Help! 17 Years Old & Dealing With Bipolar Boyfriend


I had a pretty rough childhood. Men in my life, whether my father or short-relationship boyfriends, have always seemed to be a complex area for me. I am 17. I've had one real (or what I believe to be real) relationship. My boyfriend, although a year younger than I, drew me in instantly with his wittiness and intellectual personality. We had classes together for years, but he had no interest in me. I'll be honest, I was the "hot girl" on campus, so that kinda ticked me off not receiving the attention I desired from him. A few years pass and he & I got closer as friends. Eventually, we became more and more attracted to each other. I've always known that *Jonny had a different, more excessive amount of anger-related incidents, but I never imagined it escalating the the point it did.

He is insecure. He always has been. Very attractive and easy to get along with, but has more insecurities than anyone I know. His expectations are very high. After dating a few months, all I had really faced was the controlling side of him. That, like the anger lash-outs, went on a gradient from minor to extreme. It started with cutting off ties with guy friends. Understandable, I thought. Then it turned to cutting off ties with ALL friends, boy or girl. That was a huge sign, but I neglected to act on it. I thought he was the only person I needed. He started talking to my loved ones constantly, confirming I was with them when I said I would be... or asking questions like, "Was she home on/at....?" He even went to my work regularly and made sure I was there, requesting my schedule from my boss. I am not a liar, nor am I perfect. If I was guilty of something, I always told him. But I began to fear telling him things. I finally knew there was a "control problem" when there were allotted times at which I was "allowed" to go to the gym. I of course complied, but he'd still harass me calling me names and assuming the worst. But again, I neglected acting upon it.

The control turned to violence very quickly after that. Just about half a year in, he got aggressive with me when we argued. I was afraid to tell anyone, even though I am very close to his mother. My father was physically and sexually abusive, so I guess I was acting on the same threats made as a child, to keep my mouth shut. It started with restraining my arms at first, which still left me bruises, to pushing and throwing me against walls or on the ground. It only went downhill, and it went quick. The next thing I knew we were fighting every night. He would choke me and slap me regularly, but never punched.

Getting him help was desperately needed. And one particular incident was what it took. He came over one night, unexpectedly, and was clearly already angry. He'd let himself in on a regular basis, so I'd lock my bedroom door to have a heads up if he were in my house. *Jonny had a thing about reassuring himself of his control over me. Sometimes he would be abusive just to the point that I was so belittled and demeaned, then would stop. He would apologize immediately. But would last out again if I expressed any form of "control" over the conversation. To me, it was "putting me in check." As if he did it just certain himself that he could, not necessarily that he wanted to. One night, I was fed up with his tactic. I decided it was time I took a stance for myself, even if that simply meant sticking up for myself verbally by saying "no" to *Jonny. As you can imagine, that didn't fly with him. He was more aggressive now than he'd ever been before. I was bruised up all over and had a busted lip, by the end of that "argument."

Terrified by what he'd done, he begged for forgiveness and even was cooperative when I asked him to leave. When he did, I started gathering all of his things to give to his mother, when I planned to tell her the next day. I was fed up. My mistake, however, was not locking the door again. He returned a few minutes later, this time with a knife, threatening to kill me and kill himself. Shortly after that, he noticed the bag on the floor with his belongings in them. That was a huge trigger. He pointed the knife at me, saying, "You're breaking up with me, now?!" Then he held it to his throat, repeating the question, and pushing it deeper into his neck every time. *Jonny was... well, IS very capable of doing damage. He's a very muscular guy. In fear of him hurting himself, I screamed, "NO!" I then tended to every little thing he said until I sneakily hid the knife under the bed. I was terrified. The people I live with are never home, and I haven't been with my parents since I was old enough to escape my father's abuse. I felt alone and paralyzed.

The next afternoon I tried telling his mom. We went to the gym together every morning, but I didn't want to wait another day to tell her or else I knew I'd chicken out. I typed the msg (basically saying it was important I talked to her on the phone this evening, not coming to the house in fear of *Jonny), then deleted it. Did this about 5 times, before I sent the msg. My stomach dropped. The reply back was, and I will always remember this: "Why didn't you call the cops?" His father was *Jonny times 1,000. He broke many of her bones and threatened the family's (including all 4 of their children's) lives multiple times. She came to my house instantly. She shared her stories, explaining why it was so crucial that I acted on it quickly and didn't disregard it, like she had for 8 years. She urged me to file a police report, to have the incident on record and get photo evidence of the bruises and busted lip. I was afraid, however, and believe it or not, looking out for *Jonny when I told her I couldn't do it. She asked my permission to address *Jonny that evening about the incidents, then take him to a hospital for help. This, I could confront saying yes to. I was very damaged and broken down from the months of abuse that I felt no power whatsoever. So his parents addressed the situation and he was in a hospital that night on 51/50 and Suicide Watch.

