Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.
I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. You are clearly a very special person that you are trying so hard to make the relationship work with your fiance. It must require a tremendous amount of patience on your part; he must also have some wonderful characteristics that make you love him. But, still, you are a loving person to keep trying.
I can imagine how frustrating, hurtful, and overwhelming this situation must be for you. I can't diagnose clinically in a setting such as our forum. But from your description, we can certainly say that your fiance suffered tremendous disruptions to normal attachment formation as a child and youth. Therefore, the behaviors he exhibits can be understood most readily as coming from attachment problems. Again, I am not diagnosing here attachment disorder, only referring to a way to help you understand how it is that he might behave this way.
But even more specifically, I think he would benefit from learning about something that now has a lot of self help resources available: Adult Victim of Child Abuse (AVOCA). Whether it is physical or emotional abuse that was part of a dysfunctional family, the trauma is there when a child deals with sustained abuse. Your fiance certainly experienced that. And that trauma can lead to a lifelong set of feelings and thoughts about himself that can keep him from being able to be fully alive and fully loved in his own eyes. And it can keep him from trusting others and it can make him feel like he needs to lie and create stories about himself.
This is because an AVOCA has a hard time with the constancy of love: that even if you or he are mad, you can still love each other. That's a normal understanding. But for AVOCAs this is often very tough. They very often do not have a sense of normal. They fluctuate between feelings that are difficult for them at best. And another thing they have in common: deep within they feel totally unworthy, tremendous shame, undeserving. They fear bringing things out to the open very much. And much of these feelings are below the surface for them. They just feel rage alternating with shame most of the time. This can lead to a lethargic type of disorganized behavior.
For AVOCA, start with these sites and you can do lots more searches to find other sites. But remember, some are going to be commercial.
Here is a chart from the HAVOCA website that will give you the idea.
From Victim to Survivor to Thriver
Doesn’t deserve nice things or trying for the "good life."
Struggling for reasons & chance to heal
Gratitude for everything in life.
Low self esteem/shame/unworthy
Sees self as wounded & healing
Sees self as an overflowing miracle
Using tools to learn to relax
Gratitude for new life
Deserves to seek help
Proud of Healthy Self caring
Naming what happened
Was wounded & now healing
Confusion & numbness
Learning to grieve, grieving past aggrieved trauma
Grieving at current losses
Overwhelmed by past
Naming & grieving what happened
Living in the present
Faith in self & life
Uses outer world to hide from self
Stays with emotional pain
Understands that emotional pain will pass & brings new insights
Hides their story
Not afraid to tell their story to safe people.
Beyond telling their story, but always aware they have created their own healing with HP
Believes everyone else is better, stronger, less damaged
Comes out of hiding to hear others & have compassion for them & eventually self
Lives with an open heart for self & others
Often wounded by unsafe others
Learning how to protect self by share, check, share
Protects self from unsafe others
Places own needs last
Learning healthy needs (See Healing the Child Within & Gift to Myself)
Places self first realizing that is the only way to function & eventually help others
Creates one drama after another
Believes suffering is the human condition
Feeling some relief, knows they need to continue in recovery
Finds joy in peace
Serious all the time
Beginning to laugh
Seeing the humour in life
Uses inappropriate humour, including teasing
Feels associated painful feelings instead
Uses healthy humour
Uncomfortable, numb or angry around toxic people
Increasing awareness of pain & dynamics
Healthy boundaries around toxic people, incl. relatives
Lives in the past
Aware of patterns
Lives in the Now
Angry at religion
Understanding the difference between religion & personal spirituality
Enjoys personal relationship with the God of their understanding
Suspicious of therapists-- projects
Sees therapist as guide during projections
Sees reality as their projection & owns it.
Needs people & chemicals to believe they are all right
Glimpses of self-acceptance & fun without others
Feels authentic & connected, Whole
Movement of feelings
I'm sure he doesn't fit every criteria in the "Victim" column. But from what you write, I imagine quite a few apply. For him to recognize that he is an AVOCA may by itself help him. And maybe it will help him get to therapy to work on these issues. But certainly your love has been a lifeline for him.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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