My partner of 7 months told me he suffered from schizophrenia on our first date. I admired his openness and honesty. He said he had not had psychosis for many years, due to his strict adherence to meds.
He explained his cycle and dips into depression. He told me he would withdraw for several weeks to manage this. Over the next 3 months I watched closely to see if he managed his drugs as well as he had said, and he did, obsessively. He was very chilled and laid back.
Our relationship became very intense very quickly. I learnt as much as I could about schizophrenia and we became very close. We were obsessed with being with each other as much as possible. Then he moved house. He became manic overnight when he moved in. Everything had to be sorted immediately. The extreme change in personality threw me completely. He suddenly appeared not to want me there, and often didn’t acknowledge I was there. He would no longer let me help him with anything. The complete opposite to how he had been.
He still had lucid moments now and again where I felt able to express my worries, but these conversations had been twisted into unrecognisable accounts within hours, then in minutes. He began to imagine conversations we had never had. He eventually shut me out altogether. I was deeply hurt and rejected and completely confused by the change in him.
After a few days he had not been seen by any of his friends, so I went to his house. He was a dishevelled mess and had a haunted, tormented look. I sat with him for over an hour with him saying nothing. He eventually told me the voice was screaming abuse at him and his head felt like it was going to burst. He said he didn’t know what was real and what was not. He was very scared.
I got the crisis team involved and their intervention seemed to give him some stability. We tried to rebuild our relationship, and his episode seemed to have brought us even closer together than before. We went together to all his appointments, and talked very openly for hours. I knew he could not think like me so I had to think like him . I changed my whole approach to him. I spoke every sentence in my head before I said it, we only went to familiar places, I had no opinions of my own in case they conflicted with him. I changed my whole self to make his life as easy as possible. I let countless upsetting and hurtful statements and actions go unmentioned to avoid stressing him. We became completely entwined with each other.
This went on for the last 3 months and has, quite frankly, worn me out. Last week he behaved in a way I could not ignore. I won’t go into the details, but it was embarrassing, degrading and humiliating. I could not ignore it without being left feeling I had no boundaries at all. I approached the subject very calmly and spoke quietly and simply. I told him I was upset about it and could not compromise myself any further. I asked him to understand why it had hurt me, and how he would feel if I had done the same thing. He initially appeared to see my point of view and agreed he had behaved badly.
I asked him if he felt he was able to not do the same thing again. I could see him thinking very deeply and knew he was turning it all round to being my fault. He then left and has ignored me ever since, although I have not approached him for several days now. He has shut out all his friends, as I believe he knows they are going to tell him he is wrong also. I understand that he needs to convince himself that he is not wrong, as the voice is going to give him constant persecution for this. He is being very hurtful on social media as if I am being punished.
What I am asking is… How do I stop his behaviour from being so hurtful, even though I know he is not doing it on purpose ?
Can I prevent him from ending the relationship over any small criticism I have ? ( I’m no good at relationships / I need to be on my own ) Is there any way of sorting out issues without such a drastic response ?