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What about mental illness
July 13, 2009
6:51 pm
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2BReal
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My husband is mentally ill- has schizophrenia. He refuses to acknowledge that he has problems, refuses treatment and medication. For years he took meds and was functional, but he quit. I can not be around him because, frankly, his behavior is too difficult to deal with and I have 3 girls to raise (one who is cognitively impaired with behavior issues). He lives with his parents, does his own thing, and seems pretty content. However, I know it would hurt him deeply for me to divorce him and I can't seem to let go - I feel like I would be "throwing him away" and that kills me. Also, divorce is so difficult because I think it is wrong -that's my honest belief. I'm very conflicted and sad. Anyone been in this situation?

July 13, 2009
7:27 pm
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Well since you are posting on this side I will give you this side answer. He hasn't cheated on you, so Biblically you are to remain married. Having said that, we live in a secular world. Do you wish to remain alone for the rest of your life.

Bitsy

July 13, 2009
7:45 pm
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Wow. That's what makes this situation so difficult. I wouldn't be divorcing him so that I can find someone else. I just want to be free from this madness. I guess, after 17 years of a very dysfunctional marriage, I want a normal existence. And, truthfully, his family (parents) are even more codependent and emotionally unhealthy than I am and I need to distance myself from them for the sake of myself and children (divorce seems a sure way to do that). But, I can't discount what you say about the biblical aspect- truly, that is the main thing holding me back.

July 13, 2009
9:15 pm
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2BReal

Did you know that he had schizophrenia before the two of you were married?

I know how hard it is to deal with and to live with someone who has schizophrenia...especially when the are off or cut down on their meds. My sister has it.

Does your state have legal separations? Some legal separations can be for years...where you still remain married but live separate lives until you decide whether you want to divorce or not... but it allows both the freedom of their own separate lives. Couldn't hurt to look into.

July 13, 2009
10:01 pm
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2Breal

It sounds like your in a difficult situation and one that you will have to really give some thought about.

Bitsy, respectfully I'm not so sure if infidelity isn't an issue with this situation. I mean infidelity can be a spouse lying, it can be treating a spouse in a bad way, it can be a controling spouse, there are many circumstances when a spouse treats their wife or husband in a way that would be considered infidelity.

The big question is how sick is he mentally, is he reasonable enough to realize that not taking the medications is making your relationship difficult on you and your daughters? If he is rational, and is able and well enough to make decissions then he would know that ignoring his needs for medical treatment and medications can effect your family greatly, which to me would be him not honoring his responsibility's as a husband, which to me is infidelity in itself in a way.

Can you talk to a therapist about your situation? It may help you no matter what decission you make. Thinking about yourself and your daughters is a must in this situation. Because a life around someone that isn't treating you good, and in a loving way isn't very good for you or your daughters.

My best to you, Healing and peace

July 13, 2009
10:51 pm
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Red Blonde and Healing...and Peace,
Thanks so much for your responses and suggestions. To answer your questions - I haven't looked into a legal separation but will ask about it... also, no, I didn't know he was schizophrenic before we married. However, I did know something was terribly wrong - he drank, was loud, talked excessively, was abusive, and did drugs behind my back- I know I was dumb to marry him. However, after our daughter was born, he stopped the abusive behaviors and the drinking/drugs. That's when the mental illness became apparent. Since, I have always dealt with one type of dysfunction or another with family members, I was able to hold things together pretty well until my seemingly normal middle daughter became sick with severe epilepsy,hospitalizations, cognitive impairment,and behavior issues at age 2. After that, I found dealing with my husband's issues almost more than I can take. However, I'm still hanging on- barely. This helps. Thanks for your input.

July 14, 2009
4:18 pm
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2BReal,

Sorry that you are dealing with such a tough issue. This is one of those situations that are made more difficult and complicated by family involvement.

I know this is a religious concern for you, but what kind of marriage can, or do you have, if he is living with his parents and refuses help? He has basically abandoned you and the children. I did not get for your post that you were looking for a way out or an excuse, but that you were looking for hope and a future. I believe that abandonment is a cause for divorce, or maybe even Annulment based on these issues.

My heart goes out to you for all of the pressure and worry you must endure everyday. It sounds like your husbands parents have resumed his care and you need to focus on you and the girls.

Best to you.

