Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Trying to understand

My wife was diagnosed as bi-polar with schizophrenic tendencies. Her biggest problem is suicide. Even on her meds. she thinks about it all the time. She has attempted to kill herself via pills. Living with her is a nightmare for myself & our 3 boys. Everyday it’s a new adventure. She’ll divorce me 1 day & beg me to never leave her the next. I’m sick of being screamed at, constantly belittled & verbally abused. I stay & take it because of the children.
She’ll go off her meds. & self medicate with booze. While deployed she’s had affairs. I’m old fashioned, in sickness & in health was part of the deal, but I’m reaching the end of my rope. I’ve tried to talk to her friends & co-workers & they think I’m the 1 who has the problem. She is an MSN (psych. nurse) & she appears 100% normal. She can work a room like a professional, she can charm anyone. So folks think that I’m making it up. Is it possible to “act normal” & yet be so sick? Thanx

Sure it’s not “bipolar with psychotic features?”

“I hate you! Don’t leave me!” Time to get a copy of… 'Cause bipolar (especially with psychotic features) is about 80% co-morbid with borderline PD / dissociative ID).

PTSD? It’s very often what’s there under BPD / DID. But BPB / DID is far more often seen as an upshot of multi-factoral than “military” PTSD.

SOP for BPD / DID. I was married to a dandy, generally well-liked nurse with a history of severe child sexual abuse who could flip on a dime. I would definitely get and read that book; maybe the workbook that goes with it, as well. Because the odds are good it’s gonna be a long, rough ride.

Thank you for the info. It’s been a tough road for sure. The paper work said sciz. tendencies but she won’t talk about it-she never does. She calls her world her “bubble.” In her bubble nothing can hurt her. She feels no pain, guilt, sorrow, fear, happiness or love. Her favorite line is, “there’s no such thing as love.” I’m afraid that in her world it is true. In our last “talk” I asked her why she tried to kill herself. She replied, " you’re to chickens**t to do it, 1 of us has to die." She’s said that she wishes that I’d kill myself.
She now goes out to bars with “friends”, rolls in at whatever hour & then understand why I’m mad. I “stole her youth, ruined her fun, am trying to control her.” Heck I don’t even know her anymore. I don’t fit into her bubble anymore so I’m now the enemy. It’s killing me inside. I just can’t get through to her & I get know help from her side of the family. Her father just says, “I know she’s nuts & you’re getting a bum deal” That’s it. Why do the insane things only occur at home? It’s like she has other personalities. My family gets nurse nasty while the rest of the world gets Florence Nightingale. I can’t even get her professional help thanks to HIPPA. I honestly can’t see us together anymore. I love her but I can’t stand her & I fear for my boys well being. I’m completely lost & feel alone, I just don’t know what to do anymore. Where did it all go so wrong?

I’m not sure what the difference between schizophrenic tendencies & psychotic features is. Heck I’m not sure what any of these illnesses really are. If by psychotic you mean “she lives in her own world,” most definitely. She calls it her bubble. It’s where she lives. If you’re not in that bubble, you don’t matter-period. My wife can change in the blink of an eye to meet whatever is in front of her. At work she is a hard working conscientious nurse. In public (when we’re together) she is a wonderfully friendly extrovert. She’s always well spoken, calm, polite conversationalist. A real “lady”. Out at the bars she’s a heavy drinking, smoking, loud, cursing woman on the prowl for sex. If she didn’t have this diagnosis I’d be gone. I often feel guilty about thinking that way. I also feel like a real moron for staying with someone that cheats, lies & berates me nonstop. I really feel like just quitting. Thanks for your input

I have a parent with schizophrenia and another that was diagnosed bi-polar but whom my therapist suspects was an undiagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder. The latter resembles very closely what you are speaking of. Alot of narcissism, manipulating, demeaning and putting down of those around them, placing high demands on others to accept and tolerate abuse without reprieve. It’s VERY difficult to live in a situation with someone who has BPD. I also highly recommend “Stop Walking on Eggshells” by Paul T. Mason that will give you some insight into the disorder. I highly recommend it.

Living with a parent/spouse like that will have a long-term effect on all of you and unless the afflicted person is willing to accept their ways and try and change them, it will continue. Unfortunately, 30+ years in that kind of environment caused me to develop characteristics of BPD behavior myself when I married my own husband. I almost lost my marriage from it, but I have learned (through alot of therapy, reading and inner self-talk) to right my ways and we’ve never been happier. That would not be the case if I had continued to act the way I had been raised to act. I don’t even have BPD as a diagnosis, however. I just lived with one long enough to develop similar coping strategies. It took ALOT of work to right, but I’ve never looked back since.

My father is also schizophrenic (50+ years diagnosed), although not generally abusive. Mostly just flat (depressed), non-responsive and non-emotive towards others. Yes, it’s very true that many people with this illness are unable to be responsive to the emotions of others. To give you an idea of the extent, my mother passed away of cancer suddenly (less than 3 weeks after diagnosis) and my father was singing happily right after the funeral. He did not seem to grasp the situation at all. To this day, he never talks about her, albeit he has also had a stroke since then. He would refuse to play games with me as a kid or take me to the park, but meanwhile, would get up at a church picnic where other people’s kids were around and act like the greatest dad on earth. My mother and I also had a similar experience to you in that people outside the home thought he was a charm. I just visited him last month (o/s) and ended up having to cut contact because he was verbally abusive and physically threatening to me. Outsiders don;t understand because they always saw a different picture.

