What is going on?

J

James

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May 15, 2009
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#1
Towards the end of last summer, this cry for help was ready to be posted. It felt like the last chance. It did not go because a miracle happened. My wife, the girl I married came back virtually overnight. She had disappeared in slow waves, replaced by a furious intolerant woman who needed no excuse to start a week long bitter argument.

I allowed myself to believe these bad years were behind us, however I am in total despair as the monster has returned more powerful than before. The last 6 months have been a window of bliss which has let me see that she is still in there. The change back to the dark side was over the space of about 2 weeks in April and I am absolutely devastated.

If, during these words you suspect I may be the cause, or part thereof I would rather know, as any answers are better than this. To know which section of the forum to put this requires some attempt at diagnosis but I have really no idea and have put it here.

I have been married to Sue for almost 25 years. We have 2 boys, 16 and 19 and we are virtually living her own description of the perfect life. We have a house in the country with lots of land and a few animals. I have a well paid job and Sue is helping with a part time job. There are of course stressors as everyone has and I’m sure ours are no different but anything can trigger her into a bitter shaking rage. Not shouting and screaming, just calm bitter acid from a different face and with a different voice. I have learned that if I argue back it is petrol on the fire so I am good at staying calm ant trying to quell the inferno which may burn for days. There is nothing I can do to influence her. It will run its course on her agenda. I will admit to often taking myself away after and crying with despair.
The list of triggers in decreasing order of severity are:-
My mother. I think she is a normal old lady who gets a bit grumpy from time to time. Sue believes she is the devil who controls and manipulates me and is responsible for everything that goes wrong. They often fall out and then if I contact her I am colluding and am in for trouble.
The lads. Recently the younger one is getting into all the teenage troubles. He is a worry but I would rather try to advise him and keep the ties strong whereas Sue will goad relentlessly which sometimes results in him running away for days.
The house, or rather my failure to build a new one (yet).
My Job. I am a pilot and have to go away for a few days at a time.

Having seen the switch at the end of last summer I am more convinced the ever that there is more here than a normal failing marriage, the switch was so sharp. Words and phrases that were put away, were used again. The face and the voice change completely. Does the PMS cycle affect things? Yes, now as before there are a few days each month where she can tolerate a trigger without reacting.
Sex is another indicator of the two sides. During the bad times it virtually stops (I know you are wondering so say once every 2 months, and during the happy window about twice a week).

Here is the million dollar problem.
She is a qualified psychiatric nurse so can tell me in a professional capacity that there is nothing wrong with her. Obviously she would not be able to do her job and colleagues would notice if she were mad wouldn’t they? So yes, I have advised her of my observations of a dual personality and it produces such a violent reaction I dare not do it again.

The last trigger was sharp words between Sue and my mother. I don’t know exactly what was said. There was no contact with my mother for about a week until mum sent an email. Sue wanted me to leave it but I eventually got what I considered to be permission to send one back. This I did and when I told her I had done it, she became calmly furious and it has lasted about 10 days now. She does not want it to stop. What did I do, I don’t understand. I never do. She says this time it may be the end of us.

When dark Sue is back she cannot see that she destroys all her relationships. She is not speaking to her sister and close friends she has had in the past don’t hang around once bitched at. It seems to be cyclic. The tide comes in and the tide goes out, possible every year or so. Each time it comes further up the beach and will soon drown me. I don’t anticipate a happy ending.
Help.
What is this?
Am I making it worse or even causing it?
How can I get her to see someone? If I suggest it I’m dead.

James
 
T

TOONAFISH

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#2
Hiya James

First of all, im sorry to here what you are going though. It sounds like you have been through it a bit.

Just because Sue is a trained nurse, doesnt exclude her from being affected by mental illness. I don't know what to suggest except, deciding what you want. Do you want to be with her no matter what? Or only if you get this sorted out? I think and this is only me personally, that you have to have it out with her. She isnt more important than you, so why do you have to suffer. What would happen if you wrote her a letter? Sorry probably not much help. I dont really know what else to suggest.

Nik :hug:
 
J

jamesdean

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#3
Yeah I tried to answer your post but found myself going into to long an answer, I thin k I might of said the same as toonfish, you have to think of yourself in all of this and that she isnt immune from mh
 
J

James

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#4
Thanks Guys
So might this be a condition or just an unfortunate choice of bride?
Her father was 'sectioned' on a number of occasions. One of her sisters is severely Autistic and the other ‘normal’ one has scared off a few husbands.
Her entire family has spent time in mental health instituations either as ‘service users’ or staff.
 
