Delusions,Divorce, & his scapegoat

I am devastated but still hopeful. My husband had his one-on-one with our MFT and came home angrier than when he left. He told me to “lawyer up”. It saddens me that he is wanting to divorce me over these delusions that are all fabricated in his head of me being unfaithful and having a secret life (I am a SAHM, with my own PTSD/GAD issues so I rarely leave my house, and I am in online grad school full-time). I don’t know what to do. I have read Dr. Xavier Amador’s book, and while a lot of it helps, I feel like I am outside the box… no where does he address helping them get help when they see you as the enemy. I have been with him 24 years (high school sweethearts) and up until mid Dec things with us were really good. He had left his job as a lawyer in June (after telling me they were trying to get him to mess up on purpose at his firm and were out to get him… a symptom I now know is linked to schizophrenia) and was about to start an online Job with the government in January. The shitty thing is, when we were going to our first session with the MFT together, he told me I better watch what I say because “adjusters will read it” and he doesn’t want to lose his job because of what I say. I think he saw how I was scared because he quickly said, I’m not trying to keep anything from the therapist… I just want you to remember where your money comes from so I don’t lose my job because of you. I feel like when this job goes down, he is just setting it up to blame me but he has already had 5 jobs in the last 4 years. I have become his scapegoat and I don’t know how to get out of this hole he has put me in.

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I am so sorry to hear of your husband’s illness and how it is affecting you. The fact that you are his scapegoat is not unusual with this disease, usually a close family member is targeted by the ill person: my daughter targeted both myself and her step father (my husband) for years. Our family found that only the right medicine greatly helped the situation (after going through several that were the wrong medicine). The very real problem with this illness is that the loved one often refuses to admit they are ill, and so refuses medicine. Or stops the medicine once they feel better, which often causes the symptoms to return with a bang. All the while they often blame their closest family members for the fears that they have. It is a tough situation.

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The LEAP method of communication is for helping them not see us as the enemy. LEAP, along with CBT, can make a difference in their lives.

Having said that, longheld delusions were impossible to change - in my experience.

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I have tried (am trying) with the leap method. I have years of experience with motivational interviewing, and I use it when possible and have been very patient. It turns into attacks on me, him feeling scared so screaming louder, telling me I am a liar keeping things from him. In the past I have showed him proof and when I thought it would clear things, it further sent him in a spiral of accusations of infidelity and deceit. I tell him I will agree to disagree. I cannot push it off anymore as I am suggested I do. He circles back to it as more reason that I am holding information from him. I have tried to have the talk with him about possibly seeking help. I got as far as, “I see you want a divorce, I would feel scared and hurt if I were in your shoes. How about we put that on pause as, I think we need to address something bigger and this divorce is just the bandaid but the underlying issue should be addressed. Especially since it affects our little ones and our relationship with eachother to coparent” He agreed but then starts telling me he isn’t chasing me anymore, how I am sharing secrets with some man and having a secret affair. How he has laid everything on the table and I am being secretive, and again the spiral of yelling at me and accusations begun. It doesn’t help that our little one comes over with the “mommy, mommy, mommy…” which usually puts him over the edge on its own. This is horrible… things were actually somewhat settling down some until this therapists session. It has been ups and downs… with greater downs than ups. I feel like I am drowning and everywhere I reach for help I am basically told I’m shit out of luck. I am considering going to the VA as a final resort to talk to his primary care physician. I don’t know if I should ask him to go with him to his next appointment, or if I should go talk alone. I am terrified of this path I am on.

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Showing proof never worked for me either - i was relieved when Dr Amador explained why that won’t work.

Long held delusions I have found to be immovable.

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If you and the children are in danger you must contact someone who will help you escape an abusive relationship.

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I went through something similar with my wife, except her delusions started out focused on the children (to the point she became abusive) and have since moved on to me, because I stopped the abuse. LEAP is great for other types of relationship, where there is far less mutual dependence. Marriage is different, the nature of the relationship is a partnership that shares life’s burdens together. The man you knew is gone and it is unlikely that he will ever come back, the choice you have to face now is whether or not you want to be married to this new person.

