Hello. This is my first question with some background to help with the understanding. Any help, guidance, answers, etc would be greatly appreciated as I seem to be as lost a person can be. Let me start off by saying, we're expecting our first child with in the next 2 months. The experience has not been quite what either of us expected, but then again, being our first child, I guess its impossible to know what to expect. I've been with my girlfriend for over 4 years now and we've lived together for nearly all of those years. I currently work a 10 hr/day, stressful job and am the only one with income. I've recently been promoted which has only lengthened my days and dramatically increased my work load/stress. I truly love this girl and I know she loves me just as much. She takes care of me better than anyone ever has, and I'd like to think I've returned the favor. Through out our relationship, she has not kept a job, on average, for more than 8 months or so which has put a real strain on the finances, which as we all know, is a relationship tester all by itself. Through readings research, I can attribute a lot of that to the bipolar and have come to grips with a lot of the downsides of bipolar. We've learned to grow together in this department.
The problem is that about 2 months into the pregnancy, we started to get into more disagreements and fights than typical. Through research and reading, I chalked it up to additional hormones/emotions as well as just a new experience in pregnancy (that we didn't plan). With in the past 2 months or so, she has come out and told me that she thinks that I am a verbally abusive person and that I need to seek help. Initially when she told me, I was completely caught off guard and didn't really take it seriously. She has been persistent in letting me know though. She's asked me to read some books and I've agreed because I understand that perception is reality and though I may not agree to the utmost, if she feels I'm being verbally abusive, than, it must be. The confusion for me, and I guess where my question derives from is, how do I determine which emotions/thoughts are coming from the pregnancy or bipolar and which ones are simply her personal feelings.
For the most part, I had a healthy child hood...parents are still married, I'm the youngest with 2 older sisters, played sports throughout school/college, etc. My girlfriend grew up in an abusive household where she was abused sexually and verbally by her father who left the family while she was a child, and where her mother created a co-dependent lifestyle, leaving my girlfriend (the oldest of 3) to work and provide for the family from the time she was old enough to work.
It seems that the only times I feel as if I become "verbally abusive" is when I feel I'm being pushed into a corner. Lately, those times are typically when she approaches me about how mad she is at me (not for anything that happened that day) but for everything that has happened in the past, which always catches me off guard. She blames me for her dreams not coming to fruition, she blames me for her low self esteem, she blames me for where she's at in her life, etc. The frustrating part is that everything she reads on verbal abuse, leads her to only think that my feelings towards it are synonymous with other verbal abusers which becomes quite confusing.
I've tried to keep my patience and understand where a lot of this is coming from and also to validate what is real and differentiate what is hormones/stress or bi-polar. She is currently seeing a counselor but refuses to take medication while pregnant. She swears that the pregnancy has nothing to do with this and also that her bi-polar has nothing to do with this and insists that is all me. I try to take responsibility and want to take responsibility because there is nothing more satisfying than putting a smile on her face, but it's getting harder with each day that passes to see the light at the end of the tunnel. How do I go about handling this situation?
Notice: Psych Central Answers shut down to new questions on January 11, 2013.
Looking for a place to ask your question? Sign up today for our community (you'll need a separate account than the one you use here), and ask away!
Ask and answer questions about mental health and relationship issues in a safe & supportive environment. If you ask a question, you will have to answer someone else's first, in order to give back to others here.