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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My partiner of just 4 months has had servere treatment in a

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My partiner of just 4 months has had servere treatment in a marrage some 20 years back. The person she married has kept comming back and stalking the family and a court order was taken out at the start of this year. The source of this information is her.
The main problem is that after 2-3 days of close contact her and I she feels the need to push me away, becomes argumentive and then takes offence of something I have said or done and does not talk and appears to actually hate me for up to one to 2 days. She gets and little irrational and her reasons she sometimes states for her behavior make little sense. I was devistated when this first happened on an overseas trip in france.
She had 4 such eposodes in the four and half weeks of the holiday. We have been back just 2 weeks from the holiday and in that time when ever I leave her place after have a close and sucessful relation ship for say 2 days she will text that we are finished and does not want to see me anymore. A day or so later she will contact me and we will reconcile. This process has repeated itself 4 times in the two weeks. She some time flares up and screams and nags loved ones with devistating intensity when presented with a relatively small problem
Now she acknowleges that she has a probem, States she loves me but insists that she can only exist by herself with contact with some girl friends and adherence to a routine that often involve visiting coffee shops ,beaches and rivers by herself. She is very resistant to seeing anybody about the disorder and sometime insists there isnt a problem.
She is very inteligent to talk to. Please offer any advise you can.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

There could be a few different things going on here with your girlfriend.

It sounds like she may either have a personality disorder or she has a history of abuse and reacts to closeness with another person by pushing them away.

Someone who is abused as a child or in early adulthood can react to closeness by being afraid. Their first reaction is to protect themselves so they push the other person away. Your girlfriend may have past abuse that causes her to feel this way and that is why she treats you as she does. Therapy can help but if she is unwilling, then there is not much you can do to help but be supportive and learn what you can about past abuse victims. That way, you do have choices in how to respond.

Without knowing more symptoms I can only provide an educated guess, but she could have borderline personality disorder and maybe traits of narcissism. I can provide you links that include symptoms and you may be able to match her symptoms up to the lists to see if she sounds like them.

In the case of a personality disorder, most people have little to no insight into their behavior. When you try to present their symptoms to them, they usually either have an excuse or they put the problem back on you and blame you. Getting help for someone with a personality disorder is difficult at best. They usually have to see that they have a problem before they will seek therapy. Or they come to therapy with another problem such as depression and the personality disorder is treated along with the depression.

Personality disorders are usually developed in response to abuse in the past. The person handles the abuse by developing personality traits that allow them to live with what happened to them. It is a way of seeing the world that makes it easier to live with.

The best you can do is keep trying to offer your girlfriend help. Suggest she talk to her doctor. He/she may be more influential in getting her to see she needs therapy. Maybe her parents or other family or friends can also help you convince her to at least get an evaluation.

Here are some links to help you with personality disorders:

Difficult Personalities: A Practical Guide to Managing the Hurtful Behavior of Others (and Maybe Your Own) by Helen McGrath PhD and Hazel Edwards MEd

The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook for Personality Disorders: A Step-By-Step Program (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Jeffrey C. Wood

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.

Remember to care for yourself while coping with your girlfriend's behavior. If it gets too much, consider taking a break yourself. If you choose to continue the relationship, talk to friends, family and a therapist if you feel it would help. When someone you care about is suffering, it can be very stressful. It is much easier to help her if you feel ok yourself.

I hope this has helped,

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you