Caregivers, how do you navigate the relationship with your spouse/partner?

Sometimes I’m really wondering who’s worse? The person with mental health issues that’s diagnosed or the ‘normal’ that says he/she’s fine and behaves otherwise. Of course it’s frustrating! I’m sure you know you can’t please everyone. Your husband can visit his parents and his sister without you and your kids, or you can meet in an open area where there’s plenty of space and people, it doesn’t have to be your house, this can be upsetting for him but due to the circumstances he can come up with suggestions himself where safety is top priority for everyone concerned. You already know what to expect of him so stand up firm and calm and explain to him what you just said in here so you and your kids rather not visit with them no ifs and buts. I’m surprised that his SMI goes out with her parents for a visit, if I ask my son if he wants to go over one of his siblings (now that he’s medicated) he usually says no, I know he feels uncomfortable and stressed up so I rather have him stay home or visit his only friend for couple of hours, when he’s unmedicated he doesn’t want to go anywhere with us and I don’t really ask him either. This is stressful for everyone concerned, in our world we take one day at a time and some days is only a moment at a time. Does your husband have other siblings?
You are in a hard predicament because no one takes the courage to get that SMI the help she needs and the in laws may have learned to ‘deal’ with her but crisis is their horizon sooner or later.
Is your husband being a good father to his kids or does he spend time and energy with his parents and SMI?
Not easy Q&A.
It’s a disorder that affects the entire family.
I hope you have better days.
Hugs.

1 Like

You’re so right, sometimes it’s hard to tell who is worse in his family.

He has an older brother who generally seems to have a more realistic view of the situation but who also has not been able to get their parents to do anything differently. He also does not seem to struggle with boundaries in the same way, the first time SMI was verbally abusive to his wife and his parents just sat by and watched, he didn’t see them again for months.

My husband is a good dad and for now he’s not diverting resources or excessive amounts of time away from his kids. But then again does a good dad put his kids at unnecessary risk because he doesn’t want to deal with his own feelings or because he doesn’t want to deal with pushback from his mother?

1 Like

It’d be really helpful for your husband to attend the NAMI family to family classes, they’re free of charge and I myself am currently taking it for the 3rd time and I’m so glad I signed up for them; the first 2 times we both (my husband and me) attended and they were 12 classes on a weekly basis for 2 hours, this time it’s only 8 classes and I really like them because it seems that they have improved, it’s now 2:30 hours long; I’m suggesting it since I think he doesn’t want to attend therapy with you.
Some of us parents have gone through hard experiences, and I gather that his parents either they are in denial or they feel like this is something shameful. It’s not! I think 2-3 decades ago people hush hush this issues, I know some sisters at the church are about my age and I know this particular sister was very quiet but one day we started to talk after she had seen me crying many times and she shared with me about her mom: she had a mental disorder, she was a child, she was sent to live with her grandma, her mom passed away and nobody was telling her anything about her, with time she found out that her mom had committed the unthinkable and she grew up kind of angry.
Anyhow, I myself have learned some lessons the hard way, I hope they don’t go through this experiences but looks like there’s no other way for them. Time will tell but I strongly believe your husband need to attend those classes the least. It would be helpful for you if he does that.
It’s an investment for everyone concerned.

Hugs to you.

1 Like

I forgot to tell you that in trying to improve ourselves we may go forward 2 steps and 3 steps back. No worries, we’re humans, no one will be perfect in this world; it happens because as one dear sister would say: we are trying to leave behind behaviors we were automatically reacting to. I’ve been there and done that.

2 Likes

Well an unhappy update: the situation with my husband’s SMI sister continues to get worse. I truly believe she is no longer a safe person for my children to be around and my husband doesn’t see it. We are in discernment counseling now and I’ve retained a divorce attorney who specializes in custody cases where there is a SMI family member involved. The attorney says I have a very strong case to get custody arrangements that include a no contact with SIL provision. If the court order were to be ignored then there’s a good chance I could get sole physical custody. Not my preferred way to address this, but if a court order is what it takes to keep my kids safe and force my likely soon to be ex-husband to not expose them to SIL then I feel like I don’t have a choice.

I’m still in therapy and working on my strong feelings of resentment for my in-laws.

2 Likes

Thank you for the update.
It’s so sad how this illness just destroys everything and everyone in its path at times.
I hope your sister in law gets some help; this sounds like an incredibly frustrating situation.

1 Like