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7 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 11:43AM #1
LookingForSuggestions
Posts: 67
I am a 63 year old Catholic man, we have been married for 28 years.  We have a 16 year old son. My wife is 56. My wife suffers from a mood disorder possibly bi-polar disorder and had been seeing a therapist for several years.  Last year my wife while on vacation without me meet and became infatuated with another much younger man also on vacation.  In December she stopped seeing her therapist and stopped taking her medications.  As bad luck would have it the man she meet lives fairly close to our home and in late December she started calling him and he in turn her on her cell phone.  In January and thru the early party of March my wife would go out and stay out until the early hours of the next morning with this man.  She refused to tell me where she was going of whom she was with.  I tried several times to follow her but was unable. During this period her mood swings became worse than I have ever seen them before.  She was totally irrational and started many arguments mostly with me but on occasion also with our son.  She made ridiculous accusations such as I was having a homosexual affair.  She refused to talk to me or go back to see her therapist.  When I called her therapist he refused to confirm or deny that she was his patient.  Over the last couple of months she had become violent, throwing things around the house, etc.  She then refused to sleep in our bed and began sleeping on the couch.  One night after she came home around 3 AM she came into the bedroom and started making threats against my life.  This happened a couple of different nights. It wasn’t the first time she had made threats against me but now she was also violent and I took her threats considerably more seriously.  Several nights (mornings actually) later she came home and into the bedroom while I was sleeping and throws the alarm clock at me hitting me in the head.  Based on my attorney’s advice I went to family court and got an order of protection against her saying that she was not to threaten or attack me.  After she was served with the order of protection she went totally insane and again one morning while I was sleeping attacked me.  I called my attorney and she was arrested and spent one night in jail.  She now has a criminal order of protection issued by the courts to stay away from our home and she is staying with her mother about 15 min. away.  I have become the primary custodial parent for our son.  He is very withdrawn because of the entire situation and I’ve taken him to a separate therapist but he has been uncooperative and refuses to talk about his feelings.  I’m somewhat concerned about how he has been acting, sleeping a lot, not hanging out with his friends, that sort of thing.

I had hoped that my wife would come to the realization that she needs to get back into therapy and back on medication for her mood disorder but instead she blames all of what has happened on me, has just recently sued me for sole custody of our son, sole occupancy of our house and of course a divorce.

Her mood swings first started to show up while she was pregnant and I put it off to that but it was more than just the pregnancy.  The last 16 years have been hell for me dealing with her irrational behavior because I never knew who she was going to be when I got home. 

She is now also gambling on-line and on the horses, which is another symptom of bi-polar disorder so I’ve had to cut off her access to our cash. She is totally off the hook and now with the pending divorce I believe she will get further and further into her manic period and further and further away from the help she needs.  She told our son that it was never “her problem” that I ruined her life and now that she with someone else she knows better.  This man she seeing now I’m told is a gambler also so they are probably living the high life just now.

Now I feel that I have failed her in spite of how much I’ve tried and I’m looking for suggestions as to a course of action to take. 

Has anyone every had to deal with a situation like this or with bi-polar disorder?
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 26, 2008 - 4:23PM #2
LookingForSuggestions
Posts: 67
[QUOTE=DAH54;385280]Hello LookingForSuggestions and welcome to Beliefnet. If I understand what you have written it would appear that your wife has filed for a divorce, and the only valid question at this point maybe to fight the divorce or not. Again based on what you have posted it sounds as if your wife is in the "I can't do no wrong" phase and until she crashes, she will not be much concerned with listening to anyone else. I believe it is unlikely you would stand a chance of getting a court order to force her into treatment at this point. So your only real option is will you choose to be there to pick up the peaces when she crashes at some point in the future? Realistically speaking chances are that will only be after you are divorced.

I believe you may have let your marriage slip into a battle for control, and I'm sure you have friends telling you that she will come around, and that you are better off with out her. So what are your thoughts? She is seeking the divorce, not you.

I am sorry for the pain and turmoil you and your son is enduring because of this contest of wills. The destruction of a family is never a good thing to see. You need to be there for him, now I believe and let him know that it is not his fault, that he did not cause this. I wish you well.[/QUOTE]

DAH - Thank you for your reply.  Yes my wife has once again filed for divorce (she goes through this every 4 or 5 years - this is the third time).  The first time she dropped the suit on her own.  The last time her case was denied because there was no grounds (except in her mind).  After which things got back to relative "normal".

She certainly is in the "I can do no wrong" state and as is her habit blames me for everything. "I've ruined her life."  (according to her). 

I have tried to contact her therapist but they will "niether confirm nor deny" that she is his patient so that was a dead end.  I had been giving her extra money for the co-pays for her therapist but in December she told me she didn't need them anymore because there was nothing wrong with her, all our problems were because of me.

I have petitioned the court for an emotional/mental evaluation and while it hasn't been denied by the courts it has now been postponed three times so by the time the courts do make a decision she will be really far gone.  My real concern here is that I've seen her mood swings (her depressions) and they are directly inverse to her manic episodes.  This being the worse manic episode I have every seen in our 28 years I'm afarid she might become suicidal when she crashes.  She has spoken about suicide after two of her prior episodes which were much less intense.

