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Being mentally ill and having mentally ill partner. I feel trapped.


Eatingpoetry
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Hi, sorry I'm new to this forum so unaware of any etiquette I may need to follow? Anyway, my situation is as follows...

I feel extremely hopeless and trapped right now. I have major anxiety problems, and suffer from depression. I am engaged to a man who has PTSD from terrible childhood abuse, major depression with psychotic features, and an anxiety disorder. My problem is that when experiencing severe symptoms he often self medicates with substance abuse, and leaves me to care for our two very young children by myself while he is high. This occurs usually once a month. He also has repeatedly violated our relationship's infidelity boundaries. This occurs every few months, he has never gone so far as to sleep with anyone else, to my knowledge. He always apologizes profusely afterwards but I am so fed up even though when he isn't causing these issues we get along fairly well and have fun together and he is a good dad. I have had to bail him out of a lot of bad situations because of his substance abuse and I feel SO RESENTFUL. I am having a hard time feeling an emotional connection with him at all anymore and am even beginning to hate him. Am I being unfair? I don't know if it is my own psychiatric illnesses causing me to overreact or if it is ok for me to be upset that he is not getting better. I hate doubting myself all the time and feeling like his caretaker. He has a court appearance tomorrow morning (I just had to bail him out of jail for the first time!) and today he got high on benzos! I am sitting here thinking he is such a disrespectful, stupid asshole but then I realize in the past I have had bad coping skills too... I'm frustrated he is not getting better quickly at all and I'm stuck with him at least until our lease is up, a whole year from now.

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Welcome to the community. It's fine to post anywhere here on the forum. It's good that you reached out.

I feel that it's very important to take care of oneself first. Do you have any support there in this? I also don't think you will be able to fix your fiance's struggles for him. Is he in therapy or receiving any kind of professional help working toward developing healthy coping skills and healing?

I am not sure if the option is feasible for you at this time, but have you considered taking a break from the relationship? I think it's okay to express your needs and that things can't remain the way that they are. If you are feeling resentful, that might be a sign you need to take a breath and reassess what you want and possibly he could as well. Possibly couple's therapy could help? It really depends on how much you and your partner want to heal and save your relationship. Possibly too each of you needs to heal individually first? You know what is best for you.

Take care. I wish you well.

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Hello, Eatingpoetry (nice nick :) ), welcome!

I wonder if you had talked about his issues before it got so bad (/ when you started your relationship) and what your agreement had been. Had he ever begged you to take care of him, for instance? Had you / he anticipated that it would got worse and prepared a "plan"? ... Had he been very different?

I agree that you need to take care about yourself, but I'm not sure it means leaving him and / or letting him "cope on his own". Perhaps missing you could "open his eyes", who knows. But perhaps it could make things much worse for him also in the long run.

I am having a hard time feeling an emotional connection with him at all anymore and am even beginning to hate him. Am I being unfair? I don't know if it is my own psychiatric illnesses causing me to overreact or if it is ok for me to be upset that he is not getting better. I hate doubting myself all the time and feeling like his caretaker.

I don't think your emotions are unfair. (I rather think that (mainly) acts can be unfair.) It's hard to judge if you're "overreacting". We all have diverse "limits" of what we can stand and every one is emotionally "disturbed" at a different "level" of stress / danger / ... It would be logical to think that your own mental issues make it more difficult for you, that you're more sensitive than "the average person". But I think this wouldn't make your feelings unfair or less relevant. Your feelings "are showing you" that "there's a problem you should solve". It doesn't matter if somebody else would also consider it a problem or not.

Is it possible to talk (repeatedly) seriously (and without anger and blame) with your partner about this all?

It occurred to me that perhaps watching this talk together could be a good "conversation-starter":

(Here's also a comment about it: http://www.progressive-economics.ca/2015/07/14/response-to-johann-haris-ted-talk-on-addiction/ )

I know he's not an alcoholic, but he struggles with self-medication and this talk could initiate a debate about "what he thinks he would need from his environment / family / social community ... to get better".

Taking care of yourself is, undoubtedly, very important. You not only deserve to be safe from the harms and troubles he makes, but also to have a healthy relationship, a helpful partner and a father for your children. So... the question is; can he become (again?) this person? And does he really want? If yes, what is it, in his opinion, what prevents him from getting better? Does he see a way how you could help him and how he could help himself?

What's his attitude to psychotherapy? It it an option for him and/or for both of you?

Good luck and take care!

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