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Old 03-25-2014, 01:38 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Default Advice on rebuilding

Hi all,

For those who haven't read my blog, my wife Will and I got involved (more or less independently, due to circumstances, but also quite intricately interwoven) with a woman, Amy, and tried to figure out how to make some kind of triad work - it didn't. For many, many reasons, Amy backed out, and the turmoil of the past few months ended over the past month with the usual painful moments of breaking up, seemingly reconciling, and breaking up again. It's been a crappy roller coaster.

I want off the roller coaster, yet yesterday was at Amy's house again, talking. There was something hard and harsh in her position toward me, and something warm and tender. There was a softness at the end - not a passion, not anything like that, but a release of some sort.

The thing I'm asking advice about is how to interact with someone with PTSD. I have read plenty about intimacy issues, about the hot/cold nature of interactions, the black/white of things, and last night watched her go from "it would be better if you left forever" to "would you make love to me?" (I did not.)

Amy does the roller coaster constantly. She's going through a crazy divorce. Her personal roller coaster rips us along, and we lag a little behind her, trying to engage and be close when she seems to want us and need us. She reacts to our lagging roller coaster, escalating situations in a pretty bad way. It's a crappy dynamic.

Willa and I have recognized that we don't want to interact with Amy unless she gets some help. We made the mistake, I guess, of thinking that our love (two people, not just one, etc.) could help her through all the awful transitions in her life. We were wrong. She needs therapy and I can't help her the way she needs.

What kind of advice do people have? Yes, keep our distance and protect our emotions, don't ride her roller coaster. We're doing that now. Yes, help her seek support - but she won't do it, or isn't really talking to her counselor about it, as far as we can tell. Yes, be clear on our boundaries, even as we continue to love the shit out of her. But I'd appreciate more help on that. I've read threads, but was seeking other resources that would be useful. Thanks all, for your input.
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Willa: my wife
Amy: someone Willa and I have both been involved with
Ella: a many-years long-distance relationship of mine, that I don't blog about
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  #2  
Old 03-25-2014, 03:17 PM
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Dagferi Dagferi is offline
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Stop engaging her.. Honestly I think you need to cut her out of your life.
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Married in the eyes of the government to Butch since 2001...
Murf my monogamous second husband has been with me since May of 2012.
In a V relationship with an average 60/40 split of time. Only due to Murf's and Butch's crappy work schedules.
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:21 AM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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The thing of it is, you can't help her if 1) she isn't willing to recognize the problem and / or 2) isn't willing to make changes.

While a divorce is an emotional rollercoaster, and so it's easy to attribute someone's behavior to the external circumstances, oftentimes the external circumstances are actually due to the person's chaotic behavior. Did you know Amy before the divorce? Was she calm and level-headed, making her current behavior an extreme change? Or is the emotional rollercoaster who she is?

If it's the latter, you and your wife will never be able to love her enough.
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Old 03-29-2014, 03:15 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dagferi View Post
Stop engaging her.. Honestly I think you need to cut her out of your life.
Yep, you don't have a lot of options.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:02 PM
pulliman pulliman is offline
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Yep, sure haven't had a lot of options. I let this week play out, and it's once again over (but this time for real? laughing at that statement, though I actually believe it now).

In the end, someone dealing with divorce and depression and her remarkably ugly past (i.e., the source of the PTSD) is not someone I can deal with in a trusting, honest way. Each conversation revises the past one. Her revisions of the past are monumental - I had to check in with Willa (and Willa with me) on the question of "did this happen? what is she talking about?" We found, too often, that what we were being accused of was exactly what we'd been offering to her (we offered help she turned down, now she says we didn't help her, that kind of thing).

We have (painfully) severed ties. There were a few more conversations, and it became clear that her accusations of our evildoing were protective defensiveness - and now I'm done.

It's shockingly painful. But the person I thought was there was still hiding layers upon layers of contradictory emotion. Poly and nonmonogamy flow through her blood, but not in the way I can engage with, right now.

Hey, Dagferi, you're right. The only solution is to stop engaging her. And, as important, to stop letting her engage us. Ow, and yay.
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Willa: my wife
Amy: someone Willa and I have both been involved with
Ella: a many-years long-distance relationship of mine, that I don't blog about
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  #6  
Old 03-30-2014, 02:47 PM
bookbug bookbug is offline
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I, too, have had experience with a person - also a woman - that revises her memories based on whatever she happens to be feeling at the time - and truly believes what she is saying even if it was the exact opposite of what actually occurred. It can make you doubt your sanity.
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