I have been with my current boyfriend for 6 yrs. I have one son from a previous marriage and he has two sons also and I am currently pregnant. Our relationship has been extremely difficult over the years and now I feel like I am at an impasse and have told him that unless he seeks counseling I am going to have to leave him, which he refuses to do saying that I am really the problem with everything and its really myself who needs counseling.

He has been in court ordered therapy a number of times getting a variety of diagnoses from bipolar to uncategorized psychotic i have had a restraining order on him previously do to his inability to control himself to the point he has become physically abusive, at which point a requested the prosecutor out him in mental health court so he could have a chance to get some help. Through this he says that he was told that he is fine and has no problems, and while he hasn’t been physically violent he remains controlling and inconsistent with his behavior and emotions.

He will follow me in his car and bring his kids into the college I attend to see if I’m sitting by other males. Sometimes everything can be great, but as soon as I start to be happy or think about a future with him he will accuse me of lying or bring up some situation from years ago and demand a detailed recollection. Aside from this when he has his kids he will yell and swear at them and at me or his mother while they are around and not put them to bed until 1 in the morning or later, at times driving them out to my house in the middle of the night if we are arguing.

I’ve told him the past couple months that for our relationship to go anywhere he needs counseling and medication because until he can control himself I feel as though I’m in a perpetual state of chaos never knowing how to feel or whether its a good idea to be around him. He will argue to the point of exhausting me and then demand to confront me in person to ague more, not letting me sleep or be alone.

Then he often acts as though nothing has ever happened and gets angry when I try to explain his behavior effects people and hurts them. I know things won’t change because I’ve been waiting 6 years, and I feel if I were to advance the relationship and move in with him or marry him (which is what he thinks will make everything better) I will be putting myself in a dangerous situation. I know when he’s gone to therapy in the past he lies or minimalizes the things he’s done, and often blames me. I know he is capable of being a very kind good person and father because I’ve seen him do it, but it’s always short lived and can change as fast as flipping a switch.

I want to be able to have a family with him and a life but it seems almost impossible given the circumstances. I’m not sure anymore what to say to him or how to get him to see that we could all have a better life if he acknowledged his behavior and tried to change it, and I don’t know if I can. Trying to leave him is painful and long and I usually have to call the police at some point to keep him away from me and I just want to know if there is anything else I can do before I have to go down that road again.

A: What you are describing is domestic violence. There is little likelihood that your boyfriend will change. Arguing with him to get into counseling is pointless. If he doesn’t see the need himself, he won’t get anything out of treatment.

The person you can do something about is you. Get yourself into some therapy right away. You deserve to have the support and advice of someone who can help you keep a grip on the reality of the situation. You are not safe. It would be a huge mistake to marry this man. A therapist will help you figure out how to take care of yourself and provide for your children.

The Women’s Resource Center in your city is a good place for you to start to get good help. Call the hotline at 800-554-4972. One-on-one support is available free of charge. Group counseling would provide you with the opportunity to talk with other women like yourself who are struggling to separate from someone they love who doesn’t know how to love them and their children.

You made a very important first step in writing to us here at PsychCentral. Please take the next step and contact the Center. If you can’t do it for yourself at first, do it for your kids. None of you deserve to be treated this way. All of you deserve to feel safe in your own home.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Aug 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Boyfriend refuses counseling and says it’s really me who needs to go. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/08/20/boyfriend-refuses-counseling-and-says-its-really-me-who-needs-to-go/