His Boyfriend Cheats, Abuses Drugs, and Hears Voices

Comments

1

Agreed with Dan, but I would replace "asshole" with "schizophrenic".

2

It seems to me that the LW needs to ask himself some questions and then consider the ramifications of the answers.

Does he think Ex is a danger to himself or others? If no, then do as Dan suggests and move on.
If yes, does he care about that fact? If he doesn't care, then do as Dan suggests and move on.

If he does care, then what the LW does is very much dependent on the laws and resources in his area. There are mental health crisis hotlines he could reach out to for advice. Here is an example from The Seattle Times; the LW can look for similar in his area.
https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/resources-for-mental-health-support/

3

Hahaha. Even before I read Dan's answer, my first thought was... um, change the locks?

LW, I'm guessing you liked this guy at some point, enough to move in together, and I'm guessing you want to try to help him somehow, to fix all his problems. You can't. From your description, he has mental health issues that are way above your pay grade. If he is unwilling to seek professional help for either his addictions or mental health, then you sure as hell aren't going to be able to fix him.

One thing I learned as a young man when I was in the military: an almost brutal ability to firmly categorize things into two groups: things that are my problem, and things that are NOT my problem. Your ex-BFs mental health problems, his addictions, and his unemployment are very much NOT your problem. Do not make them your problem. He has done you a huge favor by moving himself out of your life.

Change the locks.

4

All of this is really good advice. Conquering an addiction to meth is really difficult (the hardest thing I ever did and I'd only been doing it for three years, not 30) and you cannot make him deal with his problems.

Grieve this relationship and move on. And absolutely change the locks.

5

@1. He may or may not be Schizophrenic. You actually can't give someone a good diagnosis while actively using drugs because the hallucinations and delusions can be caused by drug use.

6

@DFAA
Congratulations that you are free of your mentally ill BF.

There is no way that you don't have a problem you need help for too. One of the many possibilities you might get to the bottom of in therapy is that you picked a damaged person so you wouldn't have to fear they'd leave you. Anyway, whatever it is it is very possible to get beyond it, and I wish you all the luck in the world!

8

CTMFL. We have found a new acronym. Change the motherfucking locks.

9

@1 and @5 - also, "asshole" and "schizophrenic" aren't necessarily mutually exclusive, and certainly aren't in this case.

10

Oh buddy. You can't fix this. You can't heal addiction and mental illness with logic or the right combination of words. You may love him, worry about him, wish you could be his stability but you're way out of your depth. Let him go and hope he someday finds the help he needs. I'm sorry.

11

@8,

In that way you do when you see an acronym that's not immediately recognizable and instinctively try to decipher it, I thought you were saying to Cut The Mother Fucker Loose. Both work, though yours is better. Was sorta bizarre in that my brain did that without my even really thinking it through.

12

your boyfriend is a crazy, psycho, nut-job, asshole. i'm sure he also has some diagnose-able mental illnesses, but who fuckin' cares? he's a crazy, psycho, nut-job asshole. as reverse polarity said... change the fucking locks.

then, start dealing with whatever insanity happened in your past to make you think anything about this relationship was remotely acceptable. good luck l-dub! after you get this fuckwad out of your life for good, you've got a lot of work to do on yourself.

13

Hilah @5, yes. He does meth. That's both a solid explanation for his mental state and an instant DTMFA. I would increase Dan's recommendation for therapy to a definitely. Why aren't you celebrating the trash taking itself out, DFAA? Why did you think any of this was OK? Please get some self esteem. Poor guy's being beaten over the head with red flags and he can't see them.

14

As I came to the end of the letter I was wondering what the question is. It's almost like there should have been 1 more paragraph. The one where he stated his issue.
It sounds like the writer had some issues too. How did he end up living with a person like that, move in with a cheating, emotionally abusive drug addict? How come he has no friends that called up she said "congrats, you got rid of all that baggage".
At the least, this was a poorly written letter.

15

Dear OP: Your boyfriend suffers from squizophrenia, it's a mental illness. Treated properly and with medication it can almost go away but mixed with drugs it will worsen it. Sounds like this man is out of your life for good and that's great news. You were dealing with a very mentally sick person. My question to you is why are you taking his shenanigans so personal? It's like being annoyed at a pneumonia patient because he coughs. You need to go into therapy and try to figure out why you wasted two years of your life with this person. Had he not walked out you would be still with him. The problem is not him, it's you.

