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  • Helcat

    Hi Seaturtle

    This is your thread. You’re welcome to talk about whatever you wish. 😊 I’ve watched crazy ex girlfriend, it has been a while though. If you tell me what episode has that scene in it I will look it up.

    I looked up the term meatball since my guess was different to your conclusion. So there seem to be a few different definitions in urban dictionary. Idiot (my guess was this because meatball reminded me of the word goofball). Short with big boobs and butt. Or fat.

    Did you ask your partner what he meant by the word meatball? Since there are so many different definitions, it could just be a misunderstanding?

    I’m sorry to hear that you are feeling a bit insecure about your body. Do you worry about your partner being attracted to you?

    I’m afraid that I’m a bit scattered at the moment. Apologies for keeping you waiting, but I’m going to have to get back to you properly later. My baby has to go for an emergency scan. I’m not sure what is going to happen.

    Love and best wishes! ❤️ 🙏


    Hi Seaturtle

    I’m glad that you found me sharing the difficulties that I’ve had with PTSD in my relationship helpful. 😊

    I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties with finances and losing your job (even though it felt like a relief because of the difficulties you were having with mental health).

    It’s good to hear that you are finding living apart helpful. It sounds like you went through a lot while you were living together. No doubt that difficult roommate made the whole experience that much more challenging.

    I’m glad that as you have been discussing the trauma invalidation your partner has been understanding and supportive even if he doesn’t understand all of your triggers.

    I can see why you feel hurt by the insensitive joke your boyfriend told. I mentioned that I like sarcasm before, so I think I understand your partner’s sense of humour. The problem is that not everyone appreciates sarcasm especially at their own expense. It was insensitive, he definitely misjudged how you might feel about a joke like that and it’s understandable to feel hurt by it.

    Something that really helped me to understand my feelings regarding disagreements with my partner was reflecting on my experience with him. So outside of disagreements I felt like I had a very good relationship with with my partner, I felt safe, loved etc. But during disagreements I felt that I didn’t trust him. I would worry that he didn’t care about me and all of these kinds of dark thoughts.

    I had to practice recalling who he was outside of disagreements and comparing this truth of what I knew about my partner being loving against the almost dark thoughts I experienced during a trigger. Is it likely that this person who loves and cares for me so much is intentionally trying to hurt me? No. Does my perception of what is happening right now match with his usual behaviour? No. This would help me to change my perspective and refocus on reality, as opposed to my fears.

    I would write down little notes for myself to read when I was having difficulties.

    “This is 2023, I am safe with my partner who loves me. I’m not a child anymore being bullied by my mother. I am an adult now and I can protect myself. These feelings are memories of a painful past, they will pass in time.”

    I have more to add but I’m getting sleepy! I will have to finish tomorrow.

    Love and best wishes! ❤️ 🙏

    in reply to: Extremely painful breakup and confusion #423606

    Honestly, it might not hurt to go to a Halloween party. I’m glad that they invited you. It’s okay that they’re in a different place in their lives to you. You won’t be in this place forever. You’re hungry for change and you deserve it! Blow off some steam, distract yourself, try and have fun. If you’re not enjoying it leave.

    You deserve love, comfort and stability in your life. It takes time, effort and luck. I have faith that you will get there. You’ve been through so much in your life already. You can get through this and make it to the other side.

    in reply to: Extremely painful breakup and confusion #423605

    Hi Stacy

    I’m glad that you’re starting to feel better sickness wise.

    I think it depends on how good people are with self-care. There is ultimately, nothing wrong with sharing even difficult emotions. It’s a very healthy thing to do. We are social creatures and all need support especially when we are struggling.

    I think the difficulty is that not everyone is capable of providing emotional support to others.

    We do have our limits but there is a massive variety in what people are capable of. Some people do it as a job. Some people like Anita choose invest time and effort in supporting others every day. I always admired that she took the time to respond to everyone.

    Whilst I would like to respond to everyone. On good days I do my best to. Sometimes I need to focus on practicing self-care. If I am busy, or going through a lot emotionally. I may choose to only communicate a few people and even then there may be days where I need to focus on taking care of my own emotions and take a short break.

    I think you have a lot of people in your life who fall on the opposite end of the spectrum. This has created a lot of shame for you in sharing your emotional needs.

    Even in your relationship where you felt supported. You were shamed for your emotional needs. He often blamed you for your understandable feelings about concerning behaviours that he was unwilling to change.

    Asking a healthy person for reassurance doesn’t turn them against you. I’ve repeatedly asked my husband whilst being pregnant if he’s still attracted to me. He just holds me and and reassures me.

    It is honestly disgusting that your partner told you that he was no longer attracted to you and continued to sleep with you. It’s abusive. If you were more confident in your boundaries you would have ended the relationship then and there when he said that to you. I think it’s a good thing that the relationship is over. You don’t need someone in your life who actively shames and humiliates you like that. Good luck to the next person he dates. They are going to need it! I expect that he will have persistent difficulties in relationships for a while.

    It’s tempting to reflect on the good parts of the relationship and pretend that it was perfect. But it wasn’t. The signs of avoidant behaviour were present. It’s been discussed at length already. Realistically, he never even tried to match the level of effort you put into the relationship. He never even bothered to call you. That simple action was too much like effort for him and actively refused. What could you do if your boundaries were stronger in this case? Refuse to call him unless he takes his turn to contact you. Realistically, what hope is there in a relationship for someone too lazy and uncaring to bother even calling? This stands out to me because it’s so ridiculous. So small a request and so easy to fix with so little effort. He just didn’t want to.

    I think that it’s a good thing that you were persistent in confronting him about issues that you were concerned about. It made things very clear that you were not going to accept the behaviour.

    Because of the abuse and difficulties in life you cannot imagine better. But it exists and you deserve it. You deserve to be treat with the same kindness that you show other people.

    Because of the previous abuse, you doubted your own boundaries and put up with too much bad behaviour.

    Everyone has problems, but the sign of a good partner is someone who is willing to work on issues when you discuss them. Someone who is willing to compromise.

    I think you understand what happened in the relationship. But you also experienced gaslighting. Gaslighting can be very confusing and make you doubt your own perspective. It’s natural to want to empathize with a partner’s perspective but it’s harmful and damaging when they deny your own boundaries.

    You frequently experienced partial validation, refusal to change and blame. It’s a very confusing mix. It’s basically someone who is pretending to be healthy, but they’re not really.

    He hasn’t quite learned from therapy and been able to fully apply those lessons.

    Someone who is healthy and confronted with a problem will validate fully, seek a healthy compromise that meets both of your needs and ultimately change their behaviour to what is agreed upon.

    Quite different from what you experienced.

    Someone who has never had a long term relationship is extremely unlikely to have healed from their past.

    You’re a very trusting person, but I think that you can learn from this relationship and learn to protect yourself by paying attention to what people say and how they act. It’s not your fault that you weren’t able to protect yourself from his behaviour. You have a history of abuse and this relationship was a step towards a healthy one in comparison.

    It makes me feel angry for you that you were treat in these ways. And I know that you don’t feel it yet, but good riddance!

    I’d like to give him a piece of my mind for you. He needs to grow up and stop dismissing women. Stop pretending he’s perfect because he’s not. Everyone has problems, but you know what actually makes things better instead of ignoring problems. Actively working on fixing them! He’s tried nothing and he’s all out of ideas describes his efforts in a relationship.

    It’s great that he supported you in your life, when it was about difficulties outside of him. But the second conversation turned to difficulties in the relationship he ceased to be supportive.

    Love and best wishes! ❤️ 🙏


    I forgot to add some context about my relationship. My husband also had an abusive background.

    I don’t remember if I’ve said this before, but I feel it’s important.

    For a long time, I felt a sense of distrust and resentment that he wasn’t able to behave “perfectly” and avoid triggering me. I was genuinely hyper vigilant in the relationship and afraid of being abused.

    It’s really difficult when the mind overlays past experiences onto our present. It is very confusing and ultimately, understandable that we want it to stop. But ultimately, my husband was never to blame. The traumatic experiences were to blame.

    Since I’ve come to understand the large impact my PTSD has on communication during disagreements in the relationship. It’s really helped me to accept him and forgive his very human mistakes when they occur and to let go of that resentment.

    I would also say that sometimes living with a roommate that you don’t like as well as a partner can exacerbate tensions. I went through this experience as well and honestly, it’s so much nicer living with only my partner and not having someone around that was actively uncomfortable to live with. Just added this because I seem to remember a roommate situation who you didn’t get on with.


    I’m sorry for the amount of suffering that you and your siblings experienced as a result of your father. I did wonder if he was violent at all because of the extent of your trauma. Even witnessing violence from a parent is traumatic.

    It’s really difficult because up until recently. Knowledge about trauma and it’s effects has been really limited. It’s only in our lifetime that hitting children has started to be banned. For generations, trauma has been handed down unrecognised and untreated.

    I’m sorry to hear that your father would invalidate your trauma, actively deny it and blame you for it. That is extremely painful to experience. Unfortunately, that is very common when it comes to abusive parents. I experienced the same thing with mine too. I wonder, did your father suffer from depression at all?

