Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
Good morning, and thank you for writing to JA.
Please understand that it is inappropriate and unethical to diagnose over the internet... so I would be unable to provide clarification on that point. Nonetheless, I have some concerns about what you've written that prompt several questions:
1) Does your BF have any history of delusional or psychotic thinking/behavior? Has he ever been diagnosed, that you are aware of, with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or similar diagnoses? Does he abuse substances (drugs/alcohol)?
2) Your post suggests that your BF broke up with you (not the other way around), correct? I'm just trying to clarify... are you posting to JA because you (a) want to find out more about your BF's behavior because you feel he may be mentally ill; (b) want to get back together with him; or (c) both? What was the nature of the attorney letter?
3) When was your last contact with him, either by phone, e-mail, or in person? When did the break-up occur?
Thanks. Please understand that REPLYing to these questions does not incur any additional cost - it just allows us to better understand the nature of your issue to provide a better, more focused answer.
Thanks. Please REPLY with answers to these questions when you can!
Thanks for your thorough reply. It's very helpful.
1. WIth regard to previous psychological/psychiatric history, it sounds like you might not have a complete picture. He might well have been keeping something from you... such as a serious mental health condition. Some individuals with psychotic thinking are able to be maintained well without decompensating - provided they stay with their prescribed medications and/or psychological support. This sort of remains an "up-in-the-air" question for us.
2. Thanks for clarifying these points.
3. You also provided good information here - which was helpful.
Summary: You are, I believe, correct to be concerned. His behavior is bizarre and difficult to understand. While you reference "hallucinations," unless you mean the non-existent phone conversation, it doesn't sound as though your X was having extrasensory experiences (seeing/hearing things that aren't there) - which is the definition of a hallucination. The other behavior is consistent with paranoid, delusional thinking. It can be the result of an underlying psychotic disorder or acute but significant substance abuse.
I believe you are well-grounded to assume that things are best left where they are right now. Since he has hired an attorney, I would urge you NOT to have contact with him. You may also wish to speak to an attorney about this matter, in the event (as you fear) things turn "creepy" the other way around. Having documentation early on will make your case easier, in the event you need to seek legal protection.
I understand and believe you sincerely XXXXX XXXXX help him, regardless of getting back together. I know you understand that, even if you were married, you could not FORCE him into seeking psychiatric/psychological help unless you feared that he might (a) harm himself or someone else; (b) is significantly violating the rights of others; or (c) is grossly incompetent. At this point, it does not appear that any of these are the case and, in the event they developed, you would have to contact the police or an emergency squad to force the issue.
If, to ease your own conscience, you want to communicate your concern - I would ask if there was anyone in his family with whom you had grown close/comfortable during your courtship. If you feel that you can have a confidential conversation with this person (understanding that it will likely find its way back to your X), then you might want to express your concerns to that person. Some might see this as being intrusive, however... and you should weigh this option very carefully.
I think your best course of action is, simply, to take care of yourself. Find friends and other support people who can help you understand this better and to deal with the grief about losing someone important to you. I know this doesn't "solve the problem," but it will allow you to take care of yourself and to let go of your X and your legitimate (but unwelcomed) concern for his well-being. If you feel it would be helpful, speaking with a counselor or a member of the clergy (if that is appropriate in your case) might also be helpful. This self-support (as well as the legal support mentioned earlier) will be the best way for you to move ahead. In the event that your BF returns, you'll have those supports already in place to help you process the inevitable question, "Well, he's back... NOW what do I do?!?" (I know I'd be asking that question myself.)
I'm sorry that this is happening to you right now... and I hope you'll take the time and energy you need (and deserve) to get yourself some support and help.
Thanks for writing to JA - and I wish you the best of luck.
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