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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / I believe that my partner may be suffering from psychotic episodes

Topic: I believe that my partner may be suffering from psychotic episodes

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. Tony46
    Tony46 avatar
    3 posts
    29 August 2021

    We have been together for 4 years and are moving to living together more permanently next year. Her last partner of well over 20 years was unfaithful so there has been some insecurity issues around other women. I haven't dealt with these issues in previous relationships so I have just tried to be patient and supportive of her during these times. We work together. These issues have been become more frequent this year as my partner has become obsessively focussed on a work colleague. She is sure that we are having secret meetings and that worries that something big is looming. She is now hearing voices in the room next to her believing that it is proof of this secret relationship. It doesnt matter how much proof that I give her (the female colleague being absent from work that day for instance) she will not believe. Many more (now daily) examples of her fantasies that we are meeting secretly. My workspace is highly regulated with camera and 'sign in' and so proof of where i am is easy to come by. She turns into a different person when she has these episodes . I have been able to talk her down to calm until recently but they have become more frequent (daily now). I believe that the latest these episodes started 4 months ago when she was under significant family pressure (although they did exist before but far less frequently). I have encouraged her to do some counselling around trust issues (would like to do couples counselling but she finds this too confronting) but since now she is hearing voices I am worried that she needs greater assistance. Her personality challenges radically when she has an episode, becoming very abusive and irrational. I feel that our relationship is in crisis and would like to do everything that I can save it as she is perfect in every other way. I am very happy to do this journey back to healthy with her but she first needs to recognise that there is something very wrong and secondly needs to seek help.

    I would really appreciate any ideas, reflections or assistance. A good friend of mine (psych) has told me that i should end the relationship now because there are too many worrying signs. She has described the relationship as abusive and manipulative. I understand her advice but am deeply in love with my partner and would like to give her (and us) every chance.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    10350 posts
    29 August 2021 in reply to Tony46

    Dear Tony46~

    Welcome here to the Forum. It is a good step as it allows for perspective from others who see things from the outside, and some of whom may have been in similar situations.

    There is no doubt that unfaithfulness in a 20 year relationship will have injured your partner and made her very much less trusting of everyone. After all when you find that the foundation of your life has dissippeared, and the one person you look to for comfort and support is the cause it does change a person.

    Nevertheless in 4 years wiht the supportive person you are some sort of settling down could have been expected, even if trust was never whole.

    Unfortunatly things seem to have gone in the other direction with unfounded suspicions becoming more frequent and now the hearing of voices. If it was me I'd feel htat I was in over my head trying to deal with all this. Not to say my love would not continue but I'd see your partner really does need professional help.

    Now this can be difficult. Perhaps you can talk her into seeing a GP and relating how she feels with a view to psychiatric treatment. If not is there anyone else in her life she respects who could persuade her? From the sound of it that may be the only way for things to improve, your own efforts getting increasingly effective.

    While I can sort of understand your friend's view that you should part, that's not easy when you love someone and want the best for them and frankly her conduct sounds deluded rather than abusive and manipulative from your description.

    So what do you think your chances are of her getting medical treatment?

    While I'm asking questions you are going though a particularly stressful and worrying time at the moment. What support do you have? A family member or friend you can speak with frankly and lean on - it mkaes a huge difference, if not then a GP for yourself may be able to make sensible suggestions.

    I hope to talk with you again

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Isabella_
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    Isabella_ avatar
    119 posts
    30 August 2021 in reply to Tony46

    Hi Tony,

    Thank you for sharing this with us. This is a really complex situation. I'm sure it must be very hard for you to see your partner during these episodes, dealing with the fact that she has little trust in you when it comes to loyalty. It is never okay to endure abuse from your partner.

    I think it's really amazing that you want to help her, and it really sounds like she needs professional help. It's important for you to realise that you can provide as much evidence as you want, but bottom line this goes beyond her ability to be rational, these are unfounded delusions that she truly believes. From the stress and betrayal that she has gone through, it sounds like these things have piled up overtime and her mental health it suffering.

    Have you brought up the idea of therapy with your partner when she isn't having an episode? What are her thoughts around it? How does she respond to you when you tell her how worried you are? When you manage to calm her down, what does she say and how does she react afterwards?

    I can understand where your friend is coming from. Having to endure daily abuse from your partner for whatever reason is extremely unhealthy. This is not a reflection of yourself, and I'm sure your partner is a good person, however sadly mental health issues can warp our feelings and behaviours very negatively. I think it's important for you to know that you can be there to support your partner, but she needs to take the steps to get better in order for your relationship to continue.

