• All donations and upgrades are manually verified and approved within 24hrs.
  • Upgrades are ongoing. Learn how to save your bookmarked posts.

Relationship Is this abuse? If so, what do I do?

Thread starter #1
Hi there,

I have just joined as I'm feeling in a bit of a predicament and I really need some outside perspective on what's happening in my relationship. My partner has PTSD and anxiety from childhood trauma and abuse, retraumatised a few years ago from an incident related to an earlier one. In the past 2-3 years we have had these things happen (amongst other htings):

- He was bullied at his work leading to him injuring himself and having to have surgery.
- A massive roof leak that meant for 5 months we had 100-150L of water pouring into the house through ceilings in 5 rooms any time it rained, so we were up all night having to replace buckets/trays etc. - massive source of anxiety for both of us
- My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer
- He was diagnosed with PTSD, but his therapist wasn't helpful
- He had an anxiety attack and put his fist through a wall breaking his thumb so more surgery
- His mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer
- My mom died
- He was bullied at work again and had to leave his job


I think there is more, but this is all of the stress and trauma we've been going through. We've been together 13 years. Over the past few years things have gotten much worse. I had finally convinced him to see a psychologist, but the two he has been to have not been very effective, one got too friendly, and both decided to space out sessions as he was 'doing ok' despite him still being suicidal and having episodes just as frequent. We're at the point where he struggles to take care of himself, from everything like feeding himself to doing things. He often spends all day on the couch if we don't eat the right thing at the right time. We've had some trouble as with his two injuries in the past while he had about 4 months each time that he couldn't use his other hand at all so had to do all the cooking and cleaning and everything, so we had takeaways a lot. Over the past year I've worked at getting back into cooking but he struggles to even make himself toast.

A typical episode involves a stressor like that, not eating during the day, and will then progress to him lying on the couch. I'll try to check in, try to find a solution to see what he wants to eat, or try to offer some help with deescalating like going for a walk. It will then inevitable drag out for 4-8 hours of me trying to touch base to help, but leaving when he gets angry. Eventually he'll want to talk, but he'll be so escalated by then that it goes through a massive, identical pattern of my help being "too little too late", me being useless, him hating being there, hating everything about our lives. Swearing at me, saying he wants to die and he's done, he's going to hang himself etc. then down into he'll take everyone out with him, kill me etc. etc. often a couple of holes punched into walls, or broken things, or he hits himself and pulls his hair out, spits etc. If I leave the room or house he'll send me dozens and dozens of messages saying the same thing. Then later we'll finally end up talking about something specific that's actually bothering him and I apologise for whatever it was and several hours later I finally go to bed and we try again the next day.

In a good spell these episodes might be 2-3 weeks apart, but more often than not they are at least once a week, and sometimes 2-4 times per week. It's exhausting for me because I will try to reach out to him all day once he's feeling that way, but he will often only engage when I'm about to go to bed. If I get into bed, he will text me relentlessly too. I turn my notifications off and he calls the phone and hangs up when I answer. I turn my phone on silent and he calls the landline which is in our bedroom. I unplug it and he will come and bang on the door or wake me up when I've just gotten to sleep.

He's says he's desperate because he's worried he going to kill himself, but he's just SO antagonistic and says horrible horrible things to me and blames me for everything when it happens so it's so hard to keep myself in the firing line to keep him safe. I am exhausted, and used to going to bed at 9:30pm. When this happens it feels like he's trying to keep me awake as torture. We'll talk until 3am sometimes and then I have to work the next day, luckily from home, but this can be a huge distraction when I am working from home too now that he is not working.

I'm at a loss as to what to do. I know the behaviour isn't healthy, but he has no close friends, and the only family member he is vaguely close to is his mom, who doesn't have long to live and lives in another city. I know he is hurting bad because of everything he's been through, but I just don't think I can handle this much longer. He's not medicated, and does not even want to consider going down that road. I often want to leave but I'm very, very worried he'll kill himself if I do.

