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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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cheating leads to a nervous breakdown

Customer Question

Hi - I've been in a very loving and passionate relationship for almost two & a half years. My boyfriend and I are both artists, intense people, very emotional. We are 27 and 26, respectively. We have high highs and low lows but at the end of the day, we never stay mad at each for long, come together and have grown a lot as partners and people together... Letting things go, compromising and listening to each other. We live together and have a happy home life. We have an amazing sex life, still! That has been a very special part of our relationship. In general, he lives his life weaving in and out of depression, would much rather complain than see the blessings or what action he can take. He has a serious problem sticking to one story when something bothers him, he mines every area of his life to see how it might be contributing to his woes. I am a very proactive and positive person who has had a big hand in encouraging him in his life. Sometimes too much of a hand and that's also been something we've talked about it. His "issues" have always been a big topic of discussion and our relationship and communication has definitely helped him get some perspective on them at times, although they always come back to haunt him and he can't let go. Recently, I went away for ten days on a family vacation without him. We spent amazing days beforehand, as if we had just fallen in love. It was not easy for us to leave each other. I had an amazing trip though and we talked daily, very loving conversations. I was so excited to come home to him... And when I did at last, he told me he had cheated on me while I was gone and slept with someone else. I was DEVASTATED. He broke down sobbing, saying he loves me so much and this was the biggest mistake of his life. He described that the eight days he spent alone in our home after he cheated on me were spent sobbing, sweating through the bed and having panic attacks. He never sought help. He described feeling abandoned and angry and unable to express his feelings prior to my leaving. For the next two or three days, we went back and forth between fighting and trying to love each other and talk. Our last interaction was loving and promising... He left the house saying he loved me and he'd see me that night. He went to a therapy appointment and never came back... Because his therapist brought him to the hospital after hearing him say he felt physically numb and he had also started saying things (to me as well) like "my soul died" and was just shutting down. He had a breakdown basically. And then his mother got involved, and he is "in her care" now, on two different medications (Zoloft & Klonopin) after being diagnosed as acutely clinically depressed and all communication between us is meant to stop for "a couple of weeks" is what I'm told. He has said many times he loves me, that he wants our relationship, he wants to come home, he wants to be back to normal. And now we are enduring this forced separation and he's just floating through it and going along and consenting. So my question: After such a traumatic and powerful event, how long do you think it will take for him to feel that he is gaining solid ground with the medications he's on? What effects do you predict they will have?

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear friend,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I believe that I can help.

Customer:

hi, i'm here. i'd love to hear your thoughts.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If your boyfriend was not suicidal then why was he admitted to the hospital? What kind of therapist was this?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If he felt numb it was probably from a panic attack.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you think his mother is trying to get you out of the picture, trying to put the blame on you when clearly it is not you?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Your loving and forgiving presence is probably his best therapy.

Customer:

well yes, he was saying he felt numbness physically and emotionally and also probably mentioned suicidal thoughts. he was doing that with me as well. but i knew it wasn't serious, he just truly felt that something very intense had happened to him. the therapist just did his job and brought him to the hospital where they told him that his body must have shut down from all the guilt and panic he experienced. and no his mother does not want me out of the picture, she knows me well, loves me, wanted us to spend our lives together. she won't allow me to be present for him right now though.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He also needs to talk to an experienced psychotherapist who can help him reframe his thoughts and stop looking for reasons to be depressed.

Customer:

yes i agree. he has been with several therapists, including a psychoanalyst for 8 years with whom he had a codependent and resentful relationship.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Why can't you be present?

Customer:

i am being completely shut out. he says he's unhealthy and can't communicate "for the time being". i think he is extremely fragile and just following his mother like a sheep. she feels very strongly that right now i can't ask anything of him.

Customer:

she is completely manipulating him and he is allowing it to happen.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Depressed people have suicidal thoughts. If he had a plan of action and the means to do it then that could require hospitalization.

