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NEED HELP...breaking up with someone who self injures

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Old 11-23-2005, 11:59 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 52
tater97531 HB User
Exclamation NEED HELP...breaking up with someone who self injures

sorry this is a long post...i originally posted this under Relationship Help...but please take the time to read it especially if you can relate with self-injury..i could use all the advice i can get

this is the first post:

I have been dating my boyfriend for a few months now. We started out as friends and instantly clicked upon meeting...i love being around him and we both make each other laugh all the time. When I decided to get in a relationship with him I had already accepted that the fact that he could get emotional at times and I felt prepared to handle it.

The main problem in our relationship is his self-confidence. I know he feels like he's not attractive and not a good guy and doesnt think he treats me well. When he's drunk, he's tried multiple times to stop seeing me because he's afraid to hurt me/wear me down. Recently I just found out that he cuts/burns himself at times when he's really overwhelmed with things. I confronted him with this and he explained to me that hurting himself is a way for him to feel better since pain releases endorphins and that it;s more common than i think...apparently 30% of people cut/burn themselves to feel better??? This doesn't seem normal to me.

The other thing is his mood swings. The smallest things will sometimes **** him off and he'll act strange for a short time, then apologize afterwards and say he was being stupid and that he doesnt mean it. Last weekend I had a hell week so to speak as far as school work goes and hadn't gotten much sleep over the past few days. He came to visit me and I told him I needed to get some sleep but for him to come anytime that day. So he gets here, tells me to take a nap and walks around campus while i sleep for awhile...but when he comes back I feel really guilty because he seems sort of mad. Then he'll go back to normal pretty quick.

He also tells me that the physical part of our relationship isnt nearly as important and if it came down to it, he I would stay with me even if he didnt "get any". Yet, last night he went up to one of my guy friends and told him "Hey do you think you can lure Jess (my roomie) out of the room tonight...I want to get some. I mean I already had some semen released but I could use it again". thats gross! why would he say that and tell me differently? he never forces me to do anything and considers my feelings all the time so why would he say that? am i supposed to believe that or him?

My boyfriend basically doesnt talk to anyone about his problems and i cant imagine not talking to anyone about the stuff he goes through/thinks about. hes opened up to me a lot more than he has to most people and i know i have made at least some difference in his confidence level. I think I can take a lot in a relationship, im pretty laid back, and i like this guy....not as much as he likes me but i like him. is it right to stay in a relationship when hes like this? some of this stuff scares me.

Please offer some opinions! I don't have anyone to talk to since I will not violate his trust.

After several responses here's what i wrote:

Thanks for posting guys. I just saw him last night and it felt good to be with him and ive decided itll be best for me to do it next time i see's going to be really hard to do but i know i have to do it...i just hope i say the right things to him and i hope he takes what i say the right way.

ive decided it's not worth bringing up his "semen" comment.

im going to tell him that this is something i really dont want to do but it's something that i have to do because it's best for the both of us. and that he's told me three times that i shouldnt be with him because he will hurt me/bring me down. theres too much emotion involved in a relationship for someone who doesn't know the right way to cope with it. He says he's been progressing/doing better (hes taken steps to help himself...he does yoga, exercises, has a journal) but can he do it without me being his girlfriend? he has to be able to help himself first. slipping up only every once and awhile isnt good enough. i cannot take the place of a therapist, i can help but im not trained. i will be there for him and i will stick by him but he should go to someone, that's the only way to get better. as much as he may think so, people with self-destructive behavior cannot do it alone. i will still be there for him to talk to, help him out.

here's how i think he will react.

i think he will understand my actions and know it was coming and think that it was only a matter of time. however, i feel like he is going to take it personally...think it was his fault...still feel pretty alone because i dont think he will be ready to just be friends with me. (what im afraid of is that he will now talk to no one)
i think he might feel like it was better for him to not have said anything at this case when i talk to him i might add "im glad you told me and it is not the fact of you telling me more about yourself that drove me away". whether he takes that in, who knows.

what do u guys think?

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Old 11-24-2005, 08:03 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 145
barkingshark HB User
Re: NEED HELP...breaking up with someone who self injures

I think the reason he may have said something nasty like that to a male friend of yours as a way of cutting short any prospective competition from the person and I doubt that it has anything to do with his self harm tendencies but rather mostly with male ego.

