I have dated my boyfriend for 1 year and 4 months. When we began dating he openly admitted he had anger issues but said he was angry because of past relationships with women, including his mother. We met online, then immediately went to instant messaging and from there he rushed in to having phone conversation. We talked over the phone for about 2 days and he suggested that we meet in person because he didn’t like talking on the phone all of the time. The weekend after He picked me up and we went to his place. I ended up staying the entire weekend because he seemed so desperate for my company. I found it strange that everything he talked about was negative things people had done to him but he always portrayed himself as the hero in every situation and went on continuously for hours about how he helped people and they let him down. I didn’t get to talk a lot about myself because I couldn’t get a word in. The few times I did talk about me and my life he didn’t seem interested and interrupted me with more conversation about his life. I felt sorry for him and thought maybe he was just going through hard times so I didn’t pay any attention to his rude behavior. We spent almost every weekend together after that. He started to get a little demanding with the time (It didn’t bother me much because in my last relationship I never got any quality time so I adored his neediness). After a month of seeing him he asked that I start visiting through the week as well. I told him that might not be a good idea because I still had to take care of my place and work as well. That’s when I got my first tongue lashing. He yelled and cursed at me and told me not to come around or call anymore. He said I was probably seeing someone else and didn’t have time to be with him and hung up on me. I was in total shock. I sent him a text message the next day and told him that it was wrong the way he spoke to me and I wasn’t going to put up with it. He apologized and we continued dating and of course I caved in to going to spend the night through the week as well as weekends. He would have the same episodes where he would just lash out for nothing 1-2 times in a month and I would always forgive him. Finally in December of last year he told me that he wanted me to move in because it made him feel more secure about our relationship. So I moved in 2 months later and he became someone else. 1 week he would be full of excitement, very energetic and happy, all around just lovable. The next week he would be angry at the whole world. He even got angry at the weather. He started to blame me for things I didn’t do and got mad if I didn’t confess to his assumptions. A week after being angry he would go into a depressed stage, no energy at all and blaming himself for everything. I noticed after months went on that it was a continues pattern. Happy, angry then sad. I started to become very emotional and cry a lot. He would just stare at me like I was crazy or walk away. He tells me he loves me but he shows no compassion. He will not hug me when I’m upset. His only advice is to stand up and do something about what’s bothering me and stop crying about it but when he’s upset he expects for me to hug him and show compassion. We set down and talked about the situation one day and surprisingly he was very receptive. His only response was that he hated where we lived and wanted a better place but because of his financial status he couldn’t lease in a nice neighborhood. So I found a place for us. Things went okay for a few months but after that they got even worse than before. He spent money he shouldn’t have nothing I did was good enough for him (Not even support). I took on most of the bills to help him get out of debt and ended up having financial issues to help him. He says the most ungodly things to me and gets even more upset if I cry. I started standing up to him and yelling back which only made it worse. He then started saying I was crazy and needed to get help. I made him a nice expensive dinner last Friday and bought him a gift to try and calm the anger. He ended up getting sick later that night. I took him to the doctors that next morning and they told him he had a mild stomach virus, gave him a list of thing to do and sent him home. I took care of him all day. He woke up the next morning in a great mood. He left for work. I wanted to keep the mood the way it was Friday so I cooked dinner lit candles and decorated the place romantically to surprise him when he got home. He walked through the door enraged. He made claims that I tried to poison him Friday and refused to eat the dinner. he threw all of it away. I walked away from him. I went to my bedroom and cried hysterically. He continued to follow me around yelling saying he was going to leave me. He took all the mattresses off the bed and kept turning on every light in every room that I went into so I couldn’t sleep and he could continue yelling. After keeping that up for about 2 hours I guess he became exhausted and went to sleep. The next day he blocked my text and phone calls. Lucky I could still leave a voicemail. I asked him to leave. I stayed away for 2 days and when I came home he had taken his things and most of mine. my apartment is bare. The worst thing about the situation is that his family knows he needs help and they are too afraid of him to say anything. I even tried reaching out to his ex-wife to get a little more information. She refuses to discuss anything with me because she is terrified of him. I’ve only mentioned some of the things. There’s plenty more… At first I thought maybe his problem was narcissism but I’m convinced he’s bipolar.. I have asked that he gets help but he refuses. He says I need help.
It was painful to read your letter because there was nothing in it about you being loved in this relationship. Reread it. All along the way you have been overriding your better judgment. The more you try to make him feel better — the more he escalated. I would use the current separation as your springboard out of the relationship. This isn’t a good connection and it has gotten worse. Your boyfriend isn’t looking to change at all. He is only justifying his anger and frustrations.
This is a lopsided relationship. There isn’t much of anything here for you. I would work on protecting yourself from his verbal and emotional abuse by staying away and getting on with your life. It is not your job to fix him, help him, or support him anymore.
Use this relationship as a guideline of what you don’t want in the next.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). My Boyfriend Might Be Bipolar. Psych Central.
Retrieved on July 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/02/01/my-boyfriend-might-be-bipolar/
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.