Hello, Cactsflwr, and welcome to the Bipolar Forum,
I'm sorry that you are having to deal with a husband who has untreated bipolar illness--if that's what it turns out to be. Several things might point in that direction: the fact that other family members have suffered from the illness, the fact that members of the family have mentioned to you that his behavior seems unusual, and the fact that he drinks alcohol perhaps to relieve the symptoms. The failure to maintain stability in a job is also significant.
It isn't definitive, however, unless he sees a psychiatrist and gets a diagnosis of bipolar illness. Please try to persuade him that there are newer medications on the market now that will help to alleviate the chemical imbalance and that he will feel so much better by seeing a psychiatrist and finding out what the problem is and accepting medication.
The drinking is just making the condition worse.
Try to sit down calmly with him and tell him that this illness (again, if that's what he has) doesn't get better without medical treatment; in fact, it gets worse and one's life span is shortened as a consequence of not taking medications to keep the brain chemically stabilized. Certain structures of the brain can be damaged over time, and he could be in for a very difficult life ahead if he doesn't relent and get help.
In the meantime, I would suggest that you get counseling to learn how to cope if you decide to stay in the marriage if he is determined to remain without psychiatric help.
The time may come when you will want to make some changes in your life for yourself and for the health of your children. Protect the children and try to ensure that they have a healthy environment as much as you can secure.
Continue to post as you wish and try very hard to get him in to see a psychiatrist. Does he have close family members who might intervene also to advise him about
the serious consequences he's facing without help? That might be the push that will send him in to the psychiatrist.
Prayers are with you for a resolution.
Post Edited (It's Genetic) : 5/24/2012 12:15:19 PM (GMT-6)