People who harm themselves are looking for something, perhaps a feeling or maybe a certain type of reaction from themselves or others that they wouldn't ordinarily get otherwise.

You really need to tell him he either stops harming himself cold turkey and gets help for it or you're out of there and you need to mean it. People who harm themselves can stop, although they may say otherwise. Only you can decide if, how, when you should do that.

His lack of self worth or ego in making statements that he will only bring you down indicate a depressive thought pattern. I'm not sure his anger is unwarrented as I don't know the circumstance, however there are mental illnesses which do involve bursts of emotion, Borderline Personality Disorder and sometimes Bipolar although with Bipolar it is much-much less common.

For him to be harming himself something is seriously wrong with his psyche, but I'm not a doctor and my guess is people harm themselves for different reasons and may have different illnesses lingering in the background as a causation factor. Most hide it and never seek help. Even when a doctor tells them they are depressed they refute it so they are hard to help and have to have a reason to stop or simply want to help themselves to make a change for the better.

If you explain you feel certain things are innately wrong and give him the chance to make a decision whether to work to change those things he may change or he may not. You can't force him to change. He has to want to. The only thing you can do is decide whether the positive outweighs the negative or vise-versa and make your personal decisions based off that conclusion.

Without help from a psychiatrist and being willing to put aside his feelings of denial, he won't be able to change as harming one's self stems from mental illness and only medication can alter mental illness. Most people who harm themselves think they are normal and never move beyond that point to get the real help they need.

Old 11-26-2005, 08:48 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 52
tater97531 HB User
Re: NEED HELP...breaking up with someone who self injures

so last night when i tried to break up with him he let me in on a little secret...

he's been seeing a therapist!!

now im even more confused as to what to do

Old 11-26-2005, 11:13 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 145
barkingshark HB User
Re: NEED HELP...breaking up with someone who self injures

When in doubt, ask questions, the old saying goes

A good question to ask is whether it is a therapist, a psychologist or a psychiatrist that he's seeing. The correct and acceptable answer should be psychiatrist. The most common answer a person gives when they don't want to treat a condition medically is they can not afford a psychiatrist, or they are afraid their parents will find out if they go to one. That is a just a way of saying it is out of the question to treat their medical condition. Don't buy that answer, because it is just a crock.

Another good question to ask is whether you can go with him to 'therapy', which is a nice way of asking him to proove it without having to use such harsh words.

One thing you need to understand is his burning himself with cigarettes has nothing to do with his wanting to 'raise his endorphin level'. If he's in pain he would logically do that by taking an asparin or advil like everybody else does. There seems to be a common thread with people who deliberately harm themselves, when they are told they harm themselves because they are depressed, they deny they feel any type of depression. Perhaps they can't recognise the feeling of depression, or like with other serious mental illnesses, they are in denial. A person can never get well as long as they deny any aspect of their problem.

There is nothing wrong with going out with someone who has a mental illness as long as they beleive you when you tell them there is something wrong and that they need help and they heed you when you warn them that it's time for them to take action. Most people who are mentally ill don't want to get help because they don't want to acknowledge to themselves or the people around them that they are ill.

Unless he sees a psychiatrist, the relationship will simply stall and go no where and you will just be a codependant. If he really wants to have a normal relationship with you and move forward with you and life in general he will get the help he needs. And if he won't heed the advice that it's time for a doctor, there is nothing you can do to help him. Some people don't want to get better because they enjoy what they do to themselves. If you read some of the posts here in the forum you will see it is a common thread. They claim they aren't depressed and feel good when they hurt themselves.

Only a real doctor, a psychiatrist can help him because only a psychiatrist can prescribe medicine. If he doesn't want to get better his answer will be either there is no medicine to help it, or he doesn't want to take medicine because the side effects are worse than being sick or worse than what he's doing to himself right now. That is denial.

Only you can decide what to do about the relationship. If the relationship means something to you, take charge and stear him in the direction he needs to go in to get better and be there for him when he needs support.

And a good idea would be to tell him you don't talk the way in which he talked to your friend about having sex, that you find it unacceptable and won't tolerate it. You don't need to be over emotional about it and make it a big speech. Just say it simply and firmly and he will believe you

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