She is now living with her mother who unfortunately has turned a blind eye to her daughters problem and refuses to admit she even has a problem (once again blaming me for everything).  She is living with her mother because after the last time she attacked me there was a criminal court order for her to stay away for our home.  (I do miss her, but not the insanity).

I am not a rich man and if she gets even half of what she is demanding in the divorce I will have to sell our home (which I just finally paid off).  Plus which if we divorce she will loose my medical coverage from my job so that if at some time she want's to get the help she needs she won't have medical coverage.

Unfortunately you may be right she may not "crash" until after the divorce but probably not even then because she will have the money from the sale of our home to continue gambling (did I mention that in my original post?) and living the "hi-life".  She probably won't crash until all the money is gone and at that point there won't be a home for her to come home too!

Again you are right we have let our marriage slip into a battle for control but I had very little choice after the last couple of episodes I was pretty much forced to take at least finacial control because the bills must be paid and you can't do that when the money is being spent elsewhere - like on gambling.

Our friends (who know about her problem) tell me to let her go and sink on her own because they have seen us go through this twice before and how it has negatively effected my son and I.  They feel I've done about as much as I can without virtually killing myself (we've already killed the vast majority of our somewhat meger finances).  Yet I have difficulty doing that.  I have tried (and up until now been successful) at protecting her from her own disorder and that's been the better part of 28 years. 

Do I just say "enough is enough" and throw away all the efforts over those 28 years?  Sometimes I dream about having a nice normal relationship where I wouldn't have to worry about who is going to be there when I got home from work.  But that's just a dream.  I know I will always have to deal in one way or another with the bi-polar problem.

Am I willing to continue to take on that resposibility?  I suppose the answer to that would be yes.  After all I've been doing it for years.  But there is an additional consideration.  I'm having my own medical problems and just recently was hospitalized for a spell.  The long term prognosis is not particually great.  What is going to happen to her when I'm gone?  Who will take the time and considerable effort to understand and try to get her help? 

Years ago I put a little money aside exactly for that purpose but after all thats gone on the past few years that money is gone.  I would hate to see her instutionalized.  That's not what she really needs, she just needs to get back into therapy and back on her medications. 

So do I just cast her to the wind and have the last few years of my life to myself or do I continue the struggle until the bitter end?  Either way I guess I loose.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2008 - 10:21AM #3
LookingForSuggestions
Posts: 67
You are welcome. Where I live there is no fault divorce, one merely has to show up with the right paperwork and pay a fee, there is nothing to prove, one merely needs to "want" a divorce. I suppose this can be seen as a blessing or a curse depending on ones point of view.

We live in New York and there must be grounds for divorce.  Her grounds are of course cruel and inhuman treatment.  Which is the exact opposite of what has happened.   Yes I did take away her credit cards (except for gas cards) because she would go on wild spending sprees and yes I did have to open a separate checking account so that I could be sure we had enough funds to pay our monthly bills but that is a “cruel” as it got.  And that was more a matter of survival than anything else.  At one point in time (about 11 years ago) we had $32,000 in credit card debt – that’s when I was forced to take away the credit cards.  It took me over seven years to pay off that debt, debt accumulated for item she purchased which she never used, like clothes still hanging in her closet with the tags still on.

It seems to me that you know who her therapist is, she is using your insurance I believe, and I believe that means you need to sign forms to get those claims process. You don't really need the doctor to confirm that he or she is her doctor do you? If you have information that you believe the doctor needs to be made aware of, make an appointment with the doctor and tell the doctor. What you feel he/she needs to be aware of. I believe it would be unethical for the Doctor to discus how to handle your wife. But I would suspect that perhaps in general terms he or she could discuss things you could do, or options you might have.

Yes I do although she has changed therapists recently and I’ve never met him, I do know who he is and were he is located.   Last year yes I did have to sign an authorization form but it was only the one time.  I didn’t need to sign forms each times she went, if I did I’d know when she stopped going.  As I said I tried to contact her doctor (over the phone) and it’s a good idea to try and go see him in person but unfortunately now not longer possible because along with the divorce she has also filed a “stay-away” and “do not harass” petition with the courts which means I can not contact her or any of her family, friends or associates.  My lawyer tells me that includes her doctor.  I even wrote her doctor a letter explaining what’s been happening but I never sent it again because my lawyer told me it would be in violation of the “do not harass” court ruling.  I’m pretty sure she hasn’t been back to see him anyway since at least sometime in December so even if I were able to contact him I don’t know what he could do because she isn’t going.

Depending on the level of depression, suicide is always a real possibility, as is not acknowledging and not dealing with one's actions. It sounds like someone has always been there to pick up the pieces when things go bad for her. Unfortunately that can lead one into deeper difficulties. One could call this a mid life crises, but it seems like from what you have posted that would not truly be accurate.

No it’s not a mid-life crisis if it was she’s been through her mid-life twice before.  I’ve always been there in the past, I’ve taken the blame (in her mind), gotten her back into treatment, tried to patch up hurt feeling with friends she insulted during her manic periods all the while trying to keep my job and earn a living.  The suicide thing really concerns me.  Not right now because she flying high but I know that’s not going to last forever and sooner of later she’ll take the big nose dive and crash and this time I’m afraid it will be worse than ever. 

Perhaps her mother has chosen to be non confrontational with her, and is simply enabling her to misbehave as she feels she has no other option? That is the major problem with first order change no real constructive change occurs. One learns how to accept, and enable another.

No actually her mother has encouraged her to “go out (of the marriage), get a new life without that bastard”  (that’s me in her eyes).  Her mother (I guess based on what my wife has told her) probably believes that all the problem in our marriage are really my fault.  I think there may be something wrong with her mother also because she about 8 years ago she encouraged her other daughter (who has a serious drinking problem) to leave her husband and now my mother-in-law has both of her adult daughters living with her.  There’s more to the story also.  My father-in-law passed away about 2 years back and apparently there was a fairly large inheritance (I don’t know what my wife’s idea of “Fairly large” is) but they do live in a very large house on the hill so just from appearance they’re not poor.  My mother-in-law told my wife that she was leaving everything to her sister because after all her sister no longer has a husband to support her.  (Technically my sister-in-law is still married but really has no relationship with her husband)  My sister-in-law does not work and for the past 8 plus years her and her three sons (only one of which works and that’s part time – her sons are all 22 and older) have been living with my mother-in-law.  Only one of my nephews’ dates the others just go to the bars or hang around the house. My sister-in-law at this point is having a good day if she can speak coherently because of her constant drinking.  I know my brother-in-law was sending money in the beginning but I think he has now moved on with his life and I don’t know if his still sending money. I have lost all contact with him so I don’t know.  My mother-in-law had a very dysfunctional marriage (including at least one affair know to me) and at the very best (and I’m giving her a lot of credit here) she is a bitter woman.  Furthermore based on some of the things my sister-in-law when she was drinking I think there may have been some sexual abuse of the two sister when they were children.  It’s hard to tell because who knows if she’s telling the truth when she drunk?  My son calls his grandmothers house the “Café Depresso” and of course he’s right on the money.

Yes. And at this point when the money is all gone, and the boyfriend is gone, she may feel she has no options left to her at all. Nothing to look forward to and no hope. She may very well feel she has burned all of her bridges, and suicide is her only option. It would/will be easy also for you to slide into this mindset. To start to play the "If only I had...." game with yourself. Please don't let yourself fall into this trap.

I know she’s felt like that after earlier episodes and even talked about suicide and I’m really worried for her because physically I’m not there for her.  Now I think I’ll be okay because I know I’ve done the best I can for her.  Maybe I didn’t do everything right but I did my best.   

Have you been successful? Or did you merely delay it for 16 years?

Well, I know that with bi-polar disorder there’s never going to be the day when you wake up and it’s gone and won’t be coming back, so yes I would say I’ve been successful to this point anyway.  What happens in the future I can’t predict.  But even if I only delayed the inevitable I’d count that as a success.

I suspect this is something between you, your God and your conscience. I believe you said you are Catholic, how much do you believe in the Catholic concept of marriage? 28 years is a very long time to decide to throw away, even if you have a good reason to.

Yes I am Catholic and I’ve frequently spoke to my priest about what’s going on in our marriage and I strongly believe in the “for better or worse” vows we took in our church.  Aside from the fact that I still love my wife and care very much about what happens to her so I wouldn’t want to throw away 28 years either.  But honestly I’m am getting older and I’m very tired of fighting the battle that I know will never end, that I can at best just keep forestalling.  Then I worry what will happen to her when I die?  I suppose I’m being selfish but sometimes I wonder when will it be my time?  Will it ever come?

When one partner chooses to take on the role of the keeper of the other, the marriage invariable suffers. The balance of power shifts and it is no longer a marriage of equals. I believe that unequaledness taints any marriage, and makes it more difficult.

Of course that’s true but to my mind I had no choice. She was unable to care for herself or even at times admit there was something wrong. I didn’t do it to be “in control”.  I did it because it needed to be done and she (some of the time anyway) just wasn’t capable. 

Perhaps you focus on your son, and what he needs? Perhaps you will be blessed in finding joy in meeting your son's needs at this confusing time in his life? Perhaps you choose not to make it about yourself, and your losses or gains. Not about your wife and her poor choices. But rather about your son? I suspect he has seen and heard some great examples of things not to do, it is possible he might need some examples of things to do, and ways to behave.

A very good suggestion and it would redirect my focus away from some of my problems with my wife.  I have been trying (and perhaps I should try harder) to focus on him but with everything that’s been going on he’s very withdrawn and that worries me also.  I know this is a difficault time for him also with his mother out of the house and I try to reassure him that “everything will work out” but that’s hard because I don’t know if I believe it.  My priest just tells me to “have faith” and I’m trying but it’s hard.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2008 - 10:02PM #4
AttitudeIsEverything
Posts: 187
Hello,

I'm sorry to hear of your troubles...
I posted to something you wrote in the Babyblonde (please please help me) thread about bi-polar.  If I sound like it's "cold hard facts" about it I guess I'm just realistic.

I read all of Dah's response, and having seen some of his posts, his advice is real and wise..no different here.

But what struck me was the last paragraph about your son.  Having had a parent with bi polar, I can tell you it's damanging to live it and can be very hard to get past it, even when you grow to adulthood.
I sypathize will all your efforts to get your wife help, to stand by her as a loving husband.  My father was the same way.  Yet he needed two psychiatrists and a medical doctor to get my mother committed. 
She was episodic for years, and required in- treatment to achieve real balance.  Every year she'd go in for a few months, the cycles are pretty predictable. 
In the general comfort forum there is a post regarding a bi-polar sister.  And then ab84 wrote it to comment, she has bi polar.  Please consider reading it, her's is a story worth hearing, and gave a lot of insight.

I tell you all of this becuase of the effects my mother's illness had on her, my father and my sister & I.  It became a central focus of the family- how could it not? And it impacted my life tremendously in the choices I made, how I viewed life and especially love.
It became all about her- don't upset her, don't talk about it.  Ignore the fighting my parents did, although my dad managed to keep a lot of it from us.  When you're young you think you did something to cause Mommy to be sick, even tho you're told it has nothing to do with you. Over time, you wonder why the ill parent can't show the love you as a child need and desperately deserve.  Why can't you just be normal, be a parent & see the pain I'm in?  Your son is 16, but I'm sure he senses more than you think you've protected him from.  As a kid I noticed the personality changes in a cycle before the adults...you can't deny the knowing that comes from experience.

You wife may have to hit bottom and beyond to ever get and keep getting help.  The first thing they do is go off the meds.  She may need to be hospitalized once she does hit bottom.  I'm sure I don't have to tell you after all this time that there is no talking to her to make her see what she is doing to herself, you and your son.

Do you talk about it with your son?  Or is it just "understood" that Mom is being Mom?  As a child in this situation, I felt I just wanted it to stop, by whatever way possible.  It HURTS--to see Mom like this, to see Dad struggle to help her when she didn't want it and wouldn't accept it, so many things.  Most of all I wanted someone to see what her illness was doing to me.  The outward stuff was dealt with, but scars are hidden always.   

Please talk with your son.  He may be relieved that you are thinking of taking care of yourself and possibly getting a divorce.  You both love her, I am sure, but there comes a time when you must know that she is the only one in control of her life, and she's not going to make healthy decisions. I think you have done so much to help her and I can tell how worried you are about her future.  But sometimes there is only so much we can all do for each other.  You alone can control (some) of the outcome of this desperate situation for your son.  You need to get some distance and try to give him a more balanced life.

I rarely brought friends home since I didn't know when the drama would start.  I didn't want to tell anyone not close to me that mom had "issues".  When mom was away, I never told anyone.  It is an illness of isolation for everyone.
Please focus on what you can make better from this, your relationship with your son.  You've spent years focusing on your wife, and that's to your credit, but your son needs you just as much, if not more. Only the two of you know the whole story, start at the beginning and ask him now as a young man of 16 what he thinks, it may surprize you.  Most of all, hold on to each other.  I am wising you the best in this tough time.

Linda
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 27, 2008 - 11:22PM #5
LookingForSuggestions
Posts: 67
[QUOTE=AttitudeIsEverything;388975]Hello,

I'm sorry to hear of your troubles...
I posted to something you wrote in the Babyblonde (please please help me) thread about bi-polar.  If I sound like it's "cold hard facts" about it I guess I'm just realistic.

I read all of Dah's response, and having seen some of his posts, his advice is real and wise..no different here.

But what struck me was the last paragraph about your son.  Having had a parent with bi polar, I can tell you it's damanging to live it and can be very hard to get past it, even when you grow to adulthood.
I sypathize will all your efforts to get your wife help, to stand by her as a loving husband.  My father was the same way.  Yet he needed two psychiatrists and a medical doctor to get my mother committed. 
She was episodic for years, and required in- treatment to achieve real balance.  Every year she'd go in for a few months, the cycles are pretty predictable. 
In the general comfort forum there is a post regarding a bi-polar sister.  And then ab84 wrote it to comment, she has bi polar.  Please consider reading it, her's is a story worth hearing, and gave a lot of insight.

I tell you all of this becuase of the effects my mother's illness had on her, my father and my sister & I.  It became a central focus of the family- how could it not? And it impacted my life tremendously in the choices I made, how I viewed life and especially love.
It became all about her- don't upset her, don't talk about it.  Ignore the fighting my parents did, although my dad managed to keep a lot of it from us.  When you're young you think you did something to cause Mommy to be sick, even tho you're told it has nothing to do with you. Over time, you wonder why the ill parent can't show the love you as a child need and desperately deserve.  Why can't you just be normal, be a parent & see the pain I'm in?  Your son is 16, but I'm sure he senses more than you think you've protected him from.  As a kid I noticed the personality changes in a cycle before the adults...you can't deny the knowing that comes from experience.

