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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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If your boyfriend will not tell you he is depressive or bi-polar, how do you know What do

Customer Question

If your boyfriend will not tell you he is depressive or bi-polar, how do you know? What do you do?
My boyfriend of two months was the most loving and attentive person with me. He would speak in Fench (he's French) and call me "cherie", say "Je t'aime" and say "ma femme" to me because he said he felt I was already his wife. Then, from one day to the next he starte getting annoyed over the simplest things. He almost got into a fight with someone who cut him off. I noticed he became emotionally distant and even refuses to speak French to me. I asked him what was wrong, he said he was not happy and had to be alone, he needed to think.
Now, almost a week has gone by and I have seen some improvements. We saw each other and we were even intimate although it took some coaxing from my part. However, he still refuses to speak French to me, or to use the loving words in French with me as he did before and he is emotially detached. Is he bi-polar? What does the language have to do with it?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear friend,

Your boyfriend has changed personalities on you. He may be suffering from indecision about his relationship with you, he may have somebody else, he may have a mood disorder (depression or bipolar disorder), or he may have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This seems more likely to me, but I have not seen or talked to him.

His withholding of speaking French to you seems like classic passive-aggressive behavior, which is often associated with BPD.

One of the symptoms of BPD which you did not mention is the patient's dread of being abandoned. The one clue to this is when he said "if you want to wait".

If this is what he has, then you will probably not see much change in him, but rather a recurrent pattern.

Give him a few weeks, but if he stops and then reverts to this pattern I frankly advise you to move on with your life, without him.

Best wishes to you.

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Dr. Elliott,
Thank you for your reply. I can clarify a few points so you are able to have more information.

He is not seeing someone else and I believe his feelings have not changed...I just feel he is unable to convey them right now, it's as if he is blocked. I see him trying because he will have contact with me and we were able to be intimate after 1 week. if i ask him if he still loves me, he is able to say yes. And, after making love, an "accidental" "je t"aime" slipped out which he quickly corrected with a very quick "I love you" (said it very fast).
He does perhaps have a fear of being alone since he was divorced twice and both his ex-wives left. :( He tells me the reasons, but of course nothing that has to do with him. He just says that he is not perfect but that he is loyal, faithful and tried to be a good husband.
He is such a sweet person in his "normal" state. Now I am not sure which is his true self, the sweet guy I met or this emotionally blocked "robot mode" person that has appeared in from of me? will it switch back and forth? What triggers it?
Thank you in advance for your reply.
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Dear friend,

Thank you for getting back to me with clarifications and new information. Since the cause of his behavior has nothing to do with another woman, and because of his history of failed relationships (where the wife left), this indicates a situtation that DOES have something to do with his "erratic" behavior.

A person with Borderline Personality Disorder is a human being capable of love and caring, but very tormented and very volatile, so you will see a Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde kind of dual personality. It is a very difficult disorder to treat, and many therapists are frankly scared off by it because of that fact.

It is probably genetic in part, but could be caused by very early childhood rearing involving some insecurities, perhaps not even consciously recalled.

Unfortunately it will continue to haunt him unless he can get some help from an effective therapist who works with personality disorders.

Look at this article and do your own research:

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/borderline-personality-disorder-fact-sheet/index.shtml

You may also wish to order this book from Amazon or elsewhere:

Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger

I wish you the very best. This is a difficult and heart-rending situation. Be strong and brave and educate yourself. Encourage him to seek help, for this will not just go away by itself.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dr. Elliott,
Thank you for this additonal information. I just have two more things to add and I don't know if it will help distinguish between BPD and Bi-polarism.
1) He has a need to sleep a lot, like take several naps on weekends. But he does not doe this at work, and has woeked for the same company fo 19 years (with promotions, increased responsibility, etc.). He wakes up early every day, except on my birthday (first day I noticed something strange). On this day he said he was very tired, that he needed his sleep (he had not gone to sleep late the previous night). He slept until 2PM on this day. We had made previous plans to go to the beach and spend the day together. Although we saw each other later it was a bit tense in the morning.
2) I have also felt little jabs here and there from him. No insults but saying strange things to me to "test" my reaction. When I asked why he would say something like that or ask if I would do that he replied that he was testing, then goes on to tell me about his ex-wife who left because she wanted to experiment different relationships.
Another thing, he repeats himself a lot. He forgets that he told me things. Also, he's a bit critical and looks for things I have said a day before and tells me he didn't like the conversationan etc...

