How can I help my boyfriend understand this madness?!

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Apocalypse Meow
Apocalypse Meow's picture
How can I help my boyfriend understand this madness?!

I'm copying/pasting a portion of my blog entry because it says it all.

He says I'm not trying hard enough. That I don't love him enough to get better. Insists that the only reason he gets so upset is because I'm taking years off my life and he wants me to be around for as long as possible. Calls me a jerk when I binge on his food. I wish he understood the vast complexities of this illness.

I don't know how to help him either seeing how he's such a stubborn ass who immediately shoots down any opinion other than his own regardless of the source. He doesn't have any faith in psychiatry. Thinks all doctors are quacks who convince people that they're fucked in the head when they're not. Doesn't believe that I need the meds I take for my bipolar. That I'm merely dependent on them and I'd do just fine to use holistic methods to regulate my moods. Doesn't believe that I'm bipolar. That the doctors just tell me that. Keep in mind that in the three years we've been together I haven't once experienced a manic episode because, GUESS WHAT, I take my meds religiously and avoid hard drugs.

It's not his fault that he doesn't understand, but his refusal to attempt to understand is. I've talked to him numerous times. It's like talking to an ignorant brick wall. I'm at a loss. i really am.

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on".

FionaN's picture
I don't know what I'd do if

I don't know what I'd do if somebody called me a jerk for binging. I hate that binging and bulimia are seen as such a "weak" ED and have so be tied up with so much shame, when all it is, is a sign that something's wrong. I really don't like that he calls you a jerk or seems to think he knows better about your bipolar.
I had a bit of a hard time accepting that a past boyfriend needed meds for his depression. So I'm just trying to put myself into those shoes again to maybe understand your guy..
I really did hate the idea that things could be so chaotic in his mind, that he was so unhappy, that he needed medication. It kind of scared me, because I didn't know what it meant to be depressed, to be him, depressed. I also did believe that love was the answer, and that if he could work through his past and if we could whole-heartedly love one another, he would be ok.
So I would think that your boyfriend is quite scared of it all. It would hurt a lot if he would have to accept that his girl is so deeply unhappy. So he would rather deny it, play it down or believe it can all be sorted out holistically.
The only thing I don't understand is why his denial is so harsh, ie, calling you a jerk for binging. But I guess denial comes out different for everyone. I would just get sad and quiet having to see that boyfriend taking his meds or getting into very dark moods.

Maybe you can ask him why he is so in denial? Is he afraid of the truth?
And maybe you can explain that taking meds doesn't mean that you're some drugged up different person. I mean, a diabetic taking insulin also gets a positive effect on their moods because they're simply happier because they're healthier! I don't know about the brain chemistry of bipolar disorder..but maybe you can explain it like with depression; a shortage or blockage or serotonin..and so it's supplemented, or however(again I'm not really familiar with the facts).

As for the bulimia..has he never experienced comfort eating? Has he ever restricted his diet and found to have huge cravings? ( I hate that most guys have it so much easier around food!!) Bulimia is basically this, but on a larger scale.

And is he not aware of the huge pressure there is these days to be thin? And how easy it is to believe that the reason we're unhappy and people don't treat us right is because we're not "thin enough" and so that quest begins..?

Though of course, if he's still all denying, he prob won't want to understand all this. So maybe first ask him if he even want to understand you. And tell him, like he did to you..that if he loved you enough, he would want to..and he'd want to support you. And he sure wouldn't resort to calling you a jerk just because he wasn't brave enough!!

missdawes's picture
Hello woodsie. I have a

Hello woodsie. I have a feeling that there's nothing you can do. I'm not sure that he would hear you if you explained, and I not sure he'd want to hear if you explained. That's not me dissing him... it's just that people hear when they are ready. Not before. You could tell your BF until you are blue in the face - that "trying" to not be Bulimic isn't possible. He'll hear it when he believes it, not before.

As for holistic methods. I think he is right. You know that I too am bipolar, and am medicated. And have had time in hospital. Your BF is right - you can manage your moods without medication. If... you... don't... have... a... co-morbid... illness. If you and I were *just* bipolar, and we had nice stress-free lives, we could take our supplements, have our weekly reflexology treatment, doing our morning meditation, eat our mood-food diet, do our non-excessive exercise 4 times a week, get our 8 hours sleep/night, sit in front of our lightbox for 45mins each day in Winter, have a sauna and sunbed twice a week in Winter. Yep, and we would be pretty stable mood-wise. However, add a drug addiction, or an alcohol dependence, or an eating disorder - well, then you can just forget it.