16

Unfortunately, the letter writer says the boyfriend "lives with me" (note: present tense) and doesn't work, so where did he go after packing his bags? Although it would be a wonderful outcome, I wouldn't count on it that "this man is out of your life for good," because presumably he will eventually need food, a place to sleep, and money for drugs. So call that locksmith now, and be prepared to call the police if this person starts making violent threats or engaging in violent actions (which, unfortunately, he probably will). Dan is 100% right that this person is a danger to you. Whatever feelings you may have for this person, you need to prioritize your own self-preservation.

17

My thought was, "THAT'S what LW's angry about?" even with the "now" tacked on.

I suppose it might have been refreshing that LW had nothing nice to say about BF, given how many people praise partners who should have been dumped long ago, but in this case it just gives me a cosmic vibration of LW's being in a rather deep hole.

18

CTMFL

19

Starting with Dan, the wrath and hostility on mental illness is really what's apparent here. Quite shocking and sad, you have to admit.

20

I very much loved Dan's opening: I don't see the problem.

He could have left it at that and made the same point.

22

I really, REALLY hope this letter was a hoax, because if it wasn't, the LW needs serious therapy to figure out why he put up with this guy for two years.

23

Raindrop @19, no I don't. He was also a drug addict and a cheater and he refused to address his mental health issues. I don't see "wrath and hostility," I see common sense and self-preservation, which are two things this LW could use.

24

Are people really this stupid?

25

There's no real proof that LW is mentally ill. Long term drug abuse definitely impacts brain function and he may be WORSE than mentally ill -- he's brain damaged.
While we're on the mentally ill topic, though, keep in mind that it's damn near impossible to make someone get help if they don't want it. If he doesn't have family or a friend to crash with he'll doubtless end up on the street.

26

@25 Yes, both your points are exactly correct. Comment-stream diagnoses of schizophrenia are way too quick.

A mentally ill acquaintance of mine just rejected the last of her safety net, and wound up on the streets. It's hard, because she's got my same diagnosis and very similar symptoms, but she absolutely refuses to get help, whereas I see my psychiatrist as often as he'll have me. I'm doing well, and she's fucked, and there's nothing she'll allow me or anyone else to do for her.

27

@23: Yes, mental illness, drug addiction, and immoral behavior are often combined.

So then next time I applaud Seattle sweeping up homeless camps, I'll be confident that that's the politically correct liberal disposition as well.

28

@25 - Okay - there's no real proof that Donald Trump is mentally ill either, if you want to play that card.

29

@25 I think when Don speaks is proof enough that he's nuts.

30

I wonder what advice the LW was expecting. Perhaps something to help with getting over his ex?

31

@24: Yes.

32

@24 AND @31 either that stupid or maybe this letter is a fake? It feels like it--it is really too ridiculous to be real.

33

Maybe he gave really good head?

34

@32 - totally agree

@33 - having no teeth will do that...

35

16 We have a saying in al anon - It's really hard to get rid of a drunk. It applies to other addictions, too. Oh, they leave you, but then they come back. And, all too often, you let them in .

19 It's possible to have compassion, and love, for a person with mental illness and addiction, and still know that the best thing is to not have them in your life. It can also, sometimes, be the best thing for them - people tend to not get help when their lives are going more or less OK. Being shown the door is no guarantee that they'll go for help, but it's sometimes the first step. One of the hardest lessons to learn is that you cannot save someone who does not want to be saved, but you sure can be dragged down into despair and ruin with them.

I hope you never have to learn that.

36

@35: Of course, and I've been in such situations. Nevertheless, all I did was call attention that the disparagement of "asshole" is unnecessary, and gratuitous, when we're talking about the mentally ill - especially in regard to schizophrenia when they can't help themselves for their anti social behavior.

37

Speaking as a therapist in community mental health--and let me tell you all about how fun MY last two months have been--i find it absolutely appropriate to call an asshole an asshole. (Well, more accurately I call asshole behaviors assholes behaviors.) I have clients about whom I care deeply who are just...assholes. No shade, it's not always their fault. But true.

As to l-dub, I have a couple clients currently who could be you. All sorts of life experiences can make us more vulnerable to allowing charming unstable people into our lives (and brains, and pants). It sucks. It doesn't mean you're stupid. It does mean that I absolutely agree some time in therapy would be an excellent idea, if only to help you keep yourself safe after you CTMFL.

38

Also, substance induced psychosis (most notably marked by paranoia, delusion, and/or hallucination) is a real thing, most often (though not always) manifesting after lengthy and heavy use, and is a diagnosable mental illness per the DSM, but very definitely differs from schizophrenia.

Scariest part of substance-induced psychosis (particularly meth-induced)? Sometimes the psychosis goes away when the individual stops using. Sometimes shortly after. Sometimes...never.

