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Anne
Anne, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 41
Experience:  LCSW with 30 years of experience in counseling
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Customer Question

I recently broke up with my boyfriend of 4 years. He lost his father last year, and blames everything that is wrong in his life on this event. He refuses to get a job, or to pursue any education. He will swing from loving to absolute hate for me. I love and care for him, but cannot get him to go to grief counseling, or to take steps to become independant and responsbilible for his life. Is there anything I can do, or any help for him?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Anne replied 2 years ago.

Anne :

How old is your boyfriend and you? Most times it is almost impossible to make people do anything if they are not mentally and emotionally ready to help themselves. He is obviously struggling with the not only the lost of his father but the loss of you as well. Grief counseling would certainly be of some help to him. He sound very depressed and just basically at a loss of what to do and where to turn at this time in his life. Also sounds like he may have a self esteem issue. Did he have a very close relationship with his father? Sometimes people who do not have close relationships with their parents or other family members feel guilty once they are gone. Further information about your boyfriend would be extremely helpful if you are willing to tell. Thank you so much

Customer :

Thank you for your response. My boyfriend is 34, and I am 39. He worked for his father in their family business, however their relationship was very dysfucntional. They were close but fought horribly also. His father died from prostate cancer, and the illness was prolonged, but could have been preventable if his father had taken early action. My boyfriend is very touchy about the subject of his father, and I learned to not talk with him about it or it would result in a fight. My suggestion to him was to 1) seek grief counseling, and 2) get a job to get out of the house and interact with people. His response to that was I am only about money, and do not care about him. I miss the man that I fell in love with, and the illness and subsequent death of his father has profoundly changed and affected him. He is in a bottomless pit without any hope, and refuses to see that I love and care for him, but cannot fix him.

Anne :

Thank you so much for the additional information> It is most helpful. Sounds like your boyfriend is also grieving the loss of a relationship that he may never have had with his father and is somewhat "angry" that his father did not seek medical attention to help himself which may cause your boyfriend to feel like his father did not really care about his son or else he would have sought medical help to try to prolong his life. Your suggestions and encouragement are right on! Does your boyfriend have siblings or friend that he feels close enough to talk to? Could be YOU are too close emotionally to him to be able to be helpful to him. In other words,me may at some level feel embarrassed with his emotions. Also you may have been a very stable constant in his life for the past 4 years and he may have always assumed you would be there for him. SInce you have now broken up with him , it is just one more loss to deal with on top of the others. Certainly I am not trying to make you feel guilty at all as you have to do what is best for you and I hear your frustration as you most certainly should feel. I'm also am wondering if the swing in his emotions towards you of love and hate are not a replica of his relationship with his father? Are there any concerns that he would be harmful at all to himself? If not,then all you can really do is let him know your feelings which sounds like you are already doing and then let him on his own. Please let me know if I can be of further help. I am truly concerned about you both and feel with some counseling for his losses your love for each other would be strong.

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