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Her boyfriend is on the edge

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My boyfriend has nervous breakdowns every 3-5 years because he tends to bottle things up until they explode.
He doesn’t really know how to show emotions well because when he used to cry as a child his dad would hit him till he stopped, saying that stupid line “men don’t cry”. Now it’s difficult for him to express his emotions and when we’re arguing or he should be upset(like when his uncle died), he just gets numb and shuts himself off completly.

Well I want him to learn how to deal with the emotions instead of putting them aside and waiting for the breakdown. At the moment though, he is teetering on the edge of one. He is very snappy and gets really angry over tiny things.He’s just very stressed right now and I want to be there for him when he finally breaks down. I was wondering if there was any way I could urge him into the breakdown. Since I know it’s coming and it has to come, is there any way I can make it come faster?

Her boyfriend is on the edge

Answered by on -

A.

Are you wanting him to have his “breakdown” for him or for you? Although this is uncomfortable for you, it probably isn’t advisable to provoke a collapse. You don’t know that he will be able to work himself out of it.

You’re right that it would be better for your boyfriend to learn to manage feelings in a different way. You could be most helpful by gently encouraging him to get involved in some therapy so that he isn’t at the mercy of his feelings. He might also benefit from a men’s support group or therapy group where he would learn from other men that it is okay to acknowledge and express his emotions. With your support and some professional help, your boyfriend can undo what he learned from his dad and own his more sensitive side.

I wish you both well.
Dr. Marie

Her boyfriend is on the edge

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Her boyfriend is on the edge. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/05/03/her-boyfriend-is-on-the-edge/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.