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This was the worst experience of my life. A breakup in strange circumstances.

Torn Apart

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Hi guys, I am totally lost and really need some help.


First, some background. I have been living together with my girlfriend for the past 2 years, and its been the best period of my entire life. I cannot put into words how happy we have been for this time. Sure, there have been bad times, but the good always wins out. We are both in University. We both love each other deeply and have long talked about the future, trying to live day to day, but also talking about things we would love to do together down the road- marriage, kids, etc and it's all been great. Due to previous communication problems, we had a deal where if we started something with "I promise...", then it was sacred and would always be the truth. I have never doubted her as to the truthfulness of her statements.


My girlfriend, we shall call her A, has also suffered from mental problems all her life, and this runs in her family (her grandfather killed himself by jumping off a roof convinced he was Christ and her dad has bipolar and schizophrenia). She has anxiety and paranoia, to varying degrees, and in the past she has been on meds or seen counsellors over her problems, something I have always been proud of her for. In times of stress (normally involving assignments, exams, work, and admittedly sometimes I dont help), A has a habit of trying to shut off from the world, trying to break up, commit suicide, move out, cut off friends and other things of the sort. Now, both she and I know that when she is in this state of mind, she is NOT herself. It's almost like she is a different person, almost in a trance. She is not a rational creature, but at the time she fully believes herself to be in the right and thinks of what she is doing as completely logical. Most of the time, when she gets into one of these bad spells, I have learned how best to help her. I talk her down and calm her, and always end up saying something along the lines of,

"okay, I can understand where you're coming from. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying that at the minute we both know you might be in a bit of stress or in a bad mindset, so please can we put this on hold for maybe a week or two, and if you still feel the same then, then we'll do what you want, no questions asked."


Each time this happens, I go out of my way in that week to make it a good week for her. I don't lie (I've never told her a single lie in my life) or change her perspective of things, I just make it a nice week to try and snap her out of this trance. And it nearly always works. withing even a day or two, she snaps out and looks back on everything and realises how irrational she was being and goes off apologizing for what happened.


However, this time that didn't work.

At the minute, we are in the final week of term. There are assignments due left right and center. people are stressed because the exams are in a month. She is in her final year, so at the minute, her stress levels are at an all time high because whereas before she was losing it over exams, this time the exams have an actual contribution towards her final grade (and class of degree), she is freaking out because she doesn't know what she wants to do after college and she is freaking out because of stresses with a psychopathic housemate in the house. So its very understandable she would be stressed- we all are at the minute. However, this time was different and went far further than it ever has before, which I half expected as her stresses are so much worse this time.


Admittedly, I was the one who sparked this all off by complete accident. We got into a fight over something completely irrelevant, but in the process we insulted each other and she took a deep offence to what I said, and to be fair I went far beyond what I should have said and will regret what I said till my dying day. The next day, I apologized with flowers and a handwritten letter of apology and she said she forgave me, but felt that she wasn't sure if she could get over it. I asked her for a few days to try to make amends, and she said okay. Then, the very next day she said she wanted to break up. She said she needed to be on her own for a while and just wasn't happy. She didn't want a relationship with anyone and needed to focus on herself and her college stuff. She said I was controlling and manipulative, and was too angry. She said she truly loved me, but at the minute it wasn't enough. I couldn't convince her to give me the week or two to let her calm down, then if she wanted to still break up, I would do it no questions asked. No matter how hard I tried, and I tried for the bones of 3 hours, she said no. She claimed she was being completely rational and was adamant on this. She needed space she said., but that she really wanted us to be friends.


This all happened 6 days ago on Monday. Now, we are both poor students, so moving out wasnt an option and for the last week I said I would sleep on the couch no qualms. Reflecting on many of the things she said, I believe that while many of her issues are legitimate, they are minor problems that she has blown out of proportion as a result of this state she is in. She has never mentioned any of these problems to me before, and fi they were truly this bad I know she would have told me because I know her inside and out. I just don't know what to do right now. As she is adamant we are broken up, I can't do the usual things I do to cheer her up and lift her spirits out of this rut she gets in so I am losing that opportunity to help her realise things. Exams are in a month as welkl so it measn that her spirits will only get worse, and I am terrified that she will convince herself she was right while in this state of mind. I don't feel its right to throw away 2 years of happiness for two or three bad days. This girl is the love of my life. I have been in loads of relationships, but this one has been different. In the past, we both would have chosen a day of hell together than a day of happiness with somebody else. We are both going home for Christmas on Saturday coming at the end of the week, so I am wondering whether to leave her alone over Xmas or not? if i leave her alone, will she think that we can't get back together, or will absence make the heart grow fonder and help things?


