Input desired, any and all perspectives would be great.

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Jondoe
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/26/2009 3:39 PM (GMT -7)   
I know my story parallels many others, so I'll keep the details to a minimum. Once I get started I could write a novel, but I won't put you through it.

The basics:

We've been married for 15 years. We married young, and although I could tell she was different, I never saw the lows until post-nuptials. The mood swings weren't so pronounced, and after the birth of out first daughter she really settled down and was a wonderful mother. When she was pregnant for a second time, things went downhill. She started suffering during the pregnancy and went into postpartum immediately after childbirth. She spent 4 years between the bed and the couch. When we got a diagnosis, she was able to go back to work part-time (her choice). After 4 complete years of utter inactivity, I was reveling in the fact that we turned a corner. What I didn't know is that's when the affair started.

Fast forward another four years.

Here we are today. A few months ago I learned that although the affair ended (we moved, not because of that), she had been trying to contact the same guy and was 'ready to move on' with us. I won't get in to how many lies surrounded that, sounds like he just ignored her. There's more here, but I digress.

This is all on top of the bipolar issues we all have faced in one form or another. Impulse control, non-participation in the family, I 'love you but am not in love with you'. Everything else over 15 years that you would imagine as well. I could go forever, but I'm sure you guys could too. The deal is that before the affair and follow up, I was fully prepared to be her caregiver for good. Now, I have to face the fact that there's just no trust. I don't know if this was an isolated event or not. She's given me two conflicting versions of what happened, and I don't know what the truth is.

I think I was still prepared to stay on board until the kids grew up, but lately I've been noticing some of her characteristics in my older daughter (teen), We'll call her 'E'. E doesn't suffer from bi-polar, but she's watched the quit-when-things-get-tough routine to learn from it, and along with other things, I'm wondering if her presence is starting to have a negative effect.

I'm the caregiver/cook/maid/everything and have raised these girls myself. If we were to split, I know that it would actually be easier because she requires more care and attention than the kids do anymore. My concerns are twofold:

1. I've always felt her presence was important, needed for the girls. Even if she sees them only sparingly (sleeping), then that's more than they would get. Who am I to take that away?

2. I'm concerned that without someone to prop her up, she'll fail. I don't know to what extent, but she has never shown an interest in helping herself.

Guys, I've hit a wall. I'm stubborn and I feel like I did the best I could but I just feel like I'm there now.

I know I've left out volumes, ask anything you want. I'm a fan a saying what you mean, so fire away.

rimanquez42
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 1/26/2009 5:10 PM (GMT -7)   
I know what you mean about the lack of presence. My wife has issues with this as well. I also understand the feeling that she takes up more time and effort than the children. I also feel the pain of a lacking desire to helping herself. My wife will attend her therapy for a while and then stop... I've talked to her and let her know that her issues are starting to have major negative effects on our relationship. I've asked her to attend couples therapy so we can learn to reconnect and communicate, but she feels that she needs to work on herself first. This would not bother me if she was actually attending her sessions. She is agoraphobic which complicates the matter even more. I also seem to be the only one she feels secure enough to leave the house with.

Although I cannot comment on the affair, I know that it presents a major challenge. I guess the questions to pose to her is

1. Are you willing to attend couples therapy?
2. Do you understand that I have lost trust in you and are you willing to earn it back?

Another thing to consider is if you would feel more conferrable with a trial separation. It may show her the seriousness of her errors and that they do have real life consequences.

Hope this helps...

rimanquez

Jondoe
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/26/2009 5:32 PM (GMT -7)   
"1. Are you willing to attend couples therapy?"

Absolutely, but with which person? As she cycles, I'll get a completely different answer. Shortly after the affair surfaced, we were getting a divorce. We even told the girls, which was horrible (actually, she told the oldest when I was outside). When it was getting down to crunch time, she realized she couldn't take care of herself and would likely rarely see the girls so she was ready to re-commit and make it work. Obviously, that didn't happen. I think we're past counseling now. It's kind of to a point of choosing the best path for the girls...do I stay or go?

It's moot anyway, she refuses to go to counseling of any kind.

"2. Do you understand that I have lost trust in you and are you willing to earn it back?"

What did I ever do to you?

Ok, kidding...I knew what you meant.

To this day she'll tell you her biggest pet peeve in others is lying. Couldn't have been more than a week ago that she told me she'd forgive if someone lied to her, but she'd never forget. What she's pulled, I'm quite sure, didn't even register in her mind.

I'm here because I'm tired. I haven't had a life of my own in a long time. I was OK with it until she dropped the second bomb a few weeks ago, and now my drive is just gone.

Jondoe
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/26/2009 5:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh, and forgot to answer about the separation.

No, I'm not OK with that. I have no doubt it would just prolong the inevitable. She would have a blast until she fell on her face, then want to crawl back.

It did take me a while at first, but I learned how to think of it as a disease and beyond her control. I used that for strength for years. Now, I just see someone who causes pain with little remorse. She shows no sign of taking care of herself and I have no reason to think anything will change.