    In some cases, parents who have been abusive flip between denial and periods of lucidity where they experience depression and self-hatred as a result of the way that they’ve treat their children. They don’t usually articulate this as a reason for their depression to their children. I believe it’s a self-protective mechanism for them to live in denial.

    I’m glad to hear that your relationship with your father has since improved. Sometimes I find that can create a disconnect or confusion about how was see them. At other times, having trauma invalidated by our abusers can create a sense of confusion and denial about our experiences in ourselves. Do you think you experienced any of this at all?

    It’s extremely important that your partner works on not invalidating your trauma.

    It is difficult for him to deal with your triggers because of his experiences with his parents. He is very sensitive to perceived criticism at this time. It’s honestly hard to say what kinds of things he experienced during his father’s periods of over sharing and it’s definitely concerning that he experienced that. I think that you’re a very empathetic person and now that it’s clear there is a trigger for him you will do your best to be sensitive to his needs while trying to manage your own.

    I think there might also be an additional element too. You’re a very empathetic person, with great communication skills. During a trigger this breaks down a bit. I know that this is one reason why I go quiet sometimes too. I don’t want to say anything harmful to my partner. And sometimes the negative thoughts during a trigger are very strong. There are times when this “leaks” and can be harmful to your partner. I think it can be jarring for partners to experience the contrast between such attentive careful communication and a breakdown. I’m sure that you never intend to hurt your partner. It is just that difficult to communicate effectively when triggered sometimes. It gets easier with a lot of practice. I’m sure that you do your best and it is always something to keep working on.

    I’m glad that your partner feels comfortable sharing with you when he feels hurt and that you are receptive to this, do your best to manage the situation and validate his feelings.

    He needs to improve on doing the same for you. It sounds like sometimes he isn’t as receptive to your concerns when you raise them. But clearly, in some cases as with the apologies. There is improvement and he tries.

    In the long run, I think his willingness to address these issues will ultimately determine if you both stay together. You are very willing to support him and his needs.

    Have you ever had a discussion about him invalidating your trauma and how that makes you feel?

    I hope that you have a good weekend! Love and best wishes! ❤️ 🙏


    Hi Seaturtle

    Thank you for your patience and compassion! Please feel free to read this on Monday, since you like to have a break over the weekend.

    I know exactly how you feel with the issues with apologies. I’ve had similar issues too with my husband. I’m glad to hear that your partner did get better at apologising though. Mine did too.

    It also helped to calm my triggers to be treat with empathy and validation. I think that as time went on and we worked on things, I was more able to differentiate between the past and the present. I ended up feeling less and less the need for him to apologize to help soothe my anxiety because it became very clear to me that it was less to do with him and his behaviour and more to do with my past.

    Regarding passive aggressive jokes, would be you like to share an example? I think this is something that I’ve been guilty of myself. I appreciate sarcastic humour, whereas my husband doesn’t. It annoyed my sister too when I would be sarcastic. I think that it’s important to take on board that feedback from people and even though it’s a tense situation and a sarcastic joke might lighten my mood, it can have the opposite effect on others. Being sensitive to other people’s needs is important especially to avoid escalating conflict.

    It can definitely be difficult living with people so closely. It really takes some getting used to. I remember being annoyed by the lack of space for the first 6 months when my husband and I started living together. I hope that moving out helps you to process and gives you that comfort of having your own space.

    I think that therapy could be helpful in the event that you two decide to live together again. You know now that it is a triggering experience for you both and could honestly use some support to help manage this. I think it’s possible to overcome this in a relationship if both partners are committed to supporting each other and working on it together.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences of your trauma being invalidated, even though it was challenging for you. You have a lot of strength for being able to do so! What your partner doesn’t understand is that to articulate such deep emotions takes a lot of courage. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s very much a strength that allows you to heal.


    Oh yes, I saw it. It just takes a bit more thought and concentration to reply to those kinds of things. I don’t want to be unfocused and not give the thoughts you shared the attention they deserve.



    Hi Seaturtle

    Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry but I will have to get back to you tomorrow again. Lots of family drama atm. I should be fine and able to focus after sleeping though.

    Love and best wishes! ❤️ 🙏

    in reply to: Telling the difference between gut and fear in relationships #423544

    Hi Seaturtle

    Thank you for sharing your understanding of the situation. I’m glad that you found the behaviour being described as bullying, linking to your own experiences of bullying in school as helpful.