I’ll speak from someone who has a mentally healthy spouse (my parents’ ways left me suffering from depression), that he was in a similar situation to you, and we also had a baby at the time. He almost left me too because of the kind of abuse you have endured. I take medication for my depression because I feel an obligation to myself, to my husband and our sons, to stay healthy so that we all stay healthy. You are not unusual nor abnormal for wanting to protect yourself or your boys. I know you mean well by wanting to stay with her for the kids, but that is not helping you nor them. That kind of toxic parenting will have long-term effects on your boys unless either she gets help (and stays on her medication), or you send a strong ultimatum that you refuse to take it any more. Marriage counseling on top of psychiatric counseling, may help you. You especially need someone who knows alot about narcissistic behaviors in order to address the abuse you speak of.

Really am hoping for the best resolution for you.

Thank you so much for your reply. I’ve suggested marriage counseling, therapy etc. No dice. “She doesn’t have a problem, I do.” I believe that my father in-law is mentally ill (depression) He’ll lay in bed for a week & barely move. When he comes out of his room he looks like a tramp, shuffling around in his robe only to use the bathroom. Again this is never discussed-ever. He’s never been diagnosed as far as I know. Everything in the family is behind closed doors & NEVER talked about. Nothing is admitted too.
It’s time to get my boys out of there. You’re right, the environment is far from healthy. I feel like I’ve failed my wife, so many what ifs. The crazy thing is that if I left tomorrow & never came back she wouldn’t bat an eye. It’s strange, I can look into her eyes & see that she’s not there. She’s no longer a wife & has never been a mother. The bond you see between a mother and her children (especially sons) never occurred. Maybe my view point is off because I have such a wonderful mom. I never thought that I’d leave my wife. Then again, I don’t know this person-depressing

You’re carrying around a lot of guilt. It’s very understandable, and normal. Sz is such a hard illness to understand. It was hard enough growing up living with my father when he was happy to stay on medication and see a psychiatrist. You’re in a situation where your spouse is non-compliant with medication, drinking alcohol, and refusing to seek help. On top of that, if she’s not prepared to accept that some of the fault of your marriage situation could be hers, then I am afraid the situation really can’t improve.

Separation may or may not help her to see her ways and seek help, but it will definitely help you. As far as extended family go, sadly, that is too often the case that others turned a blind eye. My grandmother never accepted my father’s diagnosis til the day she died at 100 years of age. My father’s siblings dis-owned him and my mother’s family had too many problems of their own to be interested.

Take care of your boys for you are their only chance, it sounds, of having a normal childhood. Nothing is more devastating than growing up in a toxic home and not being able to do a thing about it. At least they have one parent who can raise them in a healthy environment. I had two parents with mental illness, both severe. It has affected me as an adult in ways I wish it had not. I’ve come through the other side scarred but nonetheless triumphant. But I made a vow to myself that I’d always be a better parent than I ever had. You shouldn’t feel any guilt or blame about your wife’s illness. It’s enough that you cared enough to want her to seek help and to stay around this long. You’ll feel a lot worse if you stay knowing the affect it has had on your sons. You four are going to need emotional support nonetheless, and if you can’t get it from extended family, then look elsewhere (counselors, support groups for families of people with sz etc). It’s never easy, but you’re doing the right thing!

Take care

I’ve been in my own denial. Always wishing & praying that she’d, “see the light.” The light seems to be too far for her. I’ve covered for her for years. I’m just done pretending. Now trying to prove what I’m saying is another matter. HIPPA will allow her to hide her records. She’s a psych nurse, studying for her NP. She’s already informed me that if I try to report her I’ll look like I’m paranoid because she knows all the questions, answers & what they look for. She’s fooled them every time. AND she’s right. She only opened up before when I threatened to leave her and drug her in. I don’t have the ability to do so now. She’ll smack her face into a wall, call the police & have me arrested (she loves playing the victim) It’s so frustrating.

I still think strongly that you need to act. You children’s health as well as your own are at stake. Allowing children to play witness to domestic violence (like her smacking her head on a wall or even just yelling and screaming at you/them) is actually recognized legally as a form of child abuse. My occupation means I work with children, which is why I know this. I don’t know your children’s ages, but if you did decide to separate, their testimonies will play a large part in any custody battles etc. You can take actions now to get them into counseling and perhaps they will open up on their own to a professional outside the home. It is not necessarily just your word against your wife’s.

My mother was a trained nurse also, so I see why your wife might think that her insider knowledge will go to her advantage. The trouble is, people who work in her occupation are also treated much more severely if they are found to be inflicting emotional abuse on a child, theirs or otherwise. And the fact that she deals with psychiatry patients is even more reason why she needs to be stopped.