H

July 14, 2009
4:38 pm
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Dear Caraway,
Thank you for your input. You're so right. This is definitely a religious issue for me. If it weren't for my spiritual beliefs, I would have left this marriage a long time ago. Perhaps, I think my love will save him. However, I can't help but think that God has to understand my situation/feelings/concerns if people like you and otheres do. I'm working through this and I feel like a divorce is imminent(unfortunately). I think he has enough cognizance to realize his refusal for treatment is cause for action on my part. Anyway, thank you for your compassion. It helps.

July 14, 2009
5:20 pm
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2BReal,

This subject is the same as a couple of my friends faced. Whether or not to divorce out of not clearly understanding the meaning of "Infidelity". If you look up the meaning of infidelity you may understand that it isn't all about a cheating spouse.

Fedelity means - Faithfulness to obligations, dutie's, observances. Fidelity implies the unfailing fulfillment of one's duties and obligations and strict adherence to vows or promises: such as fidelity to one's spouse. Loyalty to a person, belief, or cause is another form of fidelity.

So what I am saying is your husband even know he is mentally ill, he is not holding true to his vows as a husband bibically or non bibically, fidelity has the same meaning. He is not holding true to his unfailing fulfillment of his own duties adn obligations to vows or promises. He is not even trying to get better, and refusing treatment. That is infidelity to his vows.

Your husband has choosen to lean on his mother and father instead of taking care of his wife, and children. He also is well aware that not taking his medication can cause hardship on you and your daughters as well. As mentally ill as he may be he has been offered medical treatment and sounds as though he is refusing this treatment and yet without it he is not capable to providing and caring for you or your daughters in a loving way. He has broke his vows in this way which is infidelity. I know from what you have posted your not looking for an excuse to run out on the marriage but at the same time you sound like you feel trapped with the whole Bibical meaning that many believe when viewing infidelity as a cheating spouse only, which it is not, it includes many other forms of infidelity.

There is such thing as finacail infidelity, emotional infidelity, lack of caring infidelity. The quality of being loyal and truthful to the one you love is an act of fidelity, without it - it is infidelity.

I hope this helps you gain some insight to realize you are not wrong for divorcing, or thinking of divorce. Your husband is not being loyal as a husband or a father by not taking care of himself, and leaving you to live with his parents. If he wanted to by loyal to your marriage, to you, and to your daughters, he would seek medical treatment and following the instructions of a Doctor.

I feel you are correct with your last post, that as long as he has enough cognizance to realize his refusal of treatment is a cause for action on your part, because by refusing treatment he is not honoring your marriage, which in all is an act of infidelity just not the way some may reconize it.

July 15, 2009
1:21 am
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Hmmm...

I heartily disagree with this last post.

Being sick with schizophrenia is not an act of infidelity. Refusing treatment is part of the illness, and is also not an act of infidelity.

2Breal, I am not saying you should stay married. But let's not bend the truth to fit a moral view.

You are already separated from your husband. A "legal separation" is just a contract or court order about who pays who what. If divorcing him will deprive him of health insurance, or something else he needs, then that should be considered. Other than that, a divorce, for many people is more of a license to let someone else in.

If you are religious, pray about this. I believe God wants us to do the most loving thing when it concerns other people. It's up to us to decide what that is. I do not always think the answer is staying married. I am not telling you what to do.

I do have experience loving a severely mentally ill person. He was not always sick, but when he was, it tore my heart out. It was excruciating. I missed him though he was right there. I was taking care of him and he thought I was poisoning him. It was awful, complicated, intensely difficult. I am not worse for it. I do not regret it.

July 15, 2009
2:20 am
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Healing and Peace,
I found what you shared very interesting. I must admit that my husband has definitely not lived up to his end of the marriage vows. I have been his caretaker from the very beginning, even before the mental illness became apparent. We were very young when we became a couple (19 years old). He did not grow up. I'm not putting him down. This is just a fact. I think I would have been ok living with this arrangement indefinitely (because although I was not happy, I was committed), had my daughter not become ill. Since then I have recognized that I can not handle two people with such great needs - My husband can get help and get better-my daughter can't make those kinds of decisions. You are right when you say you think I just want a hope and a future. I do. However, I can't get past not being able to equate infidelity with adultery, so therein lies my dilemma. However, I am seriously considering talking to a lawyer tomorrow, because I just want to have a life. Thanks for responding.

July 15, 2009
2:30 am
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SooFoo,

Thank you for your response- I'm intrigued by the fact that you know what it is like to love a person who is mentally ill. It's been the hardest thing I've dealt with (and that is really saying a lot). In some ways my husband seems to be faring much better than I am - I know that's weird to say. He just seems to make the best of his situation and his life is fairly stress-free. His mother takes care of all his needs now. I do agree that infidelity (faithfulness to commitments and vows) are not tantamount to adultery. So, if I divorce my husband it will not be according to the blatant biblical guideline as I understand it, though abandonment may come into play somewhere along the line. Anyway, I do believe that I should do the most loving thing to others that I can. However, if I stay married it is out of duty and sympathy. We have no real relationship. I am confused because I really don't want to hurt him or anyone. I plan on meeting with a lawyer -I will ask about a legal separation. My main concern is custody of my children, at this point. Thanks for "listening".

July 15, 2009
8:39 am
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Sofoo,

I understand what your opinion is, and I also do see a person that is aware of an illness (her husband) and he is refusing treatment, and 2BReal has stated "I think he has enough cognizance to realize his refusal for treatment" so this is not honoring his wife or children by refusing treatment. Which to me is infidelity, only going by the meaning of infidelity - not being limited to sexual infidelity.

No matter what 2BReal, as I said you are in a difficult situation. Even know your going to talk to an attorney today, which isn't a bad idea at all, keep praying. You sound like a caring person, and it is all so understandable why you feel torn as to what to do for sure. You were very young when you married, and I'm sure no matter what you will always love and care about your husband, but living the way you are living now, just isn't honoring a marriage on his part.

You certainly have a lot on your plate taking care of your daughter, and dealing with a marriage that seems empty, so make sure you take care of yourself, and do what is best for you.

Hope you keep posting, Healing and Peace

July 15, 2009
11:12 pm
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2Breal,
I can really relate to you. You said you feel like he is faring better than you are, his parents take care of things for him, and his life is stress-free. It may sound weird to people who haven't been there, but not to me. When my live-in BF got sick and moved back in with his parents, I felt the same way. And I resented him, and it also made me feel a little crazy myself. Because there was always this underlying theme that I had driven him to it. Of course, I knew I didn't really cause the psychosis, and I used to joke about how if i could cause psychosis George Bush would have to step down as president, but there was still this tone or feeling about it. He seemed better at his parents house, even though he wasn't taking meds. I always felt inadequate, like, why couldn't I make him better? Why wasn't he more secure with me? It was really difficult. I was also just flat out pissed off that he was just checking out of life and leaving me to clean up the mess. There were many complex and mixed feelings.

Taking care of a mentally ill person is a full time job. I know. And I think you are smart to see that managing his illness and your daughter's illness is too much.

If I were you, I would probably resent him terribly. You are going through a lot with your daughter's illness, and you are doing it alone. You deserve support, you need it and he isn't giving it.

I remember, even when my bf was getting better, he went through a period where he just wanted everything to be easy. Living with his parents was easier. I would get livid sometimes, devastated other times. It was so frustrating.

I invite you to talk more about how you are feeling. I think it really helps to do that. You can talk about how you are feeling without attaching it to what you will do. There is time for you to feel this.

July 16, 2009
8:40 pm
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SooFoo,
It is so helpful to be in contact with someone who knows what it is like to love a menally ill person. I also feel like I'm responsible in some way for his decline (he used to be better) and for his refusal to take meds. -If I had been easier on him, more attentive, etc. he'd want to anything for me-like get treatment. Anyway, I think I realize I'm not responsible for his mental health. I'm interested to know how you're BF got better- you mentioned that. Sometimes, I don't even care so much if we end up together as long as my husband gets better. I hate to see what I consider him live such a sad and wasted life. Thanks.

July 17, 2009
1:59 am
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T does not have schizophrenia. He had his first psychotic episode about 6 years ago, he was about 33. He's had 2 more since then. I witnessed one of them. They say onset was too late to be called schizophrenia and too early to be called adult onset schizophrenia. So they just left it as plain old psychosis. His episodes pass, although he can have long, lingering paranoia. Meds helped to a very limited degree. When he did not sleep for 7 days (yes, this can happen and no you won't die) his doc gave him a mixture of riperidal and zyprexa that knocked him out. He had been on the risperdal for some time but it really was doing very little, if anything for his symptoms.

Meds can manage some mental illness, but lots of people stay sick on meds or have side effects that are worse than the illness. Mental illness is very difficult to treat. T went to live with his parents and in time got better. It broke my heart that he got better over there and not with me. It broke my heart that I could not get him to go to the hospital. He chose to live with his parents over the hospital.

Of course his getting better had nothing to do with me. His getting sick had nothing to do with me either.

Everyone reacts to stress. You might cry, or get sad or be irritable or angry. The mentally ill get a little sicker under stress. It is not your fault. They can't handle normal stress. They need to be taken care of. Parents are more suited to this caretaking than wives , who are on an even level and have a right to expect something in return. And for wives with small children or a sick child it might be impossible.

My bf wasn't able to love me, and I took it hard and I took it personally. I saw it as my failure, not just his. I felt very much as you have, that if our love was strong he would pull it together for me, that if I loved him enough he could be stronger, and on and on.

In truth, he was unable. Camer ( a great poster here) pointed out that just because he had failed, did not mean that I was unlovable.

It was very hard for me to accept that my bf might get better and he might not, and it had nothing to do with me.

July 17, 2009
2:48 am
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More thoughts about the feelings of blame when the one you love is mentally ill--

Let's say one day you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Your healthy spouse might roll his eyes, or fix you a cup of coffee or ignore it. But if your spouse has psychosis he might believe that your body is inhabited by the soul of someone else. You being in a bad mood to begin with, don't take kindly to this, which just serves as further evidence to your sick spouse that you are the devil or whatever. You might get angry, you might get hurt, which will only fuel the panic in your spouse even more. You might become guilty, wishing you had never let your annoyance leak out and thereby feeling that you could have prevented this incident. It begins to look like a relationship problem. It feels like one. Therein lie the seeds of false guilt.

I think this dynamic is extremely stressful on both spouses and it deteriorates a relationship pretty quickly. Of course, the healthy person cannot really prevent incidents. And trying to be perfect to make that happen causes repression, anger and a whole nother big mess.

July 17, 2009
2:32 pm
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As a minister (and pastor of a church), let me clarify something about marriage. In Biblical terms marriage is a COVENANT. A covenant is a life-long bond between two, consenting adults which can only be broken by violating the terms of the covenant.

For example, David was in covenant with Saul's son, Jonathan. He remained loyal to Jonathan throughout his entire lifetime. After Jonathan's tragic death, David extended this covenant bond to Jonathan's offspring.

As Christians, we are in covenant with the Father. As such, we are entitled to certain rights and privileges, including health, abundance, favor, peace and joy. All that He has is at our disposal. In return, all that we have belongs to our Father.

In marriage, a covenant is formed between husband and wife. If your husband was mentally ill at the time of the marriage, he was not competent to enter into covenant. If he deliberately withheld this information from you (of his mental illness) prior to the marriage, again...he has violated covenant with you and the marriage should never have taken place. You were deceived.

If he is abusing you verbally and emotionally, he is violating covenant with you. He is pledged (via covenant) to protect, guard, cherish and honor you till parted from you by death. If he is NOT protecting, guarding, cherishing or honoring you by verbal and/or emotional abuse, he has violated covenant and you are free to divorce him and live in peace. Infidelity is the most "obvious" form of violating covenant, but emotional and verbal abuse is just as valid.

I hope this helps.

- Ma Strong

July 17, 2009
4:20 pm
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SooFoo and MaStrong,
You both have given me so much to think about. I will read and reread your posts because there's so much in them.

SooFoo,you really understand the feelings of guilt. I've never met anyone in my circumstance -EVER- so this is so helpful. My H was on both risperdal (very bad side effects) and zyprexa (not so bad, but seemed to stop working well over time). What I get from you is that J (my husband) got sick w/o me and may (or may not) get better w/o me. I think my control issue is at play here. I want to make everything ok... and I don't want to fail. Hmm... I'm still thinking about your post.

Ma Strong, I have been thinking about how J has not honored his vows to me (not just the sexual fidelty one) and also how I just didn't know (and he may not have either)that he was mentally ill when we married. This whole divorce and covenant issue is one that I don't take lightly at all. Sometimes I think God wants me away from J, so I can be the person that I was supposed to be before I met him (because guaranteed I was not supposed to hook up with him-that I know, for certain). However, it's also hard to believe God wants me to divorce when he says he hates divorce. Wow, this is very heavy. Thanks for your input.

July 17, 2009
5:22 pm
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I am wondering...were you a Christian when you and "J" married? Was he, also? Did both of you go thru any sort of pre-marital counseling with the pastor/minister who married you? Or did you have a secular wedding ceremony?

If "J" had no knowledge of (or history of treatment for) mental illness, prior to your marriage, then he is innocent of any deception. However, no marital partner is required by God to endure emotional and/or verbal abuse which is constant, intense and imposes serious mental/emotional or physical stress over an extended period of years.

Have you sought pastoral counseling on this? Unless you are dealing with a highly legalistic religious system, most pastors would/should release you, given such a history of marital abuse, rather than see you driven to the point of physical or emotional/mental breakdown.

- Ma Strong

July 17, 2009
5:24 pm
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If possible, can you explain the circumstances under which your husband wound up living with his parents? (Unless I missed it somewhere on your thread? Might have. I am kinda old. SMILE.)

Did he leave in anger? Was he asked to leave? Did he volunteer to leave and both of you mutually agreed to living apart?

This would have alot of bearing on your spiritual position, as well.

- Ma

July 17, 2009
5:46 pm
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Ma Strong,
When we married, I was a Christian and J was not (though he had a Catholic upbringing). We were married by an Assemby of God Pastor in a Chapel labeled the "God is Love Chapel". The owner of the chapel declared that no one married in her chapel was ever allowed to get a divorce, no less. Anyway, J became a Christian during the course of our marriage. Over the years, we have gone through just about everything - drinking and drugs on his part, a period when strip bars were the thing for him, physical and emotional abuse. When I became pregnant with our first daughter I left him because of his drinking. We got back together and he stopped just about everything -drinking, drugs, abuse- but then his mental illness reared it's ugly head. Well, we've been dealing with that for about 11 years now. When he refused to take his meds. I decided to leave.
I was on the verge of renting a place when he decided to stay at his parents so we wouldn't have to leave our home. He realized that he couldn't afford the house payment and I could. Anyway, that's the bare bones of our story. One thing that I do know is that I cannot live with him when he is not medicated - I mean really it is impossible (and I can take a lot). His behavior is such that I think I will go insane if I have to live with it. Thanks.

July 17, 2009
5:51 pm
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Ma Strong,

I couldn't agree with you more, and I certainly couldn't have expressed it better. The abuse is such an issue, and it seems as though it isn't only you that is feeling it (((2BReal))) your daughters are surely aware of it too, which must be just as difficult on you.

The infidelity to marriage vows are just as hurtful as any other type of infidelity. I like the term MA Strong used which is the correct wording "Convenant" he has broken the convenant of your vows. You stated that you feel he is aware enough to know this as well. Which is so hurtful, at least if he wasn't you could say he isn't ever aware of his words or actions, but he is.

Briefly I will tell you about one of my clients decissions to stay in a marriage with her mentally ill husband, he treated horrible! He always controlled where she went, who were her friends, how long she could be gone, if she could or couldn't invite friends over, and she ended up suffering from a depression from so much of it for so long, she felt trapped in her marriage until death did part them.

Her husband passed away a few years ago now, and she hung in there the entire 19 years they were married, but after he passed away she found out from the Father in her church that she could have and should have left him long ago without the feeling of any guilt at all. You see she was always told while she was growing up in her church that you must stay married no matter what, the only reason to end a marriage from what she was taught was sexual infidelity. After he passed away she still felt so much guilt for the years she yerned to get away from his abuse, which is why she went to the church to dicuss it with the Father there even after he passed away. She is now free from all that guilt and is living a peaceful life without the tormate any longer, once she understood the meaning of Covenant and Infidelity.

You will know what to do and when to do it, when the time is right for you. Maybe you feel like God wants you away from your husband because he truly does want you to be at peace, and be happy. Keep praying you will find, and the answer will come to you.

Healing and peace

July 17, 2009
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Sorry about the misspelling of "Covenant"... ugg I'm tired... I think... and the last sentence I meant to write was "Keep praying and you will find the answers will come to you"

Healing and peace

July 19, 2009
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Going to strip bars and lusting over the naked bodies of other women constitutes Biblical adultery. It was Jesus, Himself, Who stated that if a man so much as LOOKS upon another woman with lust in his heart, he has committed adultery. The physical act does not have to take place. Adultery is a heart condition upon which we may -- or may not -- take physical action.

You are, therefore, completely free to divorce him and even to remarry from a Scriptural standpoint.

He has broken his vow to "forsake all others." He has lusted after the bodies of naked women, besides his wife. That is Scriptural adultery.

The choice to leave and start a new life is fully yours.

- Ma Strong

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