How to support partner with anxiety who pushes you away?

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Hi All,

I'm currently engaged to someone who seems to have a pretty high level of anxiety. We were together almost a year but there was never any indication of his condition. After we got engaged and I was planning to move in (which he was very excited about), he snapped at work one day and hasn't spoken to me since. He broke up with me via email and many things he has told me don't make sense. He says he stopped enjoying life without me, he needed to slow down and I needed to respect his pace. It's been 6 weeks and he hasn't returned a phone call or email ( he is someone who used to contact me throughout the day no matter what). I'm having a hard time distinguishing if this is anxiety (I know he wasn't able to be in the military because of any anixety condition) or if it's more than that. I'm also not sure how to handle because he clearly doesn't want me involved but he doesn't seem to be getting any better on his own. Any thoughts would be helpful.

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  • Posted

    Ruby, darling, if I were your mother, I would say RUN!!  Do not get engaged to someone who is that unstable. This is supposed to be the happiest part of your relationship...and the way things are going, it will be so imagine what is in store for you after the honeymoon stage?.... Just be happy that you have found this out about him before the wedding and not after. Even if he comes back begging at some point, realise that he is not the person you thought he was. Urge him to get help but move on. There are plenty of fish in the sea. This would be the father of your future children. You say many thing he tells you don't make sense. He may be schizophrenic which means he should probably not have children since this frightening condition is genetic. 

    Quite honestly, Ruby, you have one life to live and you want it to be a happy one. Going into a marriage with all the red flags waving is like walking into a spinning propeller.

    I feel as though I am talking to my daughter who is your age...and as if this were happening to her.

    As a matter of fact my daughter was living with a very smart, rather narcissistic, arrogant fellow with a great job and future. I got a certain negative vibe from him but he was my daughter's choice so I did my very best to see only the good in him (it wasn't always easy.) because my daughter loved him. They lived as a couple for 5 years. He started to say very demeaning things to her and that is when I stopped the charade. I gave it to her straight as I have you. 

    Today she is married to a wonderful and kind man. 

    I wish the same for you, Ruby darling. 

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    • Posted

      What a selfish view, in my opinion. If you love someone you should do all you can to help them when they're struggling. Not "RUN!!" How could someone be so insensitive towards a condition that's clearly getting the better of this unfortunate man. He will get through it and having anxiety doesn't make you a bad person or "not the right person" as you said. And for saying things that don't make sense. Just ask him to elaborate? Or explain to him that you do not understand what he is meaning... having anxiety is really hard to deal with and it makes you feel so insecure about yourself as a person that you feel like you need to push people away because you're not good enough to be in their life. It's a lot easier to beat a mental illness if you have a good support system. My boyfriend stuck through it all with me and we are amazing now. Check yourself Robin.

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  • Posted

    This is going to sound really blunt (sorry!), but if he broke up with you 6 weeks ago and hasn't spoken to you since, are you still actually together..? 

    I agree with Robin- move on- plenty more fish in the sea. Not sure if this is just anxiety though. 

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  • Posted

    Totally agree with other posts. it does not sound like anxiety to me. if he was anxious he would be more likely to be overly attached to you, not avoid you.  Move on and find someone more stable. Do not be fooled into thinking that you can 'fix' him. He needs professional help. You need a happy life. Good luck. 
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  • Posted

    Thanks, everyone. Here's a little more background: It's just strange because the problem initially was he was alittle too consumed by the relationship. He stopped enjoying things without me and stopped doing his job because he was more concerned with our wedding. When his employer told him that was unhealthy, he snapped. A couple days later he contacted me saying he needed to step back- he was off balance, didn't feel sane and he needed to slow it down. I agreed and we came up with a new plan. Within 24 hours, he broke up with me in an email. I don't doubt how much he loves me, if anything he was more invested in the relationship than me. When I did show up at his house, he was completely erratic and kept saying I was out to get him. It was certainly not the person I was dating. He kept saying that he was overwhelmed with everything that was going on and his job is being jepordized.

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    • Posted

      The poor man...!  He is obviously suffering from mental illness. It often takes a major stress (being engaged/wedding plans) that pushes a person with a predisposition towards having a serious mental illness...over the brink.  I hope you can urge him or maybe get his family to get him help asap. I am not a psychiatrist but it sound to me like paranoid schizophrenia... which often comes on in ones twenties. Don't know how old he is...but in any case, I am sure you would not elect to spend a lifetime with a troubled man... and you definitely do not want to have his genetic predisposition to mental illness in your children.