Customer:

she tells me she knows he loves me, he just doesn't feel anything right now

Customer:

and wants to keep him "safe" as the medication takes effec

Customer:

effect*

Customer:

i agree that he should be medicated 100% but i don't believe the way to recovery is through stigmatizing the person your child did something wrong to

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Zoloft takes at least three weeks to have an effect. It may not particularly help him. He needs a better therapist.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He is now stigmatized for life with a mental health admission. Possibly higher insurance rates. No firearms.

Customer:

and do you think that during the time it's taking effect it's normal to experience numbness like this?

Customer:

he had an incredibly intense experience when he told me he cheated on me

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I don't understand numbness.

Customer:

he sobbed harder than he ever has in his life

Customer:

and then started saying things like "my soul died"

Customer:

and "maybe i should kill myself"

Customer:

he told his sister he lost the love of his life and he felt his soul had left his body

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He seems to have a penchant for drama. He is using this (unconsciously to a degree) to win sympathy and to punish himself for his wrongdoing. He feels guilt and this is a way he is trying to assuage it.

Customer:

you're right, he does have a penchant for drama and that is something i've always told him.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

His mother seems to have that same overly dramatic bent.

Customer:

and by "this is a way he's trying to assuage it" do you mean getting so caught up in the illness?

Customer:

yes she does

Customer:

and you can't rationalize with people like that, can you? you just have to step away for a time until the situation gains some more normalcy

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This has been entirely overblown, in my estimation.

Customer:

THANK YOU :)

Customer:

it has been

Customer:

i mean it's incredibly painful to hear you've been cheated on

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

and you have been the biggest victim

Customer:

but i wanted to get to the other side

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You should be the one with the breakdown. :)

Customer:

haha

Customer:

well i'm strong

Customer:

he isn't

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You are strong

Customer:

do you think there's a case for someone like him being made stronger by medication?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

No, his mother never let him become an independent man.

Customer:

it's terrible. she's enabling him.

Customer:

she told me "i don't want to be the enemy" and she absolutely is

Customer:

it's very sad because we are close, her and i, we know each other well

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She does not want to give up control to you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Keep your friends close. Keep your enemies closer.

Customer:

right. and so do you agree that the best thing for me right now is just to go about my life?

Customer:

i am not leaving the relationship but it is on pause right now

Customer:

because we're not "allowed" to taalk

Customer:

talk*

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You have little choice. I am sure that your boyfriend has been a great disappointment to you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He betrayed you and then he could not face up to it.

Customer:

he has yes and i expect major changes for him if this is to work but everything underlying this is all things we've discussed many times and have been ongoing issues for him

Customer:

he is devastated by his behavior i know that

Customer:

i'm not ok with the situation right now at all

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

How much change do you expect? His personality was formed some time ago.

Customer:

well i've had a very positive impact on his life and if he still wants this relationship, he'll need to figure it out

Customer:

do you think silence is best right now while he contemplates it?

Customer:

i mean the door's been slammed in my face

Customer:

by his mother to whom he is ceding any control

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Do you have a choice?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He needs to fight for you.

Customer:

when i saw him the other night, he told me "you know i want to come home" and he wants to be back to normal. we made a plan to see each other and then next thing i know we're on the phone and hes sitting across from his mother and she's telling him what to do, that he can't see me

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Is he contemplating or is he being "instructed"?

Customer:

yes he does

Customer:

i need to extract myself

Customer:

so that the situation can die down and he can have space to contemplate

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This is not a good situation for you.

Customer:

it's reached such a histrionic level

Customer:

yes

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Histrionic is the word that has been going through my mind

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I think that the space would be good for YOU and give YOU time to contemplate as well. You need it as much as he does and perhaps more.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You are enmeshed in a family situation.

Customer:

yes definitely. i joked when this happened to his mother that oh it's such a compliment, he loves me so much he ended up in the hospital. and she said i was exactly right. he is creating codependency and aggression in a beautiful relationship because of his personal issues. in my family, we do not deal with things like this. we talk, make each other stronger, get back to our instincts.