You wife may have to hit bottom and beyond to ever get and keep getting help.  The first thing they do is go off the meds.  She may need to be hospitalized once she does hit bottom.  I'm sure I don't have to tell you after all this time that there is no talking to her to make her see what she is doing to herself, you and your son.

Do you talk about it with your son?  Or is it just "understood" that Mom is being Mom?  As a child in this situation, I felt I just wanted it to stop, by whatever way possible.  It HURTS--to see Mom like this, to see Dad struggle to help her when she didn't want it and wouldn't accept it, so many things.  Most of all I wanted someone to see what her illness was doing to me.  The outward stuff was dealt with, but scars are hidden always.   

Please talk with your son.  He may be relieved that you are thinking of taking care of yourself and possibly getting a divorce.  You both love her, I am sure, but there comes a time when you must know that she is the only one in control of her life, and she's not going to make healthy decisions. I think you have done so much to help her and I can tell how worried you are about her future.  But sometimes there is only so much we can all do for each other.  You alone can control (some) of the outcome of this desperate situation for your son.  You need to get some distance and try to give him a more balanced life.

I rarely brought friends home since I didn't know when the drama would start.  I didn't want to tell anyone not close to me that mom had "issues".  When mom was away, I never told anyone.  It is an illness of isolation for everyone.
Please focus on what you can make better from this, your relationship with your son.  You've spent years focusing on your wife, and that's to your credit, but your son needs you just as much, if not more. Only the two of you know the whole story, start at the beginning and ask him now as a young man of 16 what he thinks, it may surprize you.  Most of all, hold on to each other.  I am wising you the best in this tough time.

Linda[/QUOTE]

Thank you Linda for your reply.

Sorry to hear about your mom.  My wife isn’t quite that bad episode every few years provided she stays in therapy and normally not this bad!   It may be worse this time because of the menopause?

Up until recently pretty much all I ever told my son was that mom’s going thru something just now and we’d have to be patient.  When she was depressed and would lay in bed for days I’d tell him mom’s not feeling well (which was actually true but not the way he took it). I always thought he was just too young to understand bi-polar disorder.

I only really started studying about bi-polar about three years ago, since then I’ve probably read a dozen books on the topic and some very boring and dry medical papers. 

Damaging is a gross understatement.  We’ve lost most of our friends, my wife has been unable to hold a steady job, our relationship is in the crapper, and it goes on and on. 

My wife and son were always very close in fact she was overprotective of him.  When she would have one of her episodes he was totally lost.  Gradually he came to; if not understand, accept that mom was sometimes not mom.  During her current manic episode she dropped him like a hot rock, started going out and basically didn’t give a hoot about either of us.  He walked around for a few days with a blank look on his face. 

Finally one day as we were riding in the car he says to me “I miss mom”.  It was then I realized I was focusing too much attention on my wife’s problem and ignoring my son.  That night after his mother went out we sat down and had a long talk.  I know he didn’t understand everything I was saying but at least he knew I cared about him, how he was feeling and what he was thinking.

The next day he asked me why mom wouldn’t just take the medicine to make her herself again.  I tried to explain to him that his mom was not thinking right and that she thought she didn’t need the medication.  “Then make her take it!” – he said.  But it’s not that simple, I wish it were.

We’re separated now (by court order after she attacked me) but I encourage him to call his mother every day (sometimes she’s there, sometimes she’s not).  At first he was a little disappointed when she wasn’t there but now he’s come to accept that and seems better able to handle it.   In fact now he even sometimes skips a day when calling her and again he seems okay with that.

His mom is really in a manic state.  Our son went to a dance with a new “girl”  (his first love) and I took a couple of photos and mailed them to my wife because I thought she might want to see what’s going on in our son’s life.  Several days later I got a registered letter from her attorney asking me to refrain from contacting her.  I wonder if that means I shouldn’t send her a check each week?  Sorry a little bitter.

No there’s no talking to her (in fact now legally I can’t) and to compound the problem she now has a boyfriend who I understand is some 20 years younger than she.  So she’s out most nights having a grand old time with little if any thought to her family at home.

I do talk about it with my son to some degree but he really doesn’t want to hear that his mom is “mental” as he puts it.  After all this crap started back in December he became a little bit (okay a lot) withdrawn but I’m gradually pulling him back out although it’s not into a reality he likes.  He just wants to have things back to “normal”.  The good thing is that I’m getting closer to him and finding out he’s really a very nice young man and for his age pretty damn smart.  No I’m not just bragging.   He actually did some research on-line on his own and we talked about what he found.  He had a couple things a little mixed up but he’s learning about bi-polar disorder at his own pace, and maybe that’s the best way.

As I said my wife and I are separated now and I am the custodial parent.  The distance has made a difference.  The house isn’t a neat and tidy as it once was but it’s a lot more stable then it’s been in years and I no longer dread coming home from work for fear of who she’d be when I got there.  Our son is slowly beginning to settle into a new routinue with some changes.  You want your bed made – do it yourself type of thing.  He’s adjusting I think.  Not much choice we’re all we have left.

