Spouses: what do you tell your kids?

Hello. My husband hears voices and has psychotic episodes of rage. Since Covid, this has taken on a deeply religious theme, despite neither of us being remotely religious. He feels he is regularly possessed by the ghost of Jesus Christ. He tells me I invite demons into our home through our TV, that God tells him so, and that they are upstairs in bed with our kids. He’s found a Pentecostal church filled with supernatural “believers” that tell him he’s been chosen. In short, everything is terrible here, but my 2 and 6 year old are oblivious. As they grow up, he will try to stuff these ideas into them as facts, and I need to start laying some groundwork for that. When he’s not nuts, he’s a good dad, which complicates things. They love him. They’ll want to emulate him. This keeps me awake at night. Worth noting, he suffered from repeated childhood sexual abuse at age 10. Advice?

Hello. I’m so sorry you are going through this. I struggle with a similar situation. I have a almost 4 year old and a 14 year old. My husband has paranoid delusions and sometimes just flat out delusions. I have had many conversations with my oldest, who was adopted prior to the illness rearing it’s ugly head. He seems to understand that my husband is sick but doesn’t quite fully grasp the situation. He hears him saying off the wall things all the time. I try to keep an open line of communication with him about what’s happening in the home and what’s being said. He know is he ever wants to talk about something that was said I will discuss it with him. The 4 year old is a much more complex situation. My husband is his father and spends lots of time with him while I work. He is unable to work due to his illness. I have struggled with the best way to help him understand that sometimes the things his dad says are just things that aren’t necessarily real. He told my son that Ryan of Ryan’s world was his child and that he has lots of other brother and sister out there. My son asked me when he could go play with Ryan and I had to tell him that his Dad was just being silly and that wasn’t going to happen. I’m not quite sure what else to say at this point? I guess I’m in the same boat as you. I’m sorry if this isn’t helpful. You are not alone.

Thanks. It’s nice not to be alone. I can’t tell other parents or they won’t let their kids play here. I lost work friends when I had kids. I lost family when they didn’t like my husband. Now I feel like I’ve lost him too. I just sit here on the internet trying to figure out what’s happening and what to do about it. Im sorry you’re dealing with this also.

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I understand what you mean when you say you can’t tell other parents. I’m so worried that this illness will eventually isolate my son and myself from the rest of the world. When I schedule play dates and social events with other parents and friends I’m met with, we can’t trust them. They aren’t who they say they are and they were implanted in our life to spy on us and help facilitate some master plan to ruin our life. It’s so utterly lonely and heartbreaking to see your best friend and partner be reduced to this shell of a person they once were.

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I am sorry that you are going through this and I am with you in the sense that we are not alone. I am trying to look at it as straight as possible without having any individual feelings attach to that (as much as I can) and try it with compassion to keep mentioning to my 8 years old (even when the opportunity comes among circle of friends) that daddy has a “brain disorder” and try to explain how “the molecules are not working properly” and how it is similar to seizure or low glucose situation that his brain can’t sense his body signal… but I need to be very careful since my son may become affected with this in future unfortunately. At the same time him being empowered by his counseling service, my son has developed a great degree of acceptance which helps me and him how to share and brainstorm ideas and practice some creative solutions and know triggers (but we also leave options open and get consults) and it helps me to break the cycle of imposed alienation. It has also helped me to move on a way that is called “TBRI” trust based relational intervention and apply it with my son since sadly this disease has made him to be a kid from hard place. Please know that you are not alone and what has helped me was also trying to empower myself by self-compassion and self-care. What I came to know about is that there is no one solution for all and I need to keep my options open but also never forget that as we say in our support group: I can always do better. Thanks again for sharing.

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Here is a link to a group of people your husband might want to share his experiences with. Home - Hearing Voices Network USA (hearingvoicesusa.org) I have been in touch with these groups online and they are usually very understanding.

I appreciate it but he suffers from Anosognosia, which means his brain does not have the capability to know things are not right. He probably hears some voices but has never talk about them with me.Thank you again.

He has mental issues that need to be looked into, may need to be put on meds.