From the U.S. My fiance has a mental issue where he hears voices and sometimes these ‘voices’ take over and he’s gone for a while. He knows he has this problem and he loses the time; he doesn’t remember a thing he said or did. Sometimes it is easy to tell when this is happening and sometimes it’s not. I’m not scared of him, but i’m scared for him.
He admits he has this problem, but his mom has convinced him that therapy is for babies and all the therapists she deemed okay for him when he was younger were religious and basically dismissed him as a liar or possessed by the devil. If they didn’t do that, they just told him he was a liar and trying to get attention since he was the only boy in a family of girls. His past therapists ruined the idea of counseling for him. I know finding a good therapist is rough because I’ve gone through it, but he won’t believe me that there are good ones out there.
I’m concerned for his mental health and well being, and i think it would be wise for him to go talk to a psychiatrist or even a counselor, but he adamantly refuses to. We’ve talked about it before and the idea scares him. He’s worried he won’t be believed or he’ll just be belittled again.
We want to start a family, but I also don’t know if I want to have a kid without him having a diagnosis. I don’t want to put that to him as an ultimatum because when I say things that make him insecure, that’s when the voices act up.
I’m just wondering if you have any tips on how to approach him differently. I know I ultimately can’t force him to go to a therapist, and I won’t leave him because I don’t think he’s a danger to me right now, but I also don’t want him to get to the point where he has to be hospitalized against his will if he does something and doesn’t remember it. I know that’s extreme but it’s a huge worry of mine.
Thank you for your time.
You are right to be worried. Your guy has a serious problem. I can’t tell on the basis of your letter what the problem is exactly, but all the possibilities I can think of are serious and he deserves treatment. It makes me sad when therapists dismiss someone’s pain or suggest that “possession” is the answer. I have to wonder if his mother took him to such therapists because she was afraid of what a more sophisticated therapist might discover.
Regardless, your fiance is now still troubled and turned off to treatment. I have one suggestion for you: Go to a therapist yourself and share what you told me. Make sure you find a therapist you think your fiance will trust. That may take interviewing more than one. Once you find the right one, you and your therapist can talk about how to invite your fiance into some sessions with you. It may be that your willingness to be with him will help him at least consider getting a thorough evaluation.
Do slow down on having a family. You are only 19 and you have plenty of time for your fiance to get well and for your relationship to become solid before introducing children into your life. It’s important that your fiance get a diagnosis — both for his well-being and for making good choices about if and how to be a father. Some disorders are genetic — in which case it’s important to factor that into your thinking about parenthood. But even if that isn’t the case, his emotional “absences” will have a profound effect on both you and your children. Treatment will let him be the partner and father he can be.
I wish you well.