I strongly oppose psychiatric drugging or "treatment," so the whole incident was hard for me to deal with. He was diagnosed as "Bipolar" about a week into hospitalization, and also mildly depressed. For days I felt the entirety of him being there was my fault. Luckily, his parents reassured me it wasn't and that I did the right thing my telling someone. Who knows where it would have been years down the line, had it gone unattended. Now I feel safe. Comfort. I feel like I can breathe and not live my life tip-toeing on glass. It was incredibly harder than I imagined. But I made it through.

*Jonny regularly takes his medication now. He hardly ever has an episode, and when he seldom does, he quickly spots it and handles it. I am very proud. Bipolar is a disorder. I am still trying to get used to this concept. Its an illness that he can't entirely control himself. He's by no means a bad guy. Just a guy with an unfortunate condition.

If you've made it this far, thank you for hearing my story. Please let me know any ways to cope or manage having a bipolar boyfriend, as I am very new to it...
latinakarina latinakarina
18-21, F
3 Responses May 7, 2012

As someone who has bipolar II, I'm going to say that at those times he was a completely different person. However, that burden is not yours to bear. It is his responsibility to keep himself in check, and if he has one more outburst or ever refuses to take his medication then you need to leave.

I know that you are sticking with him and have stuck with him through all of this because you love him. But if it wasn't for the fact that you have already been abused in the past I highly doubt you would have held on this long. Some people have this disorder more intensely than others, I have thrown things, I have screamed, I have been emotionally manipulative to my partner. I have also been in relationships where I was treated worse. bipolar disorder is a monster and no amount of love, compassion, or understanding is going to make it go away.

I am medicated, in counseling, and have found my routine and outlets. I no longer have violent fits.

The next time he gets physical with you, you need to run away. The bipolar beast will eat you alive.

I also wanted to add (now that I'm on a computer and off mobile, goodness gracious the typing above is atrocious):

For him to lead a normal life and have a normal relationship, coping with his disorder is to be a continuous effort.

His controlling tendencies most likely stem from paranoia, which I'm familiar with. He needs to 'retrain his brain' to acknowledge when he starts to slip into 'paranoid' mode, and stop it before it becomes a full fledged fit.

Bipolar II is much 'lighter' than bipolar I, so I know my insight might not be completely accurate, but I do know that learning your triggers is the same no matter who you are or what mental disorders you may or may not have.

Pride was my greatest flaw. I would instantly assume that the way I felt was the right way, because why else would I be feeling this way? Why else would I feel wronged unless I have been? Past experiences run through my mind a lot, and it takes a lot of effort to keep these thoughts at bay and constantly remind myself of the truth.

People with bipolar disorder lose sight of reality. They get lost in their own reality. It has taken time and I have the utmost respect for my fiance for sticking with me through everything, but now I treat him really well; the way he deserved to be treated all along.

Like I said, it's good that he is making progress, but his change needs to occur from the inside out. If he hits you again, please leave him.

Wishing you the best, I sure hope you are alright.

Thank you much very much for your reply, iAmTheForcex3. I am glad that you could relate... even though the circumstances aren't that great, lol. From what I've read, the disorder can be like you described, where it isn't there for years, then comes out of no where. It only got worse for me, but things cooled down. What worries me is his "being sadistic." That's never a good sign.. and him talking about that kind of stuff. The aggressiveness went from a little to extreme VERY quickly, so be careful :(. My boyfriend has gotten a lot better since being hospitalized and he regularly goes to therapy now, which works WONDERS! <br />
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& Your bf may have not exactly been lying by saying everything was fine. He may actually believe it. He's bipolar after all. With mine, the topic about "getting help" & "seeing a therapist" is a veryyy touchy subject for him.. I would definitely stop it before it gets too bad, but it's not an easy thing to do at all. Do you have an adult you can talk to? I talked to his mother, which helped me in the big picture..

wow.. this really touched me. You've had it a lot worse than me. I have a bipolar boyfriend too. We've been together for 2 years and he recently told me about his disorder. I didn't know what it was at first actually. I looked it up. Just like you i was very scared of the things i read. Everything was awesome for these 2 years. but these days he hardly even talks to me. From a random, awesome, charming guy he became this stranger. I can't even recognize him. He doesn't wanna talk to me yet he claims he does. I asked him if he wants help .. you know someone he could talk to. He lied and said everything was fine. Like always -.- .. I'm only 15 and i don't think i can handle it like u did. I'm scared . He is a bit sadistic. He never done anything to me but he talks about it. It just hurts a lot. I tried telling him he isn't acting like himself .. he becomes agressive. I really don't know what to do. I admire you for dealing with it this far :)