I know this has to sound harsh to some of you suffering, but after years and years of forgiving I'm just tapped.

rimanquez42
New Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 1/26/2009 7:19 PM (GMT -7)   
One thing to keep in mind is that it is a disease but not a true excuse for behavior problems. I have BP II rapid cycling. What this means is I have tendencies to have irresponsible behavior. I need help coping with the issues that arise because I'm more likely to have many of the problems that arise due to my disease but it should not be used as an excuse for major problems. I work hard on not taking drugs (so far I've luckily not had issues with this), I have not had any cases of adultery, I've limited the amount of alcohol which I consume (was a problem for a short time in college... but I eventually got it under control), but I do have problems with finances (trying to get better... but it is really difficult for me). The biggest thing that one needs to remember is that BP should not be a blanket excuse for any problems that one makes for themselves... it does have a major affect, but it is important to acknowledge problems, ask for forgiveness, and truly try to make change in your life.

I guess the biggest question you should ask yourself is will she truly go through the steps to make it better, or will she continue to use BP as her catch all excuse. A hard question... but it needs to be answered to your satisfaction before it is too late.

Has she ever apologized to you about the things she has done?

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 1/26/2009 8:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Jondoe,

You will find that treatment and her willingness to comply with treatment can completely turn the disorder around to be manageable, but she's got to want to do it. If she's not interested in taking care of herself, then there's no one who can force her to -- not you, not anyone. She may fall, but to that end, SHE has to be the one to pick herself up and make herself get well. Anything else is frankly enabling her passive behavior.

As far as the girls, sometimes quality trumps quantity with kids. If you think they will have a more stable life without their mother's constant chaos, then perhaps it's the right thing to do. They will still see their mother, and perhaps the time the spend with her will be more enriching and involved because she isn't spending as much time with them.

I'm certainly not arguing for you to divorce, although it sounds that way. It's just that it sounds a little like your mind is made up, and I want you to think that it's alright for you to live your own life and not spend the rest of your life at the whims of a woman who refuses to take care of herself. She needs doctors visits, medication, and therapy. If she's willing to get those things and you're willing to go through them with her, then great. But if the infidelity was the last straw, the trust is gone, and she's unwilling to change, then you have every right to move on.

serafena
Serafena
Co-Moderator, Bipolar Forum
Bipolar II


Whyus
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 94
   Posted 1/26/2009 10:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Jondoe.  I agree with Serafena about quality trumping quantitiy.  If your wife is truly willing to seek help, then maybe you can support her.  If she's not, what's the point?  Kids need stability.  They need love.  I'm really starting to believe that one parent can take care of that if one parent had to do it all by themself. 

 


Jondoe
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/27/2009 7:21 AM (GMT -7)   
rimanquez42,

You bring up an excellent point and a topic I don't get to talk about much, the use of bipolar as an excuse. I'm sure it has been used on many occasions, but there's just no way to be certain of when that's happening. I've never brought that subject up and don't intend to. Still, no matter what part of the swing she's in it's always a fall-back reason to not be an active member of the family.

The impulse control is obviously an ongoing thing, but lately I seem to have lost tolerance. I don't lash out and rarely say anything anymore (it just causes problems and never helps).

No, she won't take steps to help herself. She did once for about three weeks and the improvement was astronomical. We know what her major triggers are, and she was working to avoid them. She was, within the first couple of days, undeniably healthier. Energy levels returned, the will to live returned, the love of life returned. It was the happiest I think I've ever been in my life. After so many years, hope had come back. That was maybe three years ago, and there's been no further attempts since.

I should say, to clear the air a little, she is on meds. We tried many combinations and have made ongoing adjustments and they to help. Unfortunately, she won't go to counseling. I'm her counselor. During the affair, she would come to me for advice...looking back I now realize how close I was to snapping.

Lastly, she does apologize occasionally. This usually happens during a depression cycle and is used, from my perspective, as a way to elicit sympathy. During normal and manic times, there is little to no acknowledgment. I have to smile and say think you at these points, any insertion of my own issues only further the depression.

serafena and Whyus,

My mind, or loss of hope, was made up in August of last year. At that point I began to open my eyes a little. I had no intention of getting out, but I started seeing signs of her influence a little clearer. It's hard to tell whether I was in denial before, or if I'm looking for justification now. Her family, of course, hopes I stay with it. They know what the possibilities are if I don't. Frankly, they're the ones that give me encouragement. My family and friends just can't understand why I'm still there, even the ones that understand. Lately the chatter from the has grown(or it seems like it has, maybe I'm listening now?), and I'm starting to think that they see what's happening more clearly than I do.

She does do things with the girls on occasion, and it's clear they're starved for more. I'm having a real tough time figuring out what's right here.

Thanks for the replies everyone. Just the act or writing this is a huge help.

shebsy
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 125
   Posted 1/28/2009 6:05 AM (GMT -7)   
If your wife had an affair while she was on meds, bipolar cannot be used as an excuse for it. Before I was undiagnosed, I took impulsive decisions and most of them were bad decisions. After being on meds, I have trouble making decisions. It is probably because I am scared of making the wrong decision. I think your wife seems to be using you and the fact that you are sympathetic. My family does not treat me any differently from my sister. The only people who are sympathetic to me are my psychiatrist and psychologist and that is because they get paid for it. I don't expect sympathy from my family and friends. I don't use my illness as an excuse for my bad decisions. If you are too nice to anyone or make it seem like their presence is indispensable, they will take advantage of it.

Jondoe
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/28/2009 7:18 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks shesby, those are wonderful words to hear.

"Excuse", "Crutch", "Taking Advantage"...those are words that I've always tried to avoid. Those around me use them all the time, but I've always dismissed the thought in the vein of 'they don't understand'.

The more I read here (I think I've read 40 or so pages of posts so far), the more I see where I probably went wrong.

Rocketman
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 156
   Posted 1/28/2009 7:41 AM (GMT -7)   

JonDoe;

Wow, it's a tough spot you are in. I know how hard this position is. You already feel like you are a single paretent, but not ompletely. I don't really know what to tell you about staying or going. You know your situation & feelings more then anyone & know what would be best for you & your girls. I am sure that if she started trying to take care of herself & her issues then you would stay. It also sounds like you are already feeling guilty for leaving & you haven't even done it yet. I know how you feel, with my wifes condition (BPII, rapid cycleing, severe depression, psychosis)there is no way she could make it on her own. I am having to do everything as well. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking are of our son, plus being her cheoffur. The only thing she really does for herself is personal hygene. She says she is "letting me" do all this stuff since I am out of work & it will help me to fight the boredome, but I don't buy that.

Maybe if you went to her & told her that you need her help with things she may snap out of it & pitch in. Sometimes the feeling of uselessness feeds the depression, so make her feel like she's not. The underlying thing is, she has to want to. Until she does, then you probably won't see any progress.

Hope I have been at least a little helpful;

Rocket 


"The struggles make you stronger, and the changes make you wise, and happiness has it's own way of taking it's sweet time.
Gary Allan- From "Life Ain't Always Beutiful"


Jondoe
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/28/2009 7:54 AM (GMT -7)   
Rocketman,

Sounds like we're we're living the same life. My work is flexible with times/location. I tend to put in 60ish hours a week, lots of early morning time before the kids are up and time after they're in bed as well as the regular workday. My days start hours before sunup and end hours after.

I've approached her many times over the years about helping. I'm being taken advantage of, there's just no other way to put it.

She can't care for herself, and personal hygiene is not a priority at all. I'm pretty certain I can't do anything more for her, but I can't see how she can take care of herself on her own. At this point, I'm only concerned about the girls losing their mom. I have no connection left, it's like taking care of a stranger who completely depends on you and resents you for it. Conversely, if she does pick herself up enough to take care of them if we split, I get pretty concerned about what she might say or do (not physically).

I've tried more times than I can count telling her I'm completely stressed and need help, that I can't do it alone anymore (I can, I just wanted her to feel needed). It doesn't change anything.

Rocketman
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 156
   Posted 1/28/2009 8:31 AM (GMT -7)   

Hey jon;

It really hurts to see someone you care about this way. If staying for the girls sake is the only thing keeping you there, then you know the answers already. Is it really benifitting the kids to be around her, it doesn't really sound like she is bringing anything to the table. Kids need their mother, no question, but she isn't really filling that need for them. You have to decide what is best for you & yours. Maybe the thought of losing everything would be a wakeup call for her to try to get herself back up on her feet, because until she decides she wants to do it herself, there is nothing else you can do.

I feel for you, & wish you the best. Stay in touch & lean on the folks here anytime.

Rocket


"The struggles make you stronger, and the changes make you wise, and happiness has it's own way of taking it's sweet time.
Gary Allan- From "Life Ain't Always Beutiful"


Jondoe
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 1/28/2009 9:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you.

I'll be sticking around, this place is great therapy.

lostwife
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 39
   Posted 1/28/2009 1:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey, Jon,
Gosh, well, I can say that I can relate to absolutely everything you have described and to the feeling of having "no connection" anymore. I've been the mom, dad, accountant, counselor, cook/housekeeper and worked two jobs to our heads afloat. I don't want to undermine anything he's done, but the majority of the burdens rested upon me...including the responsibility of keeping our relationship going (doesn't work). I can see why you're so burned out. I think you have to get to a point where your happiness and emotional well-being has to precede everything else in a situation like this. If you're not happy and healthy, neither will your children be. I've had to learn to love, care and support from a distance and not let the emotional ties and history influence my thinking. Once I was on the outside looking in objectively, I saw what everyone else was telling me. Does she need a wake up call? Only you know if there is the possibility that she may actually try to change and help herself to make things work for the both of you and your family. She's been in a comfort zone for a long time, so you may be right that she might work on it for a brief time and then go back to the old regimen. It's happened to me many times. He'd get manic, leave, go into depression, I'd take him back, he'd go into the hypo- manic..be so optimistic...so in love wanting to do everything to make us work...happy happy. Then BAM! It would start all over again. Ultimately, everyone is right, she has to want help herself. I did more damage to my children by staying in a bad situation, but everyone's story is a little different. Good luck to you. I'm happy you found the site. It's helped me so much.
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