• Hi. It’s great to see you. Welcome!

    Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life. Amongst our membership there is a wealth of expertise that has been developed through having to deal with mental health issues.

    We are an actively moderated forum with a team of experienced moderators. We also have a specialist safety team that works extra hard to keep the forum safe for visitors and members.

    Register now to access many more features and forums!

I broke up with my bipolar girlfriend

S

sjoerd

Member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Sweden
Hi all

Thank you for taking the time reading trough this message, that means a lot to me!
I am going trough a very hard time right now. I just broke up with my (now ex-) girlfriend, who has bipolar disorder. I am not even 100% what I want to get out of this post, but it would be great to get some perspectives from people that have experience with mental disease and everything that comes with it.

My ex is in her late twenties and was only diagnosed with bipolar disorder a year ago. She is taking her medicines and occasionally visits a psychiatric doctor. She has had a rough life. When she was younger, she has been addicted to heroin, off which she managed to stay clean for several years now. Until the first months when we met, she was also using a lot of cocain, and drinking a lot of alcohol. I guess she did all of this not having to deal with herself and her brain.
She has had lots of boyfriends during the years, some of which have treated her very badly. When we met, she had had a burnout, lost her job and just started with medicine. When we started becoming serious, for her everything changed. I am a pretty calm and caring guy, and she said that for the first time in her life, she felt completely safe with a guy. I am living a completely different lifestyle than the one she was, I don't take drugs and hardly drink alcohol, so we managed to take her out of her old lifestyle. She loves outdoor stuff and I do too, so we went camping often and that felt great. However, there were also problems in our relationship from the start onwards. In the beginning, she sometimes took cocain and called me in panick. I lived in another town, so I had to drive to her in the middle of the night to take care of her. Sometimes the same happened when she had drank way too much, I had to take care of her and she could hardly recall where she was. She always apologised for her behaviour and told me how much she loved me, and that she was so afraid to lose me. Her one side was very loving and caring towards me, but she could also become very angry and quite manipulative. I am a bit afraid of conflicts so this often resulted in her 'driving over me', verbally. In my experience, we fought quite a lot. But in her mind, we hardly fought at all, and the fights we had weren't so bad. I guess she had different experience from her past relationships than I had.

A couple of months into our relationship there had been so many incidents with alcohol that I begged her to stop drinking, and she agreed that she was an alcoholic and needed to stop drinking. I thought everything was going to be better from there on, I was so happy! But I was also naive. Several times I suspected she was hiding alcohol from me. After a couple of weeks, I found beer cans that she had hidden in the bathroom. When I confronted her, she became angry at me for being too hard on her. 'What are a few beers, at least she wasn't doing heroin'. She also started harming herself in this period. Nothing too serious (as in, not life-treatening), but it freaked me out! I didn't know what to do and how to take care of her, but when I suggested to get more help for her she turned it down as being unnecessary. She always convinced me that it was going uphill, which it was. In the beginning of our relationship she was taking cocain regularly and drinking every day, now she was only drinking a few beers when she had a bad day. But I still felt bad about it, having to discover drinks that she'd hidden from me in my own house. When it happened a second time, I couldn't handle it anymore and I started crying. She also started crying, and said that she was just hurting everyone that she loves.

To get to the point: about a week after this last alcohol incident I broke up with her. It was the hardest thing I ever did in my life. Even if we had only been together for a year, we had gone trough a lot together and were very close. She had told me several times that I was the best thing that ever happened to her, and that she was so afraid that I would leave her. And that is the thing I am so much struggeling with; I didn't want to leave her, but I felt like I had no energy left. The combination of bipolar disorder and alcoholism is taking her down, and was taking me with her. Although she had been in much worse situations in her life, for me this was all new and very scary. I have tried so hard to take care of her, but I couldn't do it anymore. So now I feel guilty. She is very sad that I 'just gave up', and I am angry with myself for giving up too.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
hicks

hicks

Well-known member
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
1,276
Location
A galaxy, far far away..
Sorry to hear that. I think basically, she wasn't willing to get professional help with her problems, and you could not help her in the way that she needed. If she really doesn't want to lose you, then she has to take steps in helping herself.
 
H

Hermanscoil

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
61
Location
US
Brother, that's a crappy situation for sure. A damned if you do, damned if you don't kinda thing. However, self-preservation is a fundamental biological imperative which we all share. You did what you could for her and what you had to do for yourself.

