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Paranoia and Overthinking About Partner
Somewhere along the line, my boyfriend got a back injury, which led him to be out of work for a very long time and prescribed to pain meds. This put a heavy strain on our relationship - the reality was that the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with will have a life-long battle with pain management.
This thread is called paranoia and overthinking about my partner because that is all that has consumed my mind for about a year. I started noticing small things about my boyfriend, which became huge issues and completely ruined the trust I had in him for so long. Things such as his pupils being pinpricks sometimes, him being low on money, him taking a long time in the bathroom, me finding suspicious things in his room, etc - everything was pointing towards the idea that he may be doing harder drugs behind my back. This idea became an obession for me.
The paranoia of being lied to by my own boyfriend gave me permission to start snooping in his room and bags. I would find things that I would not like, but he would always have an excuse or explanation or just deny my accusations. This has caused an ongoing struggle between us - we regularly have arguments and then we have same conversations over and over again, in an attempt to understand each other's frustrations.
I don't know for sure if something sinister is happening behind my back or whether he is struggling with something he won't tell me about, but I am constantly in fear that my worries may be true. I try my best to believe him and ignore the fact that he sometimes looks high, because I know that he has to take certain meds for when his back is in pain, which may change the way he looks and acts. But sometimes there are inconsistencies with what he tells me, leading me down a rabbit hole of overthinking and losing sleep over it.
He is the only person I can express my feelings to, but it only leads to him being upset that I don't trust him. It makes me feel like I'm ruining the relationship between us and putting him through hell. I don't know if I can go on with the stress it puts on both of us but I love him too much to just leave, especially when I could be wrong about everything.
Sounds very stressful and sorry you are going through this. It appears like you don't know whether you can trust him or trust your judgement. Perhaps considering a few questions might help work through it:
What is the most convincing 'evidence' you have that he might be hiding drug use?
Do you remember the first time you started to suspect something - do you remember what happened? and what was happening in your life then?
For what reasons do you think you might simply be paranoid? You mentioned that "now I feel anxious about every little thing that I may not have control over in my life"
Do you know any of his friends/family - have you heard anyone else expressing concerns about him?
Sorry for the barrage of questions here. They might help you get some further insights.
You mentioned you cant talk to anyone else about this - is there a friend or relative of yours that may be able to help guide at all?
Here to chat.
Thank you for taking the time to write a response to me, it means a lot.
To add some context, my boyfriend had an older brother who was a drug addict - he passed away earlier this year. Before he died, he would often lie to his parents and convince them that my boyfriend was also a drug addict. So there has always been high tension in his household and his parents also throw accusations towards him - but I'm not a fan of his parents anyways, so it's not something I would want to talk to them about because I don't want to stress him out even more at home.
One of his close friends came to me to ask if everything was okay with my boyfriend because he had become more distant. He would explain that he is talking less with his friends because he is focused on studying and doesn't like going on his phone too much.
The most convincing 'evidence' I found was drug paraphernalia hidden in different places in his room, but he told me that it belonged to his brother since he would sleep in his room when my boyfriend slept over at mine, which is believeable to me.
I think the first times I began suspecting something was after my parents noticed he was looking "tired" so they took it upon themselves to look through his bag while we were sleeping at mine. This obviously caused immense problems because it was an invasion of privacy and they happened to find his medications - some of which were from his parents because they also suffer from chronic pain. Since then, I couldn't shake the thought that their suspicions might be correct and he was getting high from these medications or something even stronger.
I am very aware of my need to control things in my life, and I would call myself a perfectionist. This is something I am trying to work on because it causes me a lot of anxiety. So I promised that I would stop looking through his stuff and just take his word for it. But this is so difficult for me - I want to believe my suspicions are wrong, but if something is actually going on, I just want the truth so I can help him.
I feel as though I tend to focus more on the things that confirm my beliefs, which probably clouds my judgement. There are many times where he looks completely normal and everything is great - there are also times where he would let me go through his stuff when I felt paranoid. If he was actually a drug addict, it would probably be a lot more obvious to me, with symptoms of withdrawal etc. So I pray that I am just overthinking everything.
sounds like a very distressing situation to be in. Yes chronic pain is a life long physical and mental battle. Is your boyfriend receiving any other support besides medications? It sounds like he is not mentally coping with his injury. Unfortunattely though, you cannot force him into getting help because he is still capable to make his own choices. The only time you can do something about it, is when he is at risk or harm to himself or others. Then you can call the police and they can involuntary take him to a psyche ward for assessment. You are "over thinking" about your partner because you care about him deeply! It would be very hard to cope with when you are assuming substance abuse is happening, however he can only help himself if that is the case. If you feel unsafe or in danger related to suspected substance abuse I suggest going to seek alternative living arrangements or calling 000.
Have you considered asking him about how he is emotionally coping? People can become defensive if they feel they are being blamed or accused of something. Try not to make it about you when taking to him, make it about him. Sit and listen then sympathise with how he is feeling. I do suggest going to talk to his parents about your concerns or give the beyond blue phone line a call 1300 22 4636
Hi there Anonlover and welcome to our forum!
