Psychotic Boyfriend

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

My relationship with my boyfriend has been destroyed by his mental illness. He has no official diagnosis, but bipolar runs in his family and he displays numerous symptoms of seemingly multiple disorders. One unofficial diagnosis by a physician was bipolar with schizoaffective disorder.

From what I understand, when people hear voices, it is usually directed at themselves. With my boyfriend, he will hear conversations, usually from a neighbors house, even a couple houses away (no matter where he was at) and they are always about me and my “extremely active sex life”. I know these are not true, as I know what I do and I have been completely faithful to only him since we began our relationship. The list of names and our “activities” have been extensive. They are usually his friends, even childhood friends and seems to be connected to whether he happened to see that guy lately or that person’s name came up in a conversation. This has gone on for 3 years and I am not sure why I continue in this relationship except part of me wants Truth to Prevail! But he continues to be tormented by these conversations he “hears”. He even hears me “screaming” as I am supposedly doing the dirty deeds…even if he knows I am at home, 25 miles away. He also always “see’s me”….even if he knows I am at work or on the other side of the island. Sometimes he can be convinced of truth, most times he remains tormented and paranoid. He also believes people, family and government are in a variety of conspiracies against him. Even that he had been drugged and had something surgically removed from his body through an orfice (hence no cut or stitches). He eventually named the person he believes who did this. When I pointed out that this person is not a doctor, he said the guy had veterinary experience (which is not true). Another time, he believes that someone had come in his room while he was asleep and drilled a hole in his tooth, which he got yanked out by the dentist while in a manic state and later, found a tiny drill bit on his bedroom floor that just so happened to fit the hole in the tooth exactly, and the dentist was committing malpractice by yanking his tooth out (because he was so insistent that the dentist do this) and that he overheard the dentist saying that he “injected him with HIV”. He believes all this with all his heart, even if at times, I have been able to convince him that it is all false, logistically impossible some of the things that have been “overheard”. At times he seems cognizant that it’s not really real, but at the same time, I think to him, they really are real and he is just saying that to placate me. I’m confused though because I think if he REALLY thought the conversations about my supposed infidelities were true, he would not want to be with me. He refuses to say exactly who “say’s these things” although he eventually admitted, he didn’t know, he thinks it’s from this neighbor or that neighbor’s house.

My question specifically is: It seems most people who hear voices, the voices are speaking to them about themselves. Is it also common for the voices to be about other people and to be so stuck on one topic (my supposed wild secret sex life)?

I believe he would be diagnosed with multiple labels, even traumatic brain disorder, PTSD. He is 50 years old and has been dealing with a variety of issues for a long time, but these past three years seems to be worse than he has ever experienced and seems to be directly connected to his relationship to me. I am trying to sever the relationship, but feel guilty about “abandoning him” when he is suffering so hard (although I feel like if I go, then the focus of his torment will go away or change) He refuses treatment and denies, most of the time, that he suffers from any mental health issue and blames me, along with all his fabricated accusations, for all his misery. He does not work but own’s the home he lives in (inherited from his father).
Which, people are trying to steal from him by spreading poison all around the perimeter of the home in order to kill him. His family has given up on him. He is angry, mean and paranoid alot of the time. Other times, he seems perfectly fine, is fun, loving and is skilled and talented in a variety of things.

A. Your boyfriend is not well. He’s clearly symptomatic. As you said, he’s angry, paranoid and the majority of his delusions involve you. He’s convinced that you are cheating on him despite there being no evidence to support his belief. I believe that this puts you in potential danger. Generally speaking, people with severe mental illnesses are no more dangerous than people without severe mental illnesses; however, the violence risk level increases under certain conditions. These conditions can include: the use of drugs or alcohol, refusing to participate in treatment and not taking medication.

Having a history of violence also increases the possibility of future violence.

He may never harm you but the violence risk is elevated when psychosis is present. Individuals who are psychotic may do things that they would never normally do if they were not psychotic.

I understand that you feel guilty about “abandoning him” but that’s not what you would be doing. He is unable to function in a healthy relationship when he is actively psychotic. Thus, until your boyfriend agrees to participate in treatment, you and he cannot have a functioning relationship.

Urge him to seek treatment. Do everything you can to convince him that it is the right thing to do. If he is unconvinced and still refuses treatment, then remove yourself from the situation until he changes his mind. If he is a danger to himself or you believe that you may be in danger, contact the authorities. You can’t force him to seek treatment but you should do everything in your power to convince him to seek help. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Sep 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Psychotic Boyfriend. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/09/21/psychotic-boyfriend/