Can He be helped? My boyfriend and I live together, I moved to a new state, so its hard being away from my family and friends.

My boyfriend to say the least has a dark sense of humor which I can appreciate however, he holds some values which concern me.

He seems to hold humanity to very low value, thinking everyone isn’t worth anything. He was diagnosed with Explosive anger disorder after his accident which resulted from him hitting his head. He has an incredibly Non-provoked and powerful temper. He has grabbed me by my throat and pushed me into a wall (both times I was in his way because I wanted to calm him down and “talk it out”.) When he pushed me into a wall I ended up cutting my foot and started to bleed , granted it wasn’t bad, but still I was surprised to see NO remorse from him even after the fight ended. He stated “you shouldn’t have been in my way”. He always talks like I don’t appreciate him, he seems like he’s in constant need of appraisal. Ironically enough, I do tell him quite often how I feel, and I typically get the “I love you” back but it doesn’t have the same feeling. It also seems like I only get the negative feedback. If I put a lot of effort into my appearance he wont say a thing, however, if I look disheveled then he will tell me ALL his thoughts. His eyes which I’ve stated to him ALWAYS look blank, there isn’t any emotion to them which is very difficult in reading. He has a very shallow look on his priorities, he would rather see his friends then meet an important obligation such as helping out a family member in need. He also has a very peculiar sense of whats important, his needs are ALWAYS priority everyone else if there’s time they can come later. He talks about being a dictator and how he great he would be as a ruler. He is also oh so very, lazy. I cleaned out our entire room during the hot summer (3+ hours) , he didn’t even ask me if I wanted a cold drink. Instead he watched a movie, then at the end stating it was clean enough, he said it was a joke. Worst of all is he’s telling me I’m overly emotional and I’m the one with the issue. Granted I’m very sensitive and I DO have an issue with mental illness, but lack of empathy is definaty not my issue. I’m so confused I do love this person, but I’m worried about him as an individual is he a sociopath? That is possibly my biggest fear. Please advise me, what is his issue?

A. It is difficult to diagnose your boyfriend. It seems as though the symptoms you have described became apparent after his head injury. His behavior may be the result of a brain injury. It’s not uncommon for individuals who have sustained brain injuries to display unusual behavior. Sometimes they can be violent. Family members often notice a personality change and an inability to control anger.

His behavior is concerning. He has hurt you, watched you bleed and then blamed you for being in his way. He has done other things to you in which you have unfortunately rationalized his behavior and taken blame for being part of the problem. It is never okay to physically harm someone, especially someone you supposedly love or care for. He seems to lack feelings for you. He has a low regard for friends, family, and humanity in general. He makes himself a priority above everyone else. He is lazy and has severe anger issues. Is this the type of individual you want to remain in a relationship with?

The main concern is that you are in a relationship with an individual who seems to have no regard for anyone but himself. He physically harmed you and did not apologize. He felt no guilt. As I mentioned above it’s also concerning that you have rationalized his behavior. You may be doing this unconsciously because you fear the truth. I understand that you do not want to believe negative things about your boyfriend. You are in a relationship with him. It is important, however that you see the truth. He has an explosive temper and the capacity to harm you, as evidenced by the fact that he has done so before. This makes him a potentially dangerous person. This is not a healthy relationship for you.

You asked whether he can be helped. He may be able to be helped if he’s open to treatment. If he is not interested in treatment then he most likely cannot be helped. If he chooses to attend treatment you may want to search for a therapist who is knowledgeable about traumatic brain injury.

You should also consider therapy for yourself. Why am I suggesting treatment for you? There are multiple reasons. One reason is that it may help you understand more about this relationship and why it is unhealthy for you. Secondly, the therapist could advise you about how to end this relationship. Third, he or she could provide you with emotional support during this difficult time. Please consider treatment for yourself. You may also want to read more about behavioral problems associated with traumatic brain injury.

If you need help finding a therapist please consult this directory. I hope I have answered your questions. I wish you the best of luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Oct 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Is My Boyfriend A Sociopath, Explosive Personality or NPD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/10/14/is-my-boyfriend-a-sociopath-explosive-personality-or-npd/