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T

TOONAFISH

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#5
I think it might be a condition, although I don't know that it would be bi polar or not as i am new hear myself. It could be many things, one being as simple as low self esteem. I know myself that i can be a complete bitch, but it is a defense thing i do when i think people are looking down on me, due to being bullied a lot at school and as a young adult in a terrible relationship. It maybe is soemthing, but I dont think you should have to just put up with it. Tell her that you are willing to work through it as a team? would you be willing to do that? Or have you had enough? Also could def be hormonal. all the females in my family are like jekell and hyde when it comes to our monthlys.
Hope to help x
 
S

*Sapphire*

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#6
Hi James

I think it would be very wrong of you to assume this is an indication of a sign of mental health illness in the first instance. It may be the case that she does have one, but it would not be my first line of enquiry.

It sounds like your wife might be going through a period of great difficulty. Your sons are now of an age where their dependence on your wife is much less than before and some mothers do have issues with that. She may be worried that they may leave and that she will be left on her own with an empty house whilst you are away working. Of course I am just speculating here, I of course don't know her.

Her antagonism with your son, may be a case of some displaced feelings she has about him. Perhaps she sees his tendency to get into scrapes and trouble as a reflection on the way she brought him up, this would be more prevalent if you were away alot in his formative years and the child rearing was mostly in her hands. She may feel guilt, or be having difficulty with him being independent and having his own opinions, it could be a whole host of things. Again I am not saying any of this is the case, I know very little about your lives but I am trying to get you to think about what is/has/could have been going on for you both.

The fact that she has some family with mental health issues does not necessarily mean that she has one herself, but perhaps the impact of her father going away to hospital, perhaps dealing with behaviours he displayed to have to go in there, the strain of having an autistic sister have left their mark on her. Perhaps she has feelings about this that have not been resolved or talked about, she may be struggling to cope with these feelings. Perhaps her sisters failed relationships is a sign that she too struggled in what must have been a difficult situation for them all.

Perhaps she has difficulties in expressing anger and feels compelled to keep silent and to herself. Perhaps you are doing the wrong thing by tiptoeing around it, hoping it will just disappear. Have you ever tried talking to her when she is not in one of those states and simply asking what the best thing you can do is when she is feeling like that to help her? And explain how desperate it makes you feel to see her like that and that it drives you to cry in despair? And that it is not really an appropriate behaviour. Maybe she is keeping silent because she doesn't feel heard or feels invalidated when she does express her anger, so just simmers instead. Of course I am not again stating that this is the case I'm just offering possible alternative points of view.

Have you tried asking your mother rather than your wife what the last exchange was between them, to try and figure out what it going on? As Toonafish said maybe she is suffering with low self esteem and may see that a slight has been made on her when that was not the intention, I know when I did, I could turn conversations into a slight on me when that was not the intention just because it fitted with the poor image I had of myself. And yes because I perceived their reaction as a sign of rejection I too got angry at times as a self defence. Again she might be feeling insecure, especially if you are having relationship difficulties, perhaps feeling insecure or envious about your seemingly good relationship with your mother.

Again as Toonafish said it could be hormonal, womens hormones levels can change throughout their lives and there maybe an inbalance which is affecting her moods and reactions. She may be of an age where she is getting the first signs of the menopause and that can have a huge impact on behaviours and emotions, and for some women brings with it a whole host of psychological problems and insecurities, she may be changing the way she perceives herself and her role in life.

It really sounds like you both need to talk, and have all this out. Yes her behaviour is not appropriate and you should not have to tolerate it. It is not good for you or her, and more importantly your two sons. However whatever the reason for it she needs to be treated with compassion and understanding, because if you go down the route of accusing or criticising you are unlikely to get to the bottom of it. I think I too would be very offended if I displayed a behaviour and my husband started immediately speculating that I had a mental health illness without trying to go over other possibilities first. Even if she does have an illness, the other possible causes really do need to be ruled out.

A low libido is a sign of depression, it can also be a sign of insecurity and a whole host of other things. The depression could be due to psychological factors and sometimes due to a chemical imbalance.

Think back to when she was last happy, you said she changed overnight, did something happen, or did you do something that could have lifted her mood? You said you were close to desperation then, did you react in a different way as a result?

As I said all of the above is speculation, I am not a therapist or a counsellor or in in the medical profession. But I am someone who is in a relationship, a woman and have had issues. As I said earlier she may have a mental health illness but I just think it's wrong to jump to the conclusion that it is without ruling all other causes out. But hey maybe you have done that already, and I apologise if this is the case! Oh and BTW I don't require an answer to all these questions, they are for you to think about!

I hope things work out for both you and her.
 
J

James

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#7
Thank you all so much for the quick responses. I will answer some of the points that have come up.

First of all I am not assuming mental health in the first instance. There have been desperate times over the last 25 years and I have not made any assumptions like that. When our first born was about 6 months old Sue became very distant, separate, sad, and robotic. ‘We’ decided she should go to see a doc who said she was depressed, post baby stuff. She took some pills for a couple of weeks and then did a Gloria Gainor thing, I will survive. She appeared strong and aggressive but not in a positive way. She accused me of manipulating her into being a ‘patient’ and said she will never allow that again. Some counselor convinced her I was the problem, without exactly giving any reasons.

Am I an angel? How can self reference be un- biased but I think I’m B+ in the hubbie stakes. There are no major issues with me as a father or husband. No infidelity. No abuse or alcohol problems. My kids love me and we giggle when she is absent. I don’t shower her with big surprises on important days. Perhaps I make excuses but if I were to book up a surprise meal it would be wrong. Wrong place. Bad meal. Poor service. There would be a bill argument and we would leave under a cloud. SOP. My spontaneity has been fatigued to death. I did, now I don’t. So tell me to try again.

So we should talk?
I am so talked out. We spend hours, days, years dissecting every atom of detail, of the last ‘talk’ around and around as we spiral into the vortex. Every point from my last talk has been distorted to mean something different and I must now prove I didn’t mean it that way. We have missed friends parties because a ‘talk’ started as we were about to leave. God do we talk It always results in me apologizing profusely. It never, never ends if I say what I think so like a whimp I take the path of least resistance. I dont want to loose my kids (or the lovely wife I married) so I take the blame.
The ‘issue’ resolves when she decides and nothing I can say or do will influence when that occurs.
It evaporates on her command. I have become a ghost of a punch bag. I say what I think is the least inflammatory thing and creep away. Understand this. She wont back down ever***********EVER. I take another hit or we are single parents. We have become skilled at chess-like sudden death discussion but I am not in the same league. I’m a bloke. I fix broken things, I build things, I fly planes and have a beer with my mates. I am so p***ed off at being part of someone else’s soap opera.


There have been desperate times but only now I have seen the stark contrast so clearly I feel its not just grumps – monthly or otherwise. Did events coincide with her rise and fall. Well yes but I was hoping it was coincidence. My eldest son left home for uni and she became happy. He came home for the summer and she mentally collapsed. He is a strange quiet lad and fusses around like an old lady being extremely helpful and a little bossy. He wont take any c**p from her and says it like it is. I wish he would learn to to say ‘whaterer’.

There may be one more relevant thing.
A few months before we were married, Sue was diagnosed with Hashimotos disease. This is when ones immune system picks a fight with the thyroid gland. The doc gave me a grim description of our future. No kids, obese wife, moody wife. So far 33% correct. As we already have kids this can only reach 66% at which point my libido will then match hers.

O, darling if you stumble upon this post and recognize yourself, would I have bothered if I didn’t care? Tell me what to do.
 
J

jamesdean

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#8
James you are in two minds here you want it all to work out because you dont want to walk out on your marriage, but you dont know if you can take anymore.

Your last statement show s how much fear she puts in you.

There is no easy answer here because some will give you a clear answer GO but like me I have learnt that if sue is your soulmate then love can reinvent it self.
 
J

James

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#9
Perhaps I was hoping that medical professionals view these posts.

I have put this in the bipolar section just because it seemed the busiest.

Sue has a long standing thyroid condition. A condition frequently associated with mental instability.
There is a family history of mental problems on her side.
I am observing furious rages over issues that most people would shrug off.
She recently ‘vanished’ for a few days, while I was away, leaving my young lad to fend for himself.

Sorry if it’s not PC but she is barking. She is 100% convinced that she is OK and the rest of us are conspiring.

Take today as an example. The boys and I got up in a good mood and were larking about, trying to avoid the storm cloud stomping and slamming around the house.
She took me aside and said would I like to explain the awful atmosphere in the house because it certainly wasn’t caused by her.


Is this likely to be a condition?
What do I do next?
 
G

GrizzlyBear

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#10
Relationships are 50/50...it's never simply that one person is the 'bad' guy.

Love can reinvent itself as JD says...but only if both partners are open to that.

I am sorry but your post worries me a lot. I feel very concerned for your wife....it's not fair for her to be held responsible for your feelings...or even those of your children. She's clearly miserable and, from what you have written here, I would be miserable too. I'm not saying this is what you are doing...but your post made me think of gas-lighting. Even if that is not what you are doing it sure would feel like that to me (and maybe her....and anyone would get pissed off in that situation).

As John Demartini would suggest....when you criticize her first look to yourself to see how much that criticism is true about you. You cannot use your wife to carry the crap for everyone...even if she does have MH issues.
Focus on yourself.

P.s. If I have offended you I am sorry but I've just come out of a 3 year relationship with a man who somehow succeeded in making me take the blame for all HIS emotional problems (I admit to my own). If he had taken his own ass off for therapy maybe we'd have both been happier. Cowards always blame other people (I'm not including children in this).
 
J

James

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#11
I wish we could spend some time in a type of ‘big brother house’ setup but here at home. I would welcome unbiased observations. She suggested family guidance and I jumped at the chance and even arranged it. When it came to the appointment she refused to go.

Just a short time ago I bought her a new bike. On the journey home she asked me to stop the car. She gave me such a tight cuddle and with tears in her eyes told me how much she loved me.
Now I come home after 5 days away and try to cuddle her. She won’t let me touch her and pulls away. If I ask if anything is wrong than I am trying to start an argument. She uses that old snarled phrase ‘I’m fine’. What have I done between then and now? How come I become a complete arse and a nice guy again in a 28day cycle?
I am exasperated. I have tried everything I know in the way I behave. She would argue with a cardboard cut out of me. I can be tender, loving and caring while getting a verbal hosing down or I can be indifferent but I am so good at keeping my cool and being polite.
When she is in a rage I cant make it better but if I put a foot wrong I can make it much worse.

I have just been running through the bluebell woods. The air feels like Champaign in my lungs. I love her and my life. I am lucky to be able to remain happy and optimistic. She will be home soon and I will be in the shit for something even though I have done all the jobs she asked and some others.
 
G

GrizzlyBear

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#12
I hope you guys can work things out. I don't know....the Family Guidance thing, I imagine, would be scary....but probably a way forward?

Maybe you could arrange another appointment? If she doesn't want to go you can go on your own. Maybe she will join you once you've started the ball rolling?
 
J

James

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#13
Actually Grizzley Im now a bit cross at your first post.
I have spent years considering what I may be doing wrong. Perhaps you could spend one second considering that I may be a loving husband trying desperately to support a mentally unstable wife.

As I mentioned above, I left for work one day for 6 days away. We were all on good terms at home. 2 days later while in Russia I get a phone call from my youngest lad saying he has not seen mum since I left for work. She is not answering her mobile. I try to get an early flight back but the next one is the one I am flying. I managed to get her sister to come down and look after him. She pitched up about when I got home without explanation or apology.

OK now tell me if that falls inside you definition of acceptable normal behavior?
 
G

GrizzlyBear

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#14
Interesting that you don't get cross with me until I am being nice to you.

If you don't have a mental illness I think you should remember that most of us here do. And we may also be unstable. So be cross all you like. If your wife is mentally unstable that does not mean you get to be relieved miraculously of your involvement in your own predicament. Anyway....I will back out of here cuz I bet I am more pissed at your attitude than you are at mine. I shall swear at you in my own threads.
 
jax

jax

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#15
James, I just wanted to say with reading your first few posts, that I felt that you really do love your wife and want things to be ok with your both. JUst by coming here and placing a post - shows how concerned you are about your wife. You are only trying to find out what 'may' be going on with her. I feel you are just right in coming here to see if possibly MH may be the problem. Obviously you want to rule out things and I can totallyu understand coming here.

You come across as so concerned and someone who wants to sort out what is going on with your relationship. I really did jsut want to say that I hope you find out what is causing these problems. I am not too well these past lot of weeks and am not too good at knowing what to write sometimes. All the best.
Jacqui
 
J

James

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#16
Cheers Jax.
I was beginning to think I was the only person at the party in fancy dress

So a relationship is a 50/50 thing? Doh, thats where I went wrong.
 
G

grace68

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#18
hi james, it's been a couple of weeks now, and i read your thread when i first joined the forum.i wonder how you are getting on?

i found it quite difficult to read, as my husband really finds my bipolar illness difficult to handle, and it does put enormous stress on our relationship.
i just hope some things have improved for you both- some acceptance of need for help on the part of your wife maybe?

you seem desperate to help, but one phrase worries me - 'an unfortunate choice of bride'- so if she has got bipolar, or other mental illness, that makes her a bad choice? i don't think you can really mean that. you have a long marriage, and children between you, surely it doesn't become a bad choice when illness occurs? my husband sometimes says he made a bad choice, but to be honest, i don't blame him- he only married me a couple of years ago, when i was on a wonderful high, life and soul of the party. he's taken on my 2kids as well, and being a step-parent can be a nightmare.he has since had to cope with two very long depressions, and much instability.

i know you're coping with great instability and unpredictability at the moment, i just really hope you can help your wife, hopefully to get some understanding for all of you as to why she is struggling. if there is a psychiatric diagnosis that you will accept it, help her to cope with it, and not feel like you made a bad choice, however devastated you may be feeling.

it is an ongoing issue between me and my husband- who suffers most?
my pain and distress can be unbearable at times, but so hard to express (that's why i write on this forum). but my husband also finds his life with me and my kids to be a nightmare too. he is now also depressed, a 'reactive depression'.

so, the stress of living with someone with mental illness is obviously incredibly stressful. i should imagine it is many times worse when the illness is unrecognised, and no help is forthcoming. as i said before, i really hope that this situation improves for you all.

grace:colours:
 
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