With all this additional information, BPD or Bi-polar? What's the major factor which seperates the two? is BDP worse? Harder to treat?

Thanks for the tips, I will get the book and look up the link.

Kind regards,

Friend
.
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Dear friend,

There is much anecdotal evidence to support that fact that people with Borderline Personality Disorder are forgetful. They can say hurtful things and not recall them. People who forget things repeat themselves.

He may have other things going on. Perhaps he suffered some kind of traumatic event (in the military, an accident, child abuse) and also suffers form posttraumatic stress disorder. People can have more than one disorder, comorbidly, as it is called.

He exhibits the characteristics of a person with BPD, which includes mood changes, such as you would find in Bipolar Disorder, where you can swing from a depressed state to a very exhuberant state, sometimes also demonstrating reckless behavior. There are similarities, but your boyfriend seems to be concerned about your relationship and that is why he is testing you. It is a very important characteristic of BPD.

Needing to sleep a lot is a characteristic of depression, but it is focused on you. His worry about being abandoned makes him depressed and therefore he sleeps.

The jabs he gives you are part of his passive aggressive behavior. He says he is just testing you, but he is hurting you emotionally. He claims he is just testing but he is hurting. That sounds like BPD to me.

Although there are similarities between the two disorders, one is a mood disorder and responds to medications (bipolar); BPD has mood swings, but it is a personality disorder, of the type hyperactive/impulsive disorder. Check out the link above for a description, and this one below for a simple explanation of the differences.

http://bpd.about.com/od/relatedconditions/a/BPDVBipolar.htm

For a slightly more technical explanation go to the this site.

http://www.aapel.org/bdp/BLbpd-bipolarUS.html

The botXXXXX XXXXXne is that they are not the same.

I hope I have answered your questions

Best wishes,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Dr. Elliott,

Yes, you have and have been most helpful.
Tonight I am a little thrown off because after a week of strange, emotionally
Distant behavior, he came over to my house and was almost 100% normal...or the way he was when we met. He was more physically affectionate (not exactly as before but much better) but was hold my hand and caressing my back but verbally still not as affectionate but did blurt out a few words in French. ;) I asked and he did reply that he still loved me and was still in love with me.
As you mentioned, he does not remember the somewhat insulting things he said and claims he was just acting like that because he was tired. He doesn't remember the details of what happened. He claims he was just tired.
I will read up on the information and keep tabs on his behavior...this way I will know what to look out for. Thank you very much for your help.

Sincerely,
Friend
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.

Best wishes,

Elliott
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Elliott,

Now wer are 9 months into the relationship and although we have grown closer, there are still times when he becomes very distant emotionally and argumentative and seems to prefer being alone, or absorbed in his work than with me. He says that he has too much work to do but he goes to extreme by working very late into the night. Then on weekends that we are together, he does not want to leave the house, he only wants us to stay in and sleeps a lot. When i did get fed up with his emotional distance and did not return his phone calls for 3 days, he showed up at my door and apologized. Admitted that he "messed up" (somehow I didn't feel that he was actually feeling this...just saying it). He said he would work on balancing his life and giving me priority. The affection and attention lasted for about two weeks and then he went back to being distant, not contacting me as much, being argumentative, not wanting to leave the house and wanting "his space". I still do not know what he has! Bi-polar? Bpd? Some type of autism or another type of personality disorder? I know he is not seeing someone else and is still in love with me. He tells me "we are OK, nothing has changed". Please help me figure him out and know what to do and how to react to these mood changes. Thank you!
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Dear friend,

The more I hear from you and reread everything you wrote, the more I think that your boyfriend has a lot on his plate, he is a bit stressed from all of this, and suffers some depression, which shows when he is irritable or jabs at you. He seems to be a decent person who cares about you. He may not be able to change his personality, but, like with all relationships, you might have to take the good with the bad if the good far outweighs the bad.

He will be more emotionally distant at times, and he is trying to work on his career, and that takes up his energy. Perhaps if would be best to give him a bit more leeway or space. This won't hurt your relationship, and may actually make the times when you can spend with each other, that much more valuable.

Warm regards,

Elliott

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