I feel responsible for a lot of it because he'd had such a hard life and we were young when we met, I helped him with a lot of things. I helped him with work, with studying for a degree for a new career, with starting a business, coping with PTSD. I really have done too much and enabled him, so now we are stuck in this place where he's dependent on me, but I can't do 2 people's worth of life. Then he gets frustrated that there's not enough time to get anything done, that we're not getting anywhere, but it's because he's unable to use most of the hours of his days because of his illness, but still wants 2 people's worth of progress, but it's burning me out doing everything.

I have seen a psychologist myself to help me to help him, she has helped me with boundaries a bit, but I'm still living in a tinder box. All of the problems I bring to her are related to him and I wouldn't have any if I wasn't here. But I love him a lot and we've been together so long. How can you leave somebody who is suicidal and whose mom is about to die?

I'm so sorry this is long. I guess I just need some outside perspective on what is happening, and how I could deal given his lack of a support network. I don't want him to die, but I don't want to live like this forever either.

Thanks for any help you can give me :(
 
#2
There is so much about this situation that is not okay.

1. Is he currently attending therapy?

2. Is he currently taking medication?

3. I am so proud of you for recognizing the need for your own therapist- in this situation it’s really needed.

4. Boundaries. You need to sit down and decide what you are willing to tolerate in a relationship and what you are not. If he crosses those? You have every right to step out of the relationship. You are allowed to say this is not healthy for me and I need to separate from you. Does he have issues right now? Yes but that’s not on you. There’s a fine line between being supportive and allowing him to walk all over you. The things he’s doing? Would be over my line. But I can’t decide that for you. You need to determine what is acceptable and what is not and hold to it.

5. Communicate your boundaries, he can’t read your mind. But if he chooses not to listen- that’s on him. Not you.

6. Understand it won’t be overnight. Nothing worth doing ever is.

7. You can love a person from a distance. If you leave, that doesn’t mean you don’t love him, that doesn’t mean you don’t care about it. It’s taking care of you and your health.

8. Are there kids involved? They need to be in a safe and calm home not one where you are walking on eggshells.

9. He has to learn coping mechanisms for his anxiety and anger. Having PTSD is not an excuse to be an ass.

Another point I forgot to make. His mental health is not your responsibility. I’ve been suicidal, I know how he feels in that moment. But it would be manipulative and abusive of me to put the onus on someone else to “save me”. I can ask for support (which looks like listening to me vent, giving me space, and letting me know you care and/or love me). But I can’t ask you to stay in a relationship to avoid me doing that act. That’s so incredibly wrong.
 
Thread starter #3
1. Is he currently attending therapy?
He has seen two therapists over the past 2.5 years, but the relationship with his first one got too friendly from the therapist, and the second one just wasn't very effective. We've had a heck of a time finding someone else as everyone in town seems to have a full case load. I finally got him in with someone so he has an appointment in about a week. He struggles with certain personality types so I'm worried this one might also be a bit too airy fairy for him, but I'm hoping it might help that she's female (he's tried 2 males and seemed to have personality clashes with them both).

2. Is he currently taking medication?
No, and he has a severe complex about it because he grew up with his mother on a lot of meds for her mental health issues. He self medicates with cannabis for his anxiety, but refuses to go down that path with anything else.

The things he’s doing? Would be over my line. But I can’t decide that for you.
These are over my line too, I think, but this is the only relationship I've ever been in. I think that made me naive to the red flags earlier on and feeling like loving him would be enough. Now I feel like I'm in really deep, but I know it's not healthy. I just don't know what to do to draw that line. I think I should probably figure out how to spend some time apart just so I can have a break, but the text messages will still come I'm sure of it. I don't really know where to go, I'm too worried to go to anybody we mutually know as... I don't really know. I think I'm worried about how they see him as he already has so much self-hatred. I know it doesn't make rational sense to subject myself to this to protect him, I guess I've just been hoping we'd come out the other side eventually. I don't have many close friends and I no longer have my mother. My dad is local but again, I'm worried about telling him as I've always struggled with giving my parents anything to worry about.

