I love my husband very much, and I believe he loves me too, most of the time. But very often, his delusions involve “someone with my face” yelling at him, being angry at him, using his insecurities against him, etc. For example, if I am not home, he frequently will not feed himself because he starts to believe that “I” am getting angry at him for eating. I’ll come home from work and he’s hungry and angry at me because “we” have been “fighting” all day because his delusion of me is a rabid bitch who won’t let him in the kitchen.
In my reality, I am painstakingly cautious about not acting like his delusional version of me.
I try to never yell, I strive to never express anger or frustration outwardly, and instead focus my communication on his feelings and perceptions. But this means I do a lot, a lot, a lot, of repressing my own feelings. Some of this I know if unhealthy behavior that is leftover from when we did not have access to medication or a doctor, and I was the closest thing he had to a therapist. “Therapist” in my wheelhouse in terms of my own professional training, so it’s not completely impossible for me to do, but it’s not ever what I wanted for our relationship.
But I’m feeling more and more like I’m a third wheel in my own marriage. I find myself apologizing for “my” behavior when he’s been arguing with “me” all day, but in reality, I’ve been at work and he’s been cycling through paranoia. I never know if I’m going to come home to a fight that “I’m” already in the middle of with him. I never know what “I’ve” said to him.
I have tried expressing this feeling with him, but he responds by getting upset with me because he can’t control his delusions. I know he can’t control his delusions, but I don’t know what boundary to draw here. It doesn’t help that his paranoia runs on a scale from very unrealistic thoughts like I’m going to punish him for eating to semi-reasonable insecurities like I’m going to divorce him because “he’s a burden.”***
I also am terrified that he feels like he’s in an abusive relationship because his delusions are so overwhelmingly negative, and almost all of them have my face, or the faces of his family members. I try so hard to let him know he’s loved and I don’t resent his illness or blame him for being sick, etc, but it all seems in vain. Sometimes I wake up at night and he’s having an argument with his “dad” about something, even though his parents live 3 states away and it’s the middle of the night.
Does this happen to other people? What do you do?
*** I have never planned to leave him because of his mental health, and I try to express this often to reassure him. I understand why he feels insecure, even though his extrapolation is unreasonable. I don’t think this is better, exactly, but it’s easier to address.