      My aunt married a man whose mother was schizophrenic (she thought she was the Virgin Mary! The family had to send her to live near the Pope in Rome, taken care of by a community of nuns). This 'uncle by marriage', became critical and verbally abusive towards his cihldren and sank into several long episodes of deep depression where he had to be hospitalized. A few of his 5 siblings had similar episodes.

      My aunt and uncle's 5 children, my cousins, are riddled with self professed personality disorders, two of whom could not hold down jobs. The cousin I am closest to has terrible episodes of self loathing and depression. She is estranged from her daughter who has her own mental health issues. Serious mental illness runs right through the generations. It's not something one would willfully choose to be a part of.

      It;s a difficult and sad situation for him...and I hope he gets the help he needs so he can go on to have a full life..which is certainly possible with today's treatments and drugs. But you have to look out for yourself. This must be very dfficult and even awkward for you with everyone expecting a wedding. But in six months you will look back on this period and thank God that it is all behind you and that you have been able to move on with your life. 

      Good luck Ruby darling!

      Robin

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    • Posted

      Hi robin,  

       I am surprised and very upset by your comments on schizophrenia, I feel that you have a harsh and rather unkind view of this illness.

       I have two sons who suffer from this and they are both the most kind and gentle people you could meet, many people who are schizophrenics lead perfectly good and meaningful lives, also many marry and have perfectly "normal" children.

      You make it sound as if this is something to be feared and almost takes away their rights to have any kind of future. Are you aware that many people of genius lived with condition? With modern medication it is very treatable and controlled. The very worst part of this condition is the terrible anxiety they suffer and the stigma of comments such as they should not have children does not help.

       I t breaks my heart that someone could feel like this about my sons, especially the comment "run away fast", and this kind of thinking can cause untold hurt.......

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    • Posted

      I am truly sorry that I upset you...and I was afraid that I was going to upset some people. Undoubtedly you have had some heartache, going through a difficult time with your boys. So I am sorry to have upset you.

      Having said that, if my daughter (or Ruby) had a fiancé who announced that he had AIDS or a debilitating sickness,...or schizophrenia I would ask her to think long and hard before committing to a life time with this person. And if she truly loved him...and he was good and kind and stable, that would be...well, almost fine. I would be supportive and the fiancé in question would become like a son to me. But I would urge them to adopt.

      A girlfriend of mine who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, married a man who also had schizophrenia and the doctor told them not to have children because the sickness was genetic. They adopted. They had their troubles over the years, one landing in hospital and then the other but they pulled through together. 

      Here is what I just read on WebMD:

      Scientists have long known that schizophrenia runs in families. The illness occurs in 1 percent of the general population, but it occurs in 10 percent of people who have a first-degree relative with the disorder, such as a parent, brother, or sister. People who have second-degree relatives (aunts, uncles, grandparents, or cousins) with the disease also develop schizophrenia more often than the general population.  

      And in all fairness to a woman marrying someone with any potentially serious illness, the man should be up front and tell his fiancée that she is free to leave because having a potentially devastating illness may be too much for her to bear. (vice versa, female to male)

      In this particular case, Ruby is dealing with a (former?) fiancé who is obviously very unstable and suffering from paranoia. This is an illness that cannot be cured. If there is this much trouble at this stage of the relationship when everything should be a bed of roses, whether he has mental illness or not, better to get out now. He is not treating her well..and of course it is not his fault. The poor man is suffering...and I acknowledged that and said that I hoped that his family was getting him the help he needs.

      I semi-support my depressed cousin( who has been diagnosed with 'a personality disorder) both financially and emotionally. 

      Yes, I realize that there are many people/geniuses included who live fulfilling lives and make great contributions to society. 

      If your sons are well, that is wonderful news. I wish only the best for them and for your family.

      Robin

       

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  • Posted

    Hi again, I am not sure where you have got your information from ( are you a qualified mental health nurse?) My daughter was working at the clinic my son was in, I am curious to know how you have come to the conclusion that mental illness runs through generation after generation,  I should also have thought having seen members of your distant family facing problems would have made you more sympathetic and understanding to others. I hope you will try to try to have some empathy towards people's feelings when you make such sweeping statements. 

    Thank you.

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    • Posted

      Everyone on this forum has a mental illness- anxiety/panic attacks/social anxiety/depression. But I don't think that means that none of us should have children, the same with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia can be controlled with treatment, the same way that anxiety can be controlled with treatment. 
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    • Posted

      Dear Amy, 

      Hi, I agree with you totally. I have three sons with mental health problems,

      two sons (twins) who are schizophrenics and one son who has ocd and social phobia.

