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Hey all,

I got really depersonalized after a traumatic event. This was soon after starting a relationship with someone I felt was my soulmate. When the trauma started I remember feeling like I could see a meteor fall through the sky and I wouldn't bother. But before that I remember being so enamored by her.

At this point I told my girlfriend I'm not sure that I love her. I'm not sure what's going on with me but I feel numb. She wasn't sure what was going on and thought I did not love her.

And then she went through something traumatic at the same time and we got married while I was still numb because we had to as a survival thing. I did because I knew somewhere inside I loved her and she was he one, and I was just numb...

This depersonalization lasted over 2 years. And in that time she asked me if I found her attractive and I said no. I said I didn't find the ways her body has changed to be attractive. I felt nothing. But I said that in a mean way because I was trying to sugar coat it and I completely failed to; tried to say shit like I think her personality is attractive because I didn't just want to say no but to her it means she's ugly. She gained weight. All the worst things. And I thought the issue was maybe her body. And for me to ever think she's ugly is unacceptable unless it is due to resentment. I did initially explain myself not finding her attractive to be resentment but I don't believe that went deep enough. And she ignored it for a long time.

But I don't believe that the non-depersonalized me feels that way. The non-depersonalized me finds her really sexy. But that's not enough for her; I already said those words. And she doesn't believe it because why wouldn't the depersonalized me also find her sexy the way it found porn sexy.

So: What is attraction for depersonalized people? I know I wanted to use porn instead of have sex with my partner. I would pretend to enjoy sex but I didn't care about it and didn't want to hurt her. I just wanted to masturbate and play video games, and I have so few memories from that time.

She believes that I thought she was unattractive and she wants to distance herself from me and potentially leave me.

But I believe it was just me being depersonalized. Not being aware of what I like; and turning to porn because it allowed me to withdraw and I could use it to get rid of what little feeling I had.

But I said that she was unattractive.

This is my soulmate and I need help; I'm looking for a therapist at them moment but for the time being I would appreciate your 2cents.
 

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Hey t_c_l,

I can't be certain if these are strictly related to DP, but here are some ideas:

  • anxiety: not being able to relax with another person
  • lack of imagination: inability to identify with the act of intimacy and share it with another person
  • disconnection: inability to stay present in the moment
  • lagging: having belated response - usually in an emotional sense, to an intimate or for that matter any situation
  • overload or numbness in sensation: feeling too little or too much, as in finding some contact unpleasant or too intense, or not being really connected to your own body.

I think that intimacy is grounded in imagination, as well as our deep motivations in a more general sense, so that when we are disconnected from most of it, it becomes somehow flattened...

Best,

A.
 

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i can relate a lot to what youre talking about. ive struggled with dissociation for pretty much my entire life, but it wasnt until almost a year ago that i began to fully understand what was happening to me. i grew up in an environment where all of my struggles were downplayed to the point where i was gaslighted into thinking my mental illness symptoms and meltdowns were just a result of me overreacting. im in a better place now, but there still a lot of negative thought patterns i need to undo.

a few years ago i entered into a relationship with someone who i believed i was in love with. im not with them anymore, but i remember feeling really good about our relationship. something that i remember struggling with was doubting if i loved them because, in all honestly, i couldnt feel anything. it was hard to feel emotionally connected to them. i think what kept us together in that relationship so long was that i was unwilling to share any of my negative feelings and doubts. in a way, im glad that i didnt because i didnt have the language to fully comprehend what i was going through. and again, because of the mindset i grew up with, i kindof just believed i was an asshole for not being able to feel completely connected and in love with this person all the time. i coped with the feeling by telling myself that this was probably normal (it was my first serious relationship, so i just guessed that a lot of unexpected things were normal).

Around the time i began to research and better understand dissociation and dpdr, i got together with my current boyfriend. i feel lucky that he also deals with dissociation, because i think that a lot of doubt and fear of opening up were soothed once i began to realize he could understand a lot of what i was feeling and dealing with not just with dissociation, but also related to other mental illnesses too. at the beginning of our relationship, i had some of the same feelings that i didnt actually like him because i didnt really feel anything. i coped this time by reminding myself of times where i did feel something for him, as well as simply ignoring what i was feeling. months later of working through everything, i told him about those feelings. i reminded him that its not any of his fault at all, its just something that happens because of my dissociation.

possibly you use porn because it feels safer? you dont have to worry about having that disconnected feeling from another person, which can cause anxiety and panic if you believe you love that person and find them attractive. ive had my own experiences where i avoid circumstances where i would have to face that feeling in my relationships. its not helpful, however. nothing will change your depersonalized feelings by avoiding those situations. therapy would be a great idea to better communicate to your partner what is happening without hurting her feelings. if i have any advice, remind her that its not her fault. whats happening to you is not a result of anything she has done intentionally or not. when you talk about it, always say things in the context of depersonalization and dissociation. otherwise it might be misunderstood. also invite her to talk about her feelings. talking about it openly and honestly might help improve feeling disconnected, even if its for a little while.

hope this helps!
 

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I'll be honest, if you got DP over a breakup you probably already had DP and it was on the backburner and was waiting for a traumatic event to surface. DP is very serious and unusual and a breakup shouldn't cause that in most people.
 
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