Cos I've tried. I really really really have. I have done all of the things above. And I swear it was literally a full-time job. And the moment you get stressed or over-tired or sick (flu) then it all comes tumbling down... and your ED gets a grip. And that means you don't eat properly, you are throwing up/shitting out your supplements, you don't get 8 hours proper sleep, you stop going to the gym, you don't go to your therapy sessions cos you don't want the therapist to see you fat/bloated. You BF is right, but if you didn't have an ED you might be able to control your bipolar without meds. But with an ED you haven't a chance.


scarlet dahlia
scarlet dahlia's picture
Look Woodsie, your boyfriend

Look Woodsie, your boyfriend is not going to change until he lets himself. My previous ex-boyfriend has a vague idea of what I've been going through the past two years (the b/ping really took full force at the end of our relationship), and even though we're friends, he's still an asshole about it. He thinks it's something that can be overcome with reasoning (what an ASS). He thinks it's something that will go away, "if I make it happen," as if there were one path to take, and all I have to do is take it and relieve myself. Whatever. It's so complex.

Our ED is something that requires either experience or a great level of empathy to understand. Your boyfriend lacks empathy. He lacks the willingness to practice empathy. My ex never understood me no matter how clear I tried to be. Even now, on the phone, he purposely says things he knows trigger me, and laughs, even when I tell him, "Hey, I'd appreciate it if you didn't say that because it really triggers me," or "those comments really push buttons in me that I'm trying to eliminate," but he just thinks it's funny.

Look. A person like this requires deep psychiatric help himself. He suffers from lack of empathy, possibly aggressiveness, impatience, and lack of social/relationship skills. Are you qualified to help him so that he can help you? No. You need all your strength for your self-healing. Is it fair that you must continually be bombarded with his painful remarks, beliefs, and behavior? No. You can't afford to have that from another person.

I ditched my ex two years ago because I knew if I didn't, I'd never start my healing process. I would have been better off if I'd cut him out of my life long before I did. I suggest you evaluate what's best for you, without the bias that you must remain in this relationship.

It is the animate earth that speaks. Human speech is but a part of that vaster discourse. --David Abram, "Spell of the Sensuous"

lolawants's picture
I don't think there is anyway

I don't think there is anyway to help him understand it either... It seems like he's pretty committed to NOT understanding it, which sucks for you. I can imagine that makes your efforts at recovery way harder. Seriously, it's really difficult even when you do have support.

Progress, not perfection, is my goal.

Apocalypse Meow
Apocalypse Meow's picture
Oh guys, you're all right and

Oh guys, you're all right and it saddens me so much. I was naively hoping that someone would have advice that could offer me a shred of hope.

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on".

laryssa's picture
I'm not sure if you have this

I'm not sure if you have this where you live, but have you ever heard of Al-Anon? It's a support group for relatives of people with addictions (alcoholism, drugs, sex, gambling, internet, eating disorders, whatever.)
It can be really helpful for people stuck in that helpless, desperate situation of watching someone they love destroy themselves.
I have recommended it to some of my loved ones and it is a huge benefit.

-- Laryssa

scarlet dahlia
scarlet dahlia's picture
I understand where you are,

I understand where you are, really. Near the end of my previous relationship, I felt like I had no energy to break it and move on. I was confused, felt lost, felt hopeless. But I knew that my ex had built shackles around me, and that I had no choice. His lack of empathy and ability to understand my disorder was abusive. I don't know if you've ever considered it that way.

I don't believe we are saying our opinions to make you lose hope. In fact, to do otherwise we would be giving you false hope. Someone who truly loves you would not behave in the way that your boyfriend is, or he'd be openly willing to change. I don't know about the other people who've commented, but I am giving you a piece of my similar experience and am using that experience as basis for my opinions. There is hope in finding your independence. It is liberation.

But remember, we are just giving our own opinions. Most likely, we've never met you or your boyfriend, so we lack information. It is ultimately up to you to make those decisions that are best for you.

It is the animate earth that speaks. Human speech is but a part of that vaster discourse. --David Abram, "Spell of the Sensuous"

scarlet dahlia
scarlet dahlia's picture
Abuse can come in the form of

Abuse can come in the form of undermining you, your feelings, and denying your needs and rights.

It is the animate earth that speaks. Human speech is but a part of that vaster discourse. --David Abram, "Spell of the Sensuous"

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