“hold on to each other” have you ever tried to hold onto a 16 year old boy with ragging hormones?  But I know what you mean and to a degree we are (or at least I think we are?)

Thanks again Linda, wish me luck cause it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2008 - 12:22AM #6
AttitudeIsEverything
Posts: 187
Hi LFS,

Yes, it is a lot you and your son are going through.  It's just I wanted to tell you from a young adult's perspecitive since I lived it myself.

Menopause is an added issue, and probably complicating things as well.  It doesn't seem sometimes that there's much we can do for people we love with bi polar.  My concern was for all of you, but especially your boy.

I think you have been a very good husband, and tried to help, that's all we can do.  But sometimes we have to let people "go", if for no other reason than to learn on their own.

I'm encouraged to hear that your son and you are talking about things.  That is so important.  No, I didn't want  to face Mom not being normal, but as healthy person in an unhealthy situation, it's impossible to live in two worlds. Now a mother myself I understand a parent's urge to make things appear better than they are...until your wife's actions prove louder than your words.

It's good that your son is doing research on his own, he's 16 and at that age you can't tell them much anyway, lol.  But at least it opens the door to be more open about the issue in general, and he can now come to you to talk about it.  Since he and his mom were so close, abandonment is a HUGE cloud in his life, there can't be any barriers between you about this situation.  It's a road you are both traveling together.

You don't have to turn away to turn the corner. No matter your good intentions and loving feelings, you know yourself it's not seen that way.  The only comfort you can take is that you did try...and now it's your son who deserves the lion's share of attention.  He's been waiting a long time while mom wasn't feeling well.  And you need him too-- to remember that there is joy in life even when everything hits the fan. I will keep you & yours in my thoughts and prayers.

Linda
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 28, 2008 - 11:16AM #7
LookingForSuggestions
Posts: 67
[QUOTE=AttitudeIsEverything;389258]Hi LFS,

Yes, it is a lot you and your son are going through.  It's just I wanted to tell you from a young adult's perspecitive since I lived it myself.

Menopause is an added issue, and probably complicating things as well.  It doesn't seem sometimes that there's much we can do for people we love with bi polar.  My concern was for all of you, but especially your boy.

I think you have been a very good husband, and tried to help, that's all we can do.  But sometimes we have to let people "go", if for no other reason than to learn on their own.

I'm encouraged to hear that your son and you are talking about things.  That is so important.  No, I didn't want  to face Mom not being normal, but as healthy person in an unhealthy situation, it's impossible to live in two worlds. Now a mother myself I understand a parent's urge to make things appear better than they are...until your wife's actions prove louder than your words.

It's good that your son is doing research on his own, he's 16 and at that age you can't tell them much anyway, lol.  But at least it opens the door to be more open about the issue in general, and he can now come to you to talk about it.  Since he and his mom were so close, abandonment is a HUGE cloud in his life, there can't be any barriers between you about this situation.  It's a road you are both traveling together.

You don't have to turn away to turn the corner. No matter your good intentions and loving feelings, you know yourself it's not seen that way.  The only comfort you can take is that you did try...and now it's your son who deserves the lion's share of attention.  He's been waiting a long time while mom wasn't feeling well.  And you need him too-- to remember that there is joy in life even when everything hits the fan. I will keep you & yours in my thoughts and prayers.

Linda[/QUOTE]


Hi Linda and thank you once again for you thoughts and suggestions.

I’m sorry you had to grow up in a dysfunctional home but I did want to ask you how your mother is today?  Do you maintain a relationship with her?  If so is it strained?  Is it loving?  Is it guarded? I’m trying to see things as our son might be seeing them and I’m trying to believe that there is some light somewhere down the road for him to re-establish a relationship with his mom once she comes down to earth. 

I believe that a child needs that emotional connection and especially with John Jr. because for years they were so very close. At 10 we couldn’t shut him up now at 16 he’s pretty quiet so it’s hard to get him to talk very much especially about his feelings.  As of today he hasn’t seen his mom in over a week although she’s living with her mother only 15 min. away.  I asked him how he felt about that and he just shrugged his shoulders but said nothing. 

I don’t even think she’s called him in the past 2 or 3 days.  Honestly that really ticks me off.  But I have to try to remember that she’s not doing it deliberately it’s the disorder that’s taken over.  I tried this morning to explain that to him but all he said was “If she doesn’t want to call she won’t call.”  -  a little too matter of fact I though, then he left the kitchen I think because he didn’t want me to see that it was hurting him.   I asked him if he wanted to speak to her why her didn’t call her and he said “She’s the parent, not me.”  - not exactly sure what to make of that?  What do you think? In a funny way I got the feeling he’s trying to be strong for me?  Does that make any sense to you?

