PTSD from an abusive relationship with a psychopath

C

CreativeIntrovert

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Oct 15, 2018
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#1
Does anyone else have PTSD or PTSD symptoms after an abusive relationship with a psychopath or narcissist?

I left an abusive relationship last year with a man who I suddenly, with sickening horror, realised was most likely a psychopath. I realised it when he threatened to hurt me with a raised hand and a look of pure glee in his eyes after he'd shouted at me for two hours just because I asked to look into his eyes to be affectionate.

When I met him he seemed to be this absolutely great guy - I thought he was kind, sweet, intelligent, caring, educated, domesticated, a good listener, open minded. He said he was interested in vegetarian cooking and liked country walks and being in nature like me.

Fast forward to the end of the relationship he is this violent misogynist. He was rough with my body and bruised me and said 'you must bruise easily.' Once in bed he put his hands around my neck. I feel like at the time I blanked out because at the time I don't remember it happening but I have flashbacks of it where it's like I'm on the ceiling looking down at myself underneath him with his hands on my neck? When I later asked him not to do it again he got really angry and said he hadn't put his hands on my neck and I found myself apologising feeling extremely confused.

He gaslighted me a lot, breaking something in my house for example then saying he hadn't been in the room it was in. He would suddenly get very angry and defensive about the tiniest thing meaning I was constantly apologising. I was also often apologising for something he had done. He never took responsibility for anything and everything always had to be my fault otherwise he's sulk or be aggressive. I found evidence of cheating like something under his bed that clearly belonged to a woman (he said it was his mum's) and once I heard a woman laugh down his phone in a sexual way once when I rang him and he said he was at work. He made a lot of inappropriate jokes such as about 'dogging' and also about how his 'male friends used to have sex with each other' and I have a sick feeling that he was cheating on me with multiple people, both men and women. (I got tested for everything afterwards and am so thankful I got a clean bill of health).

Like all abusers he really knew how to put on the charm and act like 'the perfect boyfriend' which kept me very confused and trapped until I could see through what was happening. He seemed to quickly work out all the ways my previous boyfriends had disappointed me and made sure he did them - just simple things like agreeing to go to places I liked and making us nice breakfasts (I have a track record of very disappointing boyfriends so the standard was low). When he was 'being nice' he was like my ideal boyfriend so I had to do a lot of mourning over losing this fake person that never existed and even to this day sometimes struggle with missing the fake persona.

He basically created a mask to hook me and it totally worked. It's over a year now since I left him but I'm still struggling with the after effects. I did two PTSD tests with therapists and scored as having PTSD on both of them. It's nowhere near as bad now as it was but I have images of him and incidents that happened every single day playing out in my mind. I get sort of flashbacks when I see or hear something that reminds me of him, such as I was looking for a cafe on google maps and it was near his house so suddenly I remembered all the journeys I'd made to his house and how in the early days I felt so excited and happy and lucky to have met this 'wonderful new man.' I also feel constantly on alert. Sometimes I fear he'll turn up although the fear reduces the more time passes (he wouldn't leave me alone after I left and the police issued him with a warning so he's not allowed to contact me now, thank goodness).

Anyway it would be interesting to hear if anyone can relate. I've read some good books about this like 'Psychopath Free' which have helped. The author says it takes 18 months to get over a psychopath and so far that seems to be true. I haven't dated since and am scared to in case I meet another abuser. They are extremely good at fooling people and seems to have this incredible ability to work out the kind of partner you're looking for. I also struggle daily with depression, anxiety and panic attacks which I had before I met him but he made it all a lot worse. The trauma of the deceit seems to be the worst part of it, it still shocks me and makes me feel sick to this day that he duped me so convincingly and that there are people out there like this who appear so normal but are so evil. I wish there was some consequence for his behaviour but he will definitely be out there dating doing this to multiple other women (and maybe men too) causing the same sort of trauma for these people.
 
Poopy Doll

Poopy Doll

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#2
Dear CreativeIntrovert, I am so happy for you that you have freed yourself from this man. You should be extra proud of yourself for not spending any more precious time on this man. The PTSD will diminish with time.

