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Wednesday, October 29, 2008 stephen paine, Community Member, asks

Q: how to keep bipolar wife from throwing away marriage

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.

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Answers (4)
Charlotte'sWeb, Community Member
10/30/08 8:48am

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...

strength, Community Member
10/30/08 3:28pm
Hi Stephen, It sounds as if there are alot of us out there. My husband was just released yesterday from an involuntary stay after 17 days. I couldn't beleive they let him go. He hates me and wants a divorce also. I have talked to a few women who are going through the same thing - through this website. It's so hard to listen to them say the things they do. My in-laws keep on saying it's the disease talking - but it is so hard to understand that. I do not know what to do either. NOw I'm just going along w/it. I've been go through this for 6 months- I do not know how everyone else is doing it. I married for better or worse, in sickness and in health, but not to this demon. I love him and miss him so much. I pray that he gets better and comes back. Reply
patientwife011, Community Member
6/13/09 11:10am

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.

Brian Johnston, Community Member
10/20/10 5:36pm

 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.

DanielSan, Community Member
12/ 6/11 3:47pm

I know you wrote your reply over a year ago but it struck a cord. Ive been married almost 18 years and together with my wife for 20. Four years ago I watched in complete disbelief as my very loving wife, simply turned off and in her place was a loud, brash, vulgar women, that hated me. Four years Ive taken blame that wasnt mine, dealt with her two suicide attempts, and have tried like hell to muster enough strength to be worth a damn to my four kids. Fast forward four years and she no longer wears her wedding ring, and says she is done. She goes out to the bars on the weekends with her girlfriends and suddenly loves "club music". The one constant through these four years is her utter disdain for me. No sex, or physical contact of any kind. I feel like Im dying one drop of blood at a time, I can see it dripping away and cant stop it. She seems to be under the impression that she is in her mid twenties (not being sarcastic) and acts like shes a cast member of Jersey Shore. I still love her, but dont think I can take much more, she talks to her therapist and psyciatrist, she tells her sister and friends all about everything. They think Im some asshole control freak, thats fine, her friends are all single 40 something women dating one abusive man after another. I talk to no one. My thoughts stay in my head, my emotions suppressed, and now a mind that will not be silent. I swear to God I feel like Im going Bipolar myself, I haunt my own house at night because I have to stay up until 1-2am so that Im so tired I cant think. If I dont I lay awake for hours with my head talking to me. How did you do it? Are you happy now? I used to be a happy positive person. I dont want a divorce, and honestly she could never survive on her own, she hasnt worked in 17 years and doesnt get along with anyone for very long, she has no money skills and leaves me broke every month, but I dont want her to stay because of those reasons. Im lost, totally without a clue what to do. I try doing my own thing, chores on weekends, gym in the evenings, didnt matter. I tried to rekindle things with love notes, sweet gestures and those kinds of things, didnt matter. She has tried several different meds, and some were slightly better than others, but the one constant was her distaste for me. I know you have you own life going on, and you may never even see this reply, but if you do, please tell me how you did it, did you survive and make it through? Did you end things and move on? Thanks in advance for your help.



grace2uu, Community Member
5/22/12 8:07am

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.


Dominique, Community Member
9/19/13 3:35pm
Man I know exactly wut u feel. My wife an i been married only a couples years, have 3 kids and she has been mentally abused by her self diagnosed ADHD psychologist mother that adopted her from a mentally unstable mother that got seizures. Double whammy. But me being such a patient and understanding person I have tried to help her but these past years have been costly financially and mentally for me to the point I had to smoke pounds of weed to deal with it day to day which cost me my job. By me allowing her access to my bank account she has broken me especially when she get in her moods jus to spite me or blame me for not being rich enough to account for her childish mistakes. It is hard being the only responsible person in a family, and harder jobless as she tries to hold me back from supporting my kids cuz i don't give her wut she wants. Since i lost my job she has made me a stay at home dad. Ive always did the cookin an cleanin and basically everything a responsible adult has to do while she laid in the bed watchin tv and wait for me to please her after 14 hours of hard labor at the job i had. but now that Im unemployed i have to do everything around the house even give the kids medicine cuz she found a do nuthin job she is Willin to keep. i have to job hunt with my 2 girls with alwayz cuz she wont help. financially im am unable to get out cuz she constantly tell me to get out and live under a bridge im thinkin to keep from dealin with her abuse. She has disrespected me to fullest for no reason at all. I have sacrificed my life for this marriage and doesnt seem to matter to her. She leaves the kids with while she goes out with friends. I havent seen any friends or family in years cuz she has hindered me. I had to turn my life over to god to keep from losin my mind cuz i had to quit smokin weed to find work. I've learned bipolars are seriously selfish and reckless if not taking the right medication and refuse to take them cuz they don't think they have a problem. But it's becoming stressful because she has involved the police and I have gotten a criminal record and really considering divorce but can't afford it right now jus tryin to get my life back on track an thanking god for wut I do have jus not letting her in own everything cuz she is liable to sabatoge an hurt my chances of livin jus to make her emotions feel justified GOD dont want that for me or my kids I luv them the most an she hates that sadly and she even wished death on me so I cudnt see my kids. Her adopter mother is no better cuz she never wanted to birth any kids an raised her to be dependent on people and money but not how to make or even support anybody other than herself. Her mother calls my 2 year old girl bad cuz the 2 year old will literally have more common sense than her by the time she is 5 and is more outgoing than her and my wife. My wife has no common sense she only do as little as possible. IT IS STRESSFULL. I haven't slept good in years since my parent passed away at a young age and this marriage isn't really helpin it plus I'm can't smoke any reefer and I never cud drink too much .ONLY GOD. I don't believe in divorce but I want wuts best for my kids. They don't deserve to see someone act like demon and even literally accept evil possession to attack me in her moods. We attend church but isn't matured enough to understand the bible an constantly create her own justification to act out using it but attack me when her so called friends don't want to be around her or they use her then she uses and abuse me to make a feel bigger. But I envy all the men on here that take this 10 20 years cuz I'm the most patient person I know but this is becoming unbearable and a threat to my livelihood and really in need of some type of advice types of medication or something to change my wifes entire personality around from this disorder to avoid divorce and for the sake of kids Personally I don't think she realized she birthed kids and their future is wut matters. She jus plays with them like a group of kids an fus at them wen there in her way I do everything else cuz I've always loved kids. PLEASE HELP. A LITTLE WUD BE ALOT AT THIS POINT. THANKS. Reply
Josh H, Community Member
10/20/10 7:30pm

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

AndyD, Community Member
10/20/13 2:50pm

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


Thanx and GOd Bless!

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By stephen paine, Community Member— Last Modified: 05/19/14, First Published: 10/29/08