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

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Just food for thought- where is his level of concern for you dealing with your mothers death alone?

When he's having a good day he can be very supportive, they are just few and far between. When he 'comes down' from bad episodes he can sometimes be quite upset at how he's treated me and how hard it has been for me to deal with that and him. Other times it's like the episode never happened. It's very confusing. I find myself living for those good times, and whenever I feel a bunch of resolve in the bad times to be firm, or leave, it's hard to hold onto when he's sincerely supportive or remorseful. But so few and far between.

You can call the hospital, now... before there’s a crisis event.

This is good advice, thank you. I'll see what I can find out. I'm actually in New Zealand in a small town, so I think we may only have our hospital, but I'll try to find out what else is available and talk to them.

I can't help but feel he's going to see it as the ultimate betrayal, but I suppose even if he never forgives me I'd rather he be angry than dead.


Policy Enforcement
This is good advice, thank you. I'll see what I can find out. I'm actually in New Zealand in a small town, so I think we may only have our hospital, but I'll try to find out what else is available and talk to them.

I can't help but feel he's going to see it as the ultimate betrayal, but I suppose even if he never forgives me I'd rather he be angry than dead.

To your last part- he will. At first. DON’T let that keep you from doing it. He may be so so angry. At first. Speaking from experience, I was mad, I was raging, how dare they? But less than a week later, I could not be more thankful for them. Because it is exactly what I needed in that moment. I was involuntarily hospitalized and on one level I hated him for putting me there. But god I’m so thankful now.


Welp, I've done plenty of time in the public health system for being suicidal and certainly this side of the Tasman? It's mostly (not universally) a pretty awful experience.

But it does achieve several things:
1) it gets you connected to the system, and until you're truly wired in and connected to our public health system? You have no idea what you're missing out on in terms of mental health services, particularly outreach services (because it's waaaay cheaper for the system if they can keep people outta hospital in the first place);
2) it gets you connected to a psychiatrist, who gets a file started, where they can actually diagnose what the problem is (not sure, but guessing most people in NZ who can call themselves a 'therapist' aren't actually qualified to diagnose), and start keeping a clinical history of treatment that works, v's treatment that doesn't; and
3) it puts the problem squarely in the hands of the only people who are really clinically trained and adequately resourced to handle mental health episodes of that severity (which a loving partner? Is not. You will have your turn at being an incredibly important support and part of the recovery - but right now? He's too unwell). That's good for you, because it means you're now safe (DV in MH situations is a bigtime reality here), he's safe, and he's being being treated appropriately - ie. like someone who is incredibly unwell, and doesn't need to be that unwell, because we have a whole tonne of treatment options available); and
4) you're absolutely right - it's better than being dead. I'm still alive, in large part because the public system kept me alive along the way when I got that sick.

In New Zealand specifically? You can contact your local Mental Health Crisis Team (see here for contact details closest to you).

My advice specifically with them? Is be persistent. He needs clinical help. Asap.

There is a Depression-based organisation in NZ that has a range of resources on its website, including self-assessment guides, and helpline phone/text/emails for help: see

I'm not up to speed on NZ's trauma-based programs and organisations, hopefully Bellbird may have some ideas. If not? I'd give the peeps at the Depression org a call.
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I think getting him some help is best. Suicide watch is horrid. You (Collective “you” because it’s happened to me too) cannot tell if he’s really suicidal, having suicidal ideation, or threatening suicide to manipulate or emotionally blackmail.

I personally cannot handle suicide watch. I’d rather be screamed at for a week than deal with a night of that. It’s mentally and emotionally exhausting. The second that starts, they’re making you responsible for their life...whether that’s their intention or not. That’s when the suicide hotline or hospital gets called, because I cannot be responsible for somebody offing himself if I doze off or have to pee. That’s beyond my scope as a partner. At that point in time the most loving, proactive thing to do is call for help.

Repeat after me... if somebody harms themself, attempts suicide, or god forbid commits suicide, it is nobody else’s fault. They’re doing it to themselves. You cannot take responsibility for that.

The only thing you can possibly do is call for professional help.

You cannot be responsible for anybody’s mental health but your own, because you cannot control anybody but yourself.

Which brings me to the boundary thing.... when I first came here, I learned to set a boundary. And it was seriously the best thing that could have happened. Supporters tend to get steamrolled by their partners without them. I would not still be with my partner if I hadn’t set them.

So think of boundaries as limits for yourself. You only have control over yourself, so you’re the only one you can set boundaries for. So, for instance, instead of saying “you can’t yell at me” you’d say “I will not tolerate being yelled at. If he yells, I will refuse to engage every single time. I will remove myself from the situation.” See the difference?

