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To feel angry instead of sympathetic? (self-harming)

(118 Posts)
heartlessbitchface Sat 02-Nov-13 21:11:38

This summer, having not that long ago finished a long term relationship, I started seeing a work colleague. TBH, although I really liked the guy, I was wanting to start things casual as friends that might potentially lead into something more. I have two kids and I need time to be focused on them.

He was more "relationship" focused, straight in with the facebook status, dropping by with helpful bits and bobs he came across... I thought it was sweet, if a little hasty. He suffers with depression and anxiety, which didn't worry me too much as he'd been stable in all the time we worked together. I also suffer with long-term depression and anxiety, which I manage with medication.

So we had our first "date", and it was lovely--but 20 minutes after I left, he started self harming and sliced his arms to ribbons. (His mate had died, landlord issues, so lots of stress) I was worried and gutted that he was so upset just moments after we had had such a lovely time. I tried to be supportive, make sure he had people around him and was getting the right support, etc. He did it again, and I felt worried and a little angry. But, after a couple of weeks, he seemed to make real improvements.

Over the last week, it seems to be starting again. On the one hand, he'll text me that he loves me and yet his facebook status will be something like "FML, everything is shit". Maybe it's oversensitive, but I find it a little offensive that his facebook page essentially says "I'm in a relationship with heartlessbitchface, and my life sucks"

I just don't know how to respond to "I just want the pain to stop". There's nothing practical I can do, and I'm finding it really hard to offer the sympathy and comfort that he needs, when I've got two jobs and kids who need me. (He doesn't have any kids) He usually wants to see me one or two nights a week, and since I'm always working when ExP has the kids, it means him coming over when the kids are asleep. So, when he comes over, he wants to cuddle lots and I'm thinking "Dammit, I need to hoover and do some laundry while I've got the chance!"

I'm a naturally sarcastic bitch person, and I'm having to bite my tongue so I don't hurt his feelings. I jokingly told him that he needed to "Man up" and keep going until he could get his meds sorted- and he cried. I try to talk to him about how it's affecting me, and he cuts me off and says "Enough!" The longer it goes on, the more his pained facebook statuses are starting to grate on me.

He asked me if I wanted to sleep over after work, and I told him I was in a bad mood and couldn't be relied upon to play nicely. I think he's really upset, as he hasn't been back in touch. WIBU?

bababababoom Sat 02-Nov-13 22:12:12

I feel really, really sad for this man. It's not an easy position to be in, acting as a "carer" - and the main question to ask yourself is, do you want to be with him in spite of his mental health problems? If not, finish it. now.

If so, then is he getting any professional support? I think he needs an outlet apart from you / facebook / etc - he is unfortunately, through no fault of his own, not able to engage in relationships on an equal basis at the moment. He needs to know that you can and will support him (if you are going to be in his life)...but that you can't "save" him.

It is going to be very unfair for him to hear things like "while he was off work we had to cover his shifts" - would you have said this if he had a chronic physical illness? I know you've had mental health problems of your own, and perhaps you're thinking, "if I can pull myself out of it then so can he" which would be understandable - but for whatever reason, he can't at the moment. He isn't enjoying himself - if he is indeed seeking attention inappropriately, then there is a reason for that.

If you want to be with him, then perhaps relationship counselling would help you gto create the more equal dynamic that you need? If you don't want to be in this relationship, then end it firmly and kindly, whilst encouraging him to seek help.

heartlessbitchface Sat 02-Nov-13 22:12:17

Part of what is upsetting me is that I kind of feel pressured. Like, I wouldn't normally want to be "dating" once or twice a week at this point in my life. But when he asks if he can see me, I don't feel like I can tell him I need space because he'll be upset and paranoid and I'll have added to his stress. Thus, I'm cuddling him when I want to be either sleeping or working.

I do like spending time with him, but it's just so MUCH time, and I don't feel free to choose when he's like this.

And the thing about the facebook statuses "making teeth itch" is bang on. I might post about a specific issue that's worrying me, but the "everything just hurts so much" statuses is another thing. Everyone responds with (hugs) and huns, and to be frank, if I went in for that kind of thing I'd be on Netmums instead of here.

bundaberg Sat 02-Nov-13 22:15:46

i honestly think you need to call it off.
you aren't in the place for a relationship right now, not with him, not with anyone. you don't want to see someone 2 or 3 times a week... but surely most new relationships you'd want to see the other person as much as possible? (or is that just me?)

maybe right now just isn't the time full stop?

you DO need to let him know now though, it'll only get harder. and of course he'll be upset, but it would be worse to carry on and then break it off once you've been seeing each other for a much longer time

Corygal Sat 02-Nov-13 22:16:14

You've got to dump him - you don 't like him enough to help him.

bundaberg Sat 02-Nov-13 22:16:56

i DO think it's really hard for 2 people with mental health issues to have a relationship tbh!
I've been there, done that. didn't work.

heartlessbitchface Sat 02-Nov-13 22:24:15

I'd never say to him "Look, mate, we had to cover your shifts while you were off with stress".

