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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?

TrumptonVandal Wed 06-Nov-13 20:20:33

I'm sorry you've had a hard time of it but I think your initial post was very harsh - clearly your own experience might make reading threads like this a sensitive issue for you and that's understandable but your initial post sounded to me like you're very uptight - and therefore a "knicker ironer."smile

heartlessbitchface Thu 07-Nov-13 16:58:28

I got a voicemail from him at lunchtime (must have been out of signal area while I was at work, so I don't know when he actually called.).

The message said he had taken an overdose and been in hospital since Tuesday. And that he loves me.

No idea WTF to do now.

Howlsmovingcastle Thu 07-Nov-13 17:08:12

Oh, God. That is awful.

He is not your responsibility. You do not need to do anything, even though it may feel that way now. He's in the hospital, he is being taken care of. You can acknowledge that you've received the text if you like, but otherwise DO NOT ENGAGE.

spindlyspindler Thu 07-Nov-13 17:34:31

This is not something that you can fix so don't feel that you have to. If you're concerned about him but don't want to engage directly at this point, are there any mutual friends you can speak to?

YouTheCat Thu 07-Nov-13 17:37:36

If he is in hospital then hopefully he will get the help he needs there.

heartlessbitchface Thu 07-Nov-13 17:38:02

Shit, he would have been better off if he had never met me. I'm going to go ahead and go with the assumption that my username is correct and IWBU to get pissed off with him.

YesterdayI Thu 07-Nov-13 17:38:59

I would reply that you are sorry to hear that and that you hope he gets the help he needs. Then I would block his number.

EldritchCleavage Thu 07-Nov-13 17:43:46

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

The way the relationship is functioning is that he calls all the shots because he is the vulnerable one. it is very skewed and from what you've said he seems not to take account of your other responsibilities-children, job etc. This is very hard on you and not sustainable. I think you need to protect your own recovery, and your children by stepping out of the situation.

Do not stay out of fear of what he will do. That makes you a hostage to his condition.

Howlsmovingcastle Thu 07-Nov-13 17:57:02

Yes, say what Yesterday1 has advised.

ILoveAFullFridge Thu 07-Nov-13 18:52:09

Maybe he would have been better off not going out with you. That still does not make his mental health your responsibility. YWNBU.

Imagine he had asked you out and you refused, saying that you both had a lot on your plates, and that you needed to sort yourself out before thinking about any relationships. How would you have responded then to news that he had SHd 20mins later, or was in hospital after an OD 2days later? Would you have felt anything other than fleetingly responsible? Would you have felt you were being a bitch not to go out with him because of his issues?

Or would you have felt he was trying to emotionally blackmail you? Because that's what it is: blackmail.


ProphetOfDoom Thu 07-Nov-13 19:11:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Thu 07-Nov-13 19:44:49

OP you are not responsible for this mans feelings and actions.

Fwiw even in my worst times I have never ever blamed someone to their face for my self harm. I do understand that I self harm because I can't cope with things. That someone who treats me like shit (which you are not doing to him btw!) then that's shit, but shit happens and my reaction is up to me and if that's self harm then it's my fault.

OP you do not need this man in your life making you feel like this. Please speak to a friend in real life about it or a counsellor or someone that can support you properly.

heartlessbitchface Thu 07-Nov-13 19:55:04

I feel really shit for our co-workers too. He took the overdose on Tuesday, and they found out when he didn't come in for his shift that night. But they weren't allowed to tell me anything, so they had to wait for me to find out on my own before they could say anything.

spindlyspindler Thu 07-Nov-13 20:29:57

No, look, you really mustn't feel that this is your fault or that he would have been better off if he'd never met you. It's his deal, not yours. It is not unreasonable to want to take things slowly. It's not unreasonable for you not to want to be responsible for his happiness after a few months of seeing each other. And even if you were being unreasonably cold and heartless, you show me one adult currently alive who hasn't at some point wanted to be in a relationship with another person who made it brutally clear that they didn't feel the same.

This is not about you wanting space, even if he thinks it was. He was already on a downward spiral - he cut himself after a lovely first date, look. My bet is that this was in the works whether he'd met you or not. I don't know whether he did this as a form of emotional blackmail, and it doesn't matter. This relationship is not for you right now. You have your children to think of, you have a demanding job, you have your own mental health (which has taken a few knocks itself in the past) to think about. And he is kidding himself if he thinks a girlfriend is going to solve his problems with sustained professional/medical help.

spindlyspindler Thu 07-Nov-13 20:30:54

* "without sustained professional/medical help", obviously

dietcokeandwine Thu 07-Nov-13 20:54:59

OP can only reiterate what others have said. This man is not your responsibility, his actions are not your fault, his MH issues are his to deal with and his alone. I hope he is getting the help he so desperately needs.

You made a sensible decision and you communicated that to him fairly and sensitively. You have to prioritise your own health and happiness, and the health and happiness of your DC. From what you have written about this man he could have had a seriously negative impact on all of you. You have done absolutely the right thing.

What yesterday suggests sounds like an ideal way to proceed.

CalamityKate Thu 07-Nov-13 23:14:33

You are not responsible for him.
And exactly what YesterdayI said.

ILoveAFullFridge Thu 07-Nov-13 23:15:33

Everyone feels awful when a co-worker does something like this. It's natural. And it's natural to feel that there should be something you can do or should have done. Or should not have done. If you felt nothing, then, maybe, you really would be being a heartlessbitchface.

But that's all they are: feelings. Not facts. Not obligations. Assess them and decide which ones make real sense. Be guided by the ones that bring you strength, not drain you and drag you downwards.

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