And guess what? Since they’re your boundaries, he doesn’t get a say. He can respect them or not... it’s up to you to communicate them clearly and enforce them. Which is another thing... if you don’t enforce the boundaries, they’re useless. So decide where your lines are, then mean what you say. So, for example, tell him “I love you, but I can’t handle the hostility. I will not engage if you are hostile. I will leave. I’ll talk to you when you’re calm”. Then refuse to engage, every single time. Walk away. Ignore him if he yells or pounds. If he follows you, go to another room. If he still follows you, get in the car and leave. Stay in a motel or with a friend. He will eventually learn that you will not tolerate it, and you mean what you say. If he respects you he’ll work on respecting your boundaries, even if it takes awhile. If he doesn’t, then you’ll know exactly how much your boundary, and respecting you, means to him. If the relationship would end because he refuses to respect your boundary, then you’re better off. Either way, things cannot stay the same. At least this is an effort to make things better.


(Thanks for the tag, @Friday :) )

Kia ora, @spidermonkey123 . Sounds like you're in a really tough situation right now, so I'm really glad that you've reached out here :)

This link that @Sideways gave is a great resource for connecting you with the acute care unit/mental health crisis team in your DHB.
A lot of them are 0800 numbers and/or operate 24/7. I've called them for myself and I've called them for other people, and they've been helpful.
Healthline (0800 611 116) is another option if you need someone to call someone about this in a non-emergency (of course, 111 in an emergency). I know Healthline phone lines were backed up a lot when covid was peaking but now that we're almost at level 1 they should be easier to get through if you decide to go that route.

I have been hospitalised for suicidality in the psych ward of my local hospital a couple of years ago. It wasn't anything flash, and there were some pretty tough aspects about it, but honestly it saved my life.
In hospital, they were able to alter my meds and dosages much more swiftly than as an outpatient, just because they're monitoring you all the time. They take care of making sure you're eating, taking meds, and showering. And if you can't do it yourself, they will put processes in place to help you.

If he won't go voluntarily, then he can be admitted involuntarily under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act if his safety is considered at risk (which it definitely seems to be).

Unfortunately I am not familiar with any specialist trauma facilities in NZ, but the Mental Health Foundation may be a helpful resource if you decide to go that route?

I really think, from reading your posts, that your husband needs professional intervention.
Is he going to be happy about it? No. But think about it: if things keep going the way they have been, what is the best-case scenario?
-no one dies, but you become increasingly exhausted and your husband's suicidality and trauma remain untreated.
And what is the worst-case scenario?
-you die, he dies, and maybe some other people die too.

You are so deserving of a life (and of a relationship) that is safe and healthy. You really are.
I am concerned about your own safety and wellbeing, and I feel that in your current situation it is being negated, and that that will not change, without change, if you get me?

If you feel unsafe or need to get out of the house, do you have any friends you could stay with?
If you have a local Women's Refuge, that could be an option too if you need it.

Kia kaha :hug:


Ah, yeah. It sounds to me like the ol' *suicidal blackmail* crap that abusers do, my ex done it to me. On and on and on with the threats to do it, and how it was my fault (bullshit). Guess what!? MY ex is still alive now, a couple years after us splitting. I couldn't live with that again. You shouldn't have to. If you want to leave and need to get police and womens orgs involved then do it. It will be the best thing you do for yourself. You can leave anytime you want, his issues are not your responsibility, he's an adult and can take care of himself. What you've said about him, in my opinion, he is an abusive ungrateful loser. And you don't need that. That's not a life, that's not someone who loves or respects you. You can do so much better. Do not blame yourself. Do what makes you happy in this life.

Edited to add: When it comes to not knowing how to take the next step, I waited, and waited, hoping it would get better, it never did. It got worse and in the end I was left with no choice but to call the police. It was that or one or both of us really was going to die, my ex was going to make sure of that. It's better to make a plan with the help of friends/womens orgs, they can tell you the best thing in your situation. It may seem impossible from where you are now, but believe me, it's not. You can do it if you really want to.
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Hi @spidermonkey123

I have PTSD myself (and have always been conscientious about doing therapy) but have been through the supporter side too, for a partner with untreated PTSD.

I understand the qualms you are having and yeah, there are no easy answers. I think you've gotten some really good advice in this thread.

I just wanted to add a thought: When somone has started behaving like a child, you can (and probably should) treat them like a child.

If the adult part of their brain has stopped working, then they're in child mode... Helpless, not eating, lashing out, blaming others, not able to regulate their emotions, not able to be rational and sensible, not acting in their best interests...