It was just a really shitty time. "Hey, your new boyfriend just cut himself to bits after your first date in 8 years, so when you're finished sitting with him to make sure he's not on his own, how about we add these extra shifts to your already overburdened schedule and see if we can get you to breaking point too!" I'm not mad at him, I know he can't help it. But I am properly FUCKED OFF at the situation.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 02-Nov-13 22:28:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

manicinsomniac Sat 02-Nov-13 22:34:35

I don't know if this helps at all but I used to self harm as a way of dealing with particularly strong emotions - any strong emotions. I didn't know how to process anger, hurt, sadness, excitement or joy and my reaction to all of those feelings was to cut myself until I felt nothing again, which is the feeling I felt safe with.

So, he might have had an amazing time on your date and get real rushes of happiness from being with you but still self harm.

The fb statuses sound really annoying though!

heartlessbitchface Sat 02-Nov-13 22:35:20

The not wanting to see him 2-3 times a week is a red herring. I just don't want to see anybody for that amount of time! I want to spend time with my kids and all my friends and sometimes even be on my own for a bit!

I was in a LTR for many many years, and I was up front that I wasn't looking to rush things. I don't know how it all got to be so dramatic so fast! We've never even had a second date--just him popping over when the kids are in bed.

MatryoshkaDoll Sat 02-Nov-13 22:37:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

heartlessbitchface Sat 02-Nov-13 22:40:24

And I want a second date, dammit! I want to go out and do proper grown up things like see a film that isn't a cartoon or eat food in a place that doesn't involve hippo shaped lunch boxes. I don't want to stay at home and cuddle and not make cheeky comments--not every week, anyway!

MatryoshkaDoll Sat 02-Nov-13 22:44:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HotDogSlaughter Sat 02-Nov-13 22:45:55

You don't need this shit. Don't see this guy again.

thenightsky Sat 02-Nov-13 22:46:26

If someone cuts their wrists after a first date, in my mind it would say you were not compatible.

MatryoshkaDoll Sat 02-Nov-13 22:49:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnyCoffeeFucker Sat 02-Nov-13 22:55:26

SH doesnt sound like you are interested in him at all. One or two nights a week is too much ? Call it a day maybe ?

heartlessbitchface Sat 02-Nov-13 23:01:23

I'm going to have to be open with him about it and tell him it's too much and too fast for me (and my kids) to cope with, aren't I? And try to find a way that won't send him into a tailspin.

Maybe if I get some space for a few days to let the PMT annoyance pass, I'll be able to approach the conversation a little more sensitively.

heartlessbitchface Sat 02-Nov-13 23:19:32

Really, it's not any fault of his that I don't want to see him more than 1-2 times a week, and it doesn't mean I'm not interested. That would go for anybody, at this point. I work two nights each week, and then the kids have dance, karate & girls brigade on other nights, and sometimes they want to have friends for tea or sleepovers as well. I don't have more than 1-2 nights at home in a week and I'd like to be able to socialize with other friends too, or maybe have an evening to myself now and then.

I ring/text/skype/email and facebook on a daily basis, but it's harder to arrange physical dates and I'm often stressing by that point.

Famzilla Sat 02-Nov-13 23:37:43

You're not in a good place for a relationship by the sounds of things. It appears to me you're doing a lot of this because you feel guilty or afraid of what he will do to himself if you don't.

You are not a bad person for not wanting this sort of lifestyle

MusicalEndorphins Sun 03-Nov-13 09:49:02

I think the cons outweigh the pro's in this case.
Good luck.

hackmum Sun 03-Nov-13 10:08:03

thenightsky: "If someone cuts their wrists after a first date, in my mind it would say you were not compatible."

Brutal, yet funny.

To my mind, relationships should be fun, especially at the beginning. If they're not fun at the beginning, what on earth will they be like in five years' time. He sounds terribly needy and really it's not your job to meet those needs. You barely know the guy. So I would call it a day, though I also think he's going to make it hard for you.

Mia4 Sun 03-Nov-13 10:44:31

YANBU OP, good luck.

At the start of a relationship it's meant to be the 'honeymoon period', if it's a stress, strain and worry now then it's only going to get worse.

AlternativeNickname Sun 03-Nov-13 11:17:01

You are not being unreasonable, as the person who has been in your boyfriend's position, i advise you to get out now before you both end up in a real mess.

i self harmed for a long time, i had a long term boyfriend and he stayed with me longer than he should have because of it, it was like blackmail although i never actually said "if you leave me i'll hurt myseld etc". he just felt guilty and scared of being blamed for what i was doing to myself. this man needs help that he wont get by leaning on you, and it wont do you any good to feel responsible for him- you have problems yourself and a family to look after. this is something he needs to deal with himself. his facebook status would suggest he is crying out for attention and help already.

tell him you can't deal with such an intense relationship and you need to concentrate on yourself and your kids. dont let him talk you round.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Sun 03-Nov-13 12:14:11

I say this as someone who has self harmed myself. Get out! Yanbu! You aren't in a place to offer him the support he is demanding from you, he is putting too much pressure on you which is unfair

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 03-Nov-13 12:17:19

It's not your job to be his carer. Dump him already.

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