You have painted a very accurate and emotional word picture about the situation between you and your partner. That must have been hard to do but I congratulate you for doing that - how did it make you feel after writing the posts?
There were two statements in your post that I thought were very important. The first says "He is the only person I can express my feelings to". Congratulations on that - it is a very sound platform from which to try what I am suggesting. The second statement shows tremendous maturity on your part " I could be wrong about everything".
However just be as aware as you can be about your own rights and self belief. To have stuck with your partner in a very difficult time shows you have a wonderful nature full of empathy, compassion and loyalty.
Can I suggest you ask him to have a kind of 'Future Proof' discussion with him? Make it a special occasion to show how important it is to you - like a picnic on the grass, quiet and private dinner out etc. Think very carefully about what you want to achieve and say. The real objective is to build a non combative and welcoming stage to have perhaps the most open discussion the two of you have had. It is important to tell him how much you love him, want to have a future with him, and cannot even imagine the pain he is coping with over his back.
You could also apologise for some of the things you may have said, even though you may not feel they were your fault. This is intended to set the scene for him to open up and really listen to you when you tell him about how you are feeling and the changes you would like to see. Don't hold back on what effect it is having on you and how scared you are about the effect it is having on your love for him and the possible future of your relationship.
The ask how he really feels about his own pain and the effect it is having on your relationship and the way he feels about you.
That's it. I tried this once with my partner. Yes it was hard and I chickened out the first time and changed the subject but that made me feel bad afterwards. The second time I stuck to my agenda and the overall result was amazing. Our partnership blossomed and she even comments on how great that meeting was to this day.
So all the very best with your relationship and the above suggestion Anonlover - I hope you feel it is worth a shot.
I am happy to discuss at any time if you feel that may help.
Kind regards, The Bro
Hi The Bro,
Your words were something I really needed to read - keeping these troubles between my partner and I has really tested our relationship, yet we are still together and still love eachother deeply. Not having an outside perspective as insightful as yours has been hard on me and causes me to blame myself for a lot of things. Thank you so much for not only seeing my side but also empathising with my boyfriend.
I am very open with my feelings towards my boyfriend and I don't keep anything from him, especially if something is on my mind. Unfortunately, my attempts to have serious conversations about our future together often leads to arguments and misunderstandings. It's at the point where if I didn't bring up any sensitive topics when I'm with him, then we wouldn't be arguing at all. I think the way I approach such conversations may come across like I am casting doubt on him or that I am thinking too far into the future instead of focusing on the present.
What are some ways I can start a conversation without it leading to conflict? At this point in our lives, we are still figuring out our own paths, and sometimes I worry we are going at different paces, regardless of my patience with him. With times so uncertain right now, I don't want to make him think these conversations are pointless, but I need that sense of security that everything will be okay and that I am making the right choices.
I just need to learn how to create a safe space to have an open discussion and not come off as judgemental or ungrateful. This has been difficult for me in the past, given that I am an emotional person who can't find the right words sometimes.
Thank you again The Bro, I feel a lot better just being able to write my inner feelings down on this forum. I'm looking foward to hearing back from you.
Thank you for your reply Positive Vibes.
You are completely right in saying that he, as an adult, is the only one who can make these decisions for himself. I know that he knows the dangers of addiction as he has experienced it first hand - that's why I like to think that we would never do that to himself or me as his partner.
I do believe that we tend to focus more on my how I feel - I am more comfortable with expressing my thoughts and I much more in touch with my emotions, whereas he is more likely to resort to being angry or becoming completely closed off. So, it makes it very difficult for him to open up to me.
No matter how much I ask about how he is emotionally coping with everything, he always reassures me that everything is fine and that I don't need to worry. This puts me in a tough position where I feel quite helpless.
Hi again Anonlover and thanks so much for another post with such clarity and emotional maturity.
I will attempt to help with some thoughts on how to set up and conduct a 'conversation' that doesn't lead to the arguments you mention.
However all I can do is rely on my own experience - at some stage it might help to see a relationship expert together, but that it really up to you, in addition to the advice already given to you in the other posts.
To start with, any discussion MUST not become an argument. All this does is agnite emotional barriers that stop any progress. Tell your boyfriend that you love him deeply, want a terrific and nourishing relationship long term, but really need to have a chat abut the way you feel. Do not accuse him of anything. If he says why what's wrong, respond with something like how sorry you are about how you have been responding and would love to hear about what he truly thinks about your behaviour. If he says its all OK - keep going and lead into asking him what aspects of your behaviour would he like to see improved, regardless of how minor.
Do you see how this works? He should find it very hard to not respond to your open and honest request. This will then give you he chance to say is is alright if you comment on some aspects of his behaviour.
Even if you honestly feel you have done nothing wrong at all, by him seeing that you are 'owning' some of the issues should open him up to telling you what is really on his mind.
Be receptive and appreciative to what he says but do keep your self respect intact as you deserve that.
I hope this helps you a little bit. It is hard to do so don't feel bad if it doesn't go right initially. Keep at it, be receptive and loving, and encourage him to open up how he feels about you.
Men are not good at this but this approach might help to break down some barriers.
All the very best Anonlover, let me know how you get on!