This isn’t going to be what you want to hear, I know because it isn’t what I wanted to hear, but it was what I needed to hear. You do need to lawyer up and start preparing for divorce. You don’t have to file it, but be ready to. You need to collect evidence of his illness and anything he does that puts you or the kids at risk. In time the delusions will likely shift towards your children as well, and you need to be ready to protect them. Keep a journal with times and dates of anything out of the ordinary, and keep it in a safe place. In my case, I encrypted it and sent it to a trusted friend. My parents had the password, with instructions that if anything happened to me they should send the journal to CPS to get the kids to safety. I stayed for 6 months trying to convince her to get help, and in the end told her if she wouldn’t go to a doctor I had to leave with the kids. She refused, I left. Two days later she agreed to go and now is in treatment, but hates me for “taking the kids away for no reason.” That’s where I am right now, and most likely this will end in divorce.

Do everything you can to make any doctor who will see him aware of the symptoms you see. It took multiple attempts to get one to recognize the delusions in my wife’s case, because she was a mixture of aware enough to know that she shouldn’t tell a doctor “Our child is possessed by a demon”, but not aware that anything was unusual with her.

You will read a lot of people saying “schizophrenics are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.” This is true but the framing is misleading. Compared to the general population, they are more likely to be either victims or perpetrators. You have to remember that your previous assumptions about this man and what he is capable of are no longer true.

You are now the only person in that relationship who has moral agency, who can make choices that you are fully responsible for the consequences of. It is a stressful position to be in. Please don’t read this post as unsympathetic. It’s the first thing I’ve seen on this forum that made me want to create an account and post. My heart goes out to you, because I know the heartbreak this situation can cause - but for your children you need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of them.

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I agree with everything you said in your post @Mockingbird , my heart goes out to you and anyone battling this disease with a spouse. When you said to @Ayudame that " The man you knew is gone and it is unlikely that he will ever come back, " I could feel your emotion and mental stress, and I wish you both didn’t have to go through this, but wishes don’t change things.

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I definitely did not read it as unsympathetic. That hard part is, prior to reading your post I had sent this to our therapists office.

“We need help. Since my husbands 1-on-1 appointment with our
mft his delusions of me have been on overdrive as has his mumbling to himself. He yells at me about lying, cheating, being on dating sites, having secret relationships,etc. None are true. We had north county crisis team over and he behaves for the most part. He yells but calms down when she asks him to. Something he doesn’t do for me. When she asked if he had thoughts of suicide or homicide, he answered “I’m built different than most people. I think of suicide and homicide every day. It’s how I was trained, I’m a veteran.” She didn’t see a problem with that answer, but with his delusions towards me getting worse, I don’t know what to think. I would have never thought anything prior, he’s an amazing man, but what am I suppose to do/think with these delusions and his anger toward me progressing? We have our average marital problems, but they are getting so intertwined with his delusions (that started in December) its making it impossible to process the real problems because this evolving/growing delusions are taking control. Please help, my son (he has an appointment this friday) is suffering from this change in my husband too, that noone seems to be helping us with. There has to be an answer to ease our families pain.
I need help from someone who understands psychosis and delusions, because I know we’re not an average case and approaching it that way is causing more harm than help.”

Reading your post gave me chills how close to home it hit. I am so sorry you are going though this. It feels like being thrown into the ocean with hands and feet tied and you’re just trying to gasp for air… one… more… time. It’s a completely helpless feeling.

After the crisis counselor left I made the mistake of showing my husband the innocent text I had shown her that he had been accusing me of hiding of my secret relationship. It was innocent… he took it and added it his list of “you see more proof you’re cheating!” Its was a text to my kids friends dad about a birthday party. Something along the lines of “you have my husbands number wrong… it ends in xxxx. Just giving you a heads up bc the wrong number wrote me back to let me know when I replied to the group txt :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:” he says that that wink was me flirting. That i should only be winking at him how dare I break his heart. This all… the lack of help, the constant harassing and yelling, sullying my name and who I am… is so painful and defeating. I am not perfect, by any means, but I am a good person and have always been honest with him. To the point that he used to tell me not to tell him everything (like if a guy hit on me for example). Now some of that has turned into me lying to him.

