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Thread: Emotional Stability / Anger / Mental Health of my long term Girlfriend / Partner

  1. #1

    Emotional Stability / Anger / Mental Health of my long term Girlfriend / Partner

    HI

    I am in a long term relationship (almost nine years) with my Girlfirend who I Love more than anything in the world, but we are clearly at the end of our tether as seem to be stuck in a loop of arguing, making up, arguing..etc.

    I have always known that my girlfreind is quite regularly almost completely unable to regulate her emotional responses to what, for the most part, are normal day to day frustrations.

    MY girlfriend has the tendency to fly into extreme and long lasting fits of rage as a result of what I would consider to be pretty minor triggers and I have so far been trying to manage this by remaining calm, explaining myself, apologising, telling her i Love her, doing little things to show im not angry at her and forgiving her when she finally calms down and (usually) apologises.

    My girlfirend came ot the UK as a refugee from Kosovo when she was seven and has undoubtedly had a traumatic upbringing, her father was at least emotionally / psychologically abusive to her and her siblings and I know that this has had a massive impact on her mental health. She also has an extremely stressful job working long hours and I can sometimes not be as thoughtful as I could be, which I admit to her, apologise for and I am trying desperately to improve. Yet deep down i know that there are underlying issues she has that would not be resolved even if I were literally perfect.

    All I want is for us to have a stable relationship, where she can experience small frustrations without believing that I don't care about her, without believing the the world is a dark cold place and without questioning our love and commitment to each other.

    iThe reason I have come to seek help is because for a number of months my Girlfiriend has been complaining of pains in her liver, and a scan a year ago revealed a small spot which they said they wanted to monitor. After falling out with her doctor, she has not pursued this medical issue. After a weekend of arguing and making up, I asked her if she would go to the doctors about the liver spot, she initially said yes and I said i would take time off work to go with her. She then proceeded to get more and more worked up until she declared that she is not going. I told her i could not accept this and explained that us looking after ourselves and looking after each other, medically emotionally psychologically is all part of a loving relationship. I explained that we need to look after ourselves for the sake of each other.

    This then prompted her to go on her usual, "life isn't worth living", "you don't care about me", "you don't listen", "i'm leaving if you carry on with this", "you are cruel" etc. type of routine. I simply cannot accept that she isn't willing to pursue this medical issue, not to mention the fact that she keeps backtracking on her agreement to see a therapist.


    I am in desperate need of help.

  2. #2
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    She needs professional therapy.

    If you love her enough to potentially be her carer for the rest of your life, then I salute your nobility and encourage you to let her tantrums go and accept that they are an expression of her demons, not herself.

    That said, I am afraid that I do not really buy the stereotypical narrative that victims (of anything) automatically deserve to be wrapped in cotton wool and shielded from the world's ills at everybody else's expense. Sadly a lot of victims develop a bitterly cynical view of the world and become very nasty individuals themselves. Where do you draw the line between the expression of a traumatic experience and inherent personality? Some of the ugliest people (personality wise) in the world are those with a victim mentality, like radical Incels, for example.

    Excuse the tangent, what I mean is that by supporting your girlfriend on a daily basis, caring for her, being understanding of her... you might actually be enabling toxic patterns of thought and behaviour. If her mental health is as bad as you describe, then she needs professional help, not a coddling boyfriend. Some time apart might actually give her some clarity and context too.

  3. #3
    Hi

    Thanks for the response, i really appreciate it.

    I am willing to help her with her mental issues, for the rest of my life, and I can stand up to a lot of abuse and unfair treatment (as i have been doing so for many years), but I need to see progress, and at the moment I'm seeing the opposite.

    I have many times, considered that I may actually be facilitating this toxic behaviour by being so forgiving of her flaws and as I genuinely don't take the things she says seriously (when shes in her rages) - the abuse I receive literally has not impact on me 99% of the time. This probably doesn't help her to self reflect because I have minimized the damage she is doing to me to such a large degree.

    I do this because I do not want to see her feeling guilty, because it is heartbreaking when she does, and she dwells on it and beats herself up and ends up in a bout of depression, which of course is extremely dangerous. When we speak about these things when shes not in the middle of a Rage /Depression / episode of inexplicable sadness or loneliness, she is very honest and apologetic and agrees to seek help, but so far hasn't really done anything to try to actually get the help she needs.