From your post it sounds like you really care for her. It's gonna hurt but time heals. I hope she finds the help she needs. Make peace with things and know that you did what you did out of love for yourself and not malice toward her.
 
S

sjoerd

Member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Sweden
Thank you guys. Yes, I do really care for her a lot. That's what makes this so incredibly hard. And that has also made our relationship incredibly hard. Every time she had taken drugs or drank too much so I had to pick her up broke something inside of me. It didn't make me love her less, rather the opposite, but it hurt so much to see her being so self-destructive, and feeling powerless to do anything about it. In the beginning it felt good being able to help her. I had the illusion that I could help her to get better. And she had that illusion too. I think that is why she expressed so many times that I was the best thing that happened to her, and how afraid she was that I would leave her. That must mean that she knew it was killing me bit by bit on the inside? And at times it felt like she had the conviction and strength to work with herself and get help. When she realised how much it hurt me to see her hurt herself trough destructive behaviour, she sometimes would start crying and tell me she was sorry 100 times. So I think she understood. She just didn't have the strength of taking action a 100%. And she and me both hoped so much that I could help her get that strength, but in the end I think she will have to do it herself. I just feel so bad for not being there for her anymore, and now she is angry/sad at me for leaving her just like that.
 
H

Hermanscoil

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
61
Location
US
About 3 years ago I was living with my ex. She is a functional alcoholic with undetermined emotional/personality disorders. She had a rough life early on. I lived with her for a year and my experience was very similar to yours. Before we lived together she would call me really late at night and make ultimatums for me or even just to say that she could kill herself right then and there. I didn't realize at the time how damaging that was to me. I've dealt with suicide my whole life whether it was a family member or friend. Eventually, she did end up going to AA meetings. This gave me a lot of hope and I was hopeful for a short while. We ended up moving in together and things went down hill rapidly. I don't feel the need to go too far into detail but suffice to say that she had stuff going on that I was ill-prepared to deal with. Was I guilty of enabling her? Yes. Was I doing what I thought was best? Yes. In the end, she just wouldn't get the help she really needed. So I left her. I had a terrible feeling in my stomach for maybe a month after. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do but I was dying on the inside and she would have ridden that horse into the ground. I don't beat myself up about it anymore. I still think about her. The good times we had. I also think about how deluded I was. I tend to ramble on so I'll just conclude this by reaffirming that I did what I thought was right at the time.
 
S

sjoerd

Member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Sweden
About 3 years ago I was living with my ex. She is a functional alcoholic with undetermined emotional/personality disorders. She had a rough life early on. I lived with her for a year and my experience was very similar to yours. Before we lived together she would call me really late at night and make ultimatums for me or even just to say that she could kill herself right then and there. I didn't realize at the time how damaging that was to me. I've dealt with suicide my whole life whether it was a family member or friend. Eventually, she did end up going to AA meetings. This gave me a lot of hope and I was hopeful for a short while. We ended up moving in together and things went down hill rapidly. I don't feel the need to go too far into detail but suffice to say that she had stuff going on that I was ill-prepared to deal with. Was I guilty of enabling her? Yes. Was I doing what I thought was best? Yes. In the end, she just wouldn't get the help she really needed. So I left her. I had a terrible feeling in my stomach for maybe a month after. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do but I was dying on the inside and she would have ridden that horse into the ground. I don't beat myself up about it anymore. I still think about her. The good times we had. I also think about how deluded I was. I tend to ramble on so I'll just conclude this by reaffirming that I did what I thought was right at the time.
Thank you so much for your reaction! I am "glad" that there are more people that have been in similar situations, and that I am not the only one. A plaster on the wound. You write that you were 'guilty of enabling her', that is a hard one. I don't know the ins and outs of your situation, but for me one of the hardest parts was whether or not to be hard on her. She has expressed at times that she needed me to be hard to her when she wanted to drink for example, and that I should not tolerate any bullshit from her side. But then when the time came I was too weak to stand on my stripes, because she would do anything to manipulate me and push on my buttons. So she got away with it every time, and it left our relationship a little weaker.
I am curious, did you ever (after the initial period of sadness and doubt, that is) regret your decision? Do you think you could have helped her if you would have stayed with her longer? Because those are the thoughts that are haunting me, 'what if I had stayed a couple of months more, would she have gotten better for real?'. Love hurts :(
 
H

Hermanscoil

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
61
Location
US
There were times when I felt regret. I would mull over what had transpired. Then I would remind myself that she wasn't helpless. She had the strength and ability to get help but I guess maybe she never hit rock bottom. I talked to a couple of counselers and they told me that some people only start recovery after losing it all.
 
