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02/04/2008 09:06 AM

Having to leave a bipolar spouse

4support
 
Posts: 46
Member

I have tried everything to help my husband through the last 4 years since his diagnosis of BP II/ADHD. Even when he has created hell in our home, I've tried to hold everything together, protect the children, adapt my life, still handle all of my responsibilities and move through the distress. But I'm not sure I can do it anymore. My husband takes medication, but his lithium levels have been low for a while, he took himself off the other med which I thought was working well, he doesn't seem serious about seeing a new doctor (he dumped the last one), and he doesn't see his therapist anymore, who was helping him. He thinks the "whole bipolar thing" is made up, he doesn't recognize his behavior when it's off, and continually blames all of his hurtful comments and nasty behavior on me. I just feel at the end of my rope. I am a Christian and have been trying to hard to keep our family together. But I really feel he is toxic to be around much of the time. Most of the time he is a completely different person than who I fell in love with 12 yrs ago. I am just heartbroken, I look into our children's eyes and struggle with what the right thing to do is. Stay with a man who is unpredictable, negative and toxic to be around, or try to build a new life without him. I dont' think of this as an easy decision because we have children. I'm afraid leaving him will damage them, or hurt them terribly. They love their father, as do I. I just feel as though I'm falling apart inside, I used to be such a strong woman and he has picked me apart for so long now, I no longer feel comfortable letting him do this to me. When he rants toward me, he breaks down all the things that are sacred to me - who I am, what I believe in, my dreams, my efforts to him and this family, my work, my needs, our marriage, the goodness I have always shown him - I dont' know where any of this comes from, it contradicts everything I know to be true, and all the wonderful things he says to me when he is doing better. I feel I can't 'snap back' anymore from the way he has made me feel. If I leave him, I can't stand the thought of being away from my children for one day, they mean everything to me. I really love my husband, I feel I may have no choices left. I don't know what the right thing to do is. I would never in my wildest dreams have thought I would be faced with this. My feelings have never changed for him, he has changed, and he wears me out. I am afraid for what the children see when he lashes out at me, and the conflict they see in our home. I don't want them to grow up and think that this is a 'normal' way to act. They are young, but they are confused and must wonder why their Dad says some of the things he does to me. This is very painful, and I know many of you have been through it. I know I'm not alone, but it feels like it.

Post edited by: 4support, at: 02/04/2008 11:10

Post edited by: 4support, at: 02/04/2008 11:11

Post edited by: 4support, at: 02/04/2008 11:13

Post edited by: 4support, at: 02/04/2008 11:18

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02/04/2008 10:32 AM
mcat

I think you and I are living the exact same life. Except my husband left. Sort of. He doesn't live here anymore, but he's here daily. I know exactly what you are going thru. Married 12 yrs. 2 kids. I'm at a loss sometimes as well. You aren't alone.
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02/04/2008 11:17 AM
4support
 
Posts: 46
Member

Dear mcat,

I am so scared. I love my husband very much but it is hopeless if he continues to distort our lives together, and arguments, things said (not), etc...I feel as though I am in a Catch-22. We will discuss things at length, he seems to come to an understanding, and then later either denies that we had the conversation, or doesn't remember what we talked about. Something is really wrong. He has ADHD too, but is taking meds for that. He is always making up things which are not said, or distorting what is said. I feel he is a Jekyll & Hyde. Are your children young? How are they handling this? And you? I am so worried because of our children, frankly at this point no matter how much I care about him, I would rather not have him here than have him here like this. I really need some peace in our home and I don't see this happening with him here. How do you cope, do you have support? I don't really have any support nearby, and I also feel that friends wouldn't understand completely. I'm a private person to begin with, but starting to realize that I may have to reach out more than just to my therapist.

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02/04/2008 11:27 AM
mcat

Something must be in the water. I just informed mine that he cannot come back here because he is too unstable and he's not going to take out his anger on the kids. He is constantly telling me i "misheard" things, or i "took them wrong" or i just plain made it up. One day he is completely rational and by that evening he could be someone entirely different. Right now he is in a "I hate women" stage because we are all out to manipulate him and try and control him and we are all bitches. I have two girls. one is 16 and one is 6. so I had to tell him until he can gain control he is not allowed back. He can't be paranoid and start taking it out on my girls. We'll see what happens. I love mine too. It's so hard to be strong sometimes. I found this website, and I have family. He's pretty much scared off all of my friends over the years. (and his.) I'm beginning to think I need some professional help as well. Just to get by.

I can't let him pull me down as well. I'm the only one keeping him afloat.

I think, he hates me because he loves me. I can only imagine it's like school. You never want to go back and see the kids who knew you were a dork. He kind of acts that way here. He loves me, but I know too much about him for him to be comfortable in his own skin. So he has to make shit up about me to feel good about hating me. Which, makes him miserable, but at least he doesn't have to deal with all the shit he's done, and all the problems I know he has. I think he belives I have no respect for him now.

