Monday, October 13, 2008

Schizophrenic partner

I am 20 and have a young daughter and I've recently split up from her father. I'm having such a hard time dealing with it all. I love him so much but he has so many problems such as borderline schizophrenia and he just gets so angry at me. I have spent the last 3 years of my life dealing with his moods and making allowances but it has got worse and worse. He is so angry. Every other day I find myself begging him to stop shouting at me and he just won't listen. I don't know what to do, and to be honest, the only reason why I'm still around is because of my daughter. I've been on anti-depressants for over a year but I still sit all day crying and hurt. I just don't know what to do, how to make the pain stop, and I've tried everything I can think of to get him to listen to me and I can't get away from it because I have to see him every other day. I don't want to be here any more. I need help.

I feel for you. It can be very, very hard being in relationship with someone with a mental illness. However much you've loved the good things about him, however many allowances you've made, the fact remains that he's not in control of his thinking, his moods and behaviour. Whatever you do or say to try to get him to listen, he's not able to process that, calm down and respond rationally. Are you willing now to stop banging your head against a brick wall? You could suggest he sees his doctor and gets counselling (if you think it's safe for you to say that either directly to him or one of his relatives - if not, see his doctor) but you can't fix him and you can't make him seek help. That's not because there's anything wrong with you, it's because of his condition. Holding onto the thought that you can make him see things differently is just setting yourself up for further heartache.

What you've been through constitutes abuse. The trouble with living with a person who's not rational is that it's easy to get sucked into their distorted view of the world. For example, if he's criticised you or blamed you for things, you might start believing that those things are your fault. The fact that you've felt so wounded and so helpless is a proof of that. So what can you do?

Firstly I hope you'll go back to your doctor and talk things through. Antidepressants are only a part of the solution. The other parts are keeping away from him unless he seeks further treatment, and finding some counselling for yourself. Is there someone else who can safely stay with your daughter when he comes to visit? t may be that you'd do well to arrange supervised access between him and your daughter via some expert.
Wish you all the best.

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