Are there kids involved? They need to be in a safe and calm home not one where you are walking on eggshells.
No kids, just 4 rabbits :/. We're at this horrible impasse where we've been on IVF waiting list and have an opportunity to do it. So all I can see is these 2 extreme forks... I suffer through this and we do the IVF, maybe it works out or maybe I live like this for longer, and it's not the life I want for kids. Or I leave now, and possibly miss out on having kids when that's all I want but I don't have much time to spare. Or do I go and knowing I can manage my money a lot better on my own, cut my losses now? But then I feel like I'm taking that possibility away from him. When he's up he's awesome, and would be a great father, and if he could get the right help it would be good for him to have a loving family. But not if he can't spare his kids from this. I guess I should have those boundaries for myself too.

I just feel like I'm throwing him to the wolves if I go... He has no family or friends, no steady job. It just feels like I'm damned if I do and damned if I dont :(
 
#4
I get it. The IVF opportunity- geez I feel you. I would be torn to absolute pieces around that choice.

The ultimate issue is: he has to fix himself. You can’t fix him. Kids can’t fix him. Kids don’t fix marriages and should NEVER be used as a tool to do that. I’m not saying you are, but I would really hesitate to bring a child knowingly into a situation that is clearly not healthy. They don’t get to choose their parents. But their parents can choose to do good by them.

Figure out what your boundaries are, communicate them, then it’s up to him to comply or not, it’s up to you to follow through. If you choose not to follow through that shows him you are okay with the behavior. Not to minimize the seriousness- but it’s similar to yelling at a dog for begging at the table and then later slipping him a treat while you’re snacking. He learns that no matter what you say you’ll still give in, then you’ll continue to be miserable and nervous and the wheels go round.

It’s a sticky situation, but not an impossible one. But it takes two to make a relationship, you can’t do it by yourself.
 
#5
Hello @spidermonkey123... sounds like you’re in a tough spot right now. I’m a supporter too, and I think a lot of supporters can feel your pain with this situation. It is only natural to want to help and fix... but we have to accept that WE CANT FIX. We can only support. They have to work on themselves. If they’re dependent on you for their mental stability, it’s not romantic, it’s toxic and codependent. I think we all have to get that wake up call.

There’s a lot that came to mind when I was reading your post, but I’ll just start with some of the basics.

I'll try to check in, try to find a solution to see what he wants to eat, or try to offer some help with deescalating like going for a walk.
He’s an adult... if he’s not eating, that’s his problem to solve, not yours. I’m assuming there is food in the house? The most I would personally do for my sufferer if this was an issue is food prep some grab and go options. If he can’t get something out of fridge, you can’t help with that. That’s basic survival.

. It will then inevitable drag out for 4-8 hours of me trying to touch base to help, but leaving when he gets angry.
Don’t spend hours helping somebody who is being obstinate. If he refuses help, thats on him. That is crazy making. Don’t be a target.

Eventually he'll want to talk, but he'll be so escalated by then that it goes through a massive, identical pattern of my help being "too little too late", me being useless, him hating being there, hating everything about our lives. Swearing at me, saying he wants to die and he's done, he's going to hang himself etc. then down into he'll take everyone out with him, kill me etc. etc. often a couple of holes punched into walls, or broken things, or he hits himself and pulls his hair out, spits etc.
Pardon my French... but f*ck that. That is not acceptable. Remove yourself from the situation. He does not get to spread the misery around. Just because he’s ranting doesn’t mean you have to listen.

If I leave the room or house he'll send me dozens and dozens of messages saying the same thing.
Let him. Let him knock, call, have his hissy fit. That does not mean you have to comply.

Then later we'll finally end up talking about something specific that's actually bothering him and I apologise for whatever it was and several hours later I finally go to bed and we try again the next day.
What are you apologizing for? Don’t apologize just because he melts down. That’s not your fault, so don’t validate that.


