How to encourage a person who has given up?

Oct 2012
[size=12pt]Hello everybody! :)

I'm dealing with a situation I'd very much like to hear your opininons on. The subject I want to discuss is a person very close to me - my boyfriend.

So here's the thing:
We've been together for more than 2 years, moved in together and spent most of that time with each other. Even though our personalities are very similar in many ways (we're very individualistic, love being alone and doing things on our own and therefore don't strive for making many friends, we're both very creative and proud to be able to find our own approach to most of the things, we're both very relaxed, etc...), we click together really well and we always have many things to discuss in a very deep way there are things that get in the way. I think I can summarize the cause of 99% of them like this: my boyfriend has given up 'living' and all he feels is apathy....

I guess I need to be more specific:
Being emotionally balanced and not easily irritaded in any way is his nature. He's never too happy or too sad and he never lets things hurt him/excite him. He's a very stable person - which in his case has lead to a pathological apathy and overall indifference.

*He doesn't care about almost anything - his 2 only hobbies are based on the fact that they can make him escape from reality - he plays a lot of guitar and composes music and he also plays PC games - that way he can get lost in his imaginary world for most of the hours he's awake
* Inspite of having these hobbies, they never make him feel happy or satisfied, he says they just help him forget about everything else get get inside of his head
* He used to do many things as a kid/teenager - f.ex. played different sports, had a band - and got to know many people along the way, but he was forced to do all these activities by his mother and stopped doing all of them when he was old enough to decide himself whether he wants do do them or not (and broke contacts with all those people)
* He never does anything that is not easy or comfortable. He knows it doesn't make him happy or satisfied, but he got used to being numb and decaying purposlessly as he calls it - he's just survivng, never undertaking any demanding challenges that could lead to his happiness, never letting anything/anybody get close to him to be able to move him somehow. He doesn't have any spiritual belief either, this is his 'philosophy': I'll just be rotting alive until the day of my death and then worms will eat me. He doesn't suffer from depression because of it, he just doesn't know how to care even thouh he wants to deep inside.
* He's very intelligent, kind and sensitive, he would never hurt a human being/animal on purpose and he somehow feels when others are treated unfairly or made evil fun of, but he completely lacks empathy. He never tried to see things through someone else and he's not able to make himself understand even the simpliest situations. He says thinking about other people is difficult, he deosn't understand why they act the way they act and therefore he chooses not not think about others - ever.
* He doesn't really like anyone and he has never loved anyone, he decided not to - again, it's too complicated and challenging. He sort of likes the memebrs of his family and sort of likes me - he doesn't love me though. He said that I'm the person he likes the most in the whole world and he felt 'something' when we met...something he never felt before, a certail potential, but then he decided not to develop it. He said he never thinks of me when we're not together and doesn't feel the euphory (how could he..). He never pictured himself with another person in any way, he's never thought about the future with someone and he hasn't even fantised about any girl - ever. It's just not numb enough for him, it's not easy.
* He doesn't have any dreams or goals, he's just surviving. He's honestly a great musician and has tons of completed songs done - he just never thinks about the future, he doesn't belive he could succeed as a musician and feels some sort of anxiety because of that - but again, those thoughts are too difficult.
* He dropped out of college because he didn't care about it (he started studying because of his mother in the 1st place), then he worked for a short time and now he's without a job - being at home all the time composing music and getting even more trapped in his indifference. He hardly ever meets any of his friends, sometimes he visits his parents when they tell him they want to see him.

He wants to change all of that, he wants to be more active in his life, he wants to like and he wants to dream - he just doesn't know how. I think I'm the only person able to help him as I'm somehow fulfilling all these aspects and I'm the only person that has EVER got a little bit inside of his shell. I've also motivated him a few times before. Everytime we start discussing it, he asks me: But what am I supposed to do, how can I get out of it? It's so hard...

Here's what I'm already doing to encourage him:
*I let him know as often as I can how much I admire him for his creativity when it comes to music, his unique way of looking at things and his individuality, I also let him know how much I like him for what he is
* I'm trying not to force him to do anything the way I want it to be - he's very vulnerable in this way and could be easily 'raped'. I don't, however, have a problem making decisions and I feel he likes that and usually follows the flow
* I'm asking him about what he's thinking and what he's doing...he then usually gladly tells me what he composing, how he's thikning and what's been bothering him
* I try to do interesting stuff together even though he doesn't care so much - that way he can feel a bit of excitement and gets motivated for a certain amount of time, also, I'm suggesting books he should read and I'm then trying to read books he has read...then we discuss and get closer to each other
*I'm trying to show him the power of empathy - teaching him how to start using it and why it's beneficial for him (I think he likes that), also, I'm trying to make him understand why he needs to visialize what he wants to achieve first and why he will probably never get motivated to start caring about stuff without dreaming and setting goals
* I'm trying to motivate him to get at least a part-time job for now...that he'll get back on track that way faster. I'm stressing that it doesn't mean he won't be able to make money with his music in the future

A very important point - his mother:
She is very bossy and doesn't realize that others think in a differrent way - therefore she thinks everyone should act according to her. She's forcing this upon others in her environment. My boyfriend was maybe a bit indifferent and unsure when he was born (and as a kid) and he was vulnerable in that way. He should have been encouraged to be self-confident, satisfied with himself and assured that he's loved. Instead, he was bossed around and told what to do, nothing was ever left up to him - his mother chose his clothes, forced him to learn hard at school, chose activities he was supposed to like (because she thought that's the way a young man should be like) and never supported anything he was motivated for and came up with if she didn't find it important. She f.ex. never supported his passion for music - she's tone-deaf herself. That way he's been molded into an uncaring creature with no goals, no love for anybody and no interest in challenges.

And finally - my question: What can I do to help him? How can I encourage him to get out of his state of mind (he wants to 'feel' too, but it's just gone too far for him to be able to know how)? How can I help him be more sure of himself without pushing him somewhere he doesn't want to be?

Thank you for you time and replies!!!!! :)

P.S.: I'm not interested in answers like ' why are you still with him when you know he doesn't love you' etc... Our relationship is based on other things, it means a lot to me (to both of us in a certain way) and I deeply care for him.

May 2011
Marble, N.C.
I to recently ask myself a question.Why am I here? Do I have a purpose other than just existing? I am still searching. Trying to finds one true self is extremely hard. It would seem he wants happiness (his way). Could he find others who love music as he does and and relate both of there talents to helping others with there music problems? Life sometimes does not go(our way). We need to step back from our daily routine and and try something (different).

Could you take him to a comedy club a music club anything that might take his mind off his boredom. He needs change (any change) bad. Repetition is boring. Seek therapy. Is he willing to sacrifice his problems for your love for him? He has convinced himself of these problems. Stay positive and turn all his negatives to positives. Good luck. pljames
Oct 2012
Thanks for your reply!:)

You definitely have a point, he needs some sort of kick! Repetition is boring. He knows many people who play guitar and compose music on the same level as him, but he perceives all these relationships only as an interesetining exchange of information now. But there's one positive thing - he told me today that he booked a therapy time, I'm really happy for him, he decided for it himself.

And you also have a point with music clubs and concerts!


May 2008
kittylicious sounds like you are doing a great job already.

motivation comes with desire and action. you sre giving him both and he is becoming motivated. be mindful that he doesnt become dependent on you.

when a child learns to walk there is the time when the parent must stop hand holding.
Jan 2020
It's difficult to be in your shoes hence feeling what you're going through is something I can try to imagine but can't feel. It would not be sensible if I claim to do so.
I'm even finding it difficult to fetch words which could console you. I just wish that you and whoever going through hard times be relieved of their stress.
I'd just sat that hardness Congress only to the strong ones, only if you are capable of bearing it. Making you even stronger. Keep yourself motivated.

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Mar 2020
You probably won't see this message cause you posted this a long time ago.

I think his diet will help him feel more will and ability to hit hard like he used to.

It may be that he lacks copper in his blood.

You can buy copper pills for $7/250 pills on amazon.

Personally I don't take them cause of the virus phenomenon, making it really hard to do anything in my area even if I had the energy. Also my life is planned and my family, psych team, and boss get really mad at me when I express energy and the will to change my mind very rapidly.

But if your boyfriend is actually welcome to apply himself to anything. Two 2-4mg copper pills a day will change his life.

He might want to gauge his take of them and you'll see his personality change. He can always stop taking them if he doesn't like them. It's not much of a financial risk. Copper will not help with romance, in fact it'll probably take away from it, but he will probably have the ability to sort through ideas and situations better.

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