While I’ve been studying bi-polar for a couple of years now I don’t know how menopause could or might effect her condition.  I don’t remember any material I’ve read that specifically mentioned menopause as it relates to bi-polar.  As you probably already know from your personal situation bi-polar is partially caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.  As a man, I’ve never had any first hand experience with menopause but I do know that it causes wild fluctuations in the body’s chemistry.  When she started menopause at first she refused to admit it and then later (last fall) after going to her gyno who had given her some prescriptions she claimed they made her feel sick and stopped taking the prescriptions.  Then she got into these herbs and “natural” substances to help her with her menopause issues.  She said they didn’t help too much but at least they didn’t make her feel sick.  I honestly don’t know what she was taking “St. John Wart, some oriental roots, etc.)  But I didn’t think she was qualified to self medicate.

The menopause was the key reason I failed to recognize the warning signs this time.  I thought it was just the menopause and the abnormal behavior of a lady going through menopause.  I was wrong unfortunately.   Unfortunately I doubt that my wife will be able to learn on her own until she has destroyed pretty much everything herself included. 

You said that now you have children of your own.  As you know bi-polar disorder has a tendency to run in family lines. In fact I believe my wife’s sister also suffers from bi-polar but that it is masked by her drinking problem.  Do you have any concerns for your children?  That they might at some time they might develop this crippling disorder?  I worry about our son.  At 16 I think it’s normal for a boy to withdraw from his parents as he becomes more of a man but I sometimes wonder if that’s all it is?

Abandonment – whew you got that right!  But it’s funny how Johnny is handling it.  I know he misses his mom because sometimes (twice anyway) I hear him talking in his sleep, and talking to her.  Yet it seems like on the surface he’s rejecting her?  Like he’s consciously trying to push her and his feelings for her away?  Of course I know she can’t see it but I’m sure he’s not really dealing with it.  Is he just pushing it out of the way?  Did you ever react that way when your where a child? Can you remember?

You’re right; everything I’ve tried to do is being seen as hateful (by my wife).  She now also has confirmation of her feelings from her mother.  Well, I can only do so much and right now that’s damn little.  I feel so very helpless in this situation. And I’m worried about her and Johnny.

Once again you have made a great point which I was starting to see on my own anyway.  Our son and I are starting to become closer (at least I think so) and I am taking some joy in that.  He’s a great kid (err sorry - young man) and I’m glad I’m getting a chance to know him a little better.  If there is any sunshine in this black cloud he is it.

Thanks Linda

John
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 30, 2008 - 8:07PM #8
spudette
Posts: 959
LookingForSuggestions, I just came across this thread, and first of all I want to say how sad I am for you, for your wife and for your son. Before beginning to answer, I prayed for all three of you. Apparently, at this point, there's little you can do for your wife, but I must urge you to do all you can to have the best possible relationship with your son. At 16, he wants to be a man, he is well on his way to being a man, but his brain isn't even fully developed, and won't be until he is about 25, so your good influence is absolutely vital. I would say, encourage him to talk with you about the situation, and about his feelings, but if at times he doesn't want to talk about those things, that's OK. At least he does discuss the situation with you sometimes. Above all, be sure to have good times with him, share things that you both enjoy, learn to enjoy things that he does and you don't, help him to discover pleasure in things that you may enjoy and he doesn't yet, make sure you find all the common ground possible between the two of you. He misses his Mom, but he needs his Dad. You're the only one who can teach him how to be a man.

You love your wife, and her problems are hard on you, and she does blame you for everything. Believe me, I know. I've had a couple of people in my life who had bipolar disorder, and people with that disorder do blame those around them for everything from a misquito bite to Noah's flood. Remember that you aren't the cause of your wife's condition, no matter what she says. Keep yourself as healthy as possible both physically and mentally for your son's sake. Right now, he is your top priority.

You sound to me like a God-loving man. Keep close to Christ, Who promised He'd never leave you nor forsake you.

If your wife insists on a divorce, I suggest you get a good lawyer who will make sure you don't get stripped of everything. Try to keep your home, at least for your son's sake. He has enough to deal with. He needs the security of staying in the home he grew up in, if at all possible. I will continue to pray for you and yur family. May God bless you abundantly.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 31, 2008 - 10:45PM #9
LookingForSuggestions
Posts: 67
[QUOTE=spudette;395489]LookingForSuggestions, I just came across this thread, and first of all I want to say how sad I am for you, for your wife and for your son. Before beginning to answer, I prayed for all three of you. Apparently, at this point, there's little you can do for your wife, but I must urge you to do all you can to have the best possible relationship with your son. At 16, he wants to be a man, he is well on his way to being a man, but his brain isn't even fully developed, and won't be until he is about 25, so your good influence is absolutely vital. I would say, encourage him to talk with you about the situation, and about his feelings, but if at times he doesn't want to talk about those things, that's OK. At least he does discuss the situation with you sometimes. Above all, be sure to have good times with him, share things that you both enjoy, learn to enjoy things that he does and you don't, help him to discover pleasure in things that you may enjoy and he doesn't yet, make sure you find all the common ground possible between the two of you. He misses his Mom, but he needs his Dad. You're the only one who can teach him how to be a man.

