My wife is bipolar. When she has an episode, she wants to get a divorce. She leaves the kids and myself and moves in with friends or more often than not, her family. After months have gone by she will come around mentally and we will get back together. She has just been released from an involuntary stay in the phych ward and she has left us again. The thing is, that the doctors seem to have made some real progress with her, ie. changed her meds and took her off alot of meds that she was on. I love my wife very much and want to save our marriage. Please help.
i have been in a similar relationship for the last 20 odd years and also loved my wife i tried everything i could, she kept telling me to go when she had an episode, the more i tried to rationalise the worse it got and the more determined she was to get me out. I used to drink a lot and take the blame saying sorry it was my fault because of the drinking, it wasnt. We tried everything, ive had several houses in my own right then gave them up when we got back together, real couples shouldnt have separate houses, when we stayed in my house she would up and leave for no good reason or pick an arguement then leave. I used to just think there was "something not right" Her previous marriage had gone along the same lines, she was terrfied of her ex-hsuband when we met, at the beginning she put me on a pedastaL the obssessivee jealousy and unfounded accusations, i attributed to she just loved me loads. It wasnt, i know now its a sign of BPD stemming from an extremely low self esteem which can start as early as an unstable childhood or abuse in a previous relationship. The abused then becomes the abuser, its a prolonged processs, because you love her you always try to look for ways to calm things down, even taking the blame when you know its not your fault. Its a vicious cycle to which there is no end, the more she leaves and you take her back, or she throws you out and you return, this only serves to show that she has the control and attention which she ultimately desires, but enough will never be enough as she will be compelled to keep testing your loyalty fearing abandonment even running from it to avoid it, the more you try to prove your love the harder she will try to be-little you to raise her own self esteem. You will in effect become a non-person only doing what she allows you to do, eventually this will prove boring for her, because you have allowed her to change you so much, you are no longer the person she fell in love with, she assumes the dominant role in the relationship, when her self esteem is sufficiently raised you will only be a reminder of how low her self esteem was in the past. There is no miracle cure this can only come from within her, even and if then, the devastating repercussions of this illness will still remain forever.
D - hang in there. I cried when I read your note. I could have written parts of it myself. My wife of 20yrs just left earlier this year. So much of what you say resonates with me. No intimacy for years. Years of taking blame that wasn't mine. Being accused over and over and over, year after year. Yet good times mixed in where everything 'seems' normal ... or close to it. I too have four kids -- and I have struggled with senses of worthlessness as well. Then all of a sudden she becomes a whole new person - looses dramatic amounts of weight, major shift in music styles, moved out on her own and gave me my stuff in garbage bags, no longer wears her ring, etc. I too, don't want a divorce, and am committed to 'stand' for richer/poorer, sickness/health, for better/worse until one of us dies (though admittedly this is a huge personal struggle). To my knowledge she has never thought of herself bipolar (and I can't imagine being the one to tell her) ... yet the symptoms fit her to a tee. She's been called that several times that I can remember, yet I always protected her and denied it. Relatives with mental disorders should have been a clue (I worry for my kids). Bizarre ideas, complete disrespect and flaunting of authority, etc. If I can offer one small bit of advice ... I have taken the 'i talk to no one' approach ... and this helps noone. I've done it out of fear, out of respect, and for whatever other reasons. But what good is it pretending and hiding family secrets? How will this help you, or the kids, or your wife for that matter? If someone has a problem with alcohol, hiding it is the worst thing to do. Of course you don't go broadcasting it either, nor do you repay evil for evil. But you need to talk to someone. I started counselling (Christian flavor of IFS approach, which rocks) recently and it has been the greatest load off my back to realize I'm not crazy ... I'm the person God created me to be, just another sinner like everyone else ... so I've started seeking some support in a small and trustworthy bunch of guys. I pray that you find the same ... trying to bottle it all in just leads to depression, which just gives your wife even more things to point at. Unjustly. Finding a 'safe' counsellor to talk with regularly could be the greatest investment of your life. And you are worth it. Self-preservation is not selfish.
