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Abusive Relationship with Someone Suffering from Mental Health Issues

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I began dating my ex two years ago. I got pregnant three months into the relationship. My ex put me through hell. Talking to his ex girlfriends behind my back, doing drugs, alcohol, disappearing for nights, not answering my calls, never worked, used my dark issues I trusted with him against me and would throw them in my face, and eventually ran off with our roommate but claimed not to have had sex with her. I am very lost and confused because I gave him my all for the whole time we were together, I was loyal, forgiving and loving. He would always tell me how sorry he was, how much he loved me, but that he couldn’t control what he did and felt like he was being controlled by something else to do the things he did. He was always so depressed, had anxiety, and abused alcohol and drugs. He was previously on seroquel and another prescription I don’t know the name of. Eventually after having taken enough of his emotional and mental abuse, we broke up. But I am so guilty feeling and confused because I do love him, but he has hurt me so badly, and I believe he is so mentally ill. I can’t continue to be with him because of his horrible anger on top of the previously stated issues. He is telling me he will kill himself if I actually leave him and that he is so sorry for everything, but I’ve heard it a million times. Something doesn’t click in his head that he has to change… From my research he fits the qualifications to be a borderline. Can someone please help me? Do I give up after being betrayed and beaten down for so long? I’m so lost. Please help me! I am currently raising his son alone in a different state than him. I need some insight on what to do. 

Abusive Relationship with Someone Suffering from Mental Health Issues

Answered by on -


A: From what you are describing here, I think you have done exactly the right thing by breaking it off with him and attempting to go on with your life. Both you and your son will benefit from having a stable and consistent life. Whether or not your ex-boyfriend has a mental illness, or just needs to grow up, he is the only one who can change his life. You can’t fix him. He needs to do that himself, and chances are that he won’t put in the work as long as he can pull you back in. 

It is always heartbreaking when you love someone but can’t make the relationship work out. It is even more heartbreaking when there are children involved. However, children thrive in environments that are loving, supportive and consistent. Focus your energy on taking care of yourself and your son and leave the guilt behind. I hope that your ex gets the help he needs so he can at least be a good father some day, but it sounds like he has a long way to go. Just remember that you are not responsible for his journey.

All the best,

Dr. Holly Counts

Abusive Relationship with Someone Suffering from Mental Health Issues

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Holly Counts, Psy.D.

Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.

APA Reference
Counts, H. (2018). Abusive Relationship with Someone Suffering from Mental Health Issues. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 26 May 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.