    I know that personality disorders can be inherited and can be brought on by trauma as a child, and i honestly think both of these things apply to her. So i cant help but have sympathy for her and this is what i use as fuel to tolerate the abuse and almost constant disruption to what otherwise would be a pretty sweet and comfortable life.

    thanks again for your time, I would very much welcome hearing more form you.

    if there is anyone else out there that has been in a relationship that sounds in any way similar to this, please, please let me know what you think , what you did,m how it worked out etc..

    THanks,

  4. #4
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    Unless and until she is willing to seek help - and actually does so - there is very little you can do.

    My ex was an emotionally unstable man. He would experience extreme bouts of rage, and find ways to blame me for whatever negative feelings he was having. He had indeed been twice diagnosed with a specific personality disorder but he refused to seek any treatment. You notice my use of the word ex; I walked away after about a year. Without professional help, I knew the situation would not improve.

    You very much need to sit your girlfriend down and explain the toll this is having on the relationship. She might not realize how serious you are about being drained if you have otherwise enabled her behaviour in the past. But, by the same token, you also have to get serious with yourself. If you are willing to put up with the anger and mistreatment, she has little reason to change.

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  6. 08-26-2019, 08:27 AM

  7. #5
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry this is happening. Although you mean well you are micromanaging, controlling and parenting her way too much. She's an adult. If she wants to go to a doctor, therapist, etc., she will. Stop being her therapist, doctor and dad all rolled into one overbearing control freak. Be a partner instead and yes LISTEN rather than order her what to do to fix herself for you. This is a what you see is what you get type situation. Get off her case.

    If you don't like her moods, trauma, complaints, etc, then step way back and start observing and listening and processing what's happening. Stop crawling up her rear with your requests for her to fix herself, go to doctors, therapists, etc. She told you as much. Time to pay attention. Go to therapy yourself and explore your need to avoid your own life and put hers under this much scrutiny.
    Originally Posted by harveylax
    "you don't listen", "i'm leaving if you carry on with this", "you are cruel" etc. type of routine. I simply cannot accept that she isn't willing to pursue this medical issue, not to mention the fact that she keeps backtracking on her agreement to see a therapist.

  8. #6
    Thanks to MissCanuck that is helpful.

    Wiseman2 I am not sure how you get to the idea of me being a "control freak" or that I am not "LISTEN"-ing, as I am not a control freak and i listen extremely carefully to the issues she believes are the causes of her anger, and then when i put forward practical suggestions to address those, they usually get rejected.

    For example, the other day she said that we dont spend enough time with family, so I say, "well thats a reasonable thing to want to do more of, and if that will help with these issues, then I'm totally happy to arrange more family time". So I did arrange that (to see my sister, her husband and their two kids whilst they were camping) and she outright rejected the idea on fairly shaky grounds. I don't understand why such direct and obvious practical measures to the issues she raises are met with rejection. The only conclusion i can come to is that this is subconscious sabotage of any proposed remedies.

    ALso Wiseman2, i really dont understand why you think you are able to suggest that i should go to therapy to "explore my need to avoid" my own life. What are you talking about? I am in direct contact with my life, and at the moment, it is being dominated by the results of my soulmates past trauma, and I am seeking advice for me, for her, for both of us.

    The majority of your comments do not at all appear to come from any kind of sympathetic view point and to be honest you have done a dis-service to this forum of which you are a long standing member.

    Perhaps, ask quesitons to work out if I am a control freak, if I am the sort of person who listens. I am an honest actor, posting on this forum in good faith, you are borderline trolling and I'm no where near stupid enough to fall for it or not call it out.

  9. #7
    Platinum Member DancingFool's Avatar
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    OP, Wiseman's comments might be harsh, but they are right on point. You are calling her your soulmate BUT you are treating this whole relationship as a fixer upper project. You don't actually like her the way she is, you like the idea of who she could be if only she would do this, change that, go to doctors, etc, etc, etc. That is controlling behavior on your part. Healthy relationships don't operate like this. Either you accept the person as they are or you move on. You don't try to fix them and change them.

    You are stuck in a toxic situation and sounds a lot like you are making a lot of excuses for someone who is emotionally abusive toward you. Your inability to see that and to walk away from it is problematic and shows your own lack of emotional health. I hope that instead of knee jerking you actually take a deep breath and give things some serious thought. You can fix a broken chair, but you can't fix people. A toxic relationship is not your soulmate. I mean ask yourself honestly - does your soulmate rage at you? Is that really how you imagine your relationship? I hope not. You sound very very codependent and that's not good.

  10. #8
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    I suggest you look into your own therapy with a counsellor proficient in codependency issues. You are trying to control her while failing at it which is driving YOU into your own dysfunctional mental state.