       I was upset by the comments that Robin made earlier. One there has been no incidence of mental health problems in either myself or my husband's

      Family history...... mental health issues can occur at any time to almost anyone. The biggest problems are other people's attitudes towards it.

      It can be a crucifying illness to the sufferer, family, and friends.

       people who meet my sons have absolutely no idea that they have any kind of problem whatsoever, however they are always up front and honest about it because it is nothing to be ASHAMED..... of.

      My son had a long term girlfriend for years and they got on very well,  they went on holidays together and did all normal everyday things.

       I am afraid that I find it very unsettling for people to think that if you have any mental health problems you should not have children.

      Paranoia may not be cured but it can be treated and controlled totally (I live with it every single day with my gentle, caring and very emphatic and tolerant sons)

      Robin what would you do if your daughter married and had children and she then discovered that. He was schizophrenic?

      Take care Amy and Robin, I look forward to your reply.

      Sincere regards, Deirdre x

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    • Posted

      Mental illness does tend to run in families. Try to educate yourself on it. Iam to in a relationship with someone that pushes people away constantly. He us a paranoid schizophrenic and has very bad paranoia delusions around me. He doesn't trust me I believe cause if he did I think he would be able to curb those feelings. I also have a mental illness. Not THE Same But different AND He Is DRAGGING ME DOWN With him. Everybody has told me to run. But I somehow feel responsible for him cause I did enter into a relationship with him. Which was a mistake on my part. He will always have this illness and will never truly get better maybe controlled but not better. Our time will probably always be the same. Do I wish this on anybody no. I know he is very miserable. ..

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  • Posted

    Hi rubydarling, 

     The message I sent to you four days ago was meant to be sent to Robin, sorry about that

     I hope that you are well and I sincerely hope that things are going well with yourself and your partner.... I truly believe that love and caring about each other always has a way of working things out x

    You are in my thoughts, very best and warmest wishes to you,.. Deirdre xx

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  • Posted

    Hi rubydarling,

    Looks like this is an old thread and I'm not a professional, but I wanted to add my two cents for anyone in the future who reads this.  

    I recently went through a very similar experience to yours.  Two year relationship, most wonderful I ever had.  Cloud nine.  Most romantic proposal ever (completely his idea...I never pressured him).  Within a month of my happy engagement (and 8 months after moving in--also his idea), my ex broke up with me claiming I was cheating on him.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and there was nothing that would make a healthy person suspect as much.  Later his reason changed to "living together is too much stress."  There was never a reasonable, respectful adult discussion about matters after he said it was over, despite my pleas, love letters, begging friends to help me get through to him, etc.  I had to move out and start over from zero, all for his completely irrational reasons and unwillingness to talk things over or seek treatment.

    Right before the breakup, I'd found out that my ex had serious anxiety issues and possible OCD earlier in his life. There were red flags a few months before the breakup (the paranoid cheating delusion coming and going) which he brushed off as ghosts of relationships past. 

    Anyways, my point is:  YES anxiety can cause this sort of thing.  YES it may be something more than anxiety (I certainly wonder if my ex has something "more"....such as schizoaffective)....but anxiety alone is enough to wreak havoc. Couple that with, most likely, his shame about ending the relationship the way he did....it's totally unfair and unreasonable but he probably wants to pretend the whole relationship never happened.  At least, this is what I think happened in my ex's case.

     And while it's true that sufferers of mental illness (such as anxiety or schizophrenia) deserve love as much as the next person, YES you ought to be careful and think twice before trying to rekindle this relationship.  Mental illness, especially untreated, is a relationship liability.  Simple as that. One of the defining characteristics of most mental illness is that it affects relationships.   After all, what you just went through is the direct result of your ex's (presumably untreated) mental illness.  And since you did nothing to cause it, you won't know if and when it may happen again.

    I know how hard it is to let go of someone you love so much.  It's still hard for me.  But I agree with the others: move on, be grateful you learned about this before the wedding, and don't expect to hear from him again.  And if he should ever want to reconnect with you, proceed with caution..

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  • Posted

    Ruby... Anxiety can be completely horrific. Living with it day to day can be a nightmare...I don't want to down play what our partner has because his behaviour could very well be down to anxiety and panick disorder.

    What I will say is this: anxiety doesn't make you treat people badly. It doesn't make you drop someone out of the blue and be cruel... People can make excuses and say that it does, that it can take control of you completely and make bad choices - to an extent they are right. But there is a different between being mentally ill and being cruel.

    I have crippling anxiety but I would never do what this man has done to you, to my own partner. I just wouldn't.

    Run. This person is not right for you. You've had a lucky escape.

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