I had feelings for someone once long long ago, and i talked about it with him. I don’t cheat because my father did and that shattered our hearts. I vowed never to hurt someone like that. So, i talked it through with my husband. I knew I was seeing something in that other person that I felt we were lacking… so i brought it to our attention to address. I didnt act on it. I even deleted that friends number because it made him feel uncomfortable (understandably so). So to be suddenly accused of all these affairs is painful. I know I know… he has a mental illness. It doesnt mean it isn’t all painful though. To know I haven’t cheated but to be treated as if I did…it hurts bad. I know the pain he is going through… and, in his mind, I am causing it. I used to be the one to ease him from his delusions… never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be the target of those delusions. :broken_heart:

Thank you for your reply and your perspective. Again, I am sorry you are going through something similar. Sending you positive vibes that things work in your favor +~~~~

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Yeah, at one point her psych basically told me “Well it’s a delusion you just need to get over it.” It…sent me into a spiral for a couple of days. The pain we feel is real. The pain they feel is real too - in his world, his beloved wife has betrayed him out of nowhere. That’s the thing about this disease, it can conjure so much real pain into this world with its lies.

Last night I called her to apologize for something I had actually done wrong earlier. I try to do that to maintain or rebuild whatever connection I can. By the end of the call she told me that I had been conspiring to gaslight her psych team into believing she was sick so that I could steal the kids. But she also told me something that she’s said before and it hasn’t really stuck. “I still love the real you, but you’re nothing like him.” She wouldn’t even tell me what “the real me” would do because I would just pretend and lie to her. It’s the image she has in her mind of me that she hates and treats this way, even if in my world it comes onto me. She hasn’t stopped loving me, in fact she loves me so much that she cannot imagine I would do all of this to her so it has to be “not me.” When I saw it that way, I realized that in a twisted way all of this is an expression of how deeply she did and does love me, and even if the marriage can’t be saved I still have that.

I suspect with your husband it is similar. I mean, he “knows” you are cheating on him, but he’s still with you. Even if this does destroy your marriage, instead of thinking that it hurts to be accused of infidelity, think that he loved you enough to still try to work things out despite “your infidelity.” He “knows” you are cheating beyond the shadow of a doubt…he is probably looking for proof in part to get you to “stop cheating” so you can “fix the marriage” and “heal from the infidelity.”

That said, you have to protect yourself and especially your kids. And the pain you feel is still real, no matter what it is in his world. Your kids need a good example of a relationship to base their lives on. Love alone isn’t enough, and delusions can be dangerous.

Happy mothers day to you, despite everything!

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You will never be able to disabuse him of his paranoid thoughts. I used to try, with my sz-ex husband. Never worked. You become the enemy.

It is definitely worth it for you to get therapy. It will help you deal with the situation, and your therapist may be able to direct you the local resources for your husband.

Big Hugs!

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Dear Ayudame,
These are tough circumstances for you. I agree with Mockingbird in what he shared.
I deal with a husband who struggles with dissociation and I agree it isn’t easy. I’m thankful that he has a good therapist who helps him deal with his dissociation. A person struggling needs their own therapist and getting their own help. I know it’s not that simple if the person is not willing to do this.
In this midst of these challenges I found that I need to learn HOW to care for myself. I have been involved with a coaching program that focuses on CORE issues which looks somewhat like commit to the truth, open to wise others, responsible for yourself, empathize with others but keeping yourself safe. I also have my own therapist to work through things. Find a therapist who understands and treats mental illness so you can process things for yourself in this difficult situation.
SAFETY or safe enough is a huge issue. How are you taking care of yourself? You are the only one who can change yourself and we can’t change the other person.
Blessings as you travel this difficult and challenging journey.

I feel for you, my husband is currently on a 3 week delusional break. I am the evil person that has been allegedly manipulating him for 20 years and he hates me. Any conversation even about the weather turns into him yelling at me for something- and he is enraged- he is normally a mellow chill person. I have used the LEAP method on him however when the rage is directed towards me it is hard to follow this. I don’t argue with him. I just stay quiet. He does not want to self harm, probably me but not really. My challenge is as long as he is home and not overly stimulated he is just listening to music and stays in his head. I can’t get him to see anyone for help. He is totally has Anosognosia. This is what I have known for years but never knew this word. I could not understand how a friend that has SZ actually goes to her husband and says “babe do I seem ok? I’m feeling a little off, we should see Dr Bob” - what a dream that would be. Hang in there you are ok and you have support even though it seems lonely.

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