    You can support her while she gets herself into therapy BUT (big but) you cannot fix her, you cannot save her from herself. You can only change you and your enabling actions that allow her to abuse you psychologically and emotionally.

    Google two things:

    1. "Am I in a Codependent Relationship"
    2. "White Knight Syndrome"

    Read about those things and let us know how much they resonate with you.

    Her? She likely has ptsd from her childhood (or worse) and should be in therapy to help her to be able to regulate her emotional response to your (over) helpful ways. Trying to manipulate her into seeing a doctor about her liver problem is about YOU, not her. You can tell her that she should followup but to tell her it's a show of her love for you isn't the right way to go about it because it just triggers her to respond in her overly emotional defense of herself. Her issues are hers to fix. You issues are yours to fix. Even on a plane they tell you to put on your own oxygen max before trying to help others.

    You both should be in therapy to guide you in a more functional way of living and relating to one another.

    and to be honest you have done a dis-service to this forum of which you are a long standing member.
    Well, No, no he has not. He has given you good advice that you, like your wife, refuse to even consider. Google and read those terms I have supplied to you. You will be glad you did because once you know what ails YOU, you will think twice before enabling/controlling/triggering your partner the way you have been.

  11. #9
    your not showing much emotioanl mturity yourself, you obviously dont understand how trauma affects people, when they rage, they think theya re raging at you, thety are not, they are raging at themselves, at their past, at the perpetrator of the abuse against them.

    She is the love of my life, and I am the love of her life, we know this to be true, you have no basis to make any judgement otherwise.

    She is also in full recognition that there are deep issues that need to be fixed, I love her the way she is, and the biggest reason I am posting on here is that I am afraid, not for my own sake, but for her sake as she struggles and fails to get on top of these issues she has. The situation is not toxic 24/7, it is idyllic at least 80% of the time, but the bad times are becoming more regular and I want to minimize it, not for my sake primarily, but for her sake and the sake of our relationship.

    My inability to walk away is because i believe in the love that we have and the strength and depth of that love. I am not seeking or expecting a 100% fix to this, We are both in need of a greater degree of stability.

    Having to argue with strangers who seem intent on making value based judgements that they are not qualified to make is making me somewhat regret ever posting on here.

  12. #10
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    I think you're very frustrated and it's coming across in a way that makes you appear callous and controlling. I don't think you really are but I do think you need to take that down a few notches so that you can think a bit more clearly.

    I have the sense that you're paying a lot of lip service also but not respecting her emotions because you're frustrated with her overall (the situation has escalated). Take a breather for a moment and come back to this at a later time - don't continue pursuing any issues and it's a good idea to explain to her when finding a solution is not the solution (there is a time for everything). Usually when a person is breaking down and having a fit, it's not the best time to rationalize and it's really not your job to talk that person down. Being a good listener without becoming her punching bag helps. Be firm once the conversation begins to escalate and explain why this is not a good time to continue this discussion.

    Time outs in the conversation are good if two people are devolving into a heated disagreement with no meeting of the minds or desire to see eye to eye. Yelling matches are not healthy, attacking a person's personality or finding reasons to undermine a person's opinion regardless of their past or what kind of damaged goods that person is is is not appropriate. It is ok to take time outs and the other should feel reminded or safe that the conversation will continue at a later time (no one is checking out). I do recognize that you're attempting to be empathetic of her childhood but resist the urge bringing it up regularly. You may mention it in more neutral terms when both of you are calm and address the issues with consideration to her past but try not to make it the focal point.

    I'd also be cautious about the way you view her emotions and the way you use the term depression. Everyone is allowed to feel their emotions and feel sad in any given situation. If we sense it is not a safe place to express emotions or sadness (especially in relationships), that person may feel invalidated and eventually shut out. You seem to fear her emotions and her sadness and continue to link it to her past "trauma". Stop doing this as it's hurting your relationship and you're undermining her ability to feel and express herself in any given situation.

    You also (unfortunately) cannot force her to get her liver checked further. Keep encouraging her to go. Do not guilt-trip her. This is a form of mind control that also makes you appear controlling or domineering but what you really are is extremely worried and also frustrated by her response. Encouragement and positive reinforcement go a long way instead of guilt. If she's taking steps to bettering her health or expresses fear, listen to her emotions as they are a direct response and a key in encouraging her to listen to her own thoughts and helping herself. Remember that she has to want to help herself not because it's out of an obligation to you or your relationship. Empower her and encourage her.

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