39

This letter is plausible. I've met plenty of people with self-esteem as low as DFAA's and plenty of people hot and/or manipulative enough to get away with treating them that way. This guy's been a drug addict for close to 30 years, he knows by now how to find the perfect victim/enabler.

40

I guess "bleeding heart" no longer is an attribute that adorns the extreme left. Which is fine, because it was always disingenuous.

41

What are you arguing, Raindrop? That DFAA should beg this guy to come back and subject him to more of his behaviour? He should get help, yes. But that's not DFAA's responsibility.

42

raindrop I'm surprised that the person who seemed to hate bisexuals and conflated them with trans people, for some reason, wants to be an advocate for the mentally ill.

But then you do seem like the type of person who would that others need to set themselves on fire to keep their partners warm.

Hell do we even know if the boyfriend is mentally ill? He hasn't been diagnosed and and both #5 and #38 have pointed out that his behavior could stem from drug use, not mental illness.

And what is the LW supposed to do? Even if he drags him to a psychiatrist he can't make them talk to said psychiatrist, or take any medication prescribed. Same with rehab. He can't force his ex into rehab and he can't force him to stay clean.

I don't know why you're so focused on the idea that the LW needs to sacrifice more then already has for a man who doesn't seem to like him, just because he might, might, be mentailly ill.

43

@39 Exactly! He knows how to pick his marks, weasel his way in, provide some really hot sex, and keep his shit together juuuuuuuuuust long enough.

44

I don't have anything constructive to add. Just want to say that I think all the people speculating about the self-esteem or whatever about the LW probably should think through the question a little bit. Most people with mental illness and drug problems, even the sort that live on the streets a lot of their lives and experience drug-induced psychosis etc, manage to have sexual/romantic relationships with others- no claims about the health of those relationships but the fact is they exist. What sorts of people live with meth heads who hear voices? Apparently people like the LW.

I think it's weird that so many commenters start with the assumption that the LW himself might be above such an experience, that he just lacks self-esteem, or just the general sense that he's behaving in a way that is so foreign and bizarre. He is in this relationship after all and based on his description I'd say it doesn't even sound THAT far out of the ordinary for him. We know nothing at all about him. Maybe he dabbles in drugs too? Does he live somewhere / have the sort of social life in which it's the norm to date junkies? There are entire communities / classes of people in which this is the norm- the opioid epidemic in the US is such that it must be the norm for millions of people to have family/social/neighborhood lives in which junkies are a common feature. What's weird is writing Dan about it.

Also it sounds a bit like a slow boil here, the need to be "taken care of" has only been a few months of the almost two years they are together, the psychotic episodes even more recent. He doesn't want him to be homeless or kill himself. I also think it's weird that everyone is assuming the junkie is an asshole- he clearly doesn't even have the connection with reality to understand what he's doing, whether or not that psychosis is caused by drugs or some more organic mental illness. Also he's paranoid, as is extremely common with junkies, but the letter gives no indication that he's violent. Unless you are referring to jealousy issues or blaming the LW which yea, I'd say makes him way more of an asshole than the psychosis- in his delusions there's a conspiracy against him and his response to is to leave his lover who he thinks is in on it, not to attack him. It's a really sad situation all around, but it has saved the LW from having to decide whether or not to throw him out on the streets.

None of that was constructive advice- as I agree with the basic course of action before the LW. When he's lover comes out of this episode, he is likely to return and appear again to be the more sane version of himself, with all sorts of promises that will make the LW feel sympathetic towards him- that perhaps he can save him. The LW needs to be strong enough to yes, change the locks, and yes, refuse to allow him back in his life in any romantic/sexual capacity.

Trying to be constructive here... If you find it impossible to not help him when that time comes, I'd suggest making a hardline rule like you only meet this person at pre-arranged times- rarely- and in a public space (keeps things formal, stops you from being vulnerable to suggestions that you reintegrate your life with his) and you have EXTREMELY FIRM discussions then about what you will do- help him get into a rehab or mental health facility, whatever it might be. I also suggest talking to his family if he has any.

But I agree with the general advice that actually he is not your responsibility, as sad as the situation is, and that you cannot help others if you aren't in working order yourself. And the best thing you can do for yourself is to remove yourself entirely from this person's life, as sad as that is for you both. Then work on yourself and figure out what you can do so that you aren't in a position to be a partner with someone with so many problems again.

45

@44 EmmaLiz
While I didn't say so
(and just led @6 with the generality that "There is no way that you don't have a problem you need help for too.")
the very reason my first word @6 had been "Congratulations" was because I thought the LW didn't see that.

