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I am so sorry that you are having these issues with your partner, I can imagine the stress you are currently going through with him.
It definitely appears that your partner's maturity level is not on the same level as yours at the home. It may be because your partner does not like acting like an "adult" during the day that he comes home and acts in a manner that is more befitting of a teenager based on maturity level.
So you say that when you have taken a break from him he apologized and improved, but that was short-lived, is that correct?
Yep, when he came back he was behaving quite responsibly and was nice to be around for a good few months, maybe four or five
Might be worth mentioning his Mother kept him inside until the age of fourteen and he wasn't allowed to play out ever. She micro managed every element of his life and still tries to, sending him boxes of clothes that he doesn't like but she does etc
She withholds praise and she thanks me for looking after him, in front of him
I think your partner may have traits of something called Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). It is a personality where the individual actively seeks attention and their emotions are typically dramatic.
Well this level of parenting can create personality disorders to individuals that are susceptible to them.
Now I do not think he has a full disorder, but it sounds like he has a few traits of them
He can reign himself in everywhere else, he is a master of presenting a good level of behaviour to others. I think it takes its toll though its as though pressure builds up in him.
I think it would take a toll as well and that is why he releases this at home with you.
Also the mix of alcohol and illicit substances probably compounds with his possible personality disorder and makes the symptoms appear worse
When he walks through the door its like the lid coming off a shaken up bottle of coke. How do I deal with this without A) Him sliding into self loathing, criticism makes him very self hatey.
Funny you should say that because he's a lot less hyper and loud after beer. He's more guilty and in need of being told he's not a bad person.
Inside he's good, he has empathy and is kind but when he's maxed out on stress he's unmanageable and seems disconnected to how his behaviour might be impacting.
Interesting, well alcohol is a depressant, so it can cause these feelings. Also do you feel he sometimes over-exaggerates when he self-blames?
Yes he totally over exaggerates, his level of self loathing is in no way proportionate to being annoying, immature or getting on my nerves. But I've noticed that the self loathing seems to fuel worse acting out. It's as though the more bad he suspects he might be being the further he takes it. Its as though he cant stop himself from being worse and worse.
I think he acts worse and worse and over-exaggerates for attention. This is a part of the personality disorder that I described.
It's like watching a child who starts off messing about and then each verbal response to calm down is met with a ramp up of the behaviour.
Then a huge wave of self loathing follows and a retreat to the man cave.
This leaves me feeling very alone in the relationship.
I understand why you feel alone in the relationship, anyone would if their partner was exhibiting this behavior.
To avoid the behaviour I have to drop whatever I am doing and pay attention, this isn't a healthy option for me and to ignore the behaviour leads to the volume and physical prodding and poking being turned up until whatever I was doing is totally interrupted and overwhelmed. Then I feel annoyed and as though my thoughts and peace have been imposed upon. Its hard after that to feel loving and giving.
How can I manage my responses to get the best out of this situation without either of us coming off as the loser.
I understand. Okay so the only real treatment here to help him and help you be sane in the relationship is for him to get Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) from a trained therapist. They specialize in this and CBT is the only proven effective therapy to treat this type of personality disorder. You both can do together, so that you are a support for him, but there is no way you can do this on your own.
No matter what techniques I give you, it will not stop his behavior without intensive therapy
I love myself and I love him too. I want to help him if I can, but not to the extent that I become a resentful, husk of a human being. I am pretty close to that right now which is why I am here.
And I can definitely see that and I do not want that for you either, which is why therapy is the best option here.
OK that makes sense, I think there will be resistance to CBT with him because it means admitting something is wrong, this 'idea of being wrong' will frighten him and he will get the self hates.
Also I am not really supposed to be behaving as his social worker am I? This is dangerous ground for an equal and loving relationship of respect.
Exactly and that is why you should pose it as couples therapy and use the pronouns "we" and "us" a lot to not directly blame him
Yes you do not want to be his social worker, you are his partner and romantic interest
OK so CBT for him if HE WANTS to pursue health.
CBT is the best treatment for this.
OK and what is the best way for me to deal with his domination attempts on my space and time in the meantime. I need a strategy for stopping it in its tracks without undermining him further.
I need a way to protect us both from his acting out.
Well the best way would be make a set contract before hand, this can also be done in therapy, delegating appropriate time when he can act out and interact with you more. But when the time is done than he has to go back to his man-cave or not be in your personal space. If you both sign it, it confirms a therapeutic contract.
The CBT will help him think more objectively and not selfishly, but this will take time and it will be gradual, so the results probably will not start to appear until 3 months.
I know that is a long time for you because you have already gone through so much, but I wanted to point that out to you
I also want to provide you with these CBT books that contain techniques too
Thanks being realistic is better than hopeful. I understand that therapy takes time and commitment and I expect there will be some odd changes too when he starts to need me less, should I expect him to withdraw from me utterly before he comes forward again?
I imagine that facing the reality of your utter neediness would result in an opposite swing of some sort maybe some dislike of me?
What should I be prepared for in terms of how therapy will change the way he relates to me as the object of need or release?
I do not think he will withdraw from you completely, but instead he may show you appropriate space and not need the constant attention
I am afraid that he will withdraw completely and see me as his 'poison'
Well he will show you more respect and probably act more like an adult with therapy. Believe me you will see the differences gradually
This is a bit how he is with his Mother currently swinging between a need for approval then when it is withheld self hate and consequently hating her.
OK I'm going to have a look at the links you have given to me and broach the subject, perhaps a book will be the first step for us, it's a way to ease into the ideas of CBT without a commitment to laying all his stuff on the line right away.
I think the books will be very helpful for you and him
It is a first step in the right direction regarding his behavior
Thanks Dr Z I feel as though you've given me enough to go on now and that I have had my moneys worth.
Anytime, I am happy that I was able to help you. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
No that's all thank you, XXXXX XXXXX some work to do now and need to remember that I have a life and needs separate to these issues. Thank you for your advice.
Well I am happy to help, I wish you and your partner all the best. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.
I hope you have a great rest of your day :)
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