The verbal threats and manipulation are not enough of an excuse to allow your children and yourself to continue to live in that environment. I would suggest you see out professional help as soon as possible. For yourselves if you can’t convince your wife to do so for herself.

yes it possible to fake normality…
i feel for you and your children.
she needs to see a shrink…and realize she has a responsibilty to herself to you and her children.
this maybe an ’ ugly ’ illness…but it does not mean we have to be ’ ugly '.
take care :deciduous_tree:

If it were me, I’d say it’s my way or the highway and move to hospitalize her and get a divorce.

I suspect you’ll acquire a lot of empowering awareness and decision-making capacity from browsing this website:

Thanks to one & all. I’ve been reading the suggested books & articles. Man it is a lot to take in. It’s time to think of #1, my kids & my sanity. The lights are on but nobody is home. I tried to talk to her buy she’s filing for divorce. So be it.

Thank you. Sometimes I think that maybe it’s me. The outside pressure is tremendous. Folks think that she’s the greatest thing since Mother Theresa. I never complained, bugged my friends or spoke negatively until now. I always lied and covered for her. Now I’m the bad guy. I tell people what really happens behind closed doors- it’s just me wanting out. What a crock of BS. This will get her the attention, affection & sympathy she needs to go deeper into her bubble-just super

I think you are very brave for doing what is right. I know personally that it is definitely not easy not having a support network amongst extended family members and friends. The one positive is that a lot more family support and counseling services exist today than they did say 30 years ago when I was a child. That said, the effects of schizophrenia and other such devastating illnesses on carers and other family members is still a rather neglected area in psychology according to my therapist. I’ve found material (articles etc, mainly on this website), but it is still limited.

See if you can find a support group for families of persons with mental illness. Being able to communicate with others who have or are experiencing similar situations to your own, will bring you to a greater understanding of what you are going through.

I assume your boys are with you? At this point, your concerns are with them and yourself. Let your wife find the treatment options on her own steam. It sounds like she has enough people there for support. Times like this will test whether they can stand behind her as they say they do.

Good luck! You are doing your boys the best you can. Be proud of being the father they need and deserve.

Borderlinism is a powerful, compelling and “effective” ego defense for those who need it to “protect” them from a world “full of threat.” Borderlines rarely give their ego defense system up easily. Treatment usually takes three to five years minimum, and often fails.

Schizophrenia can be baffling and frustrating. I don’t know if you are helping your kids by staying in a dysfunctional marriage. If you got a divorce you could get good visitation rights if your wife didn’t charm the judge.

Thanks again to all for their input. I’M stuck between a rock & hell. My wife filed for divorce and filed a bogus abuse report against me. The police have sided with her and now I’m out. T he worst part is that she’ has my children. Because I placed my had on her shoulder I’m guilty of assault & battery. I tried to explain the situation to the police but I was talking to a wall. They gave me the option of being hauled off to jail or going elsewhere - which I’ve done. She’s frozen all assets, credit cards, bank accounts etc. Had papers drawn up forbidding me to go by the marital home & limited visitation with my boys. This has gone from bad to worse and I’m at a loss. I’m not to blame for all of the problems. This is really bad.

So sorry to hear this. I would strongly advise you to find an attorney. It’s ridiculous that the police have taken sides without an appropriate amount of evidence to support the claims of abuse. I know fathers often get the raw end of the stick in these situations, but nonetheless, innocent until proven guilty should still stand.

How did she manage to freeze all your accounts?? That’s crazy. Sounds like a master-manipulator to me. VERY typical of persons with personality disorders. It’s amazing how they are able to convince persons who work in law enforcement etc of their side of the story. I grew up in a house with a parent with it, so I can tell you first hand, you are right to call it hell.

Have you been able to speak with your children? Do they sound ok?

Most states have legal aid services if you are not in a position to hire a private attorney. In the first instance, I would suggest calling one of them. Meanwhile, I would find a therapist for yourself who specializes in assisting family members of those suffering from personality disorders. Insurance companies keep lists of behavioral health specialists as well as trying

Keep us posted. And don’t give up. What you are doing is still worth the fight for your boys. They need you! You sound like a wonderful dad.

It’s truly hit the fan. I do have an attorney & he explained that this is status quo. The police react to the report. I agreed to leave as to not upset my boys. The last thing they need is a vision of dad in handcuffs. Master manipulator for sure. She has a brilliant if not delusional mind. I’m the enemy. Now she’ll defend what she sees as hers (including the boys) I’m sure that I’ll be vilified. She’s had this in the works. Remember this is about the 500th time that divorce has been on the table. But this is the first time that I’ve said enough. I didn’t go with her program so I’m out. I think that I’m losing it. Dear God this has become a mess. My sons will be the ones that pay the price.
I can deal with what she has done to me, but I can & will not forgive her for what she’s doing to my sons. Maybe I’m just a bad person, but she can burn in hell. I realize that she’s sick, but Manson, John Wayne Gacey, Hitler, Mao, Lenin & many others can use that excuse. God can forgive her, I won’t. Sorry if I sound bitter, but death by her own hand would be justice. Guess I’ll be tossed from this site, so be it. Thanks to all for the insight. I realize that I’m in a war that will have no winner.