- This topic has 8 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 3 days, 22 hours ago by Anonymous.
21st November 2023 at 2:19 pm #163427Zee123Participant
I just wanted to talk to some people that might have some understanding but no knowledge of my situation as I just don’t know what to do – I don’t even think this is the right place for it but I don’t know where else to go.
My other half has some very complex mental health issues linked to trauma from (detail removed by moderator) comments being made by other people as well as huge anxiety especially social. Over the years he has gone for therapy with different people but if anything he is now at his worst. When he is triggered which could be a couple of times a week it makes him angry and dismissive. He talks about suicide and nothing I say is helpful – he’s not in a place to be comforted – only time helps. The threat of these times leaves me just trying to fix things to avoid it happening which doesn’t help either but in general it’s like egg shells. My life seems to revolve around his issue. We are supposed to be getting married (detail removed by moderator) and the pressure of this is a lot. When we are good I feel like we are a power couple and just meant to be but it’s been years and he’s worse. I feel I have to stick by him as he hates feeling like this and wishes he could be different but it just makes him horrible and whenever I try to say anything he just doesn’t have the mental capacity to deal with it. I just don’t know what to do
21st November 2023 at 3:39 pm #163432Intr0vertParticipant
Has he had any help with professionals regarding his suicidal thoughts? You can do your best to help someone but at a certain point he needs to be helped by professionals if that is the case.. The reason I say this is because my ex was so so so abusive towards me and I am only just admitting it was abuse now.. When he didn’t get his way, he would mention his mental health or maybe its better for him to commit suicide than to deal with my questions or anything he didn’t want to.. this trained me into keeping my mouth shut, not questioning him and tip toeing around him daily.
21st November 2023 at 4:17 pm #163435PolardogParticipant
I am so sorry you are in this situation. It is very hard when you’re a good person who genuinely cares about someone to separate their behaviour from things and understand a lot of what is going on. I would say it’s important to consider if his words and actions add up – mental illness is tough, but it doesn’t mean a person can’t take steps to do better with it and seek out the correct support and it certainly isn’t a reason for you to live your life walking on eggshells and feeling like you are. If he truly hates feeling like this then he will do what it takes to stop behaving the way that he is – and you should’nt feel you have to stick by him because he says he hates feeling like it. He has the power to accept the things he finds difficult and adjust life to help him better cope and if he cannot do that then get more help to support this. As Intr0vert has rightly said his mentioning of his mental health and outbursts could be manipulating you into letting him have his own way (which it’s hard to say not being directly with you right now) but if you take some time to think about the patterns of behaviour it might help you to separate what is mental illness and what is control which may help you find strength to do the right thing for you in this. No one deserves to be feeling like this and you are not responsible for his quality of life.
21st November 2023 at 10:38 pm #163453swanlakeParticipant
My abuser feigned mental illness, threatened suicide and told me heart rending sob stories about their childhood as part of the act to keep me busy and frighten me into not leaving. They blamed me for their illness, well, I was blamed for everything else so why not illness too.
I’m now mentally not very well but I don’t abuse my loved ones and don’t expect them to be able to fix me.
22nd November 2023 at 2:40 am #163456Zee123Participant
Thank you for your replies.
He is in therapy at the minute and I think the therapist is good. Many of these programmes say 6-10 CBT but I think his trauma will mean he probably needs years of therapy. I don’t think he is open with this therapist about his suicidal thoughts because he knows deep down is suicide ideation and he doesn’t think it will change anything if he tells her.
He says things like you’ve chosen to be with me you know how I am and I am guessing you guys think this is where the line gets crossed? He doesn’t say things like you can’t leave because of suicide or anything it’s more the opposite he says go then to be provocative about it and it feels like a test and makes me feel worse like I’d be leaving him because he has mh issues.
One of his main issues regardless of the relationship is that if anything bad happens regardless of what it is it triggers specific thoughts about his trauma automatically. So whenever I have an issue it always ends up escalating and flips back to him. You probably think I’m naive saying I don’t think he is doing that on purpose to manipulate the situation I genuinely see that’s where his mind goes but it’s like emotional blackmail knowing if I want to raise something I have the suffer the consequences of him going downhill again.
I was going to try to write him a letter and I don’t know if anyone has any advice on this?
23rd November 2023 at 12:29 pm #163492PolardogParticipant
If he isn’t open with the therapist then therapy isn’t going to change him.
It made the hairs on my arms stand on end when you said about he says you’ve chosen to be with me as that’s exactly what was said to me – but I didn’t feel like I had a choice because I loved him and he was adamant he was working on changing.
