I’m a woman in a four-year difficult relationship with another woman. She hid her drinking problem through lies/deceit over two years.
Her adult daughters and I did an intervention. She spent a month at a facility to detox and stop drinking - sober now for two years.
She’d decided to sell her house so, after her rehab, I allowed her to live with me. We spent 10 awful months together while she went through withdrawal.
She finally said she was leaving, but refused to go right away. I became very nervous and uptight. I called the police because I started panicking and had a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) episode. She left that night.
My PTSD is due to an incident when an ex-partner hit me.
A month later, we re-connected and things have been great because we can now communicate and be mutually compassionate. She lives with a friend an hour away, and stays at my place often.
I’ve asked her to move back but she refuses. I’ve since done extensive therapy to deal with my PTSD, showed remorse and treated her very well.
However, she feels “traumatized” because I called the police (I didn't press charges) and fears I’d do it again.
We love each other. I’m very lonely without her. Therapy doesn't do wonders for her. I don't know what else I can do to help her get over her trauma.
Ups and Downs
You both have reasons to still be wary of each other’s stress reactions: Your PTSD is a diagnosed disorder but her trauma over police involvement is also a valid anxiety-producer.
She has to want therapy in order to benefit from it. You’re not a therapist and can’t “get her over her trauma” on your own.
You both still need to build full trust/acceptance between you. Couple’s therapy is the likeliest route for this, with each of you airing your fears, hearing the other and extending your compassion beyond “I want…”
FEEDBACK Regarding the will bequests of a deeply-hurt mother leaving different sums to her two sons (Feb. 7):
Reader – “I disagree that the bequests to each son must be equal, or that the older one might contest the will.
“The way around this situation is to explain in the will why the mother’s leaving more to the "good" son and less or nothing, to the son who abandoned her when she was ill.
“She should tell her husband, lawyer and other confidante(s) the reason for the unequal bequest and put it in writing. It’s unlikely that the "bad" son will challenge the will. Also, his chances of success are poor. The will can reflect that the good son deserves more.
“Take care to keep unequal inheritances a secret i.e., until the will’s read after death, in hope that a mother-son reconciliation can occur. She might then want to change the will for more equal bequests.”
Reader #2 – “I do agree with your statement that the mother should assure that both sons’ children inherit equally, for their future education.
“But do you not feel that perhaps she’d like to see that estranged son before she passes so she can die in peace?
“Perhaps she could email or mail him a letter saying something to the effect of, “I’d so greatly appreciate the chance for us to talk. No apologies expected from either side, but perhaps an explanation of why we both acted the way we did. Once I’m gone, we won’t ever have that chance again.”
Ellie - Regarding my own response to the letter-writer:
I’m a relationship advisor, not a lawyer, nor did I claim that I have legal expertise. But I regret that some readers interpreted my remark about leaving equal bequests, as a legal opinion (Feb. 7):
I put forth my personal view that, instead of bequeathing unequal amounts in a punitive gesture, there’s a chance here for the mother to model what I believe is a natural wish for a more-bonded “family.”
Giving equal amounts isn’t meant as a reward for the distanced son. I see it as a reminder for everyone in this family, especially the grandchildren, that they’re still connected by lineage and shared history.
It’s also a signal for all the family to recognize the possibility that the estrangement was based on false or misunderstood precepts between the very ill mother and her financially irresponsible son.
Tip of the day:
Both partners fear further turbulence, but couple’s counselling may help open their minds and hearts.