Schizophrenic marriage may be ending

We’ve been married over 20 years and have kids at home.

My wife has had multiple major psychotic episodes, and has been hospitalized 3 times. Her last hospital trip was unsuccessful, and she returned home still psychotic despite two weeks on meds.

She believes I’m a supernatural threat to our children, and that I’m cheating on her with spirits in the house. She’s not violent at the moment, but her constant bizarre accusations and creepy behavior are extremely stressful to live with.

She has been continuously psychotic for over 6 months. I am exhausted, she hates me, and the kids hate her. My own mental health is deteriorating. I am going to threaten divorce soon if she doesn’t get on depot injections.

And I fully expect I will have to follow with this threat. I plan to offer getting separated instead of divorcing, but we all need a break from the crazy lady. I also want to ask her to move to her mom’s home for the time being.

I’m close to retirement age, and I just can’t do this any more. I gave her 22 years of my life and she won’t even stay on meds for me.

I don’t know how she’ll take it. Any ideas or suggestions?

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She will either take the depot injection or she won’t, ultimatums are made with love and desperation. Good luck to you and your family, this is a hard decision and only you can make it. Best, hope

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I am so sorry @Esszee that you are in this situation. Only you can judge your own life decisions. Your actions are being taken for a good reason. I know of one other husband who had to set up a separate household from his wife, he did not divorce her, but started his own life away from living with her due to unhandled psychosis. The pre-psychotic wife is gone, and should medicine work and bring her post-psychotic no one will know exactly what that means until it happens. A depot injection for my daughter took over 3 years to “tame” all of her symptoms, but she is a joy to live with now. She will never be able to live on her own again, but her voices are in a “little box in her mind” and don’t take her over anymore. Who knows the future outcome for your wife?

I believe that your own life and the lives of your children MUST be protected first, then help offered to your wife second. Tell her you plan to move either her or yourself and children out as you need her to take the shot for you to continue to live with her. She probably does NOT believe she is ill; that is the common situation with our loved ones. Sometimes insight comes without meds, but often not. It took years on meds for my daughter to be able to see “her crazy years” as she now calls them. But, prior to her late coming insight, she didn’t understand most of what I was doing as she “wasn’t ill”. I used Dr. Amador’s LEAP method to explain most steps I took with her. Have you read his book? I read it three times before I totally figured out how to tailor it to my own situation and have small wins making changes. But in the end it was the court system and forced hospitalizations that kept my daughter on meds.

I wish you luck sorting out your life and remember, you are doing your best with a horrible situation, and don’t feel guilty about your decisions if they are made with best intentions.


Im very sorry for your situation and the many years of pain and chaos you’ve gone through, especially with children. I want to second using LEAP (book: I’m Not Sick, i Don’t Need Help) for talking with her. It’s a fantastic resource for being able to work and communicate with someone who is severely ill, has little insight, and not compliant with treatment. Even if the communication at this point is a path of separation. Depending on time available i binge read it and it was pretty quick to get through. Also helps you with the emotions around these problems with loved ones.

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You cannot take care of anyone until you take care of yourself first. You are a wonderful person for having dealt with mental illness for so long. If you and your kids are suffering then I think you should definately get some distance, maybe set up a different living situation for her. I would not threaten divorce, I can’t imagine that it would help the situation. Also, I don’t know that thinking this person won’t do something for you (like taking certain meds) is helping either of you.
It’s like saying a cancer doesn’t love you cause it’s still spreading.
My brother, who is now deceased, was the biggest teddybear on his meds, he turned into something else entirely when off and just wasn’t my brother - temporarly. All we can do as family members is to love and try to give empathy, but also, take care of our own health so we can be around for them. Take care of yourself and your kids, all else will fall in place.

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“Also, I don’t know that thinking this person won’t do something for you (like taking certain meds) is helping either of you.
It’s like saying a cancer doesn’t love you cause it’s still spreading.”

Such good advice, and so easy to forget. No one is helped when we take this illness personally. But coping does seem to require super-human patience, resilience and strength not just sometimes but a lot of the time.

From experience, I doubt a threat will do good…coerce , convince…get to a doctor is best…did you sign her up for benefits…disabled…maybe cant work? Can get a care taker to come each day to help with her care…and maybe a nurse who can help with meds at home if she cant go to doctor…
Not sure how normalized she can become…but meds help the paranoia and such…us her mom capable of taking care of her?
My parents divorced when i was 17, as my mom went bipolar crazy…it ended up bad for all…and later… if they stayed together it woukd have been better in long run for all the circumstances that occured.
Maybe get an adu unit in backyard, for you to escape and get care takers to come each day…while getting on meds…

I would not threaten divorce, I can’t imagine that it would help the situation.

I have no other option, really. I can’t make her take meds, and I can’t get her out of the house while we are still co-owners.

If we are divorced, there will be a parenting plan. I’m told that no court will grant partial custody or even unsupervised visits to an unmedicated, desperately psychotic mother. The children are old enough to have a say in this and they want nothing to do with Mom while she’s unmedicated.

I believe that the risk of losing access to her children is what will get her back on meds.

And if losing access to her children won’t work to get her on meds, are you prepared to follow through with the divorce? I only ask because I have watched my third son over and over threaten his wife (living with borderline, bipolar) with divorce and other repercussions and he has never followed through so its just an empty threat and his wife knows it.