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To think MH issues could be disclosed in a very long term relationship?

(11 Posts)
JacksonPollocks Sun 10-Jul-11 18:06:12

I'm really open to both sides of the argument on this one.

My cousin has learning difficulties, hearing loss, depression and generally has a lot of difficultly making friends and maintaining good relations. She's a quite attractive but very vulnerable young adult, very poor understanding and possibly on the autistic spectrum. No friends to speak of, very lonely life out of work. She is pretty difficult at times/

She met an older boy (about 7 years older, late twenties). Not a great catch tbh but seemed harmless so as a family we were happy for them as she was a lot less lonely. The two families are loosely connected by friends/ church. Not quite sure what he found in her privately considering their differences, but happy for them.

Her own MH has been rockier over the 1st year or two, depressive and rather manic of late at times. Clingy and needy too. He's dumped her and she's been a mess, to the point of taking her to see the psych team at the local hospital. Screaming in the street and been picked up by by police, lashing out at family and threatening self-harm.

She has made a number of accusations since about him mis-treating her, messing with her head etc. Includes 'forced' sex or slapping her out of the blue. He has behaved VERY unusually in the middle of all this, sometimes mute, other times seemingly without feelings, other times blaming her, then wanting her back and needy. Seems very much unable to cope and erractic.
Seemed to us to have MH problems of his own.

My sister mentioned this to a friend at church who said he wasn't surprised, he'd met my cousin's ex in a psych hospital when he was sectioned. He's a paranoid schizophrenic. Suddenly it seems like it adds up, that maybe my cousin isn't exaggerating his behaviour as she's been dumped and is angry.

We as a family, and she, have been open about her MH problems, LD and medication (which we've now found out he binned it all as 'it's a way they control you'). We spoke to his family (neither cousin nor ex are really in a place to get much out of) and they confirmed it's true, and his dad said he's worried because stress is a trigger for his son and 'this time he could get locked up for good'. No more info offered. Now we're wondering WHAT has happened between them, my cousin is very unstable and we don't know he if was ever a threat to her?

AIBU to think that in a three year relationship someone should have at least guided him to tell her his past? Especially considering she's very vulnerable, to the point of having trouble expressing herself clearly or explaining/ understanding situations. His family knew both sides of the situation and are quick to get involved in the relationship for their sons benefit, e.g. late night phonecalls to pick cousin up or telling her to stay away for periods. At times they've been pretty callous, telling her things like she's perfect and lucky and selfishly takes advantage of their vulnerable son. She gets upset but doesn't have the ability to argue this out with them and point out she has her own problems and far from has it perfect (their son went to uni and has a wide social circle, unlike her).

FabbyChic Sun 10-Jul-11 18:09:25

I do believe that MH issues should be discussed at the earliest possible moment. It then gives someone the opportunity to walk away before feelings become a factor.

I have BPD, because of that if the relationship I am in fails, I doubt I will have another one. It's too complicated to tell people about let alone potential new partners.

Your cousin had a right to know her boyfriend was a schizophrenic and someone should have told her at the outset.

SardineQueen Sun 10-Jul-11 18:12:52

What an interesting OP.

I think that in any long term relationship, important information should be given, and would be as a matter of course. Serious MH conditions or illnesses, past marriages, children, imprisonment, debt, anything really.

Unfortunately IRL people don't always tell the truth.

I feel for your cousin and think fro what you have posted that his family have behaved appallingly. Yes they should have been keeping a very close eye on things and been open.

JacksonPollocks Sun 10-Jul-11 18:31:21

Glad someone with an MH issue responded. I've had a lot of 'it's right to privacy' kind of comments.

BreastmilkDoesAFabLatte Sun 10-Jul-11 18:46:15

What a sad situation all round. I really feel for your cousin, and the ex too.

Certainly, I think that in any healthy relationship there should be the reciprocity of an equal level of self-disclosure, and it seems that his lack of openness has created a power imbalance. But I think I'm coming down on the 'right to privacy' side of the fence. A history of mental health issues does not necessarily make a person potentially abusive as a partner in a relationship. It sounds as though your cousin would have needed quite a lot of care and support from family and church and friends in managing whatever relationship she was in...

AlpinePony Sun 10-Jul-11 18:51:09

I told my bf that I was BPD before it got serious. At that point he told me he'd been in prison.

I just need to pluck up the courage to tell him about my 6 ex-husbands and those pesky kids 'o' mine! wink

burgerclub Sun 10-Jul-11 18:55:23

I have bipolar disorder and it wouldn't occur to me to try and keep it a secret from a potential partner. I hate the fact that I have to do the big reveal, because there IS a stigma attacted to mental illness and you never know how someone is going to react; I also feel that my condition is extremely well controlled and I feel self conscious knowing that I might be judged or viewed as "other" once I've disclosed. I feel that I am, by and large, "normal."

Because I have a mental illness myself, I don't really know how I'd feel if a partner failed to mention their own mental health issues during the first few months of a relationship. On the one hand, I can entirely relate to not wanting to talk about it; on the other hand, given that I am always very open about my status I don't think there's be much of an excuse for them to keep theirs a secret.

FabbyChic Sun 10-Jul-11 18:58:15

When your behaviour affects others in a way that is not considered the norm it is an absolute given that someone should know.

Specifically if you are going to live with that person and carry on a very close relationship.

You don't have to tell everybody, but you do have to tell those closest to you because it will be those that are most affected by it.

BabyDubsEverywhere Sun 10-Jul-11 19:00:06

I dont think its fair to to hold back this information to anyone whom it may effect.

I have BiPolar, at times my behaviour has been dangerous. When DH and I were getting together i was at the height of a manic period. I got the diagnosis whilst we were together, after the birth of our second child. Im lucky in that although i have changed immensly during our relationship he has changed with me and accepted the limits my condition puts on our lives. Like Fabby, if anything were to happen to this relationship I wouldnt bother with another guy. Its just too much. My dh has never faltered, but i know someone knew wouldnt be able to put up with 'my ways'.

Id never tell someone new about my condition unless they absolutly had to know. Im dreading explaining to my children, young yet so have a while, but it will still have to be done.

He has been very unreasonable, but your cousin sounds like she needs more protection than she is getting from the rest of her family. She clearly cant handle a relationship. Is there no way to expand her friendship base with like minded people in secure settings instead?

BabyDubsEverywhere Sun 10-Jul-11 19:02:13

Bugger me, ignore my post completely. Not that you would be able to understand it with all those errors blush

CurrySpice Sun 10-Jul-11 19:07:20

BabyDubs I was just about to say how lovely your post was. |Y|ou sound lovely and your DH wounds like a wonderful man

YANBU - he should have told her. But now you know, it all makes sense?

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