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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?

YesterdayI Sun 03-Nov-13 12:21:38

You need to be practical about this. This man is not good partner material. I would finish the relationship.

It's not your responsibility to rescue this man, you are responsible for doing what is best for your children (and yourself).

Of course, you should feel sorry for him and be sympathetic to his MH issues but that doesn't mean you are obliged to date him.

YesterdayI Sun 03-Nov-13 12:23:00

You don't need to overthink this one. I think you know what you need to do.

Junebugjr Sun 03-Nov-13 12:28:13

Red flags, red flags!!
You are not responsible for other people's mental health OP. just reading about how he wants to cuddle up on the sofa while you don't say anything to upset him, is sending all sorts of bells off. Just because someone has MH isdues, doednt mean they cant be a controlling prick. He sounds like he wants a mummy/carer rolled into one.
Dump and move on, you need a partner in life, not another job.

CalamityKate Sun 03-Nov-13 13:33:10

Oh god dump dump dump!

I couldn't be doing with any of the nonsense you describe. Life's too short it certainly will be for him if one day he gets careless with his etchings and nicks an artery to be tippy toeing round sensitive fragile attention seeking flowers.

Beastofburden Sun 03-Nov-13 14:18:02

This is a difficult point to make..

You have suffered with poor MH. He is clearly still very fragile.

I am not saying that MH issues are a reason for people to be rejected as partners- but can u please think about whether your DC would benefit from being exposed to another period of mental illness in their family?

FreeAtLastAtLongLast Sun 03-Nov-13 14:37:41

The fb statuses sound quite manipulative. I think your instincts are screaming at you, and you need to listen to them. Honestly I think his MH could drag you under. Being made to feel responsible for someone's very fragile MH would make anyone feel very anxious and also very resentful, and given your recent difficulties you need to walk away.

paxtecum Sun 03-Nov-13 14:38:43

OP: you are not responsible for keeping this man healthy.

However, you are responsible for your DCs and yourself.
You and them must come first, so dump him.

OTheHugeManatee Sun 03-Nov-13 17:29:40

Run for the hills, OP. You are not responsible for this man's mental health. It sounds like a massively unhealthy dynamic. Get the hell out, then - if you want to - support him as a friend. But feeling obliged to spend 'date' time with someone because you're worried they'll self-harm if you don't? That is not the basis for a healthy long-term relationship.

FreeAtLastAtLongLast Sun 03-Nov-13 17:41:39

This thread worries me. At best, this relationship is oppressive. OP you're effectively being held to random by his SH hmm

heartlessbitchface Sun 03-Nov-13 18:20:59

TBH, I think the anger was self-preservation kicking in to try and stop me going down with him. This morning I had my first time to myself in weeks, and surprised myself by spending most of it in tears and feeling completely overwhelmed.

I've told him I'm taking some time for myself, and that I'll be in touch when I'm up to it. I need to get my head in order before I can tackle the situation any more.

FreeAtLastAtLongLast Sun 03-Nov-13 18:28:01

Regardless of whether it is intentional or not, he is taking you to breaking point. Some of us are more easily carried there than others.

If I was you I'd tell him you have too many problems, don't mention his at all. Delete him on fbook, because he may well up the ante.

Are you worried about the aftermath at work? If everyone knows about his frankly severe SH, you only need to explain that it was the night of your first date sad

heartlessbitchface Sun 03-Nov-13 18:32:08

Yep, definitely worried about the aftermath at work.

Objection Sun 03-Nov-13 18:34:08

His other behaviour smacks of an emo-teenager, which would make me very confused

However self-harming is an addiction, just like any other. I'm now 22, as stable as I'm ever going to get and even despite this I have to FIGHT the urge to self harm when shit goes down. I don't. But it's hard.

The self harming sounds the least of his issues

FreeAtLastAtLongLast Sun 03-Nov-13 18:55:30

Seriously, his actions straight after your first date speak volumes.

heartlessbitchface Sun 03-Nov-13 22:11:35

It's good to hear your perspective, Objection, as I hadn't really thought about self harming from the addiction angle. From what I understand, he hadn't harmed himself in years but the stuff that went on with his mate dying/landlord & house trouble, etc. just mounted up and triggered it again.

Or maybe it was actually the date with me that triggered it. Maybe I'm just a really, really horrendous kisser and he'd rather kill himself than have to face it again. Perhaps I should just refrain from dating...

Fishandjam Sun 03-Nov-13 22:28:36

calamitykate, I wonder if someone you love will ever suffer from poor mental health, and if you'll refer to them as a "sensitive fragile attention seeking flower"? hmm

OP, you do need to end it, of course. Please don't then feel responsible if he does anything really stupid; it's not your responsibility to keep him on an even keel. He needs professional help. Does your workplace have any kind of health cover which could offer counseling etc? (Mine does, which is why I ask.)

TrumptonVandal Sun 03-Nov-13 22:49:15

God, dump immediately! Regardless of any issues with HIM, if you're overwhelmed and in tears, that alone is plenty reason to bin him! Please do it tonight, get out, and stay out. No Skype, texts, windy walks. End it.

heartlessbitchface Mon 04-Nov-13 23:15:32

Well, I pretty much told him that we both have too much shit on our plates to deal with at the moment, and that as a result we're both causing each other a lot of stress-- and that we needed to concentrate on sorting ourselves out before trying to see each other.

It hasn't gone well. I feel like a fucking shitbag.

ProphetOfDoom Mon 04-Nov-13 23:17:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

heartlessbitchface Mon 04-Nov-13 23:17:31

I logged out of facebook, and plan to stay off there for a while.

TrumptonVandal Mon 04-Nov-13 23:39:05

Ohhhh good for you! What you have done us nothing less than a brave act of self love!

D'you know, you've been on my kind all day and I was very much hoping to see an update like this. You sound very string and sensible. Cut this dead. Now you're out, stay out, and look forward to a happier, simpler, more stable life. By binning him you just got a whole lot closer to contentment. X

tallwivglasses Tue 05-Nov-13 00:22:47

I've been lurking heartless - you did the right thing, well done.

Caitlin17 Tue 05-Nov-13 01:41:03

I agree with the poster who said you sound scared, not heartless. Your priority is you and your children. This man, if it goes further, is going to be very hard work for little if any benefit.

You have no obligation to him other than when ending it doing so in as painless a way as possible.

I don't have a Facebook account and don't follow any one else. I don't understand why he would post the sort of stuff you mention . I don't really know what the point of Facebook is, but I'd be very wary of any one who put." I just want the pain to stop" That sounds awfully attention seeking rather than a real cry for help.

SayCoolNowSayWhip Tue 05-Nov-13 07:21:20

Sounds like you did the right thing OP. As others have said, his mental state is not your responsibility. He's a grown man and needs to take steps to sort himself out rather than using you as a crutch, especially when you have your own issues.

CalamityKate I find your trivialisation of self-harming offensive and rude.

cory Tue 05-Nov-13 09:17:13

The good news is: you don't have any responsibility to be in any relationship that you don't happen to feel you want to be in.

This was a new potential relationship; it's not as if you had been married for years. You have no responsibility for him.

This means you don't have to justify yourself, you don't have to tell yourself (or him) how bad his MH issues are, or how unacceptable his FB'ing is, or indeed anything at all. You don't have to put yourself through exhausting anger because you don't have to feel any guilt. "I don't feel this relationship is right for me" is all the information that is needed.

He is not your responsibility.

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