Here is something I posted:
I have been with my husband for 30 yrs now. He has seen my worst of the worst over the years. I don't know how he does it but I am lucky to have him in my life. Imagine going from happy to rage in a matter of seconds. My illness caused me to be meaner as the years have gone by. This year I finally got my Pdoc to agree with the Bipoar2 diagnosis and added Lamictal to my medicaitons. I'm seriously amazed that he has stuck it out this long. On the very plus, plus side he has learned to read my many moods and has been my best confidant with my illness...Before I was on the right medications I left my husband and son twice and went back to my parents home. Through the love of my extended family I was able to see the problem was my illness and not my marriage or my husband. I am now "awake" with my new medications and I am trying to recipricate the patience and love he has shown me over the past 30 years. It can be an uphill battle but it is worth trying. He has never said he wanted out of the marriage even through the tough times. The most improtant thing I can suggest is getting her on the right medication(s), lovingly remind her that it can take 4-8 weeks to feel the effects of a new medication. Also you may want to try psychotherapy for her or both of you. This would help her understand her illness better. It took me six years to find the right medications that work for me but doesn't mean will work for your wife: Notriptyline, Celexa and Lamictal. For me personally I found that knowledge of the illness and the right medications to be the two main things that stared me on my road to recovery. If you really love her from the bottom of your heart, you should try to hang in there. However, you do have to think of you mental health and may at some point have to separate. My husband and I did have a talk once and he was thinking about leaving. That scared me into changing my ways to be able to stay in my marriage. Hope this helps...
Sounds like this website is full of us codependants who want to tame a tiger (although to be fair tigers have a much better track record than any biplor over 25). I don't know if youv'e had enough yet but when I had the divorce became iminent in my mind. Some of the deciding factors were my daughters welfare, my sanity, and our future. Your kids are watching all this s**t she's pulling and the stress of it all is affecting your ability to be a good HAPPY father. I searched this whole site and many others and there is NO silver bullet, only crappy bandaids Now and then a bipolar will pop up "keep up the good fight! I remember when I left my husband 50 times and nailed 370 guys over the span of 20 years but he was always there for me and it really made a difference!" Are you for real??? WTF? should any human be put through that for any reason? the answer is yours
Ok so I am seriously worried now after reading all these post. I won't bore everyone with a long history, but to say it is the exact same as the all of the above.
So question to all, Is there no answer or help for the co-dependants who are trying to stay in the marriage through the years of painfull "un-intentional" abuse?
I mean with a disease thats so damaging and no physc doc alive will consider bp as crazy, and just an illness, why isn't there more help for the loved ones involved?
What makes me the most angry, is as I search for the huge database of internet to try to find help, all I get is the sites full of bp's saying "understand us and be patient as we rape every strand of dignity you have and hurt you so bad your going to struggle mentally", and sites of the opposite. The ones of us "normies" who are begging for help with the exact same story line. Story lines that make people cry when they read them.
My diagnoses: There is no book on "how to survive" or "how to handle appropriately" or "This saves marriages" for bi-polar people, BECAUSE there is no such thing. IT doesn't exist. There is no book because there will never be a book because there is NO correct answer that helps.
2 years now I am married with a bp wife. Even her own advice for me is a list of contradicting idea's and things that has already proved to not work.
Answer: Just being able to vent with others who share your pain. Having a friend you can go to and vent and breathe and calm down..Then you have to go home and endure another day and repeat. Hang in there all.
If anyone has found a better solution e-mail me TODAY email@example.com
Thanx and GOd Bless!
I have been married to a bipolar man for 8 years. When he's in an episode, he tells me that I cause all of his problems also. My husband leaves the house when he gets some cash, and lives in his car until he's too hungry that he has to come back. He can be very cruel and tells me that I trap and control him when he does come back. He has already showed up after a week or so dehydrated and seriously chafed due to not having clean underwear for a week. I cannot have him hospitalized due to the fact that he tells the doctors he is not suicidal - just in a bad marriage. He also refuses to take meds because he says they make him feel "empty". When he is gone, he picks up really "cheap" women from nightclubs or elsewhere. He was fired once for stalking a female coworker during an episode.
This man also, between episodes, can be very endearing and voluntarily adoped my children from a previous relationship. He made me promise, before we got married, that I would never divorce him. I also am a Christian woman, and I beleive that divorce is not what was intended for us. For the last few months, he's been avoiding his extended family and tells everyone we are getting divorced. He has also been sleeping little, and when he does it's in his car or with the TV on very loudly. He's paranoid and angry. I know that he's in the midst of a huge episode. In the past, being patient and loving (giving backrubs, gently talking to him) have helped to calm him down. Not anymore.
His mother, who left him with his stepfather when he was about 14, tells me that he didn't have these symptoms as a child, so it must be something I did. He talks to her about what he can get in a divorce (she's had two, and I owned the house before we gotr married) and seeks out strangers who will believe that he is married to a manipulative witch. I can feel all of your pain, and I wish I had the answers.