Do I or do I not tell him?

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Caoilainn

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Do I or do I not tell him?
« on: May 31, 2020, 09:53:27 PM »
Hi all,

On April 10th of this year, I came to understand that I have Complex PTSD. I remember that date so clearly because that’s when things finally made sense to me. I only just managed to get out of my parents’ house last September when I moved to my current city for school. For numerous reasons, they’re the reason I developed Complex PTSD. Since April 10th, I’ve come to understand that the 23 years of my life before this were abusive and wrong, and I’ve been working— with the help of a wonderful therapist and some truly kind friends — to unlearn everything that my parents lead me to believe about myself.

Prior to quarantine, I was in a relationship and we were going through a rough patch. We started going out last December and on April 1st we agreed that we needed some time apart, and to not see each other during the lockdown. Communication has been hugely sparse since then, and I haven’t told him about CPTSD or what it means to me, and how it’s impacted us, because it impacted our relationship for the time that we were seeing each other in a huge way that I’m still recognizing, and as I unpack what I internalized in my childhood the more I see how it restricted me in this relationship.

We’re still in quarantine, and after this is over (or subsides), we’re thinking of taking a couple of weeks to see where we’re at, and if we want to go forward together. So my question is, do I tell him that I have Complex PTSD? Do I wait to see if we end up together again (after we’ve figured out whether or not we’re going to continue dating), or do I wait until after we figure that out? If you have personal experiences with this and are willing to share any insights, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you all! Take care!

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dreamriver

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Re: Do I or do I not tell him?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2020, 08:14:20 PM »
Hi Caoilainn. If it were me, I would tell him - and if you have realizations now about how your previously undiagnosed condition might have got in the way of you two having a healthy relationship, it might be a great place to start anew. The same thing happened with my husband and I. He didn't understand overnight, it's a long and slow process as we learn situation by situation.

Maybe he will find all that too overwhelming, or maybe he'll be open to learning how to better navigate the condition in a renewed relationship with you. Either way, he should know who you are. He should be given a chance to embrace that, that's what the beginning of a relationship should be all about: being completely honest about who you are to make sure you're compatible.

And if he doesn't feel comfortable, want a relationship, or it's too much after you tell him, then you saved a lot of wasted time building trust and getting closer to him (and his loss!) and you can then move on.

Just my humble opinion.  :yes:

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Kizzie

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Re: Do I or do I not tell him?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2020, 04:53:50 PM »
I haven't had to deal with this Caoilainn but if it were me a few questions I would ask myself are:

Do I know him well enough to trust him with this information?  (because no doubt you will want to explain how you developed it)

How will I react if he does not understand what is Complex PTSD and the symptoms I live with? (it can be hard to deal with if he invalidates, minimizes what you're dealing with)

How will I feel if he chooses not to carry on with the relationship because of my having Complex PTSD?  (feeling rejected/abandoned are also hard to deal with so you need to be prepared).

Not to be a Debbie Downer, just trying to urge caution.  It may be something to run by your T also.

 :grouphug:
« Last Edit: June 02, 2020, 04:55:28 PM by Kizzie »

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Jazzy

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Re: Do I or do I not tell him?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2020, 03:10:46 AM »
I like what Kizzie has said here. Its some great points to think about.

I've been in a similar situation, although a bit different. I had started dating someone, and I knew that I had a lot of unresolved problems that could really come between us, although I didn't have the proper label, or an explanation for it all at the time.

So, I started off slow. I let her know there was a couple of big things I was still working on mentally, and that I would need some extra understanding and support from time to time. She was very good about it, and the more she showed that, the more details I gave her. It turns out she is a PTSD survivor herself, and she helped me find out about CPTSD and all it entailed. She was appalled with the way M had treated me (and still was at the time).

So, I think it is a bit of a balancing act. If you can share a bit, so as to be honest about it, but not overwhelming, it might end up great. It worked well for me; I hope it does for you too. However it goes, I'm sure you'll work it out  for the best.

--

Also, welcome to the forums. I see you only have a couple posts here. I hope you find it a helpful place, and to see you around more. :)

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Kizzie

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Re: Do I or do I not tell him?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2020, 04:08:51 PM »
I like what Jazzy has said about sharing a little at a time if/when you decide to move forward with the relationship  :thumbup:   

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Caoilainn

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Re: Do I or do I not tell him?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2020, 10:09:18 PM »
Hi Dreamriver, Kizzie, and Jazzy,

First, thank you so much for your responses, I took some time off (the mental health has been pretty bad this week) but things are looking up a little. I only saw this just today, and I hope you don't mind that I post my response to you all in one message.

Thank you, Dreamriver. I've wondered about what it would mean to talk with him about this. I do feel as though I wouldn't be able to be my full self without acknowledging the ways in which this affected me in our relationship. My big worry is if it is too much for him. I don't want him to feel like he has to take any of this on, and maybe that's a point that I need to emphasize. I'm trying to encourage/be proud of myself for even realizing that the "normal" I was raised in was actually a violent, emotionally-closed hellscape.

Thank you for your thoughts, Kizzie -- and you're not a Debbie Downer at all! I don't know how well he'll react to it. I do know that he was raised with parents who were the complete opposite of mine, but he recently told me that a friend has a verbally abusive mom and said that he considers himself hugely privileged to have such kind parents. I do think that if he invalidates any of my upbringing, I would be more comfortable completely separating from him.

Hi Jazzy, thank you for what you shared! I think that's how I'm going to approach it. I'll just let him know that I've been working some stuff from my past. As he knows some of my upbringing (but not the abuse from my mom or much of the emotional abuse I took from my dad), it's going to be somewhat easier to talk about it. The big hurdles are that 1.) I don't want him to feel like this is something he has to take on -- just something that would help him understand me better, and 2.) In my situation, I didn't even know these were unresolved problems for me because I'd internalized so much negative self-messaging from my parents, but I knew that something was off. And thank you! It's wonderful to have a community who understands what this response does to a person's outlook.

At this point he thinks I have PTSD, in part because I've told him about the three different rapes I've survived (and about a month before quarantine I saw my third rapist at the store, which threw me for a long time). One thing is that I don't want him to feel like I'm withholding. I guess that sharing what I feel comfortable sharing in a given moment is good.

Thank you all for your input. It means so much. :grouphug:

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Kizzie

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Re: Do I or do I not tell him?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2020, 03:16:14 PM »
 :grouphug:

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Anongirl

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Re: Do I or do I not tell him?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2020, 10:31:13 PM »
Personally, I would get a feel for the situation, how was he about your ptsd? It might be an indication of how he may react? I think your gut will help guide you, if there’s a long term prospect, you see stability  & understanding... then...knowing your approach & being able to have the support lined up (if it goes topsy turvy) & If you have built up trust, being honest is my preference but Kizzie is so right too.  Kizzie, great points!

In your case he knows or is suspicious  about the Ptsd,  but not the Cptsd, maybe that  step isn’t as jarring as if he had not suspected/know it at all? How is he with Mental health issues?

 Wow, imho I see both sides here. My only thing to add would be to have your supports lined up if you decide to tell him & maybe go through it with your trusted friend/therapist?  Is he someone who you can see a future with?

Best of luck & virtual, socially distant, very gentle hugs :)