I too think the LW probably has very similar drug use (he didn't say he didn't), and as you point out it would be odd if he doesn't given his letter. I just felt that there was no productive purpose in challenging him with more specifics than 'get help'; that's gonna be a longer journey than we can take with him or he can hear now. He's probably only going to be put off by being asked to face his own issues right now. Good luck to him and his those that help him

46

I have to agree with raindrop here. Whatever the origin of the psychosis (and remember that good old marijuana and alcohol can also case breaks in some vulnerable people, or that the causal chain of the drug use might be inverse to what everyone assumes), the boyfriend is clearly ill and the illness appears to be of such a nature that he cannot get help for himself. If an old lady has a heart attack on the street, do we just let her die there unattended because it is not our problem? For those so callous to say yes, what if it is you wife or mother? So do we just abandon helpless schizophrenics to the elements? The latter was a rhetorical question because obviously yes, as a society we do that every day, and essentially this is the advice given here by the majority.

I guess the problem we have as a society is that there are still sympathetic illnesses and unsympathetic illnesses. Let's call unsympathetic illnesses are the ones you can blame on the victim's "asking for it" whether it is causal or not. So yeah, good job all of you on mental illness. While we're at it, why don't we go back to blaming the victims and abandoning them to their fates also for AIDS, lung cancer, breast cancer or heart disease, right?

47

@46 cocky
(First, since you never said another word a couple weeks ago when I politely asked for an apology [after you in every way were utterly shitty to abuse me by doing something to me I'd specifically asked not be done], fuck you. Fuck you. And it wasn't just the abuse that was wrong, what you said was utterly incorrect too, and you should have known it was, you asshole.)

Why is it the job of the abused letter writer to help his BF who hasn't asked him for help (unless you count by abusing the letter writer)? I don't lack compassion for either of them. If the BF had asked us for help, I'd have tried to help him.

But they're /both/ in need of help (too much so to help each other). Remaining in their dysfunctional (and I'd say co-dependent) relationship isn't what we think is best for either one of them. The letter writer doesn't even know that; that's /his/ most apparent issue; as such the best way we can help both of them starts by suggesting they separate.

I really don't think either one of them is likely to soon help themselves, let alone help the other one. (Do you? Really? Or is this just you projecting your own desire to be saved by someone onto the BF?)

cocky, what's wrong with the prevailing wisdom here over the years that compassion for an abusive and dysfunctional (psychologically and/or mentally) partner does not require continuing to enable them?

Now if /I/ found a partner needed help, I'd try to. But the letter writer isn't me; I'm not convinced they're sufficiently capable of helping the BF to do so. I'm not even convinced the letter writer can help themself; but we had cause to hope for that because he was the one who wrote to us.

If the BF had written to us, I'd have more hope that that meant he'd be in a place where we can help him too. But I will say this to the letter writer: if you feel safe and comfortable doing so, as part of your breakup please do raise the possibility with your hopefully-soon-to-be ex that he Zoom a really good therapist (and perhaps later also a psychiatrist) to see if he can do the substantial work necessary to be a healthier happier and more functional person and partner in a future relationship with someone else.

"I have to agree with raindrop here."

If I ever find myself saying that I'm gonna think twice or four times.

"marijuana and alcohol can also case breaks in some vulnerable people"

I think it's worth noting that by "vulnerable" what you mean specifically is some latent mental health issues.

And people with mental health issues are likely to use drugs to self-medicate; which I bet both of this couple are doing. Dysfunctional, mutually enabling relationships can be like ruts both parties get the wagon-wheels of their relationship roles stuck in; even after they theoretically each separately get healthy, I bet it will be impossible for them to even then be healthy with /each/other/; that's why I think their paths forward are not together.

48

It would help if he figured out why he was hurt and angry. For instance, he was in love with a mentally ill person who refuses to get help, maybe he feels hurt and angry because he doesn't know how to honor his feelings and protect himself. He can find ways to help his boyfriend but first he must protect himself from his boyfriend. A romance is "us against the world", he cannot have a healthy romance with this man who wants to fight about disembodied voices, he must find a way to accept this fact and stop pretending they can become happy with each other right now and mourn. Once he can help himself, he may be able to encourage his bf into therapy and rehab.

49

It's hard to admit when someone just isn't into you, especially when they keep coming back with their hand out.

But the argument about voices, accusations, storming out, refusing to get help for his problems.. he's not into you, he probably can't really be into anyone, he can't even take care of himself. It's ok to take the time you need to mourn your hope of a living relationship with him.