There must be something very sweet about this man when he is not angry for you to put up with this behavior. However sweet he can be, though, he is not ready to be married. I think his behavior is a way to tell you so. Perhaps he can’t manage to tell you directly. Instead, he is pushing you away with his anger and his self-injurious behavior. You aren’t cooperating with his strategy. Even though you tell him you can’t be around him when he’s this way, you go back for more. Please. Put off the wedding until he gets himself into some serious treatment. He is in no shape to be an equal partner in a marriage and is certainly in no shape to be a father to your children someday. I don’t know if his drug abuse is related to his behavior. That’s something else he and his counselor might figure out.
According to an article we published entitled, “The Psychology of Cutting: The reasoning behind self-mutilation” there are some steps one can take to heal from this dysfunctional approach to coping with feelings:
“To heal from cutting, self-injurers must learn personal empowerment, personal responsibility, and how to feel the entire gamut of their emotions. Being dissociated, disconnected, and secretive, must be “off the table” in order to live a life in recovery from self-injury. Healing from cutting takes on the form of recovery just as with any other addiction; it involves hard work, commitment, persistence, self-honesty, other people (healthy connections), and living one day at a time.”
Sadly, there is probably nothing you can do or say to help him get better. He has to want to for his own reasons. All you can do is pull back and let him know that you love him but that you also love yourself enough not to move forward in this relationship until he gets the help he needs. Then mean it. Take a break and see if he loves himself and you enough to get the treatment he needs.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on September, 22, 2008.