Customer:

one of his big problems is he thinks he's helpless and she is just perpetuating that belief

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If he acts helpless, then he is. He could break away but right now mom is taking care of him.

Customer:

yes. he does have a penchant for drama. and in a way this is like a dream come true for him, he's mentally ill, just like he always thought. but it's helpful to remember that i love him BUT his life is not fun right now and he can't continue this way if he's going to be healthy, he needs to fix it for himself, our relationship can't be holding him up. that is how this episode makes me feel, that our relationship was just enough to keep him from being seriously depressed, as he is now... and when i went away for ten days on a family vacation, he somehow interpreted it as abandon

Customer:

he has abandonment issues from his childhood and it's completely illogical to put them on me, we have such affection for each other and are incredibly demonstrative. i was crying because I DIDN'T want to leave. and then i went away and still had an amazing trip & he did this!

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Does he ever self-injure?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Does he have reckless behavior (spending, driving, etc.)?

Customer:

no never

Customer:

no

Customer:

i mean he'll do things like coop himself up for a day without going out or eating really

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Any other quirky behavior?

Customer:

and he has complained when things were fine between us of a lack of appetite or the sensation of not having slept all night long even though he has, i'm lying there next to him

Customer:

those are things he's complaining of now again, his mother tells me

Customer:

i told her those have been issues before

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Issues of depression.

Customer:

i can only say he self injures mentally, with horrible thoughts

Customer:

yes

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

For example?

Customer:

constantly being incredibly judgmental and resentful of people, including himself

Customer:

i

Customer:

i'm the only person in his life he is not critical towards like that

Customer:

he is an incredibly loving and affectionate boyfriend

Customer:

and so sweet and seems like he doesn't have a bad bone in his body at first sight

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

But at second sight?

Customer:

he is a very very angry person

Customer:

which you will be when you don't take an active role in your life

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

How was he abandoned?

Customer:

well... in brief: his parents were not very good at their job when he was little. his father worked constantly, his mother was totally at sea, his older brother and sister were addicted to drugs and alcohol respectively. he is the baby and she would cry to him about her problems. she believed doctors when they told her he was autistic and had aspergers and threw him in boarding from 11 to 17.

Customer:

so!

Customer:

he has a lottt of resentment towards his parents

Customer:

we have had nice times with them but he still has so much anger towards them. they loved me and were big supporters of our relationship always. i mean they thought we'd be spending our lives together absolutely

Customer:

i do need to go shortly

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

They have their conscious thoughts and actions. Do you think they have different unconscious thoughts about you?

Customer:

maybe they're intimidated by my strength

Customer:

and what a sweeping positive influence i've had on his life?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Take the time apart and use it wisely. Go about your life and enjoy yourself.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You may be a threat to mom.

Customer:

many times he's told them how i've made him healthier, more respectful of his home

Customer:

happier in general

Customer:

she wants to heal him now you think

Customer:

she's smothering him

Customer:

he's 27 years old

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

She wants to be in charge.

Customer:

yes so let her be for now

Customer:

and he has to come home at some point

Customer:

and then we'll see

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It is countertherapeutic to separate you in some ways but will be good for you, so be patient.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Yes, let her be. He needs to come back to you with more wisdom and repentance in a positive and constructive way.

Customer:

thank you very very much elliott. this is my first time on this site, if i want to continue this conversation later, i'd have to put another deposit down, yes?

Customer:

yes absolutely

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If it will be another long chat then that would be best.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I am here for you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Just ask for Elliott and I will do my best to help you get through this.

Customer:

i really appreciate it. all the best to you.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I shall keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

Customer:

i would appreciate that. him too :)

Customer:

i do love him and want our relationship back

Customer:

it was very happy but he is very damaged

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

:) I shall help.

Customer:

and needs to work on himself

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Yes he does.

Customer:

and i am always willing to know how i can be of help. he knows that

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It is a big project but if you have the love and patience then you can do it.

Customer:

i want to

Customer:

thank you

Customer:

have a nice evening

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You are so very welcome.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You too. :)

Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
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35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.