There is a major problem with mental health care when a person doesn't want help. Because therapy is based on total honesty it needs a cooperative patient. No one can address their mind if they are unwilling. It takes total disclosure. You can't help him if he isn't willing. Someone has to sort of bear their soul to be able to resolve anything in the mind. It seems that he is not in a place that is receptive and our profession does not work that way. However you don't know that he will always be resistant. Many times when people are at their worst then that is when they are most receptive. You have to hold out for that time. You also have to bring attention to the fact that he is harming the relationship right when it happens. You aren't doing either of you any favors by waiting. Instead stop the interaction and direct his attention to the fact that he is being irritable. When the relationship is at risk then he may want attention. The Depression Workbook is excellent. I would ask him how long you should stay with someone who is not taking care of himself.
Please press accept; this is the way I am compensated
The other expert made excellent points. It is hard to help someone if they will not help themselves. It is a frequent occurrence and can be frustrating and difficult to cope with.
When someone will not help themselves, that leaves loved ones to find a way to cope with their behavior and try to help them in an indirect way. If you feel your boyfriend is clinically depressed, you can start with learning more about depression. This will provide you with answers when he acts the way he does and help you help him. Here are some resources to help you get started:
You can get ideas and support on how to help him from NAMI, which is the National Alliance for Mental Health. They offer numerous resources to assist those with a mental illness and those trying to help.
Support groups are another option. You can join one for family members and loved ones. Through the group, you may learn more about how family and friends have tried to help their loved ones get help. Here is a link to help:
It may be that when your boyfriend sees you getting support and working towards a solution, he may be willing to try as well. You can always ask him to join in or ask his opinion. It may be enough to get him engaged.
I know it's hard to deal with your boyfriend's behavior. Trying to find ways to respond, keeping the relationship going and helping him can take a toll and you can get wrapped up in all the tension and stress. Be sure to care for yourself and take breaks as needed. Take time each day if you can or at least each week and get out of the situation. Go out with friends, talk to people who are supportive and if you feel you want to, try therapy for yourself. It can give you much needed stress relief.
I hope this has helped,Kate
No problem! I am happy to help.
If he is depressed and angry, then the best way to respond is to put the feelings back on him. If you take responsibility for them that will take a toll on you with increased stress and resentment about the relationship.
When he is irritable with you, you can respond by saying, "I am sorry you feel that way. If I can help let me know." Then walk away. This lets him know you realize he has a problem, you are not taking blame for it, and the next response you will accept is him asking for your help. It does not leave the communication open for further arguing or for blaming you.
Getting him to apologize only makes him angry because he probably does not feel it is his fault. It also causes resentment and anger for both of you.
Giving him time alone is a good idea. That also tells him that although you care for him, treating you badly is not an option. He needs to find ways to deal with his stress in more healthy ways. Taking out on you is not healthy.
You could add something like, "I feel hurt by your words" then leave it at that. The more emotion and blaming that is put into your response, the more fuel there is for him to blame you for being mean or unfair. You want to keep it neutral as you can so he can look to himself as the cause.
Yes, that is a good way to put your response when he hurts you. It keeps the blame out of it and offers to help.
I would hope that he would not forget about you feeling hurt by your next contact, but it is possible. In that case, you can start the next conversation off by saying "I still feel hurt by the night before. How can we work to change this?" And see what he says. Hopefully, he will be open to working on what he is doing and change it. I don't think he will be able to try to continue a conversation with you after you have said that.
The idea is to show him consequences to his irritability and treating you poorly. If you do not blame him or become emotional, he cannot blame his problems on you and see it as you causing his irritability. And if you phrase your responses so they are neutral and supportive but to the point ("I am hurt" for example), there is no way he can dismiss you.
Let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help.
In that case, I'd say that there is an underlying issue he has that does not allow him to see his own faults as part of a problem. It either has something to do with his background, maybe possible abuse or something similar. Adults who were abused as children sometimes feel so neglected and humiliated emotionally by what happened to them that they can never afford to let others blame them. It reminds them too much of how they felt as children.
He could also have a personality disorder such as narcissism. Narcissism can cause a person to blame others for everything, including things they are clearly to blame for themselves. Here are links to describe narcissism and personality disorders:
From what you described about your boyfriend, I doubt he has a personality disorder. But he could have traits only and not a full blown diagnosis. In that case, he would need therapy to deal with his issues. Personality disorders/traits cannot be dealt with without professional help.
That says to me that he probably doesn't have a personality disorder. But just in case, I thought you could use the information to look over and see if he has any symptoms.
He needs to work on valuing you as a person. It is common for men to sometimes dismiss a woman's feelings because they do not understand them well. They may feel overwhelmed by them or learned as a child that women's feelings are to be dismissed. It may go back to his childhood and the relationship his parents had. And if he is young now, he may not have had enough time to develop his own experience and change his viewpoints.
If he is putting you first, apologizing, and generally treats you well, I'd say your relationship is solid. Every couple has issues. It is just getting him to see he needs to participate in resolving them that is the trick.