I am sharing this here, because I cannot seem to talk about it honestly with any of the people in my life without feeling like I am betraying a trust.


I was involved with a man that struggles with heroin addiction. I am not going to tell his story.

He lived with me in my house for 5 months. I needed a flatmate to help pay the rent, we learned of each other through a mutual friend. In the time that he lived with me, he gradually opened up to me regarding his addiction and more importantly what would I think be classified as psychotic delusions. In the early days he seemed  to be able to differentiate between himself and the voices that he was hearing.

I fell in love. I let him stay in my house, despite the fact that he was not paying rent, in fact had no income whatsoever,  I fed him and his dog, I found him work, a commission through a friend. (eventually I paid back the deposit for this work as he did not complete it, he left with the materials) I did not tell anybody about his psychosis, I believed him that he was going through a spiritual and cognitive process for which he needed time. I still do. The relationship was marked by extremes, he would profess his feelings for me and the calmness that it brought and then swing into extreme misogynistic musings on society and scream at the female voices that he heard. I felt that it was at times pointed to me, but he denied this.

We would develop a routine of comfort and affection for a couple of days, then we would have a disagreement, in my mind a  trivial matter or a disagreement on how he talks about women or about finances, a sensitive matter but a realistic one that needs to be talked about. Post one of these he would leave and stay with his mother in the city for a couple of days to a week. This, as far as I could tell, is when he used. When he came back he would go through, what looked to me like typical withdrawal, in this time he would be reticient to verbally aggressive.

I had made it clear from the beginning that I would be moving from the house when my lease ended.

Two weeks before the end of the lease, we again ended up in an argument. I told him that the words he was using and the way he was talking to the “women’s voices” affect me, “even if you are not directing it at me, the spinn-offs hit me in the face”. He was affronted by this, it sounded like he thought I thought my reaction was more important than the trauma he was reliving, I use the word trauma- he would not. He started packing his stuff, he said that I was attacking him “the whole time”. I managed to calm him down and we ended up having a very in-depth, on the level and dare I say it ,caring, conversation about spirituality, male and female relationships, power relations and how they can be supportive or destructive.  A couple of minutes after the conversation had drawn to a close, he accused me of spiritually attacking him. He went outside of the house and again started screaming at “whores, bitches, witches” I also left the house and hid with his dog behind the house. He again started packing his stuff and called for the dog, who was now seeking comfort with me. I was accused of stealing the dog, so I walked the dog to him and went to sit away, waiting for him to leave. To shorten a long story, he at some point turned on me and hit me in the face, on my back and tried to choke me. Even though he was, I believe, having a deeply disturbing psychotic breakdown he also seemed intermittently in control of himself.

I did not call the police, I have to thus far only told one person about what happened, and this only after he officially broke communication with me. He has moved back in with his mother, who sporadically kicks him out of the house, has had him committed and then invites him back in again. He has also spent a bit of time in prison since then.

I am writing this, because I am trying to understand why I allowed this to happen, issues of loneliness set aside, nor do I think I suffer from a type of savior complex (or maybe I do). I still find myself caring about him and feeling guilty for discussing it even here. I do not see any hope for him any more. He carries around more pain than any person I have met in my life, I worry about him and am at the same time terrified of him.  We have broken communication and he does not know where I live or work now, I do not think I am in any real physical danger.


I really want to understand why he hit me. Has any one been through something like this?



  1. kitmoon 6 years ago

    Though I have never had an abusive romantic relationship, I have experienced abusive familial dynamics, as well as (many times) asked myself, after particularly bad episodes, why ‘I allowed’ and kept allowing. I sometimes picture the people I most admire, those who I would consider very self-assured and also very compassionate, and I’ve since realised that it is not compassion that tolerates abuse, but a form of guilt. That, as well as the belief that only your compassion stands between hope and despair for the other person. That’s a huge burden for any one person to bear, and also it’s NOT true.

    We cannot always help those we want to. It doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be helped, and it doesn’t mean that our desire to help is wrong, it means that that they can’t necessarily be helped by US. That can be a struggle to accept for a deeply compassionate person. Addiction and mental health issues are not things that can be addressed by just one person’s love. It needs a support structure and likely some professional help to assist someone in healing from that. Not that personal relationships can’t support the addict or be very important, but more than that is needed. Addicts often need a lot of different kinds of help. Sometimes they need someone to listen to, sometimes they need practical assistance, sometimes they need blunt honesty and to be held accountable, and often they need help from people who know the terrain of addiction / mental illness to speak to the specific challenges they may be dealing with. You were never going to be able to help him on your own, please know that.

    If he hit you, it is likely because he was in pain. I’m sure you can see that part. The other part of it may be that he thought he could. Both those could be true at the same time. Maybe he lost total control, and maybe he didn’t. You were in the relationship and would know better if there was ever the kind of dynamic where you were his total safe space to release his pain in any form he wished, and that there was the sense that no matter what happened, you would always take him back. It seems he already had this dynamic with his mother.

    Another thing I really have to point out is that when you keep secrets about something that may be endangering your life, and if he knows you will keep his secret no matter what, then he also knows at some level that it is only up to you and his sense of self-control to keep you safe. Addicts often live with a sense of self-control that is frayed at best. If he is potentially violent, and if you keep a secret, then nobody else can help you. You are shielding the truth of his life from the world with your own body, and nobody who loved you and was in their right mind would want you to do that. Would you ever ask that of him? If you had a sister or a daughter, would you ask them to do that?

    I think if we are honest, we will often see that guilt drives us to do things that may seem ‘kind’ but aren’t actually good for the other person or for us.

    I know this is a very difficult and complex thing to wrestle with. If you can, please think about some therapy or counselling to help you recover? Stay safe.


    2 kudos
  2. joshua-treat 6 years ago

    I am sorry to hear that you went through all of this. I have to say that anyone would be lucky to have someone like you in their life. I am in agreement with everything that Kitmoon has said and just want to add to what she has said, so please read over her comment first. I could probable theorize all day what is going on with this guy but ultimately it is you who is seeking help, and also confirmation that you made the right decision, and yes, you did make the right decision. I have had my addiction issues and psychosis, and the only person who could help me, was me. I think you are just a caring person who ended up with someone who was not emotionally mature enough for a relationship. I was going to put a link here to a good article about emotional maturity but this site doesn’t allow links. So what follows is from an article by Chuck Gallozzi on personal-development.com entitled Emotional Maturity 101. I bet that these points will hit home very well. I suggest going and finding the article it also lists traits of people who are emotionally mature and how to develop a person into becoming emotionally mature.

    Some Characteristics of an Emotionally Immature Person

    1. Takes everything personally, overly sensitive, and cannot take constructive criticism.

    2. Seeks immediate gratification. Yields to immediate pleasure and avoids unpleasant but necessary tasks and responsibilities.

    3. Because of the above, unable to stick with a job until it is finished.

    4. Blames everyone and everything (other than him or herself) for personal failures and mistakes. Never accepts responsibility.

    5. Demands the world cater to his or her every desire. Makes statements such as, “He (she, it) makes me mad. I can’t stand it when he (she, it) does…”

    6. Tries to control others rather than control themselves. Manipulates others by saying things like, “I’m offended when you…” Controls people by making them feel guilty.

    7. When the ‘victim’ of a perceived injustice, seeks revenge rather than understanding, compromise, and problem solving.

    8. Yields to temptation. Cannot carry money without spending it. Never satisfied with enough, but always wants more.

    9. Constantly complaining. Always focuses on the negative.

    10. Impatient. Grows irritable if he or she doesn’t get their way now.

    11. Fails to see the needs of others. Only interested in him or herself.

    12. Cannot be counted on to do their duty without being supervised.

    13. Panics in a crisis. Believes him or herself to be a victim. Expects to be ‘rescued’ by others.

    14. Doesn’t reflect on the consequences of their behavior.

    15. Plagued by self-doubt, anxiety, and worry.

    16. Tends to see things in black and white, not in shades of gray. (“You’re either for me or against me.”)

    17. Is needy. Clings to every relationship and is devastated when one falls apart.

    18. Uncomfortable with change and uncertainty. Seeks security.

    19. Oversteps the boundaries of others while demanding that his or hers be respected.

    20. Easily stressed and cannot cope with or manage life’s challenges.

    Most men are also obsessed with control, and abuse is a form of control and asserting dominance over someone or something. Heroin is also a very serious addiction. It gives you a feeling that is more powerful then the human orgasm and last for much longer. With that kind of instant gratification in someones hands it really is no wonder why it is hard to stop, not to mention that it diminishes the pleasure of other satisfactions you get from other sources because your brain blocks the endorphin you produce after being so over whelmed by your first use. If I recall, but do not quote me, I don’t believe this is able to be reversed unlike with say alcohol which if you stop drinking for a while your tolerance starts to revert to normal. I am 99.9% that I am remembering it right because upon hearing this information in my college class back about 5 years ago made me decide I would not be doing any of that stuff ever. Essentially he doesn’t even experience the human orgasm the same way he use to. To me, what could be worse then not being able to have a combined shared experience of equal value and pleasure with another person. I know this is all very Freudian of me to say but men’s attachment to a relationship is heavily sex based and if his pleasure is not on par with yours then you can see his view of it is skewed compare to another man’s or even yours. Obvious we are only in hopes that a man can come around and see that relationships are more then just sex and pleasure but what I am saying is that with this basic element out of whack his view of it is different then other men you have dated in the past. There is hope, but he needs to stop playing the victim of his addiction first, and for heroin addiction this could mean years and years of personal discipline and conviction.

    If there is one thing I can give you for advice is to not be a victim like he was. It sounds like you are on the right track just don’t feel guilt tripped by yourself or by anyone else by taking him back. He can only help himself. Empower yourself and take control of this new life you have.

    I hope this helps and take care. <3

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