I'm ready.

Well, it's nearing 5am. No use explaining to her that her presenting such an attitude makes me quite nervous to touch her. No use explaining that my habit of staying up all night came from a desire to know everyone else in my home is asleep and not angry with me. Just typing this massive brain dump because I'm a verbal processor (one area of incompatibility between us is how verbal I am and how physical she is with both expressions of love and expressions of pain.) Throw shit at the wall, hope for at least some sympathy, I guess, or maybe I'm just writing to hear myself think.

I appreciate the patience of anyone who has stuck with me this far. You get a fun fact. The Swedish word for raccoon translates roughly to "laundry bear," because the "washing" they do looks like washing laundry in the river.

Anywho.. the Klonopin I took to try to curl up with my partner is finally hitting me. I think what has been tripping me up is my guilt complex. I don't know how to get out of this without feeling horribly guilty. Guilty for the kitty who was mine but likes my girlfriend better than my other cat. Guilty for my sweet kitty who hasn't gotten his ESA cert yet, but needs and will receive it provided I can just find a place for both myself and him to stay. Guilty that I couldn't fix it. Guilty that I got caught in the trap again, chasing the dragon.

At the end of the night/early morning, I worry and dread the next day. Will she play nice and be offended when I'm still hesitant near her? Will she tell me she slept poorly and that I pretty much wrecked her day before it started? We'll see!

....I just don't wanna play this game anymore.. it's no fun and I'm barely approachable in the morning till my shower takes the stiffness away..

Thanks to anyone who gave this a read. It kinda helps just to post it. Say goodnight to my buddy, then curl up with her again, try not to cry, again. Oh, how high were our highs. But with how she talks now, we're just killing each other with attrition. I'm so unsure how to be brave here. But hey. Time to do the totally not scary thing of just curling up to sleep with her. It should be easy. I've done it before. I just hope not to do it again.

Generalized pain

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

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  • Scarlet9904


    I'm so sorry you are going through this I understand where you are coming from and everything I wish I could give you advice and all the things to make it better but it almost sounds like a case of love isn't enough. Which are always super hard best I can suggest tho is if you both go for below the belt in fights one of you has to be the bigger person and say I won't to end that cycle or both need to walk away to end it.

  • ZappyRacc


    My mental (and physical) health are two other major priorities in my life. Over the last year and change, she's told me, again and again, that the fights are my fault because I'm holding onto things she's said or done, that I'm being weak, that I'm just nuts, it's my anxiety that's the problem, not its source. It's so difficult to detangle, because I don't even remember a lot of it, and because my guilt tethers me too her. Fear that we'll fight and I'll morph into that panic attack version of me, and just start choking on apologies she says just make her feel worse. Guilt that I've been the worst version of myself in hopes of getting through this with the least pain possible. Dishonesty is a huge trauma trigger for me. Hiding things, fake "I'm fine" moments. But she's telling me not to talk about stressy stuff, making me feel guilty pretty much no matter what I do, her double-standards, like the one where we agreed to keep it open because she kept coercing me into sex, even taking digs at my masculinity (which I'm sorry, but isn't it an unspoken law among trans people to not use the other's dysphoria as a weapon against them?) I told her she was welcome to go "get some" from other people if only it gets her off my ass about it. But she didn't make enough friends to play with, and she's made it quite clear she doesn't want me playing with anyone else. I have done so once while dating her, with my best friend of almost a decade, who I used to date but with whom I have remained on good terms as friends, and even then, even knowing he hasn't been with anyone since me, I still set boundaries based on the agreement we made, that she and I were fluid-bonded and agreed any penetration would be with protection, and when we couldn't find nonlatex rubbers, we settled for other play rather than break the rule she probably hasn't even followed, because while I wanted so badly to truly make love to my friend in that way, he and I are both able to talk, express boundaries, and respect each other's needs. Crazy how I've been telling her I'm questioning if I might actually be asexual, but then somebody who cares deeply for me, respects my desires, and compliments me and makes me feel special, and I feel like my ass wants him like a stray dog wants a hamburger. Maybe it's not that I'm rarely sexual, maybe it's that fear precludes libido for me.

    • jezabelle


      I actually was just reading up on this exact topic. I've discovered that I'm demisexual. That's when you only experience sexual attraction to people that you have a close bond with an emotional bond. However these folks are not attracted to strangers sexually whatsoever they have to have some kind of a bond whether it be a friend or something. that's me. I'm not saying that I haven't looked at someone and said wow he's cute they got a nice party but I've never wanted to sleep with them in fact if I was approached with that I would definitely have to decline because I would not be sexually attracted to them even though I absolutely thought they were attractive physically I could not do it. There's several different kinds of sexuality is not just the typical I'm a Google monster if I don't understand something I Google it so I basically Google myself and I find out a lot of stuff LOL so I am a demisexual

      • ZappyRacc


        haha you're right on the money. I've identified as demisexual for years. I do find my sexual interest seems to vary in general, sometimes I want it with someone else, but in general I'm content masturbating when I get the urge. It's important my partner is someone I can trust. I saw a bit of standup comedy last night where a gal said the sexiest thing to her is a dude who can take a "no" without arguing her about it.

  • Dorkasaurus


    Learn the patterns of love bombing. Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft is a good read

  • ivy77


    🙌 this reminds me of my stupidity. I just lost my last husband to alcoholism and cirosis. 2 years ago. I fell in love with another man and he's a chronic alcoholic. He's not abusive yet. I'm studying phycology to help myself with my own mental illness, and he's wasted everyday. Am I stupid to fall into this love trap again. I'm sober, he's killing himself. I hear and see the same things that my last husband done and said. I blow up, talk to him and in the end he ll have to help himself. I take care of me with one eye open. Insanity is it? I ignore it and do things I like to do. It may not be the right path, all you can really do is better yourself.

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