Relating

E. My issues are PTSD, body memories, suicidal thoughts, being in parts. They’re not the group and what people there think of me.

Ron. Your problems are reflected in your relationships, and group is a way of working that out.

Oh. This is why Ron thinks I should be in group, even though it’s not focusing on what to do about my issues. Half the time in a session, I feel like we’re wasting time going on about the group. I know relationships are important. But I don’t really have any. Well, I have some, but they’re not major. I have some friends. A son, but we’re not close. A FOO, and ditto.

I am learning how to say my feelings I suppose. And how to piss people off. No, wait, I knew that already. It’s just becoming more evident that I do that quite a bit.

I would like to have someone close to me….but how will I find that person? Especially at fifty. With big issues. I never did have looks to attract – at least I’m not desperately missing what I never had.

If I did find that person, presumably I’d be better at ‘relating’. Who knows.

Just wondering – do your issues, PTSD or otherwise, affect your relationships a lot?

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8 comments
  1. weareonebyruth said:

    YES. Flip the coin a little. Have you considered how you react to people is key to those memories, body and mental? I learned that how I reacted to people that the PTSD was pulling my strings. I busily cut as many strings as possible connecting me to the PTSD. It meant allowing the memories (wickedly hard, just don’t want to miss lead you), processing how I feel about them (which included reconnecting to some mighty uncomfortable feelings) and learning new ways to interact. My counselor coached me through some of the trickier curves and let me babble when my wonderful childhood shattered into thousands of pieces. PTSD rules my life less and less every day. I took back my life one thread at a time. I check in with those close to me and progress in counseling translates to some improvement in some of my relationships. The ones where the other person is more unhealthy than me is a learning experience in protecting myself. My kids report that I am more enjoyable to be around. I know I enjoy my relationships with my family and friends more. I think you are doing amazing work. Rough roads ahead but in my opinion it is worth busting up that PTSD strangle hold that kept me from thriving. Hugs.

    • Ellen said:

      You’re making a good case for working on this stuff Ruth.It sounds like in your case you worked through the trauma first, then felt benefits in your relationships? Ron is trying to do this the other way around. I’m actually ready to quit at the moment. Hopefully I’ll get some hope back at some point. Hugs to you

  2. laura said:

    it’s not only about relating, it’s primarily about being authentic and true to yourself (not hiding whatever bits you think are unacceptable), and being able to be with other people when they’re being authentic – with their issues and blindspots. It’s learning HOW to be close, when from an early age, you’ve had to protect yourself, and haven’t ever had a close relationship. My relationship with Howard is the closest I’ve ever had by far. I’ve never had a “confidential friend”. I feel as if I can take my eyes off him, because I trust him, and listen for that small wavering voice inside. I’ve been in group for 6 months, and I’ve identified this pattern of focusing all my intuition and curiosity on THEM, helping them to talk, advising, and I’m working at changing that pattern, focusing on my internal responses, and sharing those – being visiblle to others will allow me to be closer Everyone in your group may have different issues, but they all negatively affect their relationships.
    It seems great that you know that you WANT to be close to someone, there’s your motivation, to break down your own barriers.
    think about your budding relationship with A as an example. Something happened there that had to do with him, but you also were swept up in a powerful REACTION that had little to do with him personally, a transference reaction. You were aware that this reaction was way out of proportion, and a danger to the relationship, that this new relationship wasn’t going to be able to hold up under your all-consuming need. Don’t you think that reaction a) gets in the way of relationships with people you have something in common with, and like? and b)needs examination -, before it wrecks more promising relationships? Otherwise, you’re stuck wishing for relationships and not having them. You could still examine this experience in group and with Ron. It’s not like it won’t ever come up again.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks for sharing your experience in group. It does sound helpful to you. I can’t say I’ve identified any of my own patterns in group so far.

      I get your point about A. My experience with E does lead me to think nothing ever does get resolved….we all just stay stuck in our own pain, and no one impacts the other much.

      Anyway, I’m going to stop group for a while as it’s not helping me. Thanks for the input.

      • laura said:

        I think I’m saying A when I meant R.
        Keep hanging in there, E.

        • Ellen said:

          He used to be R, and now is A – you’re doing well. šŸ™‚ I know who you mean in any case.

          Thanks Laura.

  3. Do you mean romantic relationships? Or relationships with my friends, therapist, etc. A common thread amongst all of them, for me, is trust – I find it hard to believe that anybody will be there for me when I am down. When I’m in a [bipolar] depression I also tend to believe that they will be better off without me… as you can imagine that strains all of my relationships. As for romance, as you know I recently met someone. Even at my age (47), having been single for over a decade, being overweight, bipolar, with PTSD, childhood trauma, and having no experience with dating men. Am trying to take it slow and see how it develops over the next few months is where I’m at. It’s hard to not rush things. Dating at my age is awesome, actually, with none of the insecurities I felt when I was younger (even in my early 30s I was horribly insecure). Sexually, I can ask for what I need, set limits, and stop if I’m feeling overwhelmed. It’s great being able to communicate, both in and out of bed. I understand the desire to be close to someone, and I hope you find him. You are a good catch… I wish you could see that.

    • Ellen said:

      I meant any important relationship. Romance comes up because that tends to go with an intense relationship, in a way friendship doesn’t, at least, mine don’t.

      You are very clear about how your issues affect your trust in others. I feel similar. And I’m happy for you that the dating is going well for you.

      Thanks for the encouragement.

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