Boyfriend Having an Emotionally Difficult Time

Reader’s Question

My boyfriend lost his mum about 7 years ago and now he has funny turns and a very short temper. The other night he had a turn, and he was telling me to let him go and kill himself so he could be with his mum because that’s where he wants to be, and nobody loves him and nobody will miss him. I reassured him that everyone loves, everybody cares for him, but he wouldn’t listen. Soon after he started saying I hate everyone, I asked him if he hated his dad, me and my son. He said yes. I asked why, and he said because were d****. I asked why again, and he said because we are t****. I kept asking why why why, and he just replied the same answers. After a few minutes of that he just cuddled me and told me he loves me and didn’t mean anything he just said. As far as I know, he has tablets for a condition. I do not know what the specific condition is or what tablets they are because he does not take them.

Do you believe there is a diagnosis for this kind of behaviour and attitude? Thanks.

Psychologist’s Reply

There are several important parts to your questions. First, your boyfriend is experiencing a depressive phase. If it surfaces briefly, it may be an anniversary reaction (common on Mother’s Day or the date of his mother’s birthday or passing). Anniversary reactions, due to Emotional Memory, cause us to relive the bereavement again.

Second, if this pattern as been present for several months, it probably reflects a depression. Many of us wonder what our worst event or memory might be. If you become depressed — the wondering stops and you very clearly know for sure. When depressed, our brain finds our most difficult time and makes us relive it. For your boyfriend, it’s the death of his Mum. That’s why many of his references are to his Mum at this time. Each depressed person may be haunted by their personal worst event.

Lastly, your boyfriend may have been recognized as experiencing depression — but he is not taking the medication. Medical noncompliance is about 40-50 percent. Encourage him to take his medication, as well as reading articles on this website about depression. You can find additional information on my website at, including articles on depression and chemical imbalance. Antidepressant medications don’t work like pain meds that can be taken when you have pain. Antidepressants must be taken each day for them to be effective.

Depressed folks all have a “garbage truck” of high-speed negative thoughts. His brain is telling him he’s a bad boyfriend, son, provider, father image, etc. When this happens, depressed folks often try to push their partners away with language or behavior. Pay attention to his mood, not his comments. I’d recommend supporting his treatment or seeking mental health treatment at this time.

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