I can’t take this kind of life

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 6 years. He has extreme mood swings, anger issues, suicidal He has become progressively more angry, self-consumed, volitile, and depressed. In the past year he has gotten into the habit of breaking up with me over nothing…he may not like the way I SOUND when I respond to a statement he makes. He also tells me how he notices that women are always flirting with him. He is also supposidly becoming a professional mixed martial arts fighter. He has no experience fighting. He has gotten into the habit of calling the Sherrif’s department over any disruption he experiences including the two little girls, ages 6 and 8, making too much noise downstairs. When we are not talking, he spends the first week or so telling everyone who will listen about what a terriable person I am. He will always start e-mailing me around the second week asking me if I’m ok. By this time he has been picking up other women “in order to get over me”. He admittedly quits working and spends his time in bars. As time continues on he e-mails me that he is going to leave town and that he is suicidal. He calls obsessively until I answer my phone. He then tells me how much he loves me and how he will never find anyone like me again. After our last episode he told me that he had reconnected with his half sister and that he had to take care of her and her 12 year old son although she is married and very much in love with her husband. A’s father left his mother while she was pregnant with him and she has a very strained relationship with him. He is desperate to have her approval. He has tried to commit suicide before, when he was 21 years old. His ex-girlfriend told me that she thought that he was bipolar. I love him so much but I can’t take this kind of life anymore. If he truely has an emotional problem I would stay, but if he is just uncaring I need to let him go. Please give me any opinion or advice that you may have. I am desperate.

A: I think you are asking the wrong question. Rather than trying to figure out your boyfriend’s diagnosis, I think you need to ask yourself why you have put up with this for so long. Your boyfriend clearly needs treatment (and has for a long time) but you don’t indicate that he is at all interested in getting it. Instead he breaks up with you, then puts you on an emotional roller coaster, then makes you responsible for his life. “My illness makes me do it” is not an excuse for horrible behavior. Unless your boyfriend is willing to get into treatment NOW (and sticks with it), please reconsider the relationship. Find yourself a therapist to sort out how you can extricate yourself. Make yourself available for someone who can love and cherish you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Sep 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). I can’t take this kind of life. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/09/30/i-cant-take-this-kind-of-life/