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    Mark Victor Hansen, posted by Daniel
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Hi all. I have a close friend that suffers from PTSD. Her history is of child abuse (brother), rape, physical abuse. I dated this woman twice this year and was very hurt by her both times she broke up with me. After the second time she told me of her past, and told me she is in therapy for PTSD. We have remained friends and I have been very supportive of her where I can.

She tried to commit suicide 6 months ago. At this stage I wasn't seeing her (she broke up with me last xmas, and we got back together after her suicide attempt). She told me how she had told one of her friends to "f off", and that she was trespassing in her house and would call the police. She said that she actually had wanted her to stay as she was scared of what she was going to do.

Fast foward to 2 weeks ago. She has been in a bad way for the last month (she lost her mother at xmas 16 years ago, and I think it must be a trigger). She has no contact with her family anymore, and it's a very hard time for her. Anyway, 2 weeks ago, a firiend of hers and mine were very worried about her, so I dropped round to check she was ok. I was comfronted with a barrage of abuse "f off, you're trespassing etc". I said I wouldn't leave as I was worried. She said she would ring her therapist and she'd tell me to leave. She actually rang a friend of hers and tricked me into thinking it was her therapist. She said, just go, I'll ring you in 5 minutes, so i left.

Now she blames me for "pushing her over the edge by pushing myself into her home". I've tried explaining to her why (because of what she told me about the last time). It's very hard as she has asked me to leave her alone which I have done. The only times I've contacted her was to thank her for her xmas present (she had a friend drop it around). Thats when I got over the edge txt msg. She also says I scare her!? I've never hurt her and never would. Why would she think that? I'm at my wits end. I feel so helpless, and very hurt by what she has said.

So I guess my question is what should I do now? I can only think that leaving her alone is the only option? She only has two other close firends, andf one is in Australia. I want to help but she won't let me. Any advice would be appriciated.
 

David Baxter

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Given the history you described, your choice of refusing her request to leave was unfortunate. I do understand your rationale and that you wanted to help but her history of "child abuse (brother), rape, physical abuse" describes someone whose background is one of not having control over her own space or her own body. One of the things that victims of such abuse need to do is regain that sense of control and safety; unfortunately, your actions during the incident you describe very likely triggered her fears about violation.

You do indicate that she has a therapist and at least one or two other close friends. I would suggest that you try to get a message to her apologizing for frightening her and letting her know that your intent was to help, not to make things worse. Let her know that you would like to respect her wishes and that you still care about her and worry about her. Then, leave it up to her.
 
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Thank you for the prompt reply. The hardest thing for me to understand is I have visited her on so many occasions and always been made to feel welcome. You've cleared that up for me, and I appreciate it. She crashed the day before at her work xmas party.

Her friend (I'll call her Lisa) had to take her to the doctor to get sedatives (advised by her therapist). Lisa rang me that evening asking if I'd heard from her and that she was worried. We both went round there, as she was a mess. I was outside having asmoke and Lisa came out and said "She just said the funniest thing...I don't like males in my house". I said I should leave, but Lisa asked me to stay as she didn't want to be left alone with her (understanable, but in hindsight I should have gone). We stayed the night, me in the spare room, Lisa slept with her.

Seems I did everything wrong when all I tried to do was the right thing. I will take your advice and get a message to her. I had already apoligised through a txt message (during the thanks you for xmas present exchange), but it may be better coming from someone else. She won't answer the phone, and I definitly won't go round there, so I guess that's the way to go. Thanks.
 

ThatLady

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Aww, hon, don't feel too bad. You tried. You did what you thought was right, and your only motive was to help.

Perhaps, as this girl works with her therapist to put her past to rest, things will get easier for her, and for those who care for her. Give it time and distance, if that's what she needs (and, it seems it is). She's not capable of seeing it at this time, but she's very lucky to have a friend who cares for her as much as you seem to care for her. You can sorta stay in touch through Lisa. At least, that way, you'll know how things are going.
 
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Thank you for your kind words. Lisa has been keeping me updated daily. It really scares me that the last words I may hear from her are "now f off" :0(
 

ThatLady

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We have to trust that, with the help of her therapist and those friends she can tolerate around her (like Lisa) at this time, she'll work her way through all this. It's good she has a therapist who is so readily available and quick on the uptake. Trust in that, and keep your hopes up. So shall I.

Hugs, hon!
 

David Baxter

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ThatLady is right. You had no way of knowing.

My guess is that if you are able to reassure her that you are trying to respect her boundaries she will want to re-establish contact and the friendship.
 

ThatLady

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Another thing you might want to remember: It's not the suffering person who says hurtful things. It's the disease that says them. Keep that thought in your mind. It will help you to understand.
 
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That's probably THE best thing you could have told me :0) She's been very hurtful me to the past more times than I care to remember. I've often thought of cutting all ties with her because of it. Thanks you
 

ThatLady

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I'm glad I could be of help, hon. It really is the disease that has been hurtful to you, not your friend. As much as what the disease says to you might hurt you, believe me, it hurts her more.
 
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Do you think she'll ever forgive me? It's funny, the number of times I've forgiven her in the past (I remember when before we got back together she said "I wouldn't blame you if you didn't want to see me again"), and I make one bad judgement and I'm the scum of the earth. It's hard to understand.
 

ThatLady

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She just needs time to get the help she needs to heal. You have to trust that when she has made peace with her past and is ready to move on with her life, she'll understand that you were only trying to help. Right now, she's just not capable of that kind of rational thought. Give her time, friend.
 
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Just an update. Still haven't heard anything from her and it sounds like shes starting to alientate her other two closest friends :0(

Also, just wondered wot the prognosis for PTSD is like. Obviously it varies from case to case. The woman in question has been in therapy for over 6 months now and has got nowhere :0( I recall her telling me she has a chronic case of PTSD which I can only assume is worse.
 

David Baxter

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When it comes to the prognosis, a lot really depends on the therapist and on whether there are other concomitant problems or issues (so-called "comorbid disorders").
 
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Thought I'd update this thread again. Finally heard from her a couple of weeks ago. She's still in a bad state I'm afraid. She now has arignophobia (excuse my spelling), which basicly means she can't leave the house alone. I took her out to pay some bills last weekend, and it was very stressful for her. Is arignophobia common for sufferers?

Anyway, it was great to see her again, and it appears that our friendship is back. She told me she felt she'd made progress being able to trust and have fun with me again, so I guess that's something.

Her therapist has recommended her taking a year off. The only way she can do this is to sell her house and move, due to only 80% of her salary being covered. Seems a strange thing to suggest, given she won't know anyone where she's moving to. Her therapists view is there isn't anyone here for her anyway, which I find a bit strange again considering I'm always there for her, and so is another of her close friends. Your thoughts...
 

David Baxter

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Agoraphobia is not uncommon in anxiety disorders like panic disorder and PTSD.
 
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I figured as much. What do you think of her moving? I can understand why she needs to take time off work, she's exhausted as she has to put on her "act" at work. Moving away from her support network, despite it being a small group, seems strange to me?
 

David Baxter

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I don't know what to say about that. I don't know where she is moving to, what she is moving away from, or why her therapist recommended she take a year off (did the therapist realize this would entail moving away?).
 

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