Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My boyfriend’s schizophrenia is controlling my life.

My boyfriend’s schizophrenia is controlling my life.

I’m just not joining this forum because I feel like I can’t handle myself anymore. I feel desperate for advice. I’ve had so much patience over the last few years… And I can feel my patience fading away, and I’m just tired of it now.

My boyfriend and I have been engaged for 2 years. In January of 2018, I moved 3 hours away to his hometown and got a job there; we lived together.

Then in the fall of 2018, he decided that he wanted to study abroad in England, for two semesters. So for the past 7 months, I’ve been living alone in a place where I have no friends or family.

I very rarely hang out with friends, or socialize with people because of anxiety/depression. But sometimes, I get the courage to visit a friend.

This past weekend I had the chance (gained the courage) to go to my best friend’s birthday party in my hometown. I was actually excited for this party, as it was Harry Potter themed. I bought materials, made part of my costume, and even purchased a wand to go with it. The week prior, I told my boyfriend, that I was going to my friend’s birthday party and he started acting strange. He smiled in a sort of awkward way and was looking up and all around his dorm room. Then he said something like, “I’m just going to pretend like you aren’t.” I was sort of confused, and partially angry by this because I had no idea what he meant. I asked him what he mean a few times, and he just hung up on me, which he does regularly.

I assumed he didn’t want me to go because he doesn’t like my friend. He has no reason to dislike her, and he’s only met her once because he won’t go places with me. He also tends to think that he is superior to a lot of others, and I believe he looks down on her.

Over text, I told him that it makes me uncomfortable and reluctant to mention her, because I’m afraid of the negative reactions that he responds with. And that I was frustrated that he I should have to feel uncomfortable for simply wanting to hangout with my best friend.

When he replied, he said he didn’t want me to go because he knew that I would meet someone else there. And he was now even more upset because my text was “very mean” and upset him. He gets upset very easily and because of this I can never actually tell him how I feel, otherwise he will beat himself up for days at a time. And typically after this sort of event, he feels like he deserves an apology, but when I give him one, he won’t accept it. He even makes sure to tell people that he does not accept apologies. Yet he expects them.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I was expected, and obligated to not go to the birthday party. I was pretty upset and depressed about it for two days, but at least he was happy now. It really just seemed like I was a prisoner to his emotions.

A few days later, I was bored so I decided to unpack some old boxes that I had when I lived with my parents. I had found a couple flags that I used to have hanging up, and decided to hang them back up in my office. Later that day, my boyfriend face timed me and we were having a really nice call. Then, he saw them and his face immediately changed to a look of anger and he started asking a lot of questions. He asked, “what is that” and I said it’s a flag that I used to have in my bedroom. Then he replied, “why would you put that up there?” And I explained to him that I was bored, and had nothing to do, so I just thought that I would hang them up. He then said, “but I don’t understand why you would do that. It’s unlike you to do something like that.” – then hung up on me.
He was treating me as if I had just committed a crime or something and his reaction was so extreme for such a simple thing. After he hung up on me, he texted me to tell me that he knows someone else lives with me and that they are the one who put up the flags. I of course tried to convince him that I was not cheating on him but he didn’t really believe me, he hardly does. Eventually he just said, “I would like them to be taken down, it would make me feel better.” So I did, and I told him that I was just going to throw them away. He doesn’t even live with, yet is controlling what I do in my apartment.

These two incidents happened over the course of 5 days and it happens all the time. I feel like I’m unable to live my own life, unable to do things that I want. I’m never allowed to do anything because he gets paranoid. He gets very upset if he doesn’t know what I’m doing or if I don’t respond to his message as well. For example if I’m at work, he will send multiple messages, big messages, and expect me to read all of if and reply to all of them. I mean, I’m at work so I really shouldn’t be on my phone that much anyway.

One day I was working with my manager, and he texted me because he wanted to buy headphones with my credit card. I didn’t respond because I didn’t want to be rude to my manager. After about an hour he kept sending more messages and still I didn’t respond because I was still working with my manager. He then called me 17 times in a row, which was very embarrassing because my phone kept vibrating as my manager was talking to me. Then he texted me saying it was an emergency and to please read my messages. So I finally stepped away to call him back, which he answered and said, “read your messages”, and then hung up on me. He was extremely angry with me and I was pretty upset myself. I feel that if I’m at work, he shouldn’t expect me to be immediately available. Most of the time if I’m in a meeting and don’t respond he will send messages saying something like, “I guess you’re too busy or not available.”

Anyway, I just needed to express myself here. I can never tell him how I feel because he will get too upset. Whenever I try to express myself to him I might say, “I’m upset because you always think I’m cheating on you,” he will usually reply with “you think it’s just me.” Implying that his actions are from his schizophrenia, which is true. But to avoid those upsetting times, I almost always just keep my feelings to myself .

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Hi Nate,

I have had a similar experience with my husband wanting to control everything in my life, from where I worked to who I saw or corresponded with. I knew it wasn’t a good thing, but I kept allowing it to happen because if I didn’t comply to his wishes, he would become verbally abusive and yell for hours. At times when I thought he was in a good mood and would be accepting of some things, he would seem to be, only to bring those subjects up later as reasons to be angry with me.

A few things I learned:

I needed to establish boundaries early in the relationship and to stick with them. There are ways to establish boundaries later in a relationship, but so far I have not been strong enough to do that. Work with a counselor if you need to on this.

The other thing is not to take it personally. I am overly sensitive and it has taken me years to learn that his anger is not really about me, but about his own issues. When he seems to be jealous, it is because he wants the happiness I have.

One strategy I have used at work is to turn my cell phone off completely. I tell anyone who needs to know that if there is an emergency to call me at the official work number. That way, it will go through other channels before reaching me and he is less likely to call repeatedly.

If there is anyone in your community you can talk with, I would suggest doing that. You have given the relationship a good chance. Focus on your well-being.

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