Overwhelming intrusive thoughts during intimacy?? Please help

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Overwhelming intrusive thoughts during intimacy?? Please help
« on: September 16, 2018, 11:19:01 AM »
Okay so I've been dating (lets call her Emma) for almost a year now and we've had a lot of problems relating to traumatic events she experienced in her early teens. I'll describe the trauma way below for those of you triggered by mentions of S abuse) It's been almost ten years since the traumatic events of her childhood but her PTSD affects our relationship in unexpected ways. More recently I've noticed a concerning trend and I can't find any resources on whether this issue is related to her PTSD, anxiety, depression or something else. I'm hoping someone on these forums identifies with this complex issue and helps explain what might be happening and how I can help my girlfriend get through it.

So recently when we've been spending time together in private, we'll be kissing or flirting and out of nowhere, Emma will be distracted by something. The first time it happened she burst out with "Oh by the way my Aunts funeral is on Friday" which was obviously a really inappropriate thing to say and we had to stop what we were doing and talk about how uncomfortable she had made the situation. But I tried to be understanding, you can't help what pops into your head and Emma explained: "It was all I could think about and I felt like I had to tell you there and then or I would forget about it". Still, it was a shock and it's hard not to feel offended and embarrassed. A few weeks later I noticed it again when things were headed towards an intimate or sexual nature she brought up her Aunt who had recently passed. Every time it happens we both feel a bit  :stars: It happened again last night, this time she broke down crying expressing she hadn't been able to look herself in the mirror all day and was feeling very self-conscious all week. Again, I try to calm her down but also can't help feeling embarrassed and lost as to why these intrusive thoughts need to take us out of an intimate moment.

In the beginning, Emma would have the odd flashback and be taken out of the moment, it was always easier to deal with as I could tell she felt uncomfortable or scared and reacted accordingly. It's harder to deal with these spells of inappropriate comments as they seem random.

Is this related to PTSD? Is this some way of her brain feeling overwhelmed and "slamming on the brakes" In an attempt to save her from being hurt again? Has anyone else experienced overwhelming thoughts that fill their attention and take them out of the present moment?
I don't want this happening again, I don't want her to associate being with me in a negative light.
Any reply would be greatly appreciated as I can't find anything about this online. It's hard because it's not a direct flashback to traumatic events or even the same feelings, it's like one minute Emma's involved and the next she's thinking of something completely different.



(DETAILS OF THE TRAUMA FOR CONTEXT WARNING MENTIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE)
When Emma was 10 to 14 her and her sister experienced repeated harm from their older male family member. Now in her twenties, Emma is seeking help from trauma therapy and will be taking Emdr sessions in the new year.

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Deep Blue

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Re: Overwhelming intrusive thoughts during intimacy?? Please help
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2018, 01:31:37 PM »
In short, yes.  This could very well be ptsd related.

When I was going through the worst of my abuse, I forced myself to think of something else while it was happening.  I basically forced myself to dissociate.  Now the mere mention of something or a familiar sound can force me to distract my mind in the same way as I did then.  Since her abuse was SA, it makes sense that her outbursts are around intimate times.

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Three Roses

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  • CPTSD is an injury, not an illness.
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Re: Overwhelming intrusive thoughts during intimacy?? Please help
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2018, 03:17:11 PM »
EMDR will hopefully bring her some relief from these troubling symptoms. But in the meantime, education is your key to understanding.

Emotional flashbacks are a common issue for many of us; we do not have control over them, we can only learn how to manage them. They can throw our whole body into a reaction (referred to in this forum as the 4F's - fight, flight, freeze, fawn).

A common misconception is that this condition exists only in our minds and by thinking differently we can overcome our symptoms. While the way we think about things is certainly a component, CPTSD results from traumatic injury and involves physical aspects as well.

Here a quick, informative wiki article : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amygdala_hijack

Hope this all helps. Of course there's so much more to this, but that's a good place to start. It's great that you want to help her with this.  :wave:





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Dee

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Re: Overwhelming intrusive thoughts during intimacy?? Please help
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2018, 03:23:15 PM »
From experience I think it is a form of dissociation.  I've had to work really hard to stay in the moment as my brain seems to want to go anywhere but where I am.  Things that have helped me is eye contact and talking to help keep me there.  It wasn't that I didn't enjoy it, but silence and no eye contact seem to give my brain permission to go away.  I suspect it is because I did that when I was younger.  To think of anything but where I was.  It isn't that I want to do that now, but trained myself to do that.  We can teach our brains new things.

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LearningToLive

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Re: Overwhelming intrusive thoughts during intimacy?? Please help
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2018, 01:44:01 AM »
Yes, I definitely think it is PTSD related. It seems she is feeling uncomfortable, perhaps not in control and fearing being hurt so she is starting to dissociate or numb up by thinking of something non-intimate and bringing it up. She definitely is not doing it to hurt you, embarrass you etc. It sounds like a protective mechanism is kicking in. Perhaps the way to help is to take things slowly, make sure she is prepared for the intimacy, wants to do it, and that if she starts to feel afraid that she feel comfortable enough to tell you. Sometimes easier said than done. Good luck.

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Boy22

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Re: Overwhelming intrusive thoughts during intimacy?? Please help
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2018, 06:21:17 AM »
I have no doubt it is cptsd related.

For me and my partner the best response is to hold hands facing each other and respond to the injured persons comments with support. Pause. “Are you with me now, should we carry on or stop and cuddle?”