    Does your partner know how this is affecting you? How does she respond? Perhaps if she realises the affect on you, she will be more willing to take the steps to do couples counselling, or perhaps make the decision to seek professional help for herself.

    I think it's amazing that you want to help and support her, and I want to remind you that your health is extremely important in the process. It can be easy to pick up all the weight for your partner to get better, but in the end it's up to her. I really hope that she takes the steps she needs to get better, and that both of you can move forward in your relationship. As amazing as your partner may be, you shouldn't have to endure abuse just because she's unwell.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Tony46
    Tony46 avatar
    3 posts
    30 August 2021 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix and Isabella

    Thank you for your very generous replies and advice. I will try to address your questions in regard to this perplexing situation.

    My partner is a very private person and so suffers in silence. She is a shoulder for others but does not afford herself the same luxury. I wish that she would share more with others who could perhaps give her some perspective. Sure hasn't shared much of her initial counseling sessions but I get the impression that she has totally avoided the main issue of trust. Getting her to face this deamon in a professional help setting will be a challenge. I feel that I would almost need to attend this session in order to direct the conversation. Because she doesn't share with others it seems that there is little personal accountability for her actions.

    I have a counselor that I have just started with that I can speak with each fortnight. But yes the accusations and upset have taken a huge toll.

    She toggles between partially acknowledging her obsession to denying this and blaming me for the entire situation. She quickly changes the focus of our conversations if she is caught out to other instances saying that they can't all be wrong. She tells me that her intuition (regardless of what can be proven) is correct. She uses labels that she would use to describe her ex husband, to describe my perceived behaviour like dodgy liar

    I have been encouraging her to see a counselor for about 12 months. She finds this experience upsetting and uncomfortable (she hasn't done this Mental Health journey before). I think that she needs to speak with someone who can assist her to seek proper medical advice. I agree that she has become delusional but when confronted she replies that I am not crazy. I understand that these situations are real for her but they are not reality.

    We a currently having a break (haven't spoken for 10 days). As we are not working from site, I'm hoping that there will be less triggers for her and that she may be able to settle. Episodes have occurred several times per week of late and it had been exhausting for both of us.

    She does understand that this is her journey but she is suspicious that I am just"messing" with her and that everything that she has perceived is real. She sees me as untrustworthy. I am absolutely heartbroken that my beautiful partner sees me as the worst in the world. We were so close and had such an amazing deep/trusting connection.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    10350 posts
    31 August 2021 in reply to Tony46

    Dear Tony46~

    Thanks for coming back and explaining more. I'm very glad you have some professional support and also htat you are having a break.

    To be constantly distrusted erodes everything and for me at least could not be a permanent situation. I'd also think , as Isabella pointed out, that no mount of rational argument is going to change things.

    It really is a matter that has to be dealt with by medical professionals, and willingly at that. your own abilities simply cannot do the job when dealing with someone who sees a different and toxic world.

    May I ask what your plans are now?

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  6. Tony46
    Tony46 avatar
    3 posts
    31 August 2021 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    Thankyou for your thoughts and advice. My plans are to keep searching for a solution as long as there is a possible future for us together. I'm hoping that our time apart might curb these episodes and give her some space to reflect on what is real and what isn't. I'm hoping that her need for our strong connection and intense love might drive her to commit more fully to treatment.

    I will do whatever it takes and whatever I can, leaving no stone unturned. She is everything that I have ever wanted in a partner. I would find it very difficult to live in this world and not be with her.

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Isabella_
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Isabella_ avatar
    119 posts
    31 August 2021 in reply to Tony46

    Hi Tony,

    I think that space sounds like a helpful idea. I agree with you - I think when she's unable to lash out at you or have triggers around her, it'll give her the opportunity to self reflect and put things into perspective. It seems her distrust has many layers to it, even when it comes to you caring about her health. But I'm sure she'll really miss you when you're both apart.

    It's a shame that her response is "I'm not crazy", because I know that you don't think that of her at all, you're just very worried about her.

    I think despite everything, I'm sure deep down she knows that you're there for her and you want to make things work. I think if she truly believed her distrust in you, she wouldn't have the capacity to be rational with you at all.. It seems she's extremely paranoid and anxious, but I don't think she truly believes these things. Perhaps when she's venting to you, she's really just venting about her paranoia and will do anything to find some evidence for it.

    I really wish both of you the best. She's very lucky to have an amazing and caring partner by her side and I'm sure she knows that. I really hope that you both can get back to what you had.

    1 person found this helpful

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