Broken

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost three years. We live together and both come from very difficult childhoods that have left us broken with zero self-esteem.

Things have been going great except for the past couple months, where it has come out that he HATES my mom, thinks I have no self-respect for myself, he refuses to have anything to do with my family because they ‘Treat us like Sh*t’, he thinks I’m cheating on him, and does not trust me for no reason. I have a hard time talking to him about anything because 99% of the time he blows up and overreacts and will ignore/demean me for the rest of the day. He is a very angry person that can snap at a moments notice. The way he acts is pretty parallel how people who are bi-polar act, but he has not been diagnosed or treated for it.
I’ve told him that my relationship with my family (let alone my mom) is extremely complicated and cannot be fixed immediately. He hates the way our relationship works and says that I am ok with my mom treating me badly. (Which I’m not it’s just a hell of a lot better now than it has been, EVER) We almost broke up before thanksgiving because I chose to go to my parents house and “willingly chose” to leave him alone on a holiday. His only family is his mom, and he has never had a good relationship with her and has cut her off.
Today’s fight started because my work asked me to come in early tomorrow and I am also leaving early today to balance an overtime hour… he got upset because he thinks I am cheating on him and making up excuses to leave work early. He flat out said that he does not trust me, but could not give any reason why he doesn’t other than the fact that I will leave work early on some occasions (which is a routine part of my job). We both love each other and do not want to break up, but I do not know how to fix our problems or if they are even worth trying to fix. I’ve tried talking to him, but getting any info from him is pulling teeth, and he just doesn’t believe a single word I am saying.
Please help.

A: It sounds like the two of you need to be in front of a couples counselor to start sorting through the reactions he is having and to develop some healthy communication patterns. The find help tab at the top of the page can direct you to someone in your area. I think you will do better going sooner rather than later because the kinds of distortions your boyfriend is having tend not to improve on their own.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jan 2012

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2012). Broken. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/05/broken/