I know this will sound harsh, but I grew up in a horrendous environment, and I’ve had therapy on and of throughout my adult life to deal with this. I have never used that as a reason to ask others to make themselves small for me. I know this will be hard to do, but you need to understand that regardless of trauma if someone wants to deal with it they will and they will not hold someone else hostage with their emotions.
The good, compassionate person in you is putting him first but the reality is that it is manipulation – you are not responsible for his life experiences – and he IS responsible for how he treats others.
Leaving someone with mental health issues does not make you a bad person – especially if they are not putting in the work themselves. It shows great strength of character to know you deserve better.
23rd November 2023 at 7:59 am #163486HereforhelpParticipant
“if I want to raise something I have the suffer the consequences of him going downhill again”…
You are not responsible for his MH and to feel responsibility for his mental health is unfair, he is an adult … he has professional help for that. If he is unable to engage in uncomfortable conversations about his behaviours or your relationship together then how can you both grow together?
My husband had a genuinely traumatic upbringing and would often relate his past to his current abusive behaviours… there’s no excuse, it took me many years to understand that my husband chooses to be abusive (abuse is a choice).
Keeping a journal can help as it will show up patterns, also learning about Domestic Abuse via podcasts/books etc really helped.
“One of his main issues regardless of the relationship is that if anything bad happens regardless of what it is it triggers specific thoughts about his trauma automatically. So whenever I have an issue it always ends up escalating and flips back to him” ..
How unfair for you…when you have an issue that it will end up being about him…that’s dismissive of your needs/feelings… that’s one sided and about him…
Do you have support in place for you?
30th November 2023 at 10:56 am #163672TheOnlyWayIsOutParticipant
I really empathise with your situation, I have been with my partner for a very long time, we have had children in the meantime and we started off in a situation very much like the one you describe. I only very recently realised what you have clearly already figured out instinctively (which is why you are on this forum – and it is exactly the right place to be by the way).
Firstly, the fact that your partner has had counselling for a while makes the situation you describe even more alarming. It sounds bad. It sounds abusive. It is so much harder when someone is not openly abusive, but in subtle ways. He seems to suck all the energy out of you (whether or not he realises this himself, yet). How does he present to others? Do your friends/family like him? If he behaves very differently to you than he does to others, that is a big red flag.
Now, here are some of the hard facts that I have to learn to accept.
Almost every person that is abusive has mental health issues. Mental health issues and/or trauma are not an excuse for abusive behaviour or for any bad behaviour (if they were, our prisons would be empty). Also, there are many, many people I know (including myself) that suffered serious childhood trauma and are not abusive.
If most of our energy in a relationship is taken up by feeling sorry for the other person, trying to keep the other person happy, not hurt their feelings, not make them feel worse than they already feel, than we are treating them like a child, and they are treating us like a caretaker. You are not equal partners, it seems, and so your relationship feels unhealthy. It would have been different perhaps if you had been together for years and years, and your partner had got into difficulties later in life. But you are only just starting out and, fortunately, are not married yet. Your situation has been like this from the start. That’s not a formula for a successful marriage. You deserve someone who respects and honours your needs and right to happiness as much as you respect and honour theirs. Period.
In any case, things are much more likely to get worse than better the longer you stay with him. If things are hard now, think about what your life will be like in maybe ten years time (and perhaps throw some children in the mix while you visualise) if you stay.
Then think about what it will be like if you refuse to accept this kind of life for yourself. I think it is important to ask yourself why you accept/feel that his wellbeing is more important than yours? Perhaps you should seek counselling yourself to get clarity on this. Bear in mind that, if you stay, you are quite likely to need a counsellor to talk to yourself, to keep your sanity.
Sorry, a bit of tough love, but sometimes that helps. I hope it does. I wish you all the best.
4th December 2023 at 8:20 pm #163811AnonymousInactive
This is so familiar. My ex also had MH issues and trauma, which he and family (and for a long time I) used/use as rationale for what I now realise was abusive behaviour. He made no attempt to address his behaviour via therapy even with lots of support and his words/actions never matched. Due to his trauma and threats of suicide I struggled to ever name what was actually happening (ironically so not to distress him further by labelling him as abusive). As others said through counselling and with distance, noticing how some behaviours only presented in private and to me has made me see things differently but I still frequently gaslight myself about this. It’s really hard when you care for someone and have empathy to to try and make sense of it. In hindsight I also realise I felt proud when I was initially lauded for boosting his MH at the start of our relationship, so it’s been easy to fall into to the trap of feeling responsible for the decline. Please don’t. I had a child with my ex and it got so much worse.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.