    I can understand how the behaviour could make you feel judged and unseen. I’m sorry that you experienced it. It is very kind of you to offer your understanding and empathy about the situation. It speaks volumes of your level of emotional maturity. It is kind of nerve-racking as a new poster. I think that often people want to feel safe before they choose to share more deeply. So I can totally understand why you started off by sharing some of your less sensitive thoughts. I’m glad that you stood up for yourself and gave things a second try. Not everyone does in these situations. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you more as a person and I’m glad that you’re now getting the support that you were hoping for.

    Love and best wishes! ❤️ 🙏

    in reply to: Extremely painful breakup and confusion #423517

    Hi Stacy

    That’s okay. You have a very busy life.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re unwell at the moment. I hope that you start to feel better soon. 🙏

    I think that mental health can really suffer when we’re feeling unwell. It’s such a vulnerable position to be in and we still have the same desire to be taken care of as we did as children.

    I’m glad that you’re reaching out for support here when you’re feeling really low.

    It’s difficult having friends and family that can’t cope with the idea of being emotionally supportive when you are having a hard time. But you will always find a friendly ear here. It’s not the same as having that support in person, but we do what we can. ❤️

    Please be gentle with yourself! It’s okay that you’re not ready to let go and block him yet. I’m sure that you will when you’re ready.

    What happened wasn’t your fault Stacy. You were always respectful when communicating your boundaries. It’s simply an incompatibility issue.

    I think that you have much better things coming on your horizon. You believe that you deserve good things and this gives you the courage to find and be open to them.

    Imagine a relationship with the support and communication, but without the bs. I truly believe that you deserve that.

    The hardest part may be that he was your only emotional support in life. Now that’s gone. Which is truly extremely painful.

    Do you have any more thoughts about the denial stage of grief that you’re experiencing? I know you feel bad about it, but it’s healthy to process your emotions. Better out than in!

    The difficulty is that you have been shamed a lot for expressing emotion. It’s okay to communicate your needs even when you’re upset. It might even be the most important time to do it.

    Regarding your friends hurting you by not inviting you. It’s very understandable to feel left out. That’s rather insensitive to leave you out of plans then explicitly ask you to stay behind, to take care of things for them and expect you to bear their financial burden by taking time off. It’s very tone deaf.

    Love and best wishes! ❤️ 🙏

    in reply to: Telling the difference between gut and fear in relationships #423513

    Hi Seaturtle

    After a sleep, I feel better now.

    Thank you for your kindness and understanding regarding my trauma. It was a while ago and trauma therapy helped me a lot. I just wanted to illustrate how each others triggers can interact with each other in relationships.

    Thank you for sharing your partner’s background. That makes a lot of sense why he’s experiencing triggers sometimes when you discuss your triggers.

    I think that couples therapy is tricky. I’ve had a positive experience with it. But I’ve heard of so many people who haven’t. I think if you do decide to go in the future, you would have to have a very clear idea of what you want to happen. A lot of people go and end up either breaking up or feeling unsatisfied with the therapy. One thing that I didn’t like is that our therapist tried to bring up past arguments. We were very focused on wanting to improve our communication.

    The first session was very much just assessment as a couple as well as during private interviews. Our individual issues were discussed as well as our perspectives on difficulties with the relationship. There’s not a lot actually going on in the first session. It is more just identifying risk factors. Obviously, domestic violence is a concern for some relationships.

    I’m glad that your partner has done some things that help soothe your triggers. It can definitely be helpful to communicate what does help with him.

    You’re a very open communicative person and your desire for personal development is admirable. You have a lot of courage to face the situation head on and discuss behaviours within the relationship.

    Regarding the lateness. I wouldn’t be happy either if my partner didn’t let me know. Depending on how late he is, would determine how annoyed I’d be. It’s good that you know what doesn’t work for you and what does.

    The difficulty is how receptive your partner is to trying out different communication styles. To find something that helps you both.

    Do you think a simple apology might work for you? For example, “Sorry for being late, I know it’s a trigger for you. I don’t ever want to make you feel unseen.”. Just brainstorming, I’m sure that you would be able to figure out something that would be able to best help you.

    The difficulty with apologising is that some men hate it. My husband did and felt like an apology meant that he had to mean that he’d done something wrong. Instead of simply being a way to validate emotions. Women are prepped by society to apologise in a variety of different scenarios and understand that it’s largely about validation and manners. I had to talk to him and explain that it’s not that he was doing something wrong. It’s just showing that he cared and empathised with how I felt.

    It’s a very tricky situation that you are both in. I hope like you do that moving out will take some of that pressure off. It’s extra tricky because you’ve been experiencing daily triggers and you both haven’t had a peaceful week together for a while. It definitely sounds like you’re both feeling the pressure of the situation.

    I think that you did a good job of reflecting on the difficulties in the relationship and how you feel about them.

    To a lot of people, taking a break just means breaking up. So I can understand why he feels scared by this idea. Perhaps you could take a break without actively using that term. What would taking a break look like to you?

    I want to gently validate your feelings about your trauma and the difficulties in the relationship. It’s not your fault that you have trauma issues and it’s not certainly easy for you.

    What I don’t like is when your partner invalidates your trauma. You are not a weak person, you are strong and that is easy to see because you have the strength to face your issues and discuss these difficult situations. These are things that your partner seems to have difficulty with.

    I think that having my trauma invalidated, which is a big part of my life would make me feel unseen too. What do you think?

    Love and best wishes! 🙏


    I thought it was very brave of you to take that step to reach out for advice again and share your truth about the experience.

    Love and best wishes! ❤️🙏


    Hi Seaturtle

    My thoughts are with you. I’m having a difficult day so I won’t be able to reply today.

    I just want to say regarding the comment you received on your first thread. That user is very kind. In this instance, that didn’t come across very well. Everyone has bad days communicating and I don’t believe that her intent was to bully you. She could have been more gentle and patient with you. It’s true.

    But if you understand who she is her perspective makes sense. Many people share the belief that if a person is good we shouldn’t be fussy in our choice of partner and I don’t think that is an inherently bad message. A lot of people end up alone without a good partner and wish very much that they had one.

    I think that the initial issue that was presented is different from what the actual issue seems to be. If that makes sense? You and your partner have very real communication issues.

    I thought that it was really interesting to learn that deeper issues were happening than what was initially presented. It was actually a bit surprising to learn that so much trauma was hidden behind that first message.

    I’m not trying to invalidate how you feel. You’re entitled to your own feelings about the issue.

    Just a reminder that this is a public forum and I don’t think it’s helpful for this individual to be misrepresented as a bully. I’ve never seen her say a bad word to anyone before.


    Hi Seaturtle

    I totally empathize, I know how hard triggers are to deal with in relationships.

    My husband’s family is loud, my husband is loud, his voice is quite deep. When he is excited he can be loud, when he is surprised he can be loud, when he is upset he can be loud.

    Loudness for me is a trigger when it comes to disagreements. It makes me feel like I am being shouted at. My mother shouted horrible things at me growing up and it lead to violence. Even if my husband isn’t saying anything mean, his loudness during disagreements makes me feel afraid like I did back then.

    When I get triggered during disagreements I shut down. I stop talking for about 20 minutes. This helps me to calm down. This in turn triggers him because he’s had previous partners ignore him for a long time.

    Like your partner my husband tries not to trigger me. He manages it maybe 80% of the time. But he isn’t perfect, no one is. And his loudness is a part of him. I’ve learned that I should accept him for who he is.

    He’s learned that my PTSD is a part of me and if I need to be quiet for 20 minutes to feel better, he accepts that.

    It wasn’t easy to get to this point. It’s been a journey figuring out how to communicate with each other in the relationship. We even went to couples therapy.

    It’s understandable to feel hurt, and for him to be sensitive to your needs. People can only do so much though and it was important for me to learn that just because I don’t feel okay, doesn’t mean that something is wrong or that it needs to be fixed. Sometimes practicing self-care is the most important thing.

    Likewise, he needs to accept your trauma response. It is going to keep happening at times in the relationship, it’s impossible for him to not trigger you at all. Obviously, he struggles with how to handle it sometimes. Are there times when he handles your trauma response well? What does he do differently in this case?

    Regarding the lateness, does he text you when he is going to be late? Or does he just let you wait for him? Perhaps there are some things that you could plan to do, to make you feel more comfortable when he is late?

    For example, my husband was frequently late after hanging out with friends. Having fun and losing track of time. I asked him to tell me when he was planning to leave and then I would ask him at that time if he thought he would get home later. This helped me to understand what was happening and feel better.

    I hope that there is a practical solution that you might both find helpful.

    Hmm well I’ve always found journalling helpful for making decisions. But emotions are also important. I would say that personally, I don’t make decisions when I’m feeling upset. I wait until I’m feeling calmer. I think that is the most accurate reflection of how I truly feel about something when I am calm.

    So I guess, outside of being triggered. Or feeling disconnected and awkward. When you are feeling calm, how do you feel about your partner and the difficulties that you’ve both experienced in the relationship?

    You’re right on the money. That’s exactly what happens when children are unable to manage their parents moods and they’re actively told that they are to blame by their parents. They start to blame themselves. But it is the parents responsibility to manage how they feel. It is the parents responsibility to make their children to feel loved, safe and protected. Your father failed you in this way. It wasn’t your fault, it never was. It was his.

    Love and best wishes! 🙏

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