Boyfriend Dangerous When Manic

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Hi, my name is Ashley and I’m dealing with a really difficult issue right now.

I was living with my now ex-fiancé who has Bipolar 1, in an apartment complex for two years and we were in a relationship for 4. Our relationship was normally very good when he wasn’t Manic. Even still I would stick with him when he went Manic, because he would never physically attack anybody when he became this way, but then last November he threw me and tried to strangle me. He ended up hurting his mother as well. Nobody knows about the incident except for her, myself, and my family. My ex has been in the hospital ever since then, but it’s getting time for him to come out. I wanted to stay at the apartment until he was about to come home since he needs a place to live. I also needed time to rest from the incident and I need time to find a place to live of my own, but since he’s back to normal he’s under the impression that I’m going to stay with him.

It’s really hard. Everything is great when he’s normal, but I can’t risk my life for this if he gets this way again.

Again, it’s getting close to the time for him to be coming back to our apartment and he’s asking me to contact his case workers and all of these doctors. I’m not sure what to tell them, or my ex. I haven’t found a new place to live yet either. It’s not easy around where I live. Plus, we also have two pet cats. One is his and the other is mine. I’m trying desperately to at least take mine, but I’m not sure what to do about his. I don’t want to abandon them, plus they could become a target if he goes Manic again, which he might quickly when he finds out I’m not staying with him. He doesn’t handle stress very well, especially after he gets out of a hospital.

Should I tell him the truth now? What should I tell his doctors and case workers? Also, any other advice to give will be helpful.

A. I believe that I understand your predicament. The best time to tell him the truth is while he is still in the hospital. The hospital is a safe place. If, after hearing the news, he becomes manic, the hospital staff can treat his symptoms accordingly.

You should also immediately inform his treating doctors and caseworkers. They need to be consulted so they can prepare for his possible negative reaction. It might also change how they plan for his discharge. He may need a different place to live or additional resources, and that information would likely be important for them to know before they release him from the hospital.

If you were to wait until he returns from the hospital, and he reacts negatively and becomes manic, the risk for violence increases. Your life may be in danger, and so might the lives of his mother, other family members and your pets.

I hope that my response reaches you in time to be of assistance and that you’re able to remain safe. If you feel that your safety is in danger, do not hesitate to contact the authorities. Do what is necessary to protect yourself. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Feb 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). Boyfriend Dangerous When Manic. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/02/15/boyfriend-dangerous-when-manic/

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