And yeah, my ex had the whole "psychologists and hospitals are awful" thing too... Ruling out the only thing that could've helped him.

But I would put that in the "if someone behaves like a child, treat them like a child" category too. If a child is scared of going to the doctor when they are ill, you can be compassionate about it, but you still take the child to the doctor for treatment. And if the child "hates" you for that, then you suck it up, cos you know it's the right decision to be making.

Anyway, hope that might help on an emotional level... I think you've got the rational level sorted out really well... Your posts are full of smart, kind, calm thoughts... I'm incredibly impressed by how strong and smart you sound in such an untenable situation.

But I think the emotional and the rational level can be quite separate... Even if you know what is the right choice "rationally" it can feel impossible to take that action "emotionally".

So, emotionally view him as having regressed to a kid, maybe?

Once he's worked through this crisis deeply, he'll probably stop being in kid brain mode.

But until then, IMO you can't "look after" an adult kid who is in crisis, on your own.

Wishing you well


I’m sorry you are going through this.
He has threatened to kill you and he has punched walls etc. You can stop wondering if he might get violent. He is already violent. This is abuse.
So is not letting you sleep. My abusive ex (who also happened to have PTSD - by which I mean PTSD was not the cause of his abusive behaviour) wouldn’t let me sleep either. Very similar behaviour.
I left him eventually. And guess what - he’s still alive and abusing the next woman. All those threats of suicide were all about controlling me.
Please read Lundy Bancroft’s book Why Does He Do That. It will clarify for you whether what is happening is abuse.
I’m clear in my mind that it is and therefore my advice is to leave him. And as a child who grew up with domestic violence I promise you he will not shield kids from those behaviours. Do NOT have kids with this man. There is no way he is well enough to cope with the stress of ivf or a baby.
Sorry to be so blunt.
Good luck!


You're right @Sighs. He isn't healthy enough right now for a relationship. His symptoms are completely out of control and he needs intervention.

It is his choice to receive help or not. If he doesn't get help I would run for the hills. This will only get worse for all involved.

Lucy Locket

New Here
Hi I just wanted to say that I really feel for you.
I am going through a similar situation, but thankfully I don’t think it is quite as severe. My husband doesn’t call me names or antagonise me, but he does have approximately 3 weekly meltdowns that can go on for hours and leave us both in tears and exhausted. I went to see a councellor too, just because I desparately needed somebody to talk to. I couldn’t tell my friends or family what was going on and I felt like I couldn’t deal with it by myself. After counselling I have set myself boundaries. One of them is that I am not going to talk about the same thing over and over again for 4 hours straight. In our relationship the same argument comes up time and and time again (something that happened over 10 years ago) and I am now refusing to discuss it anymore. Also, if he starts hitting the wall, hitting himself, throwing things or anything else aggressive, I walk away and go into another room ( he has never hit me). If he’s just upset and angry but he isn’t shouting or being agressive I will stay and hear him out. I try to stay calm myself and just listen. However, if the melt down lasts too long I tell him I need a break and I will talk to him when he is calmer.
I have had the same thoughts about whether I am in an abusive relationship and my husband and I have even discussed it together. We both care about each other deeply and he has been to see a therapist has been diagnosed with complex PTSD, so it has been reassuring that there is a reason behind his out bursts. He doesn’t name call or belittle me and he tries really hard to get well. He feels bad all the time about how he is and apologies for being a “bad husband“ which I reassure him that he is not.
PTSD is such a difficult illness to navigate, but you don’t have to put up with being insulted or purposely antagonised. That to me, is cruel. I know it’s difficult when they are threatening suicide, but like other people have said, you aren’t a therapist and it isn’t down to you to fix him. He needs to take some responsibility for himself. If you decide to split up, you can still care for him, but from a distance. Let him know you still love him but for your own mental health you need to live on your own and have a break from constant emotional struggles.
If you aren’t going to leave him you must set boudaries and be clear on what they are.

Take care xx


“He doesn’t hit me” is not the criterion for determining whether a relationship is abusive.
My ex wouldn’t allow me to sleep, or to eat or shower. He manipulated me into taking out numerous loans in my name to buy things he wanted. I told myself it wasn’t abuse because he didn’t hit me.
Then he smashed plates. But he didn’t hit me. Then he stuck a knife into a table right next to my hand. But he didn’t hit me. Then he shoulder charged me in a hallway. Then he used his forearm to the side of my head, body slamming me into a wall. Then he pointed a loaded rifle at me and took the safety catch off. But, in my mind, he still hadn’t hit me.
Please read Lundy Bancroft. It was such a penny drop for me. It saved my life.
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