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02/04/2008 11:36 AM
4support
 
Posts: 46
Member

I think I feel even more fear and alone because I have no family nearby to help me. Everyone in my family really likes my husband because they see the side of him that I fell in love with. There's nothing not to like when he's not having episodes. He's very easy not to like when he's nasty and hurtful. I also am currently looking for a new job and feel very "stuck" because I don't have my own income. Just the pressures of trying to find a job, raise my 2 little ones (6 & 3), run the house, and school (I've gone back to night school), just doesn't leave much more room for the pressures and stress of marital conflict. I have seen a therapist on and off and although it helps, it seems to be getting so redundant. Everytime I go, I am able to vent and talk about things, but the responses are virtually the same - he is sick, needs help, needs to go to the doctor, needs to go to therapy, needs new meds, etc.. - but I cannot force him to do what he needs to do, and I can't force him to recognize his own behaviour. 90% of the conflict in our home has started because of one of his mood swings, not "remembering" things, ugly comments, unfair judgement of me or ungratefulness. Yet he's always twisted what is going on back on me. Most of the time he is completely irrational and it is impossible to talk to him, let alone come to some kind of resolution. Sometimes I think I will sacrifice myself just to keep our family together so the children won't be hurt, then I think that is nuts too. I want them to see a good example of how a husband should treat his wife. I don't know which is worse. I've been so upset today, it's hard to focus on all of my other responsibilities. It really helps to talk with someone who understands.
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02/04/2008 11:45 AM
mcat

You have to step back. You have to untie the emotional strings. For just a second. He isn't rational. And you can't take what he says on a personal level. But, that being said, I KNOW how difficult it is to hear those insults, accusations, and hurtful things and still not take them personally. They do hurt. ALOT. And the kids will never understand. Not while they are young. They just hear the anger. I guess I lucked out cuz mine left. I never wanted him to. But now that he's gone, as hard as it is, it's still better than it was. I miss him. but when he's like he is right now, I am SO glad he's gone. Hopefully, he will take my "suggestion" to not come here while he is like this. I'm hoping it doesn't make him angrier. I've never told him not to come here before, and he's such a control freak. This might just be the straw. I'm on eggshells right now.
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02/04/2008 12:05 PM
4support
 
Posts: 46
Member

I'm so sorry for what you are going thru. I can't imagine the agony of my husband leaving and then coming back as he feels to see the children, and acting as though things are "normal". I think it's wise of you the way you are handling this.

You know, it seems I've heard over and over since learning about BP disorder...don't take the things they say personally. How can you not? I mean, they are saying them, or yelling them, right to your face. Degrading everything you do for them, not recognizing what they have to be grateful for, distorting everything, finding fault with everything. If he means everything he is saying, then I have to leave him. Because I know I am a good and loving wife, supportive and a positive influence. I can't just allow him to break me down inside and always questions what he means or doesn't mean. I just took care of my entire family for a week with the flu. I had no time to study or maintain the house, and lacked lots of sleep. I love my family and of course wanted to take care of everyone. My husband was so ugly to me the minute he started to feel better. I went to the grocery store and stood in line for an hour yesterday so I could make him the food he wanted for the Super Bowl. When I finally got home, and I asked for help putting the groceries away, he told me how I was trying to "get in the way" and "cause him" to miss the game. I explained that at the commercial I could use a little help so I could start making his snacks for him. He told me "I probably didn't want to anyway", "Quit complaining", "what kind of idiot goes to the store on Super Bowl Sunday"...on and on. This was all for him. This is what I mean by ugly and ungrateful. When I tried to tell him to stop being so hurtful and saying unfounded things, it became bigger and bigger. He didn't like that, and he wasn't "doing anything", I was. He will never apologize for being hurtful, let alone admit that it could be because his medication levels are so low and he is way overdue seeing his doctor.

It upsets me that the children see this kind of anger and upset between their parents. I am a peaceful person and want them to be raised in a more peaceful and stable environment.

Feel lost.

It seems it's harder and harder for me to "snap back" after he acts this way. How can you not be emotional and not take things personally when you give all of yourself to this man.

Post edited by: 4support, at: 02/04/2008 14:07

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02/04/2008 12:23 PM
mcat

I hurt for you. I walk the same path. I know how it feels to have someone screaming three inches from your face that you gave them the wrong coffee cup, and you did it to be spiteful. Mine always snapped out of at some point and apologized. That was all before he was diagnosed. Having a label on his anger/irrational behaviour helps. At least I know it wasn't me. And it's not you. Maybe you can leave him for a little while. I know life with them is never predictable. You never know how things will turn out. But maybe you need a break from him. It's turned out to be helping me tremendously
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02/04/2008 12:31 PM
4support
 
Posts: 46
Member

Yes, I have always thought a break might be helpful. The problem is, he refuses to leave our home, and I will not be without my children. They need their home (stability) with their rooms and things, and my son's school is here. I do not currently have the funds to leave with them so I feel I am stuck right now. I wish he would leave, I have asked him so many times to leave for a while and he just refuses and tells me to leave. He knows I will never leave my children.

The sad thing is, he's not like this at all when he medications are working well. It's obvious he is "off" but my hope was that after all his therapy, he would finally be able to recognize the signs of his behaviour shifts. Apparently, he still does not.

Thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with me. It means so much.

You hang in there with your situation too. Take good care of yourself and your children.

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02/04/2008 12:59 PM
mcat

I know how it goes. I too am/was a stay at home mom. The trap. Thankfully mine isn't to the point where he has cut me off. It could come any day. I have family to fall back on if need be. But I understand your dilemma. Good luck to you. If you need to vent you can email anytime. Kiddies are home now. I have to buck up and be the strong one. Catch you later.
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