I had PTSD from a different situation and it was severe and I promise you that you will get better. If I can get better, so can you.
 
T

TryinMyBest

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Oct 28, 2018
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#4
I was in a 5 year long incredibly abusive relationship... my friends and I have debates over whether he is a psychopath or a sociopath. So I can certainly relate to you in this situation... I have been separated from him for about 2 years now. I spent the first year and a half not confronting the issue at all, and then six months ago I suffered from a mental breakdown. I have been struggling with severe and debilitating anxiety and depression since this breakdown and I was told this was due to PTSD that I acquired due to my time with him, and one other traumatic situation I was in with another male after our breakup... it sucks, but have faith that most people are good. He is a rarity. For whatever reason these sick men were brought into our lives, but in time we will be so much stronger because of it. I think it's smart to take this time for yourself and to figure out your own ways of regulating your symptoms. Just please don't lose faith in yourself or humanity because of this one really horrible person you crossed paths with. I'll be sending happy vibes your way~~
 
C

CreativeIntrovert

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Oct 15, 2018
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#5
Thanks for your replies everyone.

Yes I understand psychopaths make up between 1-4% of the population so the majority aren't like this but a lot more people than we think are. I think I have met 1 or possible 2 of them before him, both of whom were women. With all three of them I got this sudden terrible epiphany. I am very empathic so I know they target people like me and mirror us. But there's always something a bit 'off' about them that you can't quite put your figure on and you brush off until you get to know them and suddenly you 'see it' and it's honestly terrifying.

It's good to know the PTSD symptoms subside. I feel like I go round in circles with it but do seem to be making progress even though it's slow and in very tiny steps. One of the reasons I dated him was, as awful as it sounds, I was worried my time to meet someone was 'running out' to settle down and start a family as I'm getting older and hadn't met any decent men in ages. All the men I'd been meeting seemed to be getting worse and worse then he came along and was polite, considerate, very keen, educated, domesticated, fun, romantic etc. I can see why so many people get duped by them. They know who and when to target too.

But recently I've started to think, I might not actually want children at all. Which is just so incredibly freeing because suddenly I don't have to worry about 'finding someone in time.' I also wonder if maybe I'm just different to regular people in that maybe I am genuinely better alone? I felt really lonely a lot but lately I've felt much more at peace. I love animals and wonder if maybe my future is adopting and saving lots of wonderful animals. I prefer animals to children to be honest. I also love being creative and have a creative self employed dream I'm working on. If I can make this dream come true and be surrounded by animals I think that would be my peace. I don't think I need a man and children like most women. It felt really freeing to start to see that. Like a new lease of life.
 
P_Rose

P_Rose

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Jan 21, 2019
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#6
Thank you for these replies. This has made me feel a lot better about a recent situation I got into where an emotionally manipulative man was trying to start a sexual relationship with me and sexually harassing me. It has been really hard to cut him out of my life because of many mutual friends. I have a lot of depression and shame about how he duped me into thinking he was a great person. Like others said, I think he used the fact that I'm an emotionally sensitive and empathetic person to "get in my head." I suddenly got a very bad feeling about him when he started to show his true colors and had a psychotic break.

I have been slowly getting better I think as I've gotten more distance from him, but I know it's going to take a long time, and I still get a lot of anxiety about him coming after me in some way or turning my friends against me with his charm and manipulation. I'm also worried I'll get sucked back into his orbit if he contacts me. I'm having a hard time trusting men, especially sexually, and I'm hoping that one day I'll be able to find a way to have a mutually satisfying and respectful relationship.
 
G

GUERRIAVILLA

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Jan 26, 2019
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Tasmania
#7
I ended my own relationship with a psychopath-like husband. Psychopath-ish? I call my ex a narcissist, but he could just as easily be a psychopath.

I don't have any advice for you. I'm a complete mess. It's been about two years since we lived together and I'm barely functioning. I just wanted to say you're not alone.
 

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