He's says he's desperate because he's worried he going to kill himself,
He needs to be in a hospital then. You cannot be in suicide watch. You are not a trained therapist.


but he's just SO antagonistic and says horrible horrible things to me and blames me for everything when it happens so it's so hard to keep myself in the firing line to keep him safe.
Again... not your job. That’s just making you insane.

I have seen a psychologist myself to help me to help him, she has helped me with boundaries a bit, but I'm still living in a tinder box. All of the problems I bring to her are related to him and I wouldn't have any if I wasn't here.
She should have told you that you cannot fix him.

You are making yourself nuts girl. That’s not good for you or him. It isn’t mean to set boundaries.
 
#7
Hi and welcome to the forums. Glad you found us.

@Sweetpea76 beat me to it. Her post is absolutely correct and everything I would have told you.

I just want to add that I don't think it's "abuse" but it is untreated ptsd with SI. I have been in your shoes although not nearly as long. And my guy has been in your hubby's shoes. The difference is my guy realized how bad things were and called the suicide hotline. (The hardest thing he has ever done!!) Not only once but on two different occasions. If he wasn't going to make that call, I was. SI is not something I am prepared to deal with. I leave that for the professionals.

Relationships are hard. PTSD relationships can be hell sometimes. Untreated ptsd relationships are my deal breaker. I won't put myself through that. Crazy making!!

My guy was untreated for many many years. Two divorces, 3 children and only one of them talks to him. He doesn't have many friends either. He had pushed everyone away through the years. Homeless. Addiction. Arrests. Fighting....

Had I known him then? I wouldn't have stuck around and I for sure wouldn't have had kids with him. I met him later in life when he was ready to seek help and determined to make changes. It isn't easy but he works so hard to be the man he wants to be. He is in therapy, on meds, eats well, gets exercise, sleeps as best he can and treats me great.

I feel for you and I'm sorry you're going through all of this. But you can't fix this. This is all on him.

You have coddled him long enough, time for him to do the hard work. I hope that he makes it to that T appointment and doesn't find some excuse to not go. He needs professional help. And in my opinion he should probably ne in a hospital to get him stabilized.

Please take care of yourself. If he's ranting and raving? Leave the room. You don't have to be his verbal punching bag. When my guy is symptomatic I don't even engage with him. Everything and I mean everything will get all twisted around and cause more b.s. It isn't worth it.

Take care!!
 
#8
Swearing at me, saying he wants to die and he's done, he's going to hang himself etc. then down into he'll take everyone out with him, kill me etc. etc. often a couple of holes punched into walls, or broken things, or he hits himself and pulls his hair out, spits etc.
It's absolutely okay to take him at his word the moment he threatens to kill himself. He sounds like he needs a doctor, as well as a T, and I'd agree with @LuckiLee , depending on where you are and what your local services are like, that it sounds like he needs hospital intervention.

Not as punishment, but because he's become that unwell.

In his better moments, would it be possible for you to talk to him about going to your local emergency department with him to seek help?

If not, when he threatens to kill himself? Take him at his word. Because...he just might. It's totally okay to call in an ambulance at that point - let them know if you think there's any risk of physical violence (including violence towards himself).

Neither of you need to be living like this.
 
Thread starter #9
Please take care of yourself. If he's ranting and raving? Leave the room. You don't have to be his verbal punching bag. When my guy is symptomatic I don't even engage with him. Everything and I mean everything will get all twisted around and cause more b.s. It isn't worth it.
I have been trying to have a boundary there. Oh man are you right about everything getting twisted around. Everything I've ever said becomes fuel for the next fire. I've tried saying I need a breather because I'm overwhelmed, I'll be in [another room] etc. and walking out, and now even that's fuel for the fire. He'll be like "oh yeah, go on, walk away like you always do because this is *sooo overwhelming*, go have your little time out, useless!" etc.