You love your wife, and her problems are hard on you, and she does blame you for everything. Believe me, I know. I've had a couple of people in my life who had bipolar disorder, and people with that disorder do blame those around them for everything from a misquito bite to Noah's flood. Remember that you aren't the cause of your wife's condition, no matter what she says. Keep yourself as healthy as possible both physically and mentally for your son's sake. Right now, he is your top priority.

You sound to me like a God-loving man. Keep close to Christ, Who promised He'd never leave you nor forsake you.

If your wife insists on a divorce, I suggest you get a good lawyer who will make sure you don't get stripped of everything. Try to keep your home, at least for your son's sake. He has enough to deal with. He needs the security of staying in the home he grew up in, if at all possible. I will continue to pray for you and yur family. May God bless you abundantly.[/QUOTE]


Spudette – thank you for your reply and thank you for your prayers – I’m sure they will help.

Yes he thinks he’s a man already Friday night I wasn’t feeling well and went to bed early.  Saturday morning I got in the car to find the seat had been moved and rap music on the radio.  So I asked him if he had used the car Friday night. (He’s only had he driver’s license less than a week).  At first he hesitated, then he told me he had.  He said I just drove around the neighborhood a little.  So with everything that’s been going on I didn’t want to come down on him like a ton of bricks so I just told him from now on when you want to use the car ask me first.  He just said “Okay Dad” and I think he was a little surprised I didn’t punish him.   He’s a good kid and I’m a very lucky man.

As far as talking he’s clamed up again but I’ll just be patient.  Last night we went to see his court appointed attorney. He was a little nervous but I just told him to tell the truth.  After the attorney spoke to him she called me in privately and told me all he really wants is to have his mom & dad back together and getting along like before.  I already knew that or I should say felt it but it was good the hear someone else tell me. 

As far as us getting back together it seems near impossible now.  I’m willing (provided she gets back into therapy and on her meds again) but apparently she’s off on a real bender this time with the latest boyfriend and hasn’t given much thought even to her son.  Heard from mutual source she blames me for ruining her life and hopes I die sooner than later.  Hard to remember it’s the disorder talking.

Unfortunately my health is on the decline and I’m trying to set things in place (before the divorce) so our son can go to college even if I die.  Lots of legal problems there but I’m doing my best. He doesn’t even know but someday I think he’ll appreciate it.

I do have a lawyer and he thinks that if I contest the action I will probably win the case. That means I can keep the house and our son can stay here.  He must be pretty good because he get a $10,000 retainer.  Actually he was recommended by a friend of mine who is himself a criminal attorney.

I checked with a couple mortgage companies to see if I could get a mortgage for half the value of our home but they are reluctant to give such a large mortgage to someone of my age with my medical problems so that doesn’t seem likely.  I figure if worse case I could buy my wife out but it doesn’t look like that will happen.

As far as her petition for sole custody my lawyer thinks he can beat that also because of her past track record of instability.  I know our son misses his mom but he doesn’t want to go someplace else to live with her.

Thank you again and please remember us in your prayers.
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 01, 2008 - 6:34PM #10
SatanicStalker
Posts: 719
I feel for you and the difficult situation you have found yourself in, and for your son.

When I was in 7th grade, my mother was institutionalized with bipolar disorder. Maybe the details of her situation leading up to that were just well hidden from me, but it sounds like your wife is more out of control than my mother was. I know as well as most that bipolar disorder can be a serious and dibilitating illness, that it has nothing to do with weakness of character, and that well-meaning but untrained people can be helpful in addition to professional help, but alone cannot fix the problem.

After two sessions of several months each, my mother was pronounced cured. Before the hospital, she had no friends outside of the family, had lost the ability to hold down a job, rarely talked and never laughed. Now, she has a great job, a good marriage, many friends and activities, and she's bought a house. She smiles and talks animatedly and laughs uproariously and sometimes it's hard to believe she's come so far.

Although it was not a happy time for me or my siblings or my father when she was in the hospital, ultimately it got her what she needed. I hope that your wife does get the help she needs, even if it is institutionalization. It's unfortunate that such things are out of your hands, but you can pray that the court will discover the degree of her mania and get her the help she needs, whatever that help is.

My advice to you is to do what you can to step back from the situation. It's going on its current course, and there's not much you can do about it. Take care of yourself, spend time with your son, and do what you can to protect your assets and prepare for financial difficulty. Perhaps consider getting a smaller apartment and renting out your house rather than selling it (I don't know what exactly that would entail, it's just a thought that comes to mind). Try to do more with your son than just ask him about his feelings (that is good too), try to do fun, lively activities with him to get you both in better spirits and to distract you from your stress. Try hangliding, for instance.

As for your relationship with your wife, that is also somewhat out of your hands for now. If she does get the help she needs, decide within yourself whether you'd be willing to take her back. If the answer is yes, let her know, without being pushy about it, that you support her recovery and want to help her. If it goes well enough, consider inviting her back into your home. But leave such things for once that process starts, there's little point in stressing over it at this point.

I hope this is helpful, and I wish you the best.

~Stalker
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