I know many people will say what if these things are in MY mind and she really just wants to be rid of me. To this- The day of the breakup as a promise to both her and myself, I said that I would sort out my problems. I went immediately to a counsellor and identified my problems- I have a mild anger problem that is the result of a childhood trauma. Basically, whenever my needs and wants aren't being addressed, and if it gets really bad, my body shuts off and repsonds in the nastiest way possible in order to defend itself, because it believes that at least people will respond in some way to anger, and that is better than no response at all. I am working on this, and have seen a counsellor every day since. I am genuinely working towards becoming a better person, and every day I am committed to becoming a little better. I am adamant that each of the problems she mentioned will never darken my door again. I am trying, just to ease her mind, but I know that wont help her need for space.


Regarding her, I think its too coincidental that this has happened at the exact same time something bad always happens when she is stressed. each of the things I mentioned before happened about a month before exams- suicide attempts, trying to move out, trying to drop out of college, cut away her friends, all of it. So my own opinion is that this is a far more extreme version of what has happened previously. Bolstering my beliefs of her stress and anxiety being the main villains here is that while she has acted calm and collected the last few days, it all came out on Friday afternoon. I think that all her stress, she suppressed it deep down and now it's bursting out. On Friday night she broke down in front of me over her stress. She asked me just to talk to her, but that she still stood by her decision. She told me that while she was in the library on Friday afternoon doing an assignment, she started to hear voices of people she knew shouting in her head loudly, and then she passed out only to wake up on the ground surrounded by people. I love the girl, so naturally I tried to comfort her as she is still my priority in life, even if we are broken up.


What should I do? I am so, so lost. This has been the worst week of my life and I am like an empty shell. I just want the girl I love back.

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She may have psychiatric problems but she is entitled to psychology as well. What did you say to her, how did this develop? Do you find her abusive in the way she speaks to you when she is in one of her moods? Please provide more details about your interaction and dynamic - not just her disorder- so that we can share more informed opinions.


Also, what would you say about your own personality traits? Would you call yourself a healthy rescuer, a more codependent person, or something else?

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I want to make one thing perfectly clear here, your girlfriend may have anxiety and stress issues but you need to stop using that as an excuse for her feelings to not be validated.

It's offensive for you to keep going on about her mental issues, her family's mental issues, and so on and then to down play her hurt and pain from whatever you fought about or said to her, and to blame her upset "because of her anxiety". That is total bs..okay?

She might have been more high strung than usual, BUT she still had every right to be upset as anyone else and she is in enough right state of mind that she is finishing a University degree. This woman has a rational side to her as well and can differentiate between being treated badly and being upset, and rightly so, if an argument ensues where something was said or done to hurt her to this degree.

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I know you want to make a great week for her when she gets into a deep depressed state but that isn't enough. She needs to go back to counseling and back on medication to treat her symptoms and that is the only way she will truly have more good weeks then bad. I know with my depression if I wasn't on medication even if somebody made a good week for me I would still be lingering in darkness. It's a personal matter inside of her and it's nothing to do with you. Remember that! I was with a guy for ten years who endured a Schizophrenia and I didn't realize how bad it was until past our 7 year anniversary. I tried to "rescue" him and to change his mind.


I learned though with my own mental illness, that what he said may not have been rational as how he no longer loved me and didn't want to be with me, however it was coming from a place of deep honesty for him. So I had to let him go. I mean we had the absolute perfect relationship for 7 out of those ten years! I mean honeymoon phase for 7 years isn't bad in my books.


It's hard to let that person go but it sounds like she really can't handle a relationship. You could call her every name in the book and it wouldn't matter if you hadn't said anything bad at all! She would still want the same thing, to be broken up with unfortunately.


I would let her go and move past this. You can't come to her rescue and save her from those depressed moments.


Only she can set herself free from the darkness.


I wish you the best of luck,



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I agree with the others that it's not fair to blame this all on her psychiatric issues. She might really not want to be with you anymore. Please don't disregard her feelings that way.


Regarding those issues, though - The truth is that if she isn't currently under any treatment, there isn't a lot you could do to help her. The problems you describe are not something you are qualified to manage (And most of us wouldn't be) She needs sustained professional treatment. It's not a "trance" that she will snap out of, though I can see how it appears that way to you. It is always there. Her symptoms worsen at certain times, but there is an underlying problem.


All you can do is respect her decision. You said you have mild anger problems - can you elaborate? They might not seem so mild to her. She obviously isn't happy and doesn't want this relationship right now. Much as you feel she's not in her right mind, it's not your call to make. You don't really have any choice here but to let her go. Continue to work on yourself. If she's going to get healthy, it needs to be done with a qualified and experienced professional and she wants to go it alone.

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