It was really hard during lockdown when I couldn't go anywhere, but even now because it happens so much at night I don't know what to do. If I go to another room, he'll come down and talk to me there. If I try to go to bed, he'll keep me awake until I sit long enough for him to get through the whole repeated script. I get exhausted and anxious and tell him I don't want to talk anymore because it's only doing more damage. I feel like I need to leave the house, but then I feel like I'll just have to ride it out after I get back and still not get any sleep and still have to work the next day.

Not as punishment, but because he's become that unwell.
I think this is what he needs too, but I have no idea how to make it happen. Every part of the mental health treatment spectrum is a trigger for him because of growing up with a mother with the same issues. I tried calling the crisis team once a few years ago because I was totally out of my depth. I asked them to come over, but when they did he ran and hid until they left. The lady who came was actually not very good anyway (and some of the nurses at the hospital are terrible too). We ended up in there once because he slashed his arm in the middle of a panic attack, and the triage nurse asked it he was doing it for attention... Not helpful at all. His mom was in and out of hospital all his childhood, so he wants nothing to do with it. But it's better than him being dead. I just think if I raise it, even if he's ok at the time, it will trigger an episode and he'll target even more at me about not trusting me, and me just wanting to medicate him, send him away because it's *soooo hard* for me.

I've tried asking for us both to see a therapist together so we can work through this and have reasonable expectations, and a plan or something. Like, when he's feeling suicidal, what we'll do and so somebody else can help us put in better boundaries. I know it's not reasonable for me to be responsible for keeping him alive, but he's not thinking about that when he's upset, and I'm the only one here. But he had therapy with his mom when we was younger, and the therapist took his mom's side on some things (that I agree wasn't right in that instance, but in those days some things were less understood), so he has a hang up there too and won't go with me because we'll gang up on him.

I'm worried about calling emergency services because I think police are often first responders here, and not always that effective. He's started talking recently about suicide by cop, that he'll attack them etc. It's so hard to know what he means or is capable of. But I also feel like I'm still buffering him from the reality of his illness. If I wasn't here he'd have had to face it by now, one way or another.

Should I figure out if there's somewhere else I can stay when this happens? Like call the crisis team, and leave when they arrive or something? I want to help him I just don't know how much longer I can take it :(.

Should I tell him I need us to sit down with a therapist together to work out a plan for when he gets escalated, so he has people to call and knows what I can and can't help him with?

What you're all saying makes sense, I just don't even know how to take a next step :(
 
Thread starter #10
And his mom's going to die soon, I don't want him to cope with that alone. But I've had to deal with all of this on top of my mom's death, and I barely feel like I've had a chance to breathe since then because of all of this. I'm not sure if I've even processed it properly or not. Sorry for such long messages and thank you for all of your help so far.
 
#11
And his mom's going to die soon, I don't want him to cope with that alone. But I've had to deal with all of this on top of my mom's death, and I barely feel like I've had a chance to breathe since then because of all of this. I'm not sure if I've even processed it properly or not. Sorry for such long messages and thank you for all of your help so far.
Just food for thought- where is his level of concern for you dealing with your mothers death alone?
 
#12
I'm worried about calling emergency services because I think police are often first responders here, and not always that effective. He's started talking recently about suicide by cop, that he'll attack them etc. It's so hard to know what he means or is capable of.
You can call the hospital, now... before there’s a crisis event.

Tell them your husband has been threatening suicide for weeks, threatening suicide by cop should you call 911, and discuss a planned intake with them. Ideally something longer than a 72 hour hold in the ER.

***

Similarly? Not all psych units / psych hospitals are the same. There are dedicated trauma-units, and specialized programs for people with PTSD whose entire goal is the stabilization and planning out what to do if/when, how to seek help & resources, that seems so much what you’re dealing with right now.

In the US ...Shepherd Pratt is the best well known, River Oaks is another, that one hears about a lot for childhood trauma. I believe SP has to be gone through via a therapist (or via being admitted to their ER on a psych hold), but that RO can be arranged by the patient themselves. I could easily be wrong about either, but they’re a place to start.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom