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When does jealousy become a MH issue?

(146 Posts)
opalescent Sat 27-Jul-13 10:28:12

So much has happened, but I don't have the energy to give a full overview, but here are the bare bones.
Dp suffers with extreme jealousy, and I have a feeling that it has been a feature of his previous relationships too. He particularly obsesses over the past (as in, my previous partners etc.), and gets into terrible vile moods on a regular basis, where he makes the house environment unbearable. Generally these moods will culminate in a huge row, where I tell him how untenable this is, threaten to leave, and he becomes remorseful, we make up, and things return to (an uneasy) normality.
His jealousy creeps into all aspects of our life, and when I think about it, I have modified my life in so many ways to fit around it. I'm frightened of the future, and feel stifled.
I don't know who I am anymore, I feel full of self doubt.
Aside for this issue, we are incredibly close and intimate. He is a committed and supportive partner, and a lovely dad to our baby.
He's had counselling. It helped at the time, then wore off.
He can be nasty and verbally abusive when he's in the grip of an 'episode'.
I've lost all my confidence.
We are so financially entwined sad
I don't know what to do, but would appreciate your thoughts...

shotofexpresso Wed 31-Jul-13 11:19:05

I thinks its interesting that someone is on here with the same problem,

good on you for getting help.

has he had alot of rejection in the past?
I have done something similar to CBT recently, and the things that cropped up quite a few times was rejection. Which of course then leads to jealousy and can make relationships a struggle because of the rejection being so deep.
I just thought I would mention that I know men and women are different but rejection can cause so many things.
I wouldn't class it as mental health though, just a problem that can be solved if willing to go to something like CBT or counselling.

opalescent Wed 31-Jul-13 15:55:05

Hoopers I wondered about bpd. I also wondered about OCD, because he describes having repetitive intrusive images and thoughts of me being with another person. How is this affecting you and your relationship?

HoopersGinger Wed 31-Jul-13 18:29:19

It's pretty much made me disengage from him. I loved him very much but the nice times in between have just become me waiting for the next onslaught. I thought we'd made a breakthrough once when I asked him how he feels about everything in general during these bouts. He replied that he hated everything, not just me. He has said dreadful things, like I deserved what I got from my abusuve ex because I stayed with him and had 2 children and I must have been in it for the money. That makes me a whore. That I am "a skank" because my other children have a different father. That I might have invented the whole abuse thing because he only has my word for it.

There is a list I have in my head of things I can't mention. My ex, obviously, my CSA claim, the car I used to drive, the house I used to live in, my travels of years back because that was with another ex.
When he is on one he just comes out with horrible things. He is relentless and shows no compassion. He says the demons get in his head and at times is completely possessed by thoughts of me with my ex, that he is second choice and second best.

HoopersGinger Wed 31-Jul-13 18:36:35

Sorry, that was long but you did ask smile the breakthrough I thought we made was when I explained this cyclical thinking wasn't normal. Everyone has off days but his whole world view seemed to disintegrate, which I believe is a trait of BPD. He agreed, said he needed help. He went to a GP. A couple of weeks later he used it against me. I was the fuck up who had messed up my life. He didn't need help, and how dare I fucking force him to see a doctor and convince him he was mental! He does seem to hate himself after saying vile things, but to the extent I have to take it all on board, move on and not rub his face in it. Kind if gets him off scot free. I haven't caught up with the thread so I will check how things are your end.

opalescent Wed 31-Jul-13 21:00:31

That all sounds very familiarsad
I realise this will sound a little amusing coming from me but...why do you stay with him?!
For me I think it's a combination of
A) knowing how good things can be
B) not wanting to turn everything upside down
Things are settled here for now, I'm trying to figure out what to do next.
Does your dp focus on one particular person or event in your past? Mine does.

HoopersGinger Wed 31-Jul-13 21:59:18

Because when I have broke up he starts texting me, phoning me and twice just turns up and waits on my doorstep. I think I am waiting till he ends it again and I can walk away. Strange thing is, now he has succeeded in pushing me so far away, he seems to be on his best behaviour. On the face of it everything has looked good for months. I feel like it is me who is stringing him along. When I feel my old feelings if love for him I dampen them down quick. It's sad. Do you recognise that feeling?

opalescent Wed 31-Jul-13 22:10:40

I recognise it so well.
Do you, like me, always think 'ok, NEXT time that's DEFINITELY it.... He'll do something soon, and then I'll end it on the spot'.
I have thought that so many times and not followed through. He has a very manipulative way of painting events to look much less serious or abusive than they were. Each time I think 'stay firm!! Remember how horrible he has been. But when he goes back to normal that feeling seems to melt away so fastsad
He is also very clever at recalling events to sound like we were both at fault. And he'll refer to incidents as 'rows' when in fact they were simply him being vile, and me reacting to that.

joanofarchitrave Wed 31-Jul-13 22:22:10

'ok, NEXT time that's DEFINITELY it.... He'll do something soon, and then I'll end it on the spot'

This I recognise.

With regard to his 'recall' of events, I used to wish that there was an impartial 'marriage judge' who would watch film of us together and say 'that was reasonable....that was joan's fault... that bit was normal...that bit was just not normal for a marriage'. That's why I loved that reality show there was years ago where a counsellor and a divorce lawyer used to watch footage of couples at home...

IMO writing events down can help... before the argument happens. Watch yourself writing down every bit of an interaction, what happened and what was said, and what you felt, about a perfectly ordinary conversation that YOU KNOW ALREADY will cause him to go batshit. Then when he rewrites history you have something to compare it to.

My second husband is psychotic and depressed, by the way. We sure have some bad times but he is NOT abusive. Ever. Marriage is not a treatment for illness, anyway.

HoopersGinger Wed 31-Jul-13 22:51:42

Yes, I do think that's it next time, definitely. But I actually think it will be because recently I just feel detached from him. The thing is, when someone you love suddenly appears to hate you, I think it triggers all kinds of vulnerable feelings. You just want this person to love and approve of you again. Then when they do it's so easy just to carry on. It's easier for me opal, I don't live with my partner. It's a longish distance relationship so I often get 2 weeks air gap. I think that's making us keep going although he would say the opposite. He thinks the distance allows the demons to get to him and if we lived together the problems would end.

farthingwood Wed 31-Jul-13 23:08:12

He sound's like his self esteem is very low.
Codependants anonymous might help him, he probably needs help realising that he is worthy of love and a whole person on his own.
He will be experiencing a lot of pain and suffering if such small things trigger jealousy (one of the most toxic and challenging emotions to deal with IMHO)
CODA meetings are free and have played a major part in my happiness.
Good luck

Apileofballyhoo Wed 31-Jul-13 23:20:08

Marriage is not a treatment for illness, anyway. This.

HoopersGinger Wed 31-Jul-13 23:39:35

Do you think you will end things next time opal? It takes so much energy when you just want to keep your day to day routine for your little one.

onlysettleforbutterflies Thu 01-Aug-13 11:46:23

This is my first post, I was compelled to reply as I went through this exact thing with my DP last year. It’s a long story, but hopefully my experience may help. DP is a jealous person and always has been, but I knew early on what he was like and decided to work with it anyway, as everything else is so right, I could live with that flaw. 6 years down the line his jealousy over stepped the mark, it happened last summer, when our DS was 18 months old, all of a sudden he became obsessed with my past, would question me for hours, search the house for god knows what, call me names, cry uncontrollably, would follow me, turn up at my work, email or text 200 times a day.

I had no idea what was happening or why it had all started, it all came to a head when after a week of screaming/crying he admitted he wanted to kill himself, as he couldn’t get the intrusive thoughts and images out of his head. On the advice of NHS direct I took him to A&E, he came willingly as he had enough insight left to realise that he wasn’t being rational, he was diagnosed with Morbid Jealousy/Orthello Syndrome/delusional disorder, which they believe stemmed from depression, it took 6 months home visits, being off work, treatment and medication – anti-psychotics and anti-depressants, a short spell in the mental health unit and CBT therapy to get him back on track.

It was sheer hell, my life was hell, he doesn’t actually remember any of last summer, but I do, I remember every second and every word spoken, I would say he is now 90% better, I would say I am 60% better, one comment leaning towards jealousy from him and it sends me in to a panic that its all going to start again, I’m hoping in time I will be able to relax a bit more, it is getting better. We have been warned it may return, but at least we’ll know what we are dealing with next time and it won’t spiral like it did, so recovery time will be quicker. People asked me why I was staying with him when he was treating me so awfully, but I knew he was ill and I couldn’t abandon him for being ill. Perhaps this is the difference from your situation, he had never behaved like that before and he knew it was wrong and wanted to get help, if he hadn’t then I may have walked away. This disorder is very serious and very dangerous for the partner – you. I have never been able to work out when it can be classed as an illness or whether it is just that person’s personality, I imagine they are often mistakenly labelled both ways.

Could you print some information off about morbid jealousy for him to read, I did that and he recognised himself in it, which I think helped him accept it was a condition and needed treatment.

I kept a diary of last year, happy to share if it helps anyone, I felt so alone and desperately trawled the net for someone in a similar situation but found no one. I had never been close to anyone with MH problems before and didn’t know what the hell was going on or where to turn to for help. I learnt you have to fight for help though and that it isn’t available or offered easily. Our local MIND office provided the CBT as the NHS was at least a 6 month waiting list and RETHINK were a great support to me.

HoopersGinger Thu 01-Aug-13 12:16:58

Was it a cycle butterflies or did it just kick in and get worse until treatment? So glad he could see beyond it and get help. For yourself maybe you have post traumatic stress disorder if this still triggers anxiety.

onlysettleforbutterflies Thu 01-Aug-13 12:26:51

It just kicked in out of the blue and got worse and worse over a period of four months then started to slowly improve. Yes I think I am suffering the after effects of it all to some extent, it was all so shocking but on the whole we're ok, just trying not to let it over shadow us too much.

HoopersGinger Thu 01-Aug-13 12:33:03

I hope he takes full responsibility for it. I don't mean that harshly as I know he was ill so maybe he can blame the illness. So long as he doesn't blame you at all and you haven't modified your behaviour.

onlysettleforbutterflies Thu 01-Aug-13 12:41:12

He does and he is very apologetic about it all and gets really upset if I tell him something he did at the time, I do tell him things as I want him to know how awful it was, but I try not to do it too much, as then we'll never get past it. Truthfully - yes my behaviour is still slightly modified, but I am learning to let it go and have been pushing myself to do things like I used to, without being scared of potentially 'sending him back there'. It will all take time I guess, he is always encouraging me to do stuff and reassuring me etc.

Sorry I seem to be hi-jacking, hopefully just reading about someone else in a similar position will help OP in some way...

MadameLeBean Thu 01-Aug-13 12:48:45

I have been on both sides of this - for those that are dismissing the ops dh as a waste of energy.

With an ex who was delusionally jealous and paranoid... We went to counselling and I realised how out of touch with reality he was. It wasn't fixable without psychiatric help which he did not want, so I left.

I have also been the unreasonably jealous one in my relationship, feeling panicky after reading about all the cheating husbands on mumsnet, worrying that all men are horrible misogynists after some things in media and at work and unfairly projecting this onto my partner and feeling horrible about perfectly innocent interactions with his female colleagues / friends. The difference is when I get / had these thoughts I knew I was acting crazy. I have employed some CBT techniques to get out of the circular panicky though patterns and it has helped so much. My relationship is so much healthier and happier. I'm really pleased to find out its possible to get out of nasty destructive thinking habits. Cos they are habits and can be changed with the right support.

Good luck op.

HoopersGinger Thu 01-Aug-13 12:53:41

Sorry for hi jacking too. It all does sound so familiar though I don't think my partner wants any help.

onlysettleforbutterflies Thu 01-Aug-13 13:05:33

I guess that is the key and most important thing, you can't get better unless you have insight to realise what you are doing isn't right and that you need help and have to be prepared to do and try anything to get better. For the first month he didn't have that insight, but as he got worse he seemed to realise more that what he was doing was wrong, even though he had no control over it.

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