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Spousal Dilemma
November 11, 2002
3:02 pm
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beenthruthat
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Well, a few of you have read my very dramatic posts. I have been working on my internal anger and find myself seeing things a bit differently.

History: My husband and I have been married 10 years, and we have a 4 year old daughter. I am 41 and he is 47. During the past 5 years, after we sold a business, my husband became increasingly angry and self-absorbed. He began name calling and used demeaning verbal abuse and body language. And, most importantly, nothing was EVER his fault. All the blame was focused and projected onto me. Whether the problem was him feeling hurt due to lack of attention (new and sickly child), his job situation, his mother's illness, etc. About 3 years ago he started seeing a psychiatrist and was prescribed Prozac, then Paxil and some tranquilizers. He still continued his bad behavior. I tried being supportive, ignoring him, seeking counseling both for myself and for our marriage.

A little over a year ago I filed for divorce. This was after about 6 months of marriage counseling. He decided he wanted to be a long distance trucker and I did not want the financial responsibility of a potentially irresponsible absentee husband. He left town for about 8 months (until he lost the job) and took himself off the antidepressants.

From the time he received the divorce papers (August 2001), the drama continued with more intensity. He threatened, threw my clothes on the lawn, postured like he was a crazy man. I moved out for 6 weeks before he took the trucking job. I put two restraining orders on him (one prior to the trucking, one during the trucking in May). And then he would cry and I would recant the restraining orders. He never hit me and didn't really get physical (other than tossing clothes on the lawn!).

He started having real problems with concentration, keeping a job, anxiety, and other depressive symptoms. As I mentioned before, he lost the trucking job and had figured out he wasn't as much of a loner as he thought. He asked to come home and try again. I gave him 4 months to show me he could be civil. He came home and had a local truck driving job within 3 weeks. However, he worked six days a week and regularly did 55 hours during the 6 days. Once he began working locally, he began to be more withdrawn and felt somewhat entitled.

We began a discussion concerning my association with a single lady at church (with a 4 yr old son). He did not like me spending time with this girlfriend and began to invalidate my thoughts and start circular conversations concerning the matter. However, I was becoming very good at setting my boundaries and I would not back down. I felt that this issue was a strong indicator that he had not resolve his anger issues and needed something from me (Mommy?) that I chose not to give. I started the divorce proceedings again.

Three weeks ago he started having severe problems sleeping and ended up overdosing on the tranquilizer used for him to sleep. I called 911 and he was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for 24 hours (after being strapped down in the ER for 12 hours).

That seemed to do something to him. It was like he crossed some kind of line in his brain. He was horribly tearful, and scared. It forced him to admit he needed medication. He started working with his psychiatrist - really letting the doctor know how the other medicines never worked - and got on Wellbutrin and Trazadone.

In 3 weeks he seems like a different man. I don't really know what to think right now. He has really become more active in his treatment and is realizing his limitations. Maybe for the first time ever. He is trying to engage our daughter, take over household chores and talking candidly to me - with no hostility.

I am seriously considering giving him a year to see how much the depression (maybe bipolar?) was really to blame. I don't think he will ever be Prince Charming, but if we change the structure and dynamics he may be someone nice to live with. For example, it is difficult for him to work any more than a 40 hour week. I make decent money and love my job, so I have no problem with him working part time as long as he can arrange to assist with taking care of his daughter, especially when school starts for her in August.

So my question to you all is: Am I off my rocker for giving him another chance? I was incredibly angry for a couple of years and did identify his actions as abusive. Is it possible that the depression could cause such a radical personality change? Does anyone have experience with this?

I am scheduled for a divorce status hearing on Wednesday, and I am torn in two directions. I would love to have my freedom to just live my life with just my daughter. But, my husband could wind up in the gutter and my daughter would really miss her Dad. I do care for him and it rips me up to see him struggling so. I am no longer trying to take care of him emotionally and I make him own his own baggage and feelings, etc. My boundaries are much healthier and he respects them for the most part.

Your thoughts would be appreciated...

November 11, 2002
3:38 pm
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gingerleigh
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Ya know, without the stay in the psychiatric ward and the change in meds, I'd say to toss the guy out on his ear. But, medications (or lack of the proper ones) can really change people into people that are hard to deal with. Others will have more tangible advice, but the only thing I can really say is that I wouldn't blame you for filing the divorce or giving it another go. It's great that he is really trying this time, and going to try to be a real dad to his kid, but... how much hurt, how much stuff have you endured, and can you really forgive and maybe not forget, but at least move on? Like I said Sister, no judgement coming from this girl with either decision you make. What feels best for you?

November 11, 2002
5:00 pm
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Cici
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You know you just need to do what you feel most comfortable doing. And that does involve a lot of soul searching. Sure there's that "How much is too much" issue - but when you're dealing with the mentally ill suddenly there's a whole new ball of wax. One that fantasies of married life never could prepare us for. It really is about how much you can endure. If you are really serious, you should sit down maybe with a mediator and draw up a contract of appropriate behavior.

We did this when we released patients at the forensic mental hospital to custodial care. The therapists and custodians and patients would sit down and write a behavioral contract. It also helps the patient monitor their progress.

Just a thought. You will do what is best for you.

(HUGS)

November 11, 2002
6:25 pm
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Cici
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I don't have access to the mental healthcare facility documents anymore, but here are some links that will be useful (since these are normally used for disruptive students, they are mainly geared towards students):

http://www.interventioncentral.....ontr.shtml

http://www.calstatela.edu/faculty/jshindl/cm/Mgmt%20Behavioral%20covenent%2001.htm

http://www.intime.uni.edu/mode.....nduct.html

This is a great one. Requires Acrobat Reader

November 11, 2002
10:16 pm
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Cici
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Ooops, the last link is weird. i dunno what happened. i'll get back with you since I saved the websites on my work pc.....sorry!

November 11, 2002
10:44 pm
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irishlass
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My gut instinct says - give him another chance..but have a timeframe..if it works - then you are off to the races! You will have a husband on his way to recovery and a daughter who doesn't have to live her life without her Dad. As long as this man is not physically or emotionally abusive, only you know whether it is can be right for you and your daughter. Good Luck!! : }

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