My bipolar partner beat me

I want to help him but don't know how

By Cary Tennis

Published May 23, 2013 12:00AM (EDT)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (Zach Trenholm/Salon)
(Zach Trenholm/Salon)


I've been a reader of yours for years and, frankly, I think the only voice I think would understand.

I'm a 32-year-old artist with a 9-year-old child from a previous marriage. I have been in a committed relationship with my current partner for four years. He's 31. In the beginning, he wooed me like no one had ever done. He offered my son and me a home (300 miles away from where I was living). We met on Twitter and both of us were in serious relationships before we decided to cut our ties with them and go for it. We moved into the apartment he shared with his brother and, at one time, his ex-girlfriend. Now he has a temper, and we clashed at first, because I was used to being the head of the house as a single mom, but we loved each other passionately. He is also an insanely jealous man, and I became more withdrawn to avoid any problems. All in all, we had a good life. I brought my own baggage and he had to deal with my depression.

We decided to open a business with a partner and invested everything into it, only to have the partner withdraw at the last minute and turn his back on us. We lost our apartment and our car. His brother had to move away and my parents stepped in to help with my son, moving him 300 miles away. We moved into the supply closet of our business.

I have been ever supportive and loving, despite his rages. He's been more and more violent toward me, but I had the suspicion that something was wrong with him. He started pursuing teenage girls online, sometimes having online relationships of suggestive nature. With the older ones he would become even more sexual, masturbating to them via text or video. He swears he loves me and I try to believe it. He believes I'm selfish for wanting him all to myself. He goes into these modes, I call this girl mode because he's in and out of it. I confront him only to have him attack me for invading his privacy.

In December, all of a sudden he went mad. He was babbling, making no sense, he didn't sleep for a week, he talked nonstop, and was hyper to no end. Every time I tried to intervene we fought, badly. One day he disappeared and I got a call from the hospital saying he stopped and kneeled in the middle of the 101 freeway. He said he was talking to god. He was in the mental hospital for 10 days, diagnosed with psychosis, mania and bipolar disorder.

He was on medication for a while -- lithium and anti-anxiety meds mostly -- but he quit them cold turkey and refused to go to therapy. He's been in a deep depression since then, and our economic situation makes it worse. Neither of us can leave because we owe a lot of money. And I don't think either of us wants to. Right now he's back in girl mode, only worse. He's fallen in love with my 16-year-old cousin and has been depressed that she doesn't like him like he does. I think she does, because she teases him to no end. They've gone out for lunch, but that was me trying to be "cool." He says that he loves me and nobody will ever take my place, but his actions speak otherwise. He also refuses to befriend ugly girls, and ends up falling for them; he gets angry when I protest because he never tells his online friends he has a girlfriend. He hates that people like me.

I believe that he needs help, and I can't leave him because I suffer from depression and was abandoned and cheated on by my ex-husband because of it. I don't leave people when they're down. I have issues, too.

A week ago we had some beers and he became depressed over my cousin and beat me up badly, but he can't remember any of it. I have been suffering from headaches as a repercussion.

And yet I don't want to leave him. When I say I do he threatens to go back to the mental hospital or kill himself. I feel like I owe him. And I do love him. I don't know how to get him to get help. Things are not always bad; I've never connected with anybody as I have with him. I want things to go back to the way they were.

Thank you,

Attachment Addict

Dear Attachment Addict,

I do understand. But I can't let you off the hook.

You need to leave. He needs to go back to the mental hospital. This man is a danger to himself and to others. He needs treatment. He needs hospitalization. You need to go to a safe place and care for your son.

The longer you stay with him in the current situation the worse it will get.

You say it yourself in your signature: You are an attachment addict. So the first thing you need to do is extricate yourself. You can't fix this while you are in the middle of this. It's like trying to put out a fire while you yourself are burning.

Find an Al-Anon meeting. Find a women's shelter. Get out.  Go to an Al-Anon meeting today. Al-Anon meetings are great for attachment addicts. There are people there who have lived through situations like yours and can offer you their experience, strength and hope for a better life.

You can't help him by staying. Your presence there is not helping.

Read these posts from people who have left their bipolar partners.

Professionals need to step in and manage his case. He needs treatment and you need to be safe. Your primary obligations now are to your son, and to yourself. So leave. Get out. Get safe.

Cary Tennis

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