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Anna
Anna, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1945
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.
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My boyfriend has just left me after 6 months of abusive

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My boyfriend has just left me after 6 months of abusive behaviour on his part. It escalated into the physical. I love him very much and have been aware he has some mental health problems, we intially though adhd and a need for anger management after a history of abuse and time speding his life in care. Yesterday he attended his first psychiatry appointment, it seemed to go well. He has calmed down after the trigger to him leaving and wants to return. There has been mention of personality disorders and sociopathy. I have told him I need time to think and need to know whats involved in his treatment. I very much want to be with him and for him to get better however the sociopathy part terrifies me, can he be truely sociopathic if he has went to get help? I have seen him at very vulnerable times where he states all he wants is to be normal and be loved and not to hurt me with his words or actions and he knows how twisted he sees everything. He can at times take alot of responsibility and it seems that it is guilt about his behaviour that fuels more negative behaviour, he is very resentful about his past but seems to be realsing he needs to move past that. I know its not possible for you to give a diagnosis but is there any hope for someone in this position? can you have sociopathic tendencies due to your upbringing?
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Anna :

Hello & Welcome to Just Answers.

Anna :

I'm reading your post now.

Customer:

Hi

Anna :

You can have sociopathinc tendencies because of your upbrining, but that doesn't erase the current situation because once you have them, you have something to deal with.

Anna :

You say you're terrified of that part of him and he's abused you in the past. It makes me wonder about your own personal safety response...do you see this as a problem for you?

Customer:

well more terrified that if he is sociopathic he cannot change, and that is heartbreaking, he has not beaten me but in a child like fashion has tantrums, throwing things, pushing me away in whats seems like desperation, i have worked with domestically abuse men doing cbt work for years and his behaviour seems different

Customer:

his outbursts have escalated and it seems to be down to the guilt he is feeling and that the few mutual friends we have obviously take my side which causes resentment

Anna :

domestically abused men or abusive men?

Customer:

abusive, they were sent to my work via the courts

Anna :

ok, so you have some familiarity with the course of experience with abusers and sociopaths. But...he broke up with you, correct? Are you wondering if you should try to win him back?

Customer:

no he wants to come back, he wants to change for me but i am worried that he cannot change, cant be treated i suppose, he says he broke up with me because he needed space before his psychiatric appointment and he wasnt coping, but he wasnt able to tell me that so ran away basically

Anna :

I'll be honest with you: the chances of a healthy relationship with a man who has abused you is extremely slim. Many women try & desperately want to be the one whom he changes for, but in the end, they just get abused more and fill their lives with the hope of expectations that don't get met.

Anna :

These women become addicted to their potential and confuse this with love & commitment.

Anna :

to the abuser's potential

Anna :

You would have to attach more to who you think he can be than who he really is: this ends up being very empty and lonely

Customer:

im stuck between seeing his behaviour as abuse or a symptom of an illness

Anna :

It doesn't matter...sociopathy is a disease of behavior in the end, and that's what you have to deal with.

Anna :

Understanding his behavior isn't the point, as he's not your client.

Anna :

This is a love interest.

Anna :

I understand how you can become stuck in this....it's very easy and seductive

Customer:

yeh :( i suppose for me if i knew it was a symptom of an illness i could see that as being in the past and at least give him a chance to try and change, although i know it wont get better immediately, he is very open to talking about ways that will best manage his behaviour for both us in the hope that with help he can get to a point where there is no behaviour to manage

Anna :

But I don't think I'm going to be able to tell you anything you want to hear. This isn't a good situation. What I suggest is that you step back and let him do the changing because he values the change. When he's completed a course of treatment and has experience as a safe, available man, THEN date him again. It's the only way to be sure. If it's 'meant to be' then it can wait out 6 months or a year.

Customer:

i suppose i am willing to give him a chance if i know there is at least hope he can change, i have a good relationship with his mother who he sees alot and we communicate (without his knowledge) about how hes doing, shes told me alot about previous relationships and behaviour and how he was as a child and this is the first time he has ever wanted to get help, he refused everything as a child, teenager, refused to acceot responsibility at all times in the past

Customer:

i have tried to tell him that space would give him chance to change

Anna :

True love doesn't need to rush. If you're looking at the long term, give it a year for him to show that he can change and more importantly, sustain the changes.

Anna :

Again....you sound like the most perfect potential victim. Everything you've said lines you up to be abused by this guy....you're too far into the 'understanding ' of it.

Anna :

He isn't a project or a client, and you don't want to be the psyciatric nurse to your partner.

Customer:

i can see all that yes

Anna :

I'm sure that I can't talk you out of your relationship, but I can tell you the truth. Do you want to hear it?

Customer:

i suppose i also believe he needs my support through this, he has no one other than me and his mother

Customer:

well i dont want to maybe but i suppose i need to

Customer:

so yes

Anna :

You're lost in a codependent relationship where you're trying to save a man who abused you. It's the textbook/classic case. You see him as 'special' you feel like you're the 'special' one who can save him....he has hardly anyone else in his life (for a reason)....you're confusing love with pity, and you'll be disappointed if you're looking for a mutual, adult, reciprical relationship. If you want to fight and gnash it out endlessly, go forth and try to save him. You'll end up like all the others. Harsh, but I see it every single day, and I've been in practice almost 30 years. The odds are that you nor he are any different.

Anna :

Your time is better spent finding out why YOU would even try to be in a relationship with a guy who has abused you even once.

Anna :

Why YOU feel that you 'love' him.

Anna :

It just isn't normal, and I think you deserve love, joy and respect rather than a problem to solve.

Anna :

sorry.

Customer:

its not for you to be sorry, dont worry, i respect your opinion, i dont know what im going to do with it yet but i appreciate your advice

Customer:

thank you

Anna :

You're welcome. My best to you.

Anna :

Be gentle with yourself.

Anna :

Anna

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