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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: My ex-girlfriend believes she doesn't deserve to be happy


 ConcernedChris - Wed May 21, 2008 12:46 am

I'm not one hundred percent sure that this was the right place to come, but it was the only place I could find. If anyone knows of a more suitable site for this issue, please feel free to say so and I'll head over there instead of taking up space here.

Anyways, my story is as follows. Shortly after the new year, I entered into a relationship with a girl I've known for a little over a year and half now. I knew she had some psychiatric problems, including MPD, or so she says. I'll get more into that a bit later. But despite all the issues she claimed she had, I genuinely liked her, so I decided to date her anyway.

Now, it might be important to note that in the four and a half months since then, I've seen her three times in person, since I've had to attend school three hundred miles away and only saw her over Spring Break. But whenever we were together, we were excessively happy, and according to her, I made her happier than she thought she could be, and she'd never felt this way about someone before. She even started talking about how nice it'd be to move in together and start a family one day.

But, there were a few moments when she wasn't smiling, and those were the moments when she would tell me that she was terrified she'd screw up the relationship somehow and lose me. I always reassured her that I wouldn't something like that happen and even promised that I'd stick around even if it got to that.

After Break, I returned to school and our relationship kept going great. Until three days ago. She suddenly contacted me, trying very hard to convince me that she was a horrible person that wasn't worth my time and that her various issues were too much for anyone to handle. I told her I'd be the one to decide that and in retaliation, she said that she was sure this relationship was going to end just like all her others, cause she apparently has a habit of pushing away anyone she gets close to a few months in. Even though I told her, begged her even, to fight those urges, she refused to for reasons unexplained, even though she told me that this pattern of behavior was one of the reasons she was depressed so often and hated her life at times.

The next day, she broke up with me without giving me a reason and even despite the fact that I told her I wouldn't accept the breakup. I said this because this relationship means too much to both of us to give up on it just because she's conditioned herself into believing she's not worth anyone's time, or doesn't deserve to be happy.

Now, even more than trying to win back the girl I love, I'm concerned about helping her confront and get over this problem she has. And I'm not alone. All of her friends have been watching her do this to herself over the years and we're all willing to do whatever we can to help. I'm normally not one to interfere with someone else's life like this, but I genuinely, deeply care for her, and know for sure that she feels the same, even if she won't let herself do so. And perhaps most importantly, I'm concerned how an issue like this could affect her year-old son, courtesy of an ex-boyfriend who was more interested in her body than her.

I guess what I'm here looking for is some advice, information that can help me and her friends assist her in changing her ways. I've already spent two and half hours trying to convince her not to do this herself, that she was worth being with and deserved happiness, but she paid me no heed, and just shut me out. I suggested professional help at some point, but she outright refused, again without explaining why. There's a whole group of us, all eager to do whatever we can to help make her life as good as she deserves it to be, cause she's a wonderful person who shouldn't be forced to suffer through this over and over. What I need to know now is, what can we do, or what should we do?
 Dr. E. Seigle - Mon Jul 21, 2008 6:10 pm

Hi ConcernedChris,

People with a history of MPD (by which I assume that you mean Multiple Personality Disorder, which is the past name for what is now called Dissociative Identity Disorder) generally have a history of severe and repetitive childhood abuse, and they display psychological characteristics similar to what yo are describing in your grilfriend. They are often resistant and fearful of seeking help, bcause they feel a lot of shame, and because they are afraid of losing control. People with MPD generally dissociate into different identity states, some of which don't remember the other ones, and this makes the process of psychotherapy scary, as they may say or do things which they will not remember.

My suggstion is to periodically let our girlfriend know that help is available, and to give her time to think about it also. It is important that she not feel forced into it. Being empathic by understanding how scary it must be for her to requesting therapy may be helpful as well. Your unwavering support and concern, while pointing out the distress she is in when appropriate, is probably the most helpful thing. It may be useful to understand what her resistance is to treatment; has she had any bad experiences, and does she know of any?

Finally, you can give her some reading material which should be available on the American Psychiatric Association Website, which can let her know that her condition is treatable.

Good luck! E. Seigle MD

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