S

sjoerd

Member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Sweden
There were times when I felt regret. I would mull over what had transpired. Then I would remind myself that she wasn't helpless. She had the strength and ability to get help but I guess maybe she never hit rock bottom. I talked to a couple of counselers and they told me that some people only start recovery after losing it all.
Yeah I recognize that. I have also been thinking that maybe she'd had to hit rock bottom first. But then again she had already kind of done that when she was addicted to heavy drugs, and she had been in rehab for that for several months. She always referred to that as her lowest point, and kind of used that to manipulate me into not reacting so much when she did something that freaked me out. For example when she had harmed herself, I got scared and panicked because this was something I had never experienced before and I didn't know how to react. When she had called a friend and talked about it, her friend had told her that 'at least you didn't do drugs'. She said she wanted that kind of reaction from me as well, but I couldn't fake optimism. Besides, I don't think it is a very good way of trying to get better by excusing everything for 'at least it's not ....' She used the same excuse with alcohol at times, 'at least it's not heroin'. But then at other times she would admit to me that she shouldn't drink a single drop of alcohol, and then I became glad and thought that she had gotten everything on track, only to find another bottle of wine hidden away a week later....
 
H

Hermanscoil

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
61
Location
US
Yeah man that is all too familiar. It's a BS excuse to do what they know is wrong, especially having gone through extensive in-patient treatment. Addiction is terrible and can control people's lives. I'm sure they mean it when they say they want to change but it's a powerful urge.
The second detox I saw my ex through I ended up cleaning her place top to bottom and found about 50 discarded boxes of wine. You know, the big 5 liter boxes? It was then that I realized that the alcohol had her and how hard she must be struggling.
 
S

sjoerd

Member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Sweden
Yeah man that is all too familiar. It's a BS excuse to do what they know is wrong, especially having gone through extensive in-patient treatment. Addiction is terrible and can control people's lives. I'm sure they mean it when they say they want to change but it's a powerful urge.
The second detox I saw my ex through I ended up cleaning her place top to bottom and found about 50 discarded boxes of wine. You know, the big 5 liter boxes? It was then that I realized that the alcohol had her and how hard she must be struggling.
Thank you for your answers! Yeah, I cannot imagine what they are going trough. It is clear from certain moments that my ex was conscious about the situation, about that she had a problem and that it was taking a toll on our relationship, and on my emotional wellbeing too. But she didn't have the power to get better in the timeframe that would be needed to save our relationship. And that is what made the decision to break up with her so incredibly hard; I could see how she was struggeling, how much she wanted to become better and to have me in her life. But I just couldn't handle it anymore, and that feels horrible.
 
H

Hermanscoil

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
61
Location
US
Thank you for your answers! Yeah, I cannot imagine what they are going trough. It is clear from certain moments that my ex was conscious about the situation, about that she had a problem and that it was taking a toll on our relationship, and on my emotional wellbeing too. But she didn't have the power to get better in the timeframe that would be needed to save our relationship. And that is what made the decision to break up with her so incredibly hard; I could see how she was struggeling, how much she wanted to become better and to have me in her life. But I just couldn't handle it anymore, and that feels horrible.
I really hope it helps you keep things straight in your mind. That was what I struggled with. "Did I do the right thing? Am I a bad person?" etc etc.. You and I aren't drug and alcohol counselors. Can't make someone's recovery our sole responsibility. Being support and enabling border the same line!
 
S

sjoerd

Member
Joined
May 1, 2019
Messages
7
Location
Sweden
I really hope it helps you keep things straight in your mind. That was what I struggled with. "Did I do the right thing? Am I a bad person?" etc etc.. You and I aren't drug and alcohol counselors. Can't make someone's recovery our sole responsibility. Being support and enabling border the same line!
Yeah, that is the same thing that I am struggling with. I am wondering if everything would have been easier if I'd just stayed on a little longer. If this was the right thing to do, if she will manage to not get a huge backlash because of this, etc. etc. etc. She was so vocal about how much I meant to her and that she was so afraid that I would leave her that leaving her felt like letting her down and hurting her so much. Thank you for your replies!
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
A Bipolar Forum 2
A Bipolar Forum 1
S Bipolar Forum 1
S Bipolar Forum 0
T Bipolar Forum 1
Top