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Boyfriend with Factitious Disorder

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Boyfriend with Factitious Disorder

Postby Samarra » Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:54 pm

Hi all,
I am writing in search of answers about a relationship of mine that fell apart not long ago and after doing some reading, I am suspecting my former boyfriend (I'll call him "Rob") had some type of factitious disorder. When we first got together he was completely healthy and lived a pretty successful life. He had recently completed a graduate program, he was employed, he was attractive and fun to be with. We had a great relationship for about a year. I have never been the "nurturing" type, and I'm pretty up-front about this aspect of myself. Within the first year or so of our relationship, Rob started confiding in me about various and unrelated problems he'd had in his past: he used to practice self harm, he had developed an addiction to pornography, he'd been through severe depression and anxiety, and a bunch of other problems -- I don't mean to dismiss any of these experiences, as they are all painful and legitimately deserving of both treatment and empathy. But I did notice that he seemed to present these experiences to me in strange ways -- ways that showed he was obviously going after my sympathy, rather than simply telling me about his past. He would get very melodramatic when talking about each of these experiences, looking solemnly to the floor and beginning, "I have to tell you something, something dark and horrible and I don't want you to judge me, something very painful from my past..." (this introductory monologue would take at least five minutes, every time, before he would actually tell me the thing he was introducing) and at first I was empathetic but after about the fifth or sixth time I heard this speech, I started to care a little bit less (I'm sorry if I'm coming across as cold). One time he even used this same monologue to introduce the topic of how he thinks that his mother may not have held him enough as a baby (he and his mother have a pretty functional and loving relationship). I felt like he was grasping at straws for my sympathy, which only made me sympathize less with him. I'm sure he picked up on this, even though I always replied with supportive words.
About a year into the relationship, Rob started developing digestive problems. Something along the lines of an IBS or acid reflux or something like that. One day he had indigestion. He went to he emergency room.
He called me from the ER in a panic, saying, "Honey, I don't want you to freak out. Don't worry. I don't want to scare you. Don't panic" and other things like that, and on, and on, and on, and on, and even though I kept asking him, "What's going on?" he INSISTED on saying the same "don't freak out, it's ok, I'm ok, don't worry about me" instead of actually telling me any of what was going on. It was as if he was hyping me up deliberately to get me worried. Finally after five minutes of hyping me up, he told me he was at the emergency room because he'd had indigestion.
He insisted, "Don't worry, I'm fine," but then later told me it bothered him that I hadn't come to visit him in the hospital (even though it was just indigestion and he was "fine"). This happened at least five more times over the next six months, and I can't even count how many times he went to the emergency room for minor pains. Every other week he was calling me with a new story about his health problems, even though none of them sounded particularly severe.
Then he started having elective surgeries, tests, doctors appointments all over the place, but they could never find anything wrong with him (or, rather, the doctors at the various hospitals he went to couldn't come to a consensus or discover any significant health problem, other than minor things like moderate acid reflux and perhaps a food allergy or two).
He quit his job and moved back in with his parents at 32 years old. He kept asking me to come over to his parents' house to cook for him and take care of him. It got to the point where every morning, he would text me a long list of his symptoms that day, the foods he had eaten, and an hourly play-by-play of how his symptoms had developed over the previous day. A typical text from him would read something like, "Good morning. Today I woke up a little groggy and I had some gas. I ate some fruit and then my symptoms calmed down. Now I am on the couch watching TV with my mom. I'm going to keep taking my medication and then I have an appointment with a new specialist this afternoon."
I got one of these EVERY DAY for about six months. It was as if he thought I was his doctor. He basically stopped asking about my life, and even got to the point where he refused to leave his parents' house (or, at best, the surrounding neighborhood) to see me or to do pretty much anything. At that point, I had also had a lot of problems in my personal life, and I could no longer handle the relationship emotionally. I felt like he had put me in the role of his caretaker rather than his partner, and that was a role I could not accept. I ended the relationship about six months ago and we haven't spoken since.
I don't miss him, but when I look back on this relationship, I still feel a lot of anger at how he forced me into a care-taking role and treated me as if I were his nurse or mother rather than his girlfriend. But I wonder, does this sound like a diagnosable factitious disorder, or was he just lazy? Or am I just cold and terrible?
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Re: Boyfriend with Factitious Disorder

Postby sleepyschizoid » Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:00 am

lmao wow.. having dealt with parasitic personalities like these i can tell you that no, you are not cold. i can't say if he has this disorder but it sure sounds like it or even just a form of narcissism since he seemed to have no interest in how you were doing. he may have genuinely believed he was ill but played it up for the attention and sympathy. leaving was probably the best choice.
just close your eyes and i'll take you there
this place is warm without a care
you'll take a swim in the deep blue sea
i'll go to leave as you reach for me
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