Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Husband wants a divorce

I’m sorry this will be long, but I’m at a loss right now.

My husband (38) and I (36) have been married for 2 years this month. We’ve been together for 3.5, and have a son that’s 1. My husband told me when we were still dating that he had schizophrenia, and that he had been off medication for 2 years. He had a great job, a small apartment, we talked at great length about what we want out of a relationship and the future. We were definitely on the same page with each other, were supportive of each other’s individual interests and made sure that we both had time to pursue our life goals.

Almost a year ago, I was on maternity leave taking care of our son. I was suffering from post-partum depression, and had just gotten on medication. During that time, he had been convincing me to not return to my social work job due to the worry of COVID. He also started taking college classes in hopes that he could break into a different technology field.

I think due to the stress of commuting 2 hours a day, buying a house, getting married, having a baby, and starting college all within a year of each other took its toll, and he had a snap. Since then, he has claimed that he saw himself in the back seat of his car, dying, and that he needed to be buried. After “burying” him during one of his drives alone, he stated that his name was now IO, and that the old him was gone.

Since then, I’ve been doing my best to try to be supportive and reduce as much stress for him as possible while trying to balance out life with a new baby and a 7 year old that I had from a previous relationship. He had quit school (partly due to the fact he had a breakdown and destroyed his office) and his previous job, and I picked up a part time job while he worked full time locally. He has offered criticisms constantly, accused me of cheating on him, claimed that my family is out to turn me against him. He spent hours a day in his office, and barely interacted with me and the kids aside from going on for hours at a time about religion and politics. 3 months into his new job, he insisted he had to quit due to stress, so I picked up a full time job at a place he insisted on. He has remained a stay-at-home dad at his request.

Since he had the episode when he quit his original job, I have done my best at being supportive over his various business ideas that never panned out, never pressured him over any affection or intimacy, and never complained about chores left unfinished, mostly because I was finally coming out of post-partum depression and understood that any little positive step is good, even if it’s merely a day for self-care. Still, he would accuse me of having boyfriends in the background, or that I was lazy and that I was toxic. I tried not to let it get to me as I knew he was still suffering from the incident.

Things had gotten slightly better as he stayed home. He was finally interested in interacting with his son, though his attitude towards my daughter got worse over time. I was thinking that we may have found a balance until he’s ready to talk about going back to therapy. Unfortunately a week ago, he got angry over a small box from Christmas I threw away that hadn’t been broken down yet, and it propped open the garbage a bit. I had gotten home from work sick that day, but was still trying to help him clean up after the baby and needing to replace our broken refrigerator. That caused him to have a sudden snap and he threw his head into our drywall, knocking himself unconscious and giving himself a concussion. He has now decided that we need a divorce.

He refuses help and medication, and has decided that the only thing he needs at this point is to live alone, wants 50/50 custody of our son, and that he plans on finding a place where he can be technology free, including phone-free, and has these grand plans to build video games during the day, and sell shaved ice and possibly start growing mushrooms (non psychedelic) for income.

He claims that he still loves me, and that we could still “be intimate” as long as we don’t find someone else, and that he just needs this lifestyle change and he will be fine. He refuses to believe there is a problem.

I don’t know what to do at this point. I love him deeply despite his personality shifting dramatically from what it was, and I want to help him. I’m not sure if I should just go along with it and accept the fact that the husband that I knew and loved is gone, or if I should push even harder for him to stay.

Oh my @Miscgirlname , I am so sad over your story. I can totally understand that you aren’t sure what to do at this point. So much has happened and you have been trying your best. I really have no suggestions for you other than to keep as your priority safety for yourself and your two children. I think you understand the severity of his mental state and the possibility that his illness may not subside in affecting him until he is back on medication.

Unfortunately I had absolutely no success with my daughter except for medication, which had to be forced on her by court order after her 5th forced hospitalization. However, she is a success story for the value of proper medication, as she is well and happy and employed successfully for 1.5 years now since being on the shot for just over 3 years.

It is a long haul illness, schizophrenia, an immense daily struggle while psychosis is active in our loved ones. I wish you the best sorting out your lives. There are many on this site who tried to help their spouses and keep their families together. Many separated, some stayed together, you can search for their stories.

All I know is that without medication, nothing else was helping my daughter in life and living with her was a long drawn out nightmare. Thankfully I knew how to take advantage of laws and situations to get her onto the right medicine and keep her on it.

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That’s both reassuring and heartbreaking. I was hoping to see success stories of how the psychosis had subsided in time without having to force him into therapy and meds. He is so incredibly resistant because his other meds he used to take turned him into a zombie, and caused him to go on disability, gain a lot of weight, and he said there were days where he was drooling on himself and didn’t even realize it. A mutual friend and I had been trying to talk to him about changing medication to see if there’s one better suited, but he adamantly refuses.

I know deep down that separation is for the best, and that if there is signs that he is getting worse and becoming more of a danger to himself and our son, I will fight for custody. I just had hopes that this separation would be enough to help him. Nothing I have read so far makes that seem possible unless he does something extreme enough to be involuntarily brought in and held.

I know I need therapy for myself as well, seeing as how I can’t completely shake the feeling that I should have tried harder and done more to take more off his plate. Logically I know I was doing as much as I could without burning myself out. I’m trying so hard to be gentle with myself as well, but I feel like I’m failing him and failed our marriage.

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All of us affected by someone else’s severe mental illness have felt like we failed, often over and over again, as new things are tried and don’t work or work only marginally. You must forgive yourself, you didn’t cause this, you are trying your best, and it IS a lifelong struggle (war) to try and help.

If you know separation is best, then I urge you to not delay. Once one KNOWS what should be done, then next is action to do it.

I had many tries at getting my daughter held involuntarily that didn’t result in a hospital stay (maybe 40 police visits at my home). I didn’t wait for anything extreme to happen before I called, I called when I heard or felt ANY kind of threat to self or others, even a verbal threat that didn’t seem like much of a threat. Funnily, she never got upset at police visits or involuntary holds for long. The 4 hospital holds prior to THE ONE that resulted in long term medication were failures only because she came off of the meds each time. The side effects were severe enough that she hated them. The key to keeping my daughter on meds once the court order to be medicated wore off was to get her to see that her ability to hold a job and not get fired was boosted by taking meds. So to this day she takes monthly shots to help her on her job, not because she was ill (she is NOT ill in her opinion).

Perhaps you can read Dr. Amador’s book and apply the LEAP method to help your husband get to some decision as to why getting treatment would work for him again. I wish you the best sorting out your lives. This forum helped me immensely when I was struggling, I hope you come back and read and post.

You are a very empathetic person to be so supportive with so much on your plate already as a parent to a young child and baby. My advice is pragmatic should you ever need to go before a court or share info with your husbands’s dr. I was told in NAMI caregiver classes to keep a dated journal of symptoms and odd interactions in case of an emergency. With their paranoia, this is not something to share with or leave out for your family member to see. A secure file or draft email on your phone will work. If it comes down to a possible emergency hospitalization or treatment, this will allow a Dr or judge to very quickly see the extent of thought patterns and behaviors that may not be apparent in a 10 minute face to face interaction. Especially if he is saying he wants split custody. Why chance that battle if you can avoid it? Best of luck you and your family. I hope he gets the help he needs to heal from this episode. It is so hard to stand by when they are unaware of how ill they are and watch them suffer. Please take care of yourself and keep you and your children safe. Hugs :frowning: