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Divorcing a bi-polar, suicidal spouse after 35+ years of marriage Hot Conversation

I decided on Sept 2, 2011 that I will be divorcing my bi-polar and suicidal husband after 35+ years of marriage.  I’m struggling with the how and the when part of it.  In an attempt to keep myself safe, I’m thinking about telling him after we sell our home, but just before moving.  I’m also thinking about transferring our equity – not because I don’t want to share, but just to protect it until the divorce is final. (He would live off of it until it is depleted if I don’t.) I have sought counsel from professionals, my pastor and 2 attorneys (who differ in their opinion).  Basically, the professional counselors, etc advise that since I know him better than anyone, of course I need to be safe, but they tell me that I need to decide how and when to tell him.  Anyone out there have any advice?  There are no books on ‘how to leave a bi-polar suicidal spouse’ and I feel like I’m venturing in uncharted waters.

Posted in family & relationships.

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42 Responses

  1. Generic Image Anonymous1 says

    I cannot speak from the marriage perspective but I dated a guy who was bi-polar  for 3 years.  I let him live in a home I own in the south trying to get him out of my life.  He lived in the house and started selling everything in it when he could not find a job and didn’t have any money.

    I sent him an eviction notice in September tell him I would not re-new the lease and he had and to be moved in (3) months no later than Jan 7. I got him to accept (sign) for the package when I told him I was sending him $100.00. I did sent the $100.00 and put the notice in the package.

    He wanted to come back to my home up north for the Christmas holidays and I would not help him with a plane ticket.  So instead he went to another southern state.  When he left the house, I drove down south with a friend of mine.  We changed the locks, secured all the windows and that was how I was able to get him out of my home. When he came backto the area while I was there, my friend called the police. Eventually they put out a warrant for his arrest then he got a greyhound bus ticket and relocated to LasVegas. Thank you Lord.

    You really have to think this through.  I think you would be best tell him AFTER the house is sold and you have a place to move to (do not give him your address and make sure your phone number is non-published)  definitely protect your assets.  I was so upset when I saw everything he had sold and pawned out of my house.  I was not able to get any of those items back because he refused to tell him who he sold my items to.    

    You must have really loved him to stay in the relationship for 35 years.  It is a very draining to be with a bi-polar person.  The mood swings keep you walking on egg shells.

    0 like

    • Generic Image bikerchic says

      Yes, 35 years is a very long time to hope someone would change.  Actually, my pastor helped me to see the reality that he would not change.  And my pastor believes in healing and miracles. We were married for 27 years before I knew his bizarre behavior was bi-polar.  We had counseled with 36 people (yes I have a list) throughout the years and most of them were professionals, pastors and other leaders.  What surprises me most is that the professionals couldn’t recognize the bi-polar!?!?!?
      When you are married to a bi-polar, there is a whole list of indiscriminate behaviors, i.e. a ‘recovering’ alcoholic, drug abuse, infidelity, lying, stealing, suicidal, etc. and the list goes on…..
      We have 3 grown children and 6 grandchildren – a history.  His income is down dramatically which makes it impossible to save back anything to help me to get started on my own.  He has been suicidal several times in the past few years.  People tell me that if he was really going to kill himself he would do it and not talk about it.  I understand that, but he usually doesn’t talk about it.  I have known him for almost 40 years and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize when he is about to go off the deep end.  We’ve even had the swat team out here and he has been hospitalized for it.  Just a few weeks ago he sat down with me and had a conversation with me, and this was the first time he ‘talked’ about it.  As if we were talking about the weather, he asked me, “Hypothetically, if someone is diabetic and they stopped taking their meds and ate a bunch of sugar, what would happen?” (He is diabetic.)  He also said, “I’m trying to find a way to make it look like an accident.”  He got past that episode, but that was the 5th time he seriously considered taking his life.
      No, he is not interested in counseling.  Like I said, we’ve counseled with 36 people and he wouldn’t listen to any of them.  I gave up on counseling several years ago.  He refuses to get help.  He will not share it with his psychiatrist.  He is on 2 anti-depressants.
      Anyway, my fear is that if he would consider taking his own life, he could take me down with him.  My gut feeling is that he wouldn’t, but you can’t be sure and I’m not taking any chances.
      A counselor I talked to about this suggested that I rally a friend or 2 for him as his support system.  I did that… talked to one of my sons about it and also my husband’s brother.  His brother took it upon himself to attempt to tell him.  He felt it was his duty to inform his brother of my intentions to leave him and got irate and viewed me as the enemy.  Well I managed to get out of that mess and had to lie to his brother to get him to back down.  (The whole family is nuts.)
      I can’t decide if I should have the police ‘on guard’.  Should I do this at home or in a public place.  I have decided to have my son there and I know I can’t live with him after I tell him.  So many decisions and questions and emotions.  I just wondered if anyone else has been in my shoes.
      I appreciate Lovelysmile0916‘s comments and I’m glad it worked for you.  Since we have a history, children and grandchildren together I can’t just expect to never see him again.  My gut feeling is that he will not survive this and I do love him.  Love is not enough and life is too short to live this way anymore.
      Maybe say a prayer for me…

      3 like

      • marshab marshab says

        Bikerchic, I was reading your post and I think you are a brave woman to have stayed in the marriage that long. I was wondering how is your situation now? What have you been up to?

        0 like

  2. Generic Image Anonymous1 says

    Yes, I remember my bi-polar guy keeping me on an emotional train wreck every day.  I could not focus on me or my kids because he wanted all the attention, everyday from morning to night.  It was too draining for me physically, emotionally and finally financially. 

    When it became a financial drain on me I knew I had to get out of the relationship.  It was costing me.  I went through re-hab with him 7 times for alcholism and everytime he would come out and go right back to drinking.  The sad part was he was a very intelligent, good looking man and could “sell anything” he was quite the talker.

    I had to make a decision for me, that I AM THE PRIORITY otherwise he was going to stress me to death and I felt I had to much to live for; my kids and future grand’s. 

    It’s hard to see the forest when you are looking at the trees.  You have to find a way to save some money or ask your boys to give you a loan so you can get your own place.  And yes, they need to be there when you tell him you are moving forward with your life.  He is NOT going to kill himself.  They threaten bodily harm to themselves in an effort to keep you in line.  I don’t know how old you are but at some point in time you have to be happy and at peace.  We only get so many years on God’s green earth and then we are gone.  I had to come to the conclusion that, “the only person you can change is you”.  So save you. I started walking in that direction and everyday it became easier and easier.  Co-dependency is hard to break but you can do it. 

    3 like

  3. watermusic watermusic says

    You will get better advice than I can give, but when I was leaving an abusive marriage our counselor gave me this advice:

    Have an exit plan in place NOW. That means access to money, car keys and a place to stay. Know how to get out of the house in an emergency.
    Make sure you have all the paper work and accounts you need set up before you do anything else.
    Tell him in a public place and be prepared to completely walk away at that point. That means have what you want to take with you in case you can’t go back.

    I will pray for you. Good luck. You will get through this.

    6 like

    • Generic Image Rosie says

      Watermusic is giving you some great advice in her comments.  Developing an exit plan is critical.  Perhaps getting your pastor there when you tell him.  You have a tough situation, but you have lived through tougher.  Unfortunately, my situation is so similar you could be writing my life story.  Get your plan together, then get yourself support and safety.

      1 like

  4. Generic Image Anonymous1 says

    Watermusic:  She loves him and she wants to sell the house first BEFORE telling him.  It’s do-able but it requires careful planning when you are dealing with a bi-polar person who also loves you.  It’s a different kind of abuse because there is LOVE but his MENTAL health puts a person at risk and she really needs to sell the house to get out of any financial ties with him and get her equity out of the place.  If she moves before the house is sold, she looses as he will NEVER move out and she will either end up paying the mortgage and taxes and not live there or lose the home in foreclosure or a tax sale.

    0 like

    • watermusic watermusic says

      I get that. I didn’t suggest that she move out or do anything than have an escape plan.  When you are at risk because of someone’s mental or emotional state you need a plan B.  Having a plan B doesn’t  mean you deny LOVE. The hardest and best thing I did was leave a really bad in a way that gave each of us a good ending.

      2 like

  5. Generic Image Laura says

    I understand completely how you must be feeling. It is important for you to think of yourself though. I was also married to a man who was bi-polar with addictive problems i.e. alcohol and drugs. I left one night with all 3 children to go to a shelter and begin our lives anew. I found when you are married to a bi-polar individual, your life revolves around him. And that my friend is extremely dangerous. It is vital that you focus on yourself right now.

    We survived and so did he. I ended up re-marrying and my children are happy. His life is still one of chaos and confusion, but he is not infecting me or my children any longer. I left 15 years ago after almost 20 years of marriage. Please take care of you and stop focusing on him. If there is violence as there was in my marriage, your safest bet is to not give him notice. You probably have tried everything in the past. There is no cookie-cutter textbook outline on how to leave this man. Please leave while you can and start working on you. You will need support during this time and after. Leave him in God’s hands. 

    I wish you all the best in your new journey and I hope that you make the decision to leave asap.

    The new year is upon us. I hope this new year brings you much happiness.

    6 like

  6. Generic Image Anonymous1 says

    I absolutely agree with Laura and exactly my point. Put that focus back on you.

    1 like

  7. Generic Image GotTheTShirt says

    Develop an exit plan. Open a “secret” separate checking account in your name only at a different bank, don’t have statements sent to your home address and start accumulating “exit” money. Make copies of all of your important documents; income tax returns, 401K statements, insurance policies, bank statements, legal documents, etc. If he is abusive, start audio and video recording. Get references for a great attorney… it’s expensive, but it will be worth it later… believe me! If you both are working, it’s best to leave while he has a job or you will end up paying him spousal support.

    How are you going to convince him to sell the house without raising suspicions? If you can get him to sell the house, tell the closing attorney ahead of time to cut two checks.. ½ to him and ½ to you.

    5 like

  8. Generic Image Nickir says

    I am so encouraged reading all these stories and pieces of advice. I am going through a divorce with my bi-polar husband and all of your stories sounded like my own. My husband and I married 10 years ago after I had come out of a very long marriage to an unfaithful 1st husband. I thought my 2 husband was my knight in shining armor because he said everything I wanted to hear and I had no idea that I was believing lies and made up stories. I trusted him. I had adopted many special needs children and he seemed to love them and my 2 biological sons as well as me. There were ‘different’ things about my husband but I had no idea the depths of what his issues were. He was handsome, very intelligent and was not only retired from the military but he had an amazing job in the Tech business.  The first thing that was confusing to me was the amount of talking and attention that he needed all the time. Not only from me but from the children. It was extreme. He said odd things and repeated himself over and over again as if no one understood what he said the first time. His stories often changed and I couldn’t tell when he was truthful and when he was making up a story. Then came temper tantrums and chasing me around the house when I tried to escape from his yelling and anger. He kicked in doors, threw things at me and rushed up to me with his fist in my face but then laughed when I got scared. He laughed when I cried and treated me disrespectful in front of the children. I could never disagree with him without a battle. Anyway…life was confusing for me with him and I couldn’t figure him out.  Then last year he threatened to kill himself after a early morning rant because I had told him that I wanted to get some counseling or I would file for divorce…  he ran towards me with a sharp knife and scared me and the children to death. I had to call 911 and a team of police rushed to our home and ended up tazing him and taking him to the hospital.  It has been a nightmare going through the divorce and so expensive.  He won’t comply with what he is told to do and is dragging it out in every way he can. Sympathy is given to him because of his mental illness but he is smart and is working the system. I have a protection order in place and my focus is on keeping my children and I safe. Since he adopted many of my children he wants rights to them and it scares me to death.My husband had a high paying job but they were having horrible issues with him at the office also and he lost that job. He isn’t trying to find work now and is living with his brother. Between his crazy 18 page e-mails to all my family and friends, his anger towards me for divorcing him and the issues with the children I sometimes wonder if there is light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like a fool in not knowing that this man was mentally ill from the begining. I just thought he was quirky and highly intelligent and that I was not on the same level with him. He told me he was married once before me but I learned he was married 3 times before me. I think all of his wives had lived through this nightmare too.  Anyway~ Thank you for sharing your stories. It is encouraging for me to see that other women have gone through what I am going through and have made it through to the other side.

    2 like

    • Generic Image Darcy09 says

      At least you are more than half way thru.  I do not know how old the children are.  In any event they can simply (yeah right) refuse to go.  My lawyer called it “voting with your feet”.  No one in their right mind would drag a child kicking and screaming; alternately IF he does get them, they can call you to retrieve them.  They cannot force the children, especially if they are in fear and trepidation and he cannot be trusted.  EVEN if he pays maintenance, it does not go hand in hand with forced visitation.

      0 like

  9. Generic Image Laura says

    I have read all your comments and see myself through your experiences. My ex also threatened suicide and the police were involved because of violence many times. In the early years, they would just talk to you and no charges were made. He was very persuasive and charming to the police. I learnt not to call them because I suffered worse after the fact. In 1989, I called again 10 years later only to realize the law had changed. He was arrested and did serve time. I still stayed with him for almost another 10 years before I left. He had me convinced that it was my fault.

    On one occasion he threatened suicide and he was hospitalized. He was in the psyche ward when he actually managed to escape from the hospital. He used his fork as a tool and dismantled his window to escape. He ended up falling 3 floors and injuring himself badly. The police came to my house to tell me that he had an accident at the hospital. I was astounded at how this could be possible. The hospital did not go public with this and give it media attention because apparently within 6 months violent offenders from prison were to admitted as patients. It was all hush, hush…my ex blamed the hospital for his injuries and actually took them to court and received a settlement. I had left with the children before he decided to proceed legally against the hospital and we did not receive a dime.

    I did however, visit him in the hospital and took care of his needs once he was released. Even after he recovered, he was angry. He was angry at the hospital and angry at me for putting him there. His anger was palatable and became increasingly more dangerous which is why I took the children and left.

    He was also highly intelligent and very devious…a dangerous combination. He was consistently unable to keep a job. It was always the employers fault and never his.

    Nickir’s posting resonated with me. Yes it is encouraging to see what other women have gone through and how they made it through to the other side. I never thought I would survive at the time. I was made of stronger stuff than I imagined. Living with a bi-polar man erases your self-esteem. It is difficult at times to find the strength to carry on, but you can do it. It is draining to live with him and life feels like a roller coaster often. Uncertainty of the future can be paralizing.  Take a leap of faith and walk another path that does not include this man. You deserve better and you will be surprised at how much you will grow when you do leave. Life is a journey of struggles at times, but you must believe in yourself. My self-esteem was negligent at best for the 20 years we were together. Now today I am doing quite well and I am stronger emotionally, mentally and physically. I have broken the cycle of abuse. My children have grown to be caring and empathetic people who give to others through volunteer work etc. but have not lost themselves in others. I am proud of them. And I am proud of me too…And it’s alright to say this..

    Be brave and make changes for yourself. You will be surprised at how liberating it is to free yourself from these chains of bondage. And yes there will be scars but they will heal in time.

    5 like

    • Generic Image Nickir says

      Thank you so much Laura for the kind words of encouragement. I am amazed how similar the stories are for women who are divorcing bi-polar men. As scary as life is right now not knowing what the future holds….I realize that there is more peace and security in my life right now than there was in all the years I was married to my husband.  The children and I are safe and the crazy drama is gone. I got used to the chaos over the years and for some reason felt I caused it even though I didn’t know what I was doing wrong (and boy I tried to figure that out all the time). Thank you, thank you for sharing your story with me and giving me hope. Your words really gave me comfort.

      2 like

  10. Generic Image Laura says

    Nickir I am so please to be able to offer you comfort. Your validation has also provided me with comfort too. Today is the start of the New Year. I wish all of you much happiness, a greater sense of self, courage and strength to follow a different path and comfort in the knowledge that many of us have walked in your shoes and that you are not alone! xoxo

    1 like

  11. tamaram2 tamaram2 says

    I was with my partner for 11 years.  He was very spoiled as a child, so always exhibited a lot of immature behaviors…not taking responsibility for himself, blaming everything under the sun for his problems, general laziness, and needing a lot of attention.  I would not say he was bi-polar and I never thought he was fragile mentally.  In June 2011, he started acting more and more bizarre as we were preparing to move from the U.S. to Mexico.  Within about 2 weeks, he went from expressing some concerns to having a full-blown mental break down.  He had trouble sleeping and his doctor prescribed sleeping pills…which he then used to overdose in a suicide attempt.  The hospital released him within a few hours because he could stand up again.  Our county had NO mental health facilities due to financial cut-backs, so at midnight when he no longer had a physical problem, I had to go pick him up at the hospital and deal with this nightmare of him wanting to kill himself.  He’d throw tantrums in front of anyone who would come to the house, rolling around on the floor writhing, slamming cupboards and saying it was impossible for me to move out, etc.  He actually hid all my kitchen knives…who knows why, but it scared me.  Anyway, his sister got him to drive down near them where he’s been in and out of the mental hospital ever since.  I should note, he is also highly intelligent, charming, and very easily manipulates the professionals who are trying to help him.  His brother and sister both live there, but they won’t take him in because he’s such a moocher they don’t trust him to ever get his act together again.  I guess I’m lucky that he’s so far gone he can’t drive here.  We still message each other on Facebook and talk sometimes on the phone, but he knows we’ll never be together because he knows he’s a basket case and I told him I’m finished with him.  The hardest thing about that was realizing that he might kill himself because I’m not going to take him back.  He’s not a violent person and he hates the sight of blood, so overdosing is about the only way I think he’d do it.  But, amazingly he hasn’t tried it again since that one time.  In a way, I think he wants some miracle to happen and he’ll be rescued…rather than just standing on his own 2 feet and taking control of his life.  He has a lot of trouble concentrating on anything, but there are jobs he could do that would allow him to survive.  Anyway, I realize you have a different situation, but just make sure you take care of yourself, be safe, and do not blame yourself for whatever he decides to do.  I’d say you certainly went through a lot to try to make it work, but the stress of living with a mentally ill person is incredible, potentially dangerous, and there is a point where it’s totally understandable that you need to break free and have a life that is free of that.  There are days I wish we were together again because we had so much fun most of the time…but, he’s a different person now.  Timing on when you tell him is up to you.  It probably won’t be a complete surprise to him that you’re leaving, but it would probably be good if you could tell him and then be able to “disappear” at least for a while, until he can process that it really happened and until you feel you are safe.

    1 like

    • Generic Image bikerchic says

      Thank you all so much for the encouraging words.  I feel like I’m not alone in this anymore.  Others have done this and survived.  Right now in my circle of friends, I have felt very alone.  No one I know personally has any idea what I’m going through or what I’ve been through all these years.  So thank you for the stories, advice and encouragement.  My heart goes out to you all with what you are dealing with or have dealt with.  It’s not an easy road, but I know I will be happier when I don’t have to deal with him on a day to day basis.
       
      I do have a separate bank account, a PO Box in a nearby city and a safe deposit box – all that he does not know about.  What’s really difficult here is, his income is down about 65% from what it was 2 years ago.  Every dime we have is going towards keeping the electric on, the water on or trying to keep our mortgage paid.  I’m a realtor but I haven’t done much for the last 2 years since I have to do everything for him.  He is soooo dependent on me and sometimes has the mental capacity of a grade school child.  And he can fool the best of them – also very charming, can be intelligent at times, but really can’t do anything on his own.  For example… he has a cold now, is coughing a lot and is not feeling well.  I have to tell him to take some cough medicine, to take some extra vitamin C, etc.  He stayed at his brother’s house the other evening and came home drunk yet was in total denial of it.
       
      And yes, everything is ALWAYS my fault.  So tired of living like this.  Every time we had any money in the bank, he would sit around, take naps, watch TV until the money is gone.  I’m building my real estate business again, but it will take several months to really see much money.  I HAVE to sell the house first, transfer the money, the equity, and purchase a mobile home for me before I can tell him and before I can file for divorce.  Our credit is shot now and there is no way I can get a loan for anything and simply cannot afford to rent in this area – $1,000+ a month is not an option for me right now.  My parents are deceased, I could possibly survive a short time sleeping with one of my kids, but at my age, sleeping on a couch won’t last very long.  I have to do it this way for my survival.  I will deal with the divorce later.  I’m not worried about him racking up any more debt since our credit is so bad now anyway.  We own some land free and clear so I’m thinking he can have that and I can have my mobile home.  He has 2 brothers who are not married and live together so that would be a perfect place for him to be – at least for a while.
       
      My gut feeling is that he will not survive this.  He is diabetic (he would never even survive being on insulin because he would never take his blood sugar to monitor it.)  He’s on 2 meds for it now, but many times he won’t eat.  He has passed out at least 3 times in the last year or so because he doesn’t monitor his blood sugar.  He is in poor health, he won’t cook for himself.  If I don’t cook he won’t eat.  I have always handled the bills, etc.  I feel like I’m his mommy.  He’s told me before that he can’t live without me and it not an emotional connection, he can’t do anything for himself.  He’s so dependent on me.
       
      In March he left to go out to our land, he had his alarm clock set for 11pm.  He was resting up and then was planning to go to the woods and kill himself there.  I managed to send the police out there and my son talked to him for almost an hour.  He was extremely emotional.  Another time he left the house with his shot gun and had my daughter not been home at the time to see that, he probably wouldn’t have survived that time either.  He knows he cannot function without me – he’s never lived on his own.  I am trying to convince myself that if he doesn’t survive, that it’s not my fault.  Those words are easy to say, but if he doesn’t survive after I tell him I’m leaving, I will probably need therapy to help me to really believe it.
       
      I would feel better about all of this if I was making more money right now.  I have been in the top 10 in 2 different real estate offices even in a down market.  I know this will eventually work out for me and I will be making good money. I just joined a team also and things are happening.  Things are always slow during the holidays, but I’m anticipating being very busy very soon.

      Thank you again for all of the encouragement.  Even knowing others are dealing with similar situations is very encouraging to me.
       
      I am excited about the prospect of being on my own and recovering mentally from the burden of living with and caring for a mental ill person. It does take a toll and I just can’t do it anymore.

      Blessings,
       

      4 like

  12. Generic Image Laura says

    Dear Bikrchic,

    My heart goes out to you! My ex played the same games with me by acting helpless without me with regards to his meds and his general well-being. It is a game, no doubt about it. I also had to carry the burden financially often and it was not enough. We lost our home and dealt with a bankruptcy, but still I stayed hoping things would change and feeling that he needed me. He could be very convincing at times…At one time almost 30 years ago, he was making well over 100K, but we were still broke. He came first always. He was brilliant in the sense that he was in university at 16. And yet more often than not he was out of work. I don’t know how he managed it but he actually had Welfare/Disability pay for him to go back to university at almost 50 yrs. old after we separated. Naturally he did not complete it, but he has cost the tax payers plenty of money over the years and continues to do so. He is no longer my responsibility and I am free of his ability to control me with his “helpless antics”.

    I am proud of you that at least you have a separate account and are thinking ahead. Don’t delay! I thought of my future without him for years prior to actually leaving. And when we did leave, we left with nothing. I looked around my home that we rented and realized none of the furnishings were important as the safety of my children and ultimately their mother. I worked very hard taking care of the children for many years and although it was difficult I was able to feed, clothe and house them and we were no longer leaving in fear. The 4 of us lived in a tiny 2 bedroom apt. and I slept on the couch, but we were happy. Plan for your future but don’t spend years or even months planning. Talking is great, but acting is even better. Trust me, he will survive. As I said before, leave him in God’s hands. He is not your responsibility. He is not your child. I used to think that I had 4 children and he was the problem child. It was refreshing to realize that I only had 3.

    You will come out of this. You will be a better person too. You have empathy and compassion for others but it is misguided when it comes to him. He is manipulating you. It took the chief-psychiatrist of the hospital to say to me that my ex would never change, and that my and my children’s safety was in jeopardy. He also said that I was the first spouse he had ever told to leave the marriage. Naturally because I am a compassionate, empathetic person, it took a long, long time before I actually did so…

    On the aside, my youngest son is bi-polar. He has been hospitalized and has even had electric shock therapy 3 times. He is doing wonderful at 28. He does not drink or do drugs. He takes his meds regularly and lives on his own. He works and also volunteers in the community helping with the local food bank. He has many good friends and I see and talk with him every week. I tell him that he is my hero. He has had set backs with meds as in side effects. It is understood that meds for bi-polarism can work for a period of time and then stop working effectively. You have to be supervised vigilantly by a doctor monthly. He is a marvellous young man and well-loved by many. I am very proud of him as are his brothers…

    I have faith in you. Be strong and live the life you were destined for and not a fragile existence based on this man’s needs alone.

    Love and best wishes in this new year and for the rest of your new life.
    Laura

    5 like

    • Generic Image AnneB says

      Your words, “be strong and live the life you were destined for” have touched me very much, even though you didn’t write them for me.  As I describe below, I am getting out of a 31-year marriage to a man who is so psychologically and verbally abusive it made me severely ill.  On Valentine’s Day he sent me an e-mail that some might think was “loving” but I knew was clearly manipulative and abusive.  In it he said, “you are still my wife…” We’ve been separated for seven months (I threw him out) and I filed for divorce six months ago, but this man still sends me e-mails saying, “you are still my wife.”  Honestly, I know that it comes from the pure evil inside of him, because I can feel the oppression reeking from his words.  He is saying he can still control me.  He is saying he won’t leave me in peace.

      I have written your words on a piece of paper and I am going to tape it to my mirror.  I am crying as I think of these words because I am so terrified, I have to admit, that I am never going to truly get free of this evil man.  God has been in control of this whole thing and told me to tell him to get out, but trusting God with this when this man continues to attempt to manipulate me is sometimes beyond what I can bear. 

      Thank you for your words.  Thank you for taking the time to share them.

      0 like

  13. Generic Image AnneB says

    I believe one thing you, and many of the women here, need to understand is that these husbands do not act the way they do because of mental illness.  They act the way they do because they are abusive.  The mental illness just makes them more dangerous.  As I read so many of these stories, they are classically abusive men.  The confusion they cause, keeping you off-balance.  The threats of suicide.  Dragging out a divorce and using your children as weapons (the worst thing any abusive man can do).  It is all abuse!

    I know of what I speak because I am in the process of divorcing my husband…after 31 years of marriage.  It was only in the last year that I even understood my husband WAS abusive.  That all the problems we had over the years were NOT my fault, as he claimed.

    Even then, it was only because the Lord told me specifically to kick him out that I did.  God told me two months before this that if I did not get out of my marriage I was going to die.  And not because my husband was physically abusive!  He wasn’t, but he was so psychologically and verbally abusive that it had made me severely ill.

    Telling my husband to leave was the scariest thing I did in my life.  I couldn’t even believe I did it!  He ranted at me at first, but then left peacefully.  His highest priority is his image, so at the time he wanted to preserve his image to our children.  And he still has played games with me over the seven months we have been separated….dragging out dealing with the divorce papers because he hoped to manipulate me into getting back together.  When he gets pissed at me, he will write a rant telling me how horrible I am and literally 15 minutes later will send an e-mail telling me how much he loves me.

    I have lived this nightmare and prison for over 31 years.  God help me I am getting out, but my husband, even this week, sent me an e-mail that made so upset I can’t even describe it.  I’ve decided it has to stop.  If I have to get a restraining order to get him to stop e-mailing me, I may have to do that.  The important thing to remember is: THESE MEN ARE RELENTLESS.  

    I read several books about abuse in the last year but the one I recommend most highly is: “Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft.  Please, please read this ladies. You can get it on Amazon inexpensively and it will help you more than you can possibly imagine.

    2 like

  14. Generic Image Anonymous1 says

    AnneB:

    What I learned in dealing with my former bi-polar boyfriend who will still call me today but I NEVER..NEVER..NEVER answer his calls. I just let the phone ring and ring and ring until he thinks I am not home and then he doesn’t call back. If I answer the phone and hang up, the cycle of calling over and over begins.  (I am sure you know what I am talking about) I told him when I answered by mistake several months ago that I am married.  He could care less.

    Regarding the e-mails, DO NOT OPEN THEM UP.  If you need to stop seeing them, just change your e-mail address plain and simple.  When Jonathan (my bio-polar boyfriend) e-mails me, I do not open up his e-mails, I delete them PERIOD and no response.  

    They still have control over you and can get you upset if you look at ANYTHING they send to you. You have to LEARN TO IGNORE him, period to have peace.  

    I have blocked his phone number from my cell and house phone but when he wants to reach me, he’ll call from another phone number and usually hides the phone number so I don’t know where the call is coming from.  When that happens, I don’t answer, I let the call go into the answering machine.  He never leaves a message, he hangs up.  That’s my confirmation that it was him.  Anyone else will leave a message and I can call them back.

    Stop letting him stress you by taking control DONT RESPOND.

    2 like

  15. Generic Image AnneB says

    Lovelysmile0916: I appreciate your response and encouragement very much!  However, we have a minor son (10 years old) who lives with me so not having contact is not an option.  I did tell him last night specifically to quit telling me that I am “still his wife.”  His e-mail response was “okay, I’ll talk to you later.”  I was thrilled.  I expected a rant.

    He’s probably pissed at me, but I don’t care.  He can take all his anger somewhere else, it’s not welcome here anymore.

    The key for me I have realized (after reflecting on all I read here last night) is that I need to quit letting him “get in to my head.”  When he does, he wins.  I need to remember that and just not let him win.  I also realize I have been living in fear of saying to him, “Stop!”  But fear never works.  It’s defeating and keeps us in chains.  So when he says or does something I don’t like, instead of fretting about it, I need to just tell him to “stop!”  If he doesn’t like that, it’s his problem, but at least I wont’ be going around with my head and stomach in knots because of his manipulation. 

    Thanks again for your advice.  As I said above, I know these men are relentless.  When one angle doesn’t work, they try another.  I know I will win in the end.  I am learning and growing in ways that I never could have imagined while I was in the hell of being with him.  This site has been very helpful to me in the advice that is given, and in the knowing that I am not alone.  If other women have gotten free, I can too.

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  16. Generic Image Anonymous1 says

    AnneB:

    I watched this entire scenario play out with Jonathan.  When I met him his wife had filed for a divorce.  He was dragging his feet on working with his attorney.  At the time the kids were 6(girl), 9(boy) and 13 (girl).  

    The courts required he attend a parenting class which he did do.  His now ex-wife got full custody of the kids.  They set  up a visitation order where he could see the kids every other weekend.  That worked for a while but eventually he stopped seeing them, he had other priorities (his own agenda).

    She got the older 2 kids cell phones about 3 years ago and the only way he can reach  her is to call her job and leave a voicemail message. So she took full control of communication.  She is now in a successful relationship with a wonderful guy who is helping her to raise kids.  They are now 13, 16 and 20.  Only the son has a relationship with his dad and that is by phone. He now understands his dad has a mental illness and keeps him arms length due to the bi-polar. When I say arms length, his son always knows what city and state his dad is living in and he can reach him via Facebook and phone. 

    In turn, you really don’t have to have communication with him if the courts give you full custody and his visitation is supervised until your son is old enough to know if he wants to visit with him on a weekend by himself.  

    Keep in mind you have to protect the mental health of your son too.  That is one of the things I saw Jonathan’s ex-wife take very seriously ergo no JOINT CUSTODY.

    0 like

    • Generic Image AnneB says

      The way the divorce is going to work, I am the “primary residential parent” and my husband will have visitation (non-supervised).  I have no reason to be able to get supervised visits, and asking for them would cause unnecessary problems.  I am happy with the scenario as it is, because my son is with me 98% of the time.  His dad is already finding reasons not to show up when he is supposed to, and is only spending a few hours a week with my son.  Their relationship is good.  I also have three grown children who also have good relationships with my husband.  I have told my grown children much of the truth about their dad, but by the same token, I don’t want someone accusing me of trying to drive a wedge between them.  So I have had a few talks with them, and then I’ve let it alone.

      My husband is the type of abuser where his image is everything.  My kids never saw the emotional abuse because he only did it when we were alone.  My nickname for him is “Mr. Wonderful” because he snows everyone into thinking he is this great guy.  Heck, it’s how he got me sucked in, right?  I never even told anyone in my family about his abuse until after we split up.  My family loved him.  He specifically, in the last several years, started calling MY family members to suck them even further into his manipulation, into thinking what a hero he was.  When I told my mother the truth, she was furious.  And upset that I had kept all this to myself for so long. 

      In any case, my children are all doing great.  God has been good and must have been preparing them.  In the months before we split up my husband had stopped coming home overnight two or three nights a week, so my kids have been used to him not being around much. I’ve been homeschooling for over 22 years (I homeschooled all three of my grown children through high school) and we are exceptionally close.  And like I said, my husband’s highest priority is making everyone (including my kids) believe that he is this wonderful guy, so he keeps up the facade for my kids.  The one thing I look for is that he is not manipulating them, because that I will not tolerate.  In any case, as I said the kids are great.  I’m the one that continues to deal with his issues, but I would rather it be me than my kids.

      3 like

  17. Generic Image Anonymous1 says

    Yes, image is important to them.  They always want to make YOU look like your the bad person.  The fact that you home schooled the kids I am confident will be of help in that he cannot ruin their image of you because they spent the majority of there time with you.  

    What a blessing…

    I wish you nothing but the best as you go through the journey.

    2 like

  18. Generic Image bikerchic says

    Hi AnneB,
     
    You situation sounds a lot like mine.  I too home schooled all of my 3 children for 20 + years – K thru 12 and I’m very close to them.  I have also encouraged them to continue to have a relationship with their dad.  They know what he is like and they support me 100% and still get along with him.
     
    I’m making arrangements to temporarily move in with my daughter and store the rest of my things in someone’s basement.  I haven’t told him yet, because when I do, I cannot live here any longer.  We are trying to sell our house and my car is in the shop now.  We are about as broke as we can be.  He finally just recently started looking for another job.  He remodels kitchens and baths and his income has dropped by 50% in 2012 and was already dropping a few years before that.  We are just about as broke as we can be.
     
    But I can now see an end to the tunnel.  Things are falling into place and I probably will be telling him and moving in the next 2-3 months.
     
    It’s been encouraging to know I’m not alone and others are going through the same things.
     
    I agree it’s anger and controlling behavior, but I also believe it’s very much a part of the bi-polar disease – at least in my case it believe it is.  That doesn’t excuse it, it just helps to understand it.  And I know that I cannot fix him and he is unwilling (or unable) to see that he is in the wrong in many areas and refuses the help that many, many people have offered to him throughout the years.  I am done.  I don’t want to go through life regretting what my life would have been like if I left him – and didn’t.
     
    I strongly feel that God has been leading my down this path.  He’s made it very clear in so many ways, I cannot even begin to touch on that here.  So many songs, scriptures, words of encouragement, and sometimes within 30 seconds of asking Him if this is what I should be doing.  Amazing!  There is no doubt in my mind that this is what I’m supposed to do.  The next few months will be difficult no doubt, but this too shall pass and the future is bright.  God is with me.
     
    I so appreciate all of the encouraging words here.  Thank you so much.  This has helped a lot.
     
    Blessings,
     

    0 like

    • Generic Image AnneB says

      bikerchic: I also believe God is leading you to this. I know for me, God started speaking specific things to me about my husband for about a year before our separation. He would just drop thoughts in my head that explained my husband’s inexcusable behavior: he’s narcissistic, he’s manipulative, he has a religious spirit, he’s abusive.  God told me last May if I didn’t get out of my marriage I was going to die. At the time I had friends who didn’t even know how bad things were, but God told them the same thing and they were praying for me.  It wasn’t that my husband beat me physically, but the emotional, verbal and psychological abuse had been so severe for so long that it had made me severely ill.  Then on July 22nd, when I woke up in the morning, thinking of a conversation with my husband that had extremely upset me the night before, God said, “He has to pack up and leave TODAY.” (And for the record, the night before my husband had not come overnight, as he had been doing for many months – 2 or 3 nights a week – but OF COURSE he wasn’t cheating on me.)

      Anyway, telling my husband to leave was one of the scariest moments in my life, but I knew, knew, knew God had told me and if I didn’t obey him something bad was going to happen.  God had been giving me keys for a whole year as to the abusive nature of my husband before telling me to leave.  God is very gracious.  I have often wondered why he left me in this marriage as long as he has, but I just have to trust that it was his time, and that’s that. There are some things we will never know this side of heaven.

      I think it’s kind of funny that everyone says you need an exit plan before you leave an abusive spouse. In my case, I never dreamed I would kick my husband out until the day God said, “He has to go today.”  A week later God made it clear that I had to file for divorce. I never would have imagined until that time that I would even consider divorce…but God had maneuvered the whole thing and I simply knew I had to obey. I felt horrible for weeks, thinking how can I do this to my kids.  Then I got a series of vicious e-mails from my husband and I realized why I was doing it…to save my life.  My kids need their mom, but my husband didn’t care if I lived or died, all he cared about was what he wanted. That’s how it was our entire marriage.

      I was on an emotional roller coaster ride for many months.  It has settled down a lot, but I am still learning to not let him push my buttons and to stand up for myself, i.e. telling him not to say certain things to me anymore.  I imagine you will have your own emotions to deal with but I can tell you something else – you will not believe how wonderful freedom feels.  I am still in awe of this sense of freedom I have. It feels like a miracle. I had given up on having any kind of a life that I could enjoy. I saw my future as one endless series of years of my husband telling me what I should be doing, what I shouldn’t be doing, and even what I should BELIEVE AND THINK.  Yes, I had no right even to my own beliefs.  And I am a committed Christian. But I wasn’t “Christian” enough for my husband because I didn’t believe exactly as he did about everything.  Frankly, living with that man was torture. 

      I want to encourage you to continue down this path with the same strength you express here.  You need to believe that you are precious in God’s sight. It wasn’t until after I kicked my husband out that I shared with anyone what had been going on, except for one close friend, and I only told her about a week before. My husband had pretty much everyone, including my family, snowed into thinking that he was the greatest guy in the world. And he had beaten me down telling me for years what a failure I was. Once we split, all of a sudden I have friends and family telling me I am a great person, smart, accomplished, etc. It was a shock to hear people saying things like this about me. I know they’re right, but when you’ve been destroyed by someone, someone who is DETERMINED to destroy you and has been working for years to do so, it’s a shock to find out that other people who know you DON’T believe you’re a failure.  They DON’T think I’m a horrible person and a horrible Christian. You will find your strengths and the people that know you (like your kids) will support you. As some have said to me here in the VN forums, you deserve to have peace in your life. You did your time. It’s now time to be free.

      0 like

      • Generic Image bikerchic says

        Dear AnneB,
         
        Thank you for the encouragement.  I’ve been seeking the Lord in this for almost a year and a half.  I am frustrated that it didn’t happen sooner, but it does all boil down to trusting that God has this planned and the He will guide me through it all.
         
        My husband doesn’t control me directly, but our relationship is based on what he wants – no communication, sex whenever he wants it, him living the life he wants to live – including cheating when he wants to, drinking when he wants to, smoking pot – sometimes all day, lying to me, etc, etc, etc.  He tells me what he wants me to hear.  I have given up on communication with him since I never know when he is telling the truth or not.  All the while he is attending church and coming across as a wonderful, loving, caring husband.  I have shared this with a few people and they are surprised, because they don’t see him like that.
         
        I deal with stuff on a daily basis.  It’s always something.  Yesterday he backed his trailer into a homeowner’s car!  And he wanted me to call the insurance co.  I gave him the phone #.  He hid his drinking from me before we were married.  He said he wanted to stop smoking after the wedding and things settled down (that was 36 years ago!!!)  Every few years I find him on the internet looking for a sex partner.  So sick of this.  I know God has something better for me.  He gave me a promise many, many years ago when our kids were small (they are 30, 31 and 34 now).  He told me, “Be patient and you will have a husband far beyond what you ever dreamed or imagined.”  He has told me this probably hundreds of times.  I don’t really know what it means. At one time I thought it meant my husband would be the one!  That’s not it!  My favorite scripture is Jer. 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you.  Plans for you to prosper, to give you a hope and a future.”
         
        I love to travel and my husband has literally destroyed and made miserable almost every vacation we have ever had because of his moods, etc.  I was able to go to the Grammys this month without my husband and had an absolutely fabulous time!!!  Our son sings in a group that won 3 Grammys this year (totalling 5 now). So, so much fun traveling without him.
         
        I really feel like things are happening and it won’t be long now.  I have been sensitive to the Lord’s leading and I feel he is telling me to pack things away that I won’t be using for a year or so.  I’ve been packing his things too and keeping a list of most of the items I have packed for him.  Most of the stuff in the house is truly mine anyway. After I tell him, I cannot live here.  I’ve talked with an attorney and he said to focus on selling the house right now. We’re having difficulty selling it because the basement is very old with cracks in the foundation. It’s 138 years old! We just had an appraisal yesterday and we’ll know in a few days what it is. I am prepared to totally walk away from the house if I need to. We don’t have much equity and if we have to lower the price much more, we won’t have any.
         
        My daughter has a room for me in her house and I have planned to squeeze in my bedroom, office, recliner and a refrigerator into that room. The rest of the stuff in the house I’m packing.
         
        I love my husband with all my heart and probably always will, but I cannot live like this anymore and I am okay with that. I’m looking forward to the freedom, because now I feel I am in bondage to his mental issues, his upbringing and all that goes with it – day in and day out. Soooo looking forward to spending more time with my grandkids, being on my own again and living again!!! Many women on here have talked about the happiness and freedom they find after leaving a bad relationship. I’m looking forward to it.
         
        AnneB, do you by chance live in the St Louis Metro area?
         
        Blessings,

        0 like

  19. Generic Image AnneB says

    bikerchic:  No, I do not. I’m in Florida. So much of what you said rang true to me, and I’ve seen other women go through it as well.  I’ve asked some women, why is there no accountability in the church anymore? It seems men can get away with anything and as long as they put on a good pretense at church, that’s all that matters.  This goes on FAR more than most think.  It’s really pathetic all the garbage “Christian” men are into and no one seems to care.

    You have endured more than I could have.  I have strong reason to suspect my husband has cheated on me, but he would certainly never tell me because, again, that would destroy his image.  I’m certain he thinks he can just “confess” his sins to God, and there should be no consequences whatsoever.  I think that’s really the whole problem with the church and with marriages like ours…there are no consequences, there’s no accountability.  I never told anyone the hell my husband put me through, because everyone thought he was the perfect Christian husband and father.  He was a worship leader for many years too!  And at the same time was involved with porn.  One pastor we had knew this, but for some reason it didn’t matter.  I just don’t get it.

    I can relate to the thing about travel.  I told someone recently (maybe my mom) that my husband has destroyed every trip we’ve taken for many years.  We just had a family reunion this summer that he ruined for me because, well, he’s an ass.  And selfish beyond belief.  Oh, but he is convinced he has NEVER done anything really wrong in our marriage. Again, he’s an ass.   The only trips I’ve enjoyed for years were the ones I would take by myself.  That’s just another one of the MANY things I am rejoicing about getting him out of my life – I never have to take a trip with him anywhere ever, ever again!  Hallelujah. Makes me feel like dancing just to think of it!

    I think the moves you are making to get out on your own are wonderful. And while it may seem like a bad decision to some, if walking away from the house is what it takes to get free, then I say yes.  Once you make that decision (perhaps based on the appraisal) don’t look back.  It’s wonderful that you have a place to go at your daughter’s.  Sounds like a nice little apartment.  I think you will be surprised at how wonderful that little place of your own will be. I’m guessing it will feel like heaven compared to what you’ve been through. And for the record, no one should have to go through what you’ve been through.

    I have to say, I don’t know if you’re just a bigger person than me, but I have no love left for my husband.  He’s spent years beating it out of me, emotionally, verbally and psychologically.  I will admit the other night I felt a feeling of love wash over me, but I think it was mostly nostalgia for the days of our early marriage before he turned everything to hell.  Most of the time, I have too many other things to think about and the less I dwell on him the better.  He manages to get in my head at unexpected times and that ALWAYS puts me in a very bad place.  I’ve noticed the last few days I’ve been feeling more positive and energetic and I know a big part of it is just that I’ve had little contact with him.  I’m not being drained. 

    Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  You’re doing great and you will find the peace and freedom that you hunger for.

    1 like

  20. Generic Image bikerchic says

    Hi AnneB,
     
    We have left 3 churches because they thought he was the good guy and I was the bad guy.  Totally crushed that they believed his lies and thought I was the one lying.  One church allowed physical abuse because “the women were not being submissive enough”!!!  What is wrong with churches today?!?
     
    My current pastor supports me 100%.  Finally!  He is the first one I called in Sept 2011 when I found my husband was looking on the internet for a sex partner again.  My pastor said, “Ya know, if you stay with him, he will be doing this 20 years from now.”  And he’s absolutely right.  I kept thinking if he heard enough sermons and said enough prayers, he would change.  Nope.  Didn’t happen.  He prays “forgive us of our sins” and I think he believes that will cover all that he wants to do during the week.  Not true repentance by any stretch.
     
    I do love him, but he has been chipping away at our relationship continually through the years.  I guess I love the person I hoped he would be and the person I saw a glimpse of from time to time.  But the love that is needed to sustain a marriage is not there.  I love him as a person and I care what happens to him.  I guess since he probably won’t survive me leaving him, makes this whole thing much harder.  I feel like I’m grieving him now.
     
    The bedroom I will be moving to at my daughter’s is approx 132 sq ft.  A far cry from our 2,300 sq ft home now, but it will be worth it and it’s only temporary.  An elderly friend has graciously agreed to let me store my things in her basement.
     
    When I was gone to CA a couple of weeks ago, it was soooo much fun and I hardly thought about him.  Then the reality of returning to him came over me like a dark cloud.  Physically pulled my down.  That helped me to realize how this is effecting me.  I’ve also had eczema on my hands and feet for over 10 years now.  14 doctors couldn’t figure it out.  I think a lot of it is the extra weight I’ve put on and the toxins in the cortisol levels from stress – ultimately the stress of him and our marriage.  I really believe there is something to that.  Looking forward to the freedom and losing another 30-40 pounds and finding out who I really am again.  I am a person to be valued and not walked on like a doormat.  So excited for my future.
     
    My life with him has pretty much been hell on earth.  In the early days, I never shared it with anyone.  I was too embarrassed that I actually married someone like him.  I really think he takes me for granted and thinks I will always be here no matter what he dishes out.  He’s got another thing coming.  At times it makes me angry that he threw it all away because of his selfishness, his lies, his addictions, but then again, we have 3 great kids, 6 wonderful grand kids and I have hope for a better future now!!!
     
    I’ve enjoyed sharing with you and thank you for the encouragement.

    1 like

  21. Generic Image AnneB says

    Like you, I feel like my husband had it all and threw it all away. We have four wonderful children and while they have a good relationship with him, I’m the one they come to for advice (about everything). I’m the one they trust to be a parent and not just a “buddy.” My husband has never wanted to be seen as the bad guy…he wants to be their friend. Which is not a good thing. But he doesn’t care.

    Yes, my husband had a gift in me. He chose to destroy that gift, and God finally said “enough is enough.” You’re right that there is so much wrong in the church. And the whole “submissive wife” thing is so taken out of context…but not surprising since the church is primarily run by men, and many of them abusers themselves. Accountability is gone and has been for a long time.  I’m glad the pastor of your church now had such wise words. And I am thrilled that you see that you can have a wonderful life apart from your husband. How he responds to your leaving is not your responsibility. You more than fulfilled your vows to him. He’s going to have to live with the consequences of his abuse (finally).

    As angry as I am at my husband still (not always, but often enough) I still feel sorry for him. I doubt he’s eating well. He spends little time with our kids. But again, his choice. He rarely ate at home for the last year or so of our marriage, he started not coming home overnight. Truly, I shouldn’t feel sorry for him. But like you, I am compassionate person.

    I’ve also enjoyed sharing our experiences. It really makes a difference and brings much comfort.

    0 like

  22. Generic Image GotTheTShirt says

    Many of these posts could have been written by me. You know what they say about hindsight being 20-20. I too wish that I would have divorced my “Mr. Wonderful” years ago. But at least now my children are grown, so I don’t have to deal with custody/visits, etc. My family is now aware of the hell I endured all these years. Since he can’t harass me, he now harasses our children (calling constantly and dropping by their houses unexpectedly. He still plays the victim, every chance he gets, but people now see through this façade. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy my life, visiting with family and friends or just being home alone. It is wonderful not to feel like I’m walking on egg shells 24-7. I know it’s very scary, but remember: you’ve made it this far in life while dealing with a manipulative, abusive spouse, so you can handle this! Stay strong, safe and visualize the wonderful future you have to look forward to. Best of luck to you!

    1 like

    • Generic Image AnneB says

      Re: the not walking on egg-shells thing…yes! Isn’t that so wonderful?The last several months before our separation, I avoided talking to my husband as much as possible because any little thing could turn into an opportunity for him to further destroy my spirit. 

      Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am free now. I’m still working through the emotions, but it’s getting better. This last week was the first week I can remember where I didn’t have an issue with him. Relief.

      I’m looking forward to my future for the first time in many, many years.   Thanks for the encouragement!

      1 like

  23. Generic Image homemadegal says

    Reading through these posts I feel like the old lady of the group.
    My bipolar husband of 40 years left me. Long story short, I would have been left with nothing had not my good father paid for me to retain a lawyer to make sure I ended up with something to live on. Nine months later we were divorced. Three years later I am dealing with post traumatic stress and myofascial pain disorder caused from the nightmare of my husband of so many years leaving me. He has had bipolar all our married life but I was so naive I didn’t know what his behaviors were caused by. He was/is basically a good man, not physically abusive or addicted to drugs or alcohol and was a good daddy to our several children, all adults now, and was a good provider.
    He just happened to have months/years of mania and/or depression that was not diagnosed except superficially by a general family doctor early in our marriage. Because my husband didn’t like how he felt when he took one Valium prescribed to bring him down from his mania and not sleeping for a week, he refused to ever take anything again. He said no one was going to mess with head.
    His bipolar just got worse and worse until he had the worst mania episode where he up and left me, blaming me for everything under the sun. I and my adult kids living at home tried to talk him out of leaving, but he felt compelled to leave. After several months I was able to get him to come talk with me, as I had heard rumors that he was divorcing me. He confirmed the rumors and designated 666.66 for me to live on and told me to go stand on my feet and get a job. This was after I had worked side by side with him on the farm all our married life and had raised several children and had never been in the workforce all that time.
    I loved him. He was/is a good man, basically, but very arrogant now and practically thinks he is God, the grantor of all wishes. He’s Mr. Nice Guy to everyone and so friends and neighbors and family are confused and refuse to believe the divorce was his fault. He twisted and warped the truth and created a totally different reality to suit himself, casting doubt upon my character and integrity.
    The whole mess split our family in half and caused our older children not living at home for several years to believe his lies instead of hearing me out as to what really happened. They refused to let me or their younger siblings tell what was the truth about the divorce and to this day, almost four years later, they have never acknowledged our divorce or why it happened. They refuse to believe their father is bipolar. They say he is just super smart and eccentric.
    The sad thing is that we have several of our children who have what I believe is bipolar also. There is epilepsy, OCD, anxiety disorder, paranoia, in one or other of our children. It’s like the nightmare just goes on, no one wanting to acknowledge the truth and get help for what will help them live a better life.
    The adult children living at home when their dad left, saw and experienced for many years his irrationality, demanding and arrogant behavior, culminating in his extreme manic episode that caused him to leave and never look back.
    I have seen a church counselor/therapist off and on on for three years. Instead of feeling better, things have gotten worse for me, as I try to make sense of the senseless. The counselor said I gave it a longer shot at making marriage work than anyone he has counseled. That doesn’t make me feel a whole lot better, though.
    Because of our large family, he is always ever present at some family function or other. We have worked out a silent agreement amongst the children, that they invite him to things and not me, or invite me and not him. When there is a wedding or other major event that we both must be present, I just buck up. He brings his woman friend.
    At my age I have no fantasies or delusions that I will marry again. l have become jaded and distrustful of another relationship. I still feel like part of me is attached to my former spouse and I don’t know that I will ever be able to be otherwise.
    I haven’t slept well in three years and that makes me angry. My health is deteriorating. I have tired every self-help thing that I know to do. Basically my whole life has shifted. Former family of my ex’s has nothing to do with me. My mother and father in law cut me out of their lives, and passed away during all of the divorce mess.
    I lost my sister/confidante to cancer, my mom to cancer, my dad, as well as my inlaws in the three years of trying to find equilibrium.
    If it weren’t for my adult children–who are still dealing with their own issues related to the divorce as well as their own bipolar leanings–I wouldn’t know how to carry on.
    I think there is no easy way to recover from divorce if you were
    attached to your spouse for years and you loved him and was not the one to choose divorce. Even if you did stand strong and determine to
    protect yourself by divorcing, there is no easy path through the emotional trauma and pain. It’s very complex, with so many issues that have to be worked through and resolved.
    The whole social scene changed for me, maybe just in subtle ways. Family church gatherings are a case in point. Friendships have not been the same, as people had always looked to our family and our marriage as rock solid and now they wonder about what happened to me might rub off on them? I don’t know.
    I’m afraid I’m not one to give another woman or man advice about bipolar divorce. Only that which one of my therapists told me early on. “You have to love yourself enough not to allow yourself to be abused.”
    He helped me see that to be constantly emotionally abused was not healthy, even though I had determined to deal with it no matter what and worked hard to keep our marriage working.
    Because we have a large family and many grand children, I never entertained the thought of divorce. I was in in for the full ride.
    When it was taken out of my hands by my spouse’s choice to leave, and he refused medical help in order to keep our marriage together, and he was so irrational that we could not have a sane conversation because he was so into his own head and his own mood thing–I was devastated that I could not do something to save our marriage.
    So now it’s just carry on the best I can. Put a neutral face on for the children and grandchildren and daughter and sonsi in law, and act like divorce was just the most natural thing in the world–for that is what they want because they can’t deal with what happened, otherwise.
    I have been told that some day my children who refused to see the truth for what it is–that they carry their dad’s genes of bipolar and some of his very similar moodswings and characteristics of bipolar–and that their dad and his siblings and father, and grandmother had what I believer is/was bipolar–will finally see the truth and do something about it before it wrecks their lives. A therapist told me that I can’t expect them to see what I do, because it took me how many years to get to this point of understanding–so it may take them many years, as well.
    All I can say is you have to just keep on keeping on despite the pain.
    Somehow you can get through it and make a conscious choice to find joy and peace and creative pursuits again.

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    • Generic Image AnneB says

      I am so sorry for all you’ve gone through and can relate so much.

      I also spent the entire time since our first child was born as a full-time mom, BUT I also spent 20 of those years running a contracting company with my husband.  I worked my tail off.  After we split up, he made it clear that he felt I had never contributed anything.  It is exquisitely painful to spend your entire adult life pouring yourself into your marriage and family, only to be told that everything you did was worthless in your husband’s eyes.

      I was the one to initiate the separation and divorce, because God told me to.  I had become severely ill due to my husband’s abuse.  I also have battled PTSD and other issues for over a decade.  I thought it was from the tragic deaths of my brother and cousin, but after reading books on abuse I realize it was at least in part because of the constant and increasing abuse.

      I’m choosing to be optimistic though on the surface there is nothing to be optimistic about in my life.  I’m still struggling with my health and finances.  I rarely even leave the house my health is that bad.  But again, I choose to believe someday my life will be better.  I hope that someday yours will be too.

      One more thing…I never believed in divorce either.  I had been miserable for so long, but felt I had no biblical basis for divorcing my husband.  God made it clear that was not so, and that for the sake of my survival I had to get out.  We’re still not divorced.  That’s another long story in itself.  But at least I don’t have to deal with him.  I can live my life without the constant fear of what’s coming next – at least in regards to his emotional and verbal abuse.  I would never get back together with him.  

      I have four children – three grown and one younger one – and yes, it is hard to not feel shame at the marriage ending.  I always taught my children marriage is “until death do us part.”  I’ve learned that life doesn’t always turn out the way you think it’s going to.  I had no idea my husband would grow more abusive and manipulative as the years went by.  I had no idea anyone could be that ugly to someone they say they love.  I know he doesn’t love me, but it makes him feel good about himself to say it and think it.  Like your ex, my husband is fantastic at playing Mr. Wonderful, and he has to keep up that image even to himself because to face the truth about himself would be intolerable.

      Fortunately, having homeschooled my kids all this time, they know my integrity and we are very close.  My daughter I think even sees who my husband really is.  I don’t know about my boys.  When we separated I told my three older children the truth about many things involving their dad, but again he’s so good at playing Mr. Wonderful and Mr. Victim that I don’t know how much they believe.  My daughter’s the only one I’m sure has seen through the ruse.

      Well, I should go now, but I wish you the best.  I hope that you can find peace and that you can build a good life for yourself.  You gave all you could, and endured more than you should have.  Now it’s time to take care of you.

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  24. Generic Image bikerchic says

    Homemadegal I’m sorry to hear about your situation.  You’ve been dealing with a lot these last few years.  I will say a prayer for you that your health is restored and you have a new purpose and meaning to your life.  As difficult as it is, try to look at it as a new life, a new direction, a chance to ‘start over’ and do what you want to do – pursue your dreams.

    I want to give an update as I started this discussion.  I finally moved out in April.  Yay!  I moved out and that evening planned to meet my husband for dinner and then tell him. – since I thought it would be better to tell him in a public place.  Well, not to my surprise, he was 2 hours late arriving at the restaurant!  Why?  Because he went to buy pot and drink beer after work KNOWING I was sitting there waiting for him!!!  The person’s house he went to was giving me an update and that’s how I knew.  Then when he arrived he told me the same lie 3 TIMES!  He said he had to stay after work so that the closing shift wouldn’t have as much work to do to close.  Total lies which confirmed one of the reasons I was leaving.

    Then he was threatening suicide again.  This time it was a total manipulation.  He was threatening suicide again in Aug too.  Even though I feel that 4 times out of the 7, it was a manipulation, ya still have to take them seriously.
    He moved in with his brothers and is surviving.  (They have issues as well.)  I haven’t told him I will be filing for divorce yet or that I will never come back.  I’m not sure if he can handle that right now.  I lived with my daughter for 4 months and then I got a place of my own (through Craigslist of all places) and I just love my life now.  The place I’m living is a large 2,200 sq ft house and I’m renting the walkout basement.  A very nice place.  God is providing for me in miraculous ways.  I never thought I would have a nice place like this so soon after leaving him.
    He is coping with the help of 2 antidepressants which he was already taking prior to my leaving.  He ran out of his meds in Aug and again last week.  He’s never been responsible and he’ll run out again I’m sure.  He gets his meds for practically free – all he has to do is go pick them up.  Yeah, that’s hard for him I guess.

    Although leaving him was probably the most difficult and one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, after 36 years of him supporting me, I’m sooooo glad I did.  I am happy now.  I haven’t spent one night crying in my pillow.  I’ve never looked back.  No regrets.  I love, love, love the peace I have now.  I don’t have to wonder if he is lying to me, if he’s been drinking, or smoking pot or hiding porn emails on the computer.  I don’t have to smell his cigarettes (don’t mean to offend anyone out there, but I have allergies and really shouldn’t be smelling that).  I no longer feel like a maid, a sex slave, or his cook.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a housewife and a mother, but when that’s all there is and you have to put up with the alcohol, drugs, him looking for sex partners on the internet, the lies, etc, etc etc. I am so happy not to have to deal with that on a daily basis.  I do talk to him about once a week and we text a couple of times a week.  He believes he will win me over again (with his manipulative ways).  I am quite happy being removed from him and all the crap.  He was without his meds for about a week and a half, and he finally told me he got a speeding ticket last month to the tune of $595!!!  rrrrrrr  The stuff will never completely go away, but I’m sure it will get better once the divorce is over – and he can pay his own frickin bills.

    We need to sell some hunting property that we jointly own with his brother and then I will file for a legal separation.  After a few months, I will file for divorce.  I’m trying to slowly have him get used to the idea so that he can better cope so he doesn’t get suicidal. And I really don’t have money to file for anything yet.

    I would really hate for him to commit suicide and leave that legacy to our children and grandchildren. Plus, I do care about him and I do love him, but I cannot live with him and I’m NEVER going back.

    He found out he has protein in his urine (he’s diabetic) and he is just now realizing how serious his diabetes is.  The meds they want to put him on costs $270/mo after the discount.  There’s no way he can afford that.

    But life is good!  I am looking for some kind of service ministry I can do to help rescue children sold into the sex slave industry.  Something I’ve always been concerned about.  Also, I’m pursuing a career with the airlines as well as furthering my Real Estate Career.  I also get to go see my son in Phoenix for Christmas thanks to a travel voucher from selling a home.

    Life is good!!!  God is always there for me and blesses me sobooo much!  I give Him all the glory that things are going so well for me.  Soooo glad I had the courage to leave.  There IS life out here!!!

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    • Generic Image AnneB says

      Bikerchic:

      I’m SO glad to hear you’re not living with your husband anymore and that things are working out for you.  What encouragement that gives me!  While there are many challenges for me still, I also see God working in wonderful ways for me.  I’ve been separated almost 16 months, I’m still in the house, the lights are still on and we still have food to eat.  As I said, there are still challenges that I won’t take the time to go into now, but I keep thanking God for all the ways he has provided and shown himself strong in my behalf.

      I remember earlier you said you live in the St. Louis area.  There is a ministry that has a shelter, right there in St. Louis, that serves girls and women rescued from sexual trafficking.  In fact, the shelter was built because the FBI asked them to build it, the problem in the area is, apparently, so acute.  You can find out more about their ministry by going to their website at crisisaid.org.  Also, in case you want to Google it the name of the ministry is: Crisis Aid International.  

      Once again, so happy you’re doing well.  Keep up the good work and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy your new life!

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  25. Generic Image Darcy09 says

    “Just” keep your self-esteem up.  It is the only cure for dealing with those “others” who readily manipulate, lie and disrespect.  You are absolutely right to wean him off his dependency on you.  I would also cut back on the texts.
     
    I hope there is a good reason for you to pay the speeding ticket, your car? sympathy for him? he is adult and enabling him some more is, as you know, not good for him, or you.  Just keeps you hooked in.  The best thing to do for you is to leave him with his own mess to clean up.  Not yours, never was, and you have paid those dues in gold.
    Up up and away!!

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  26. Generic Image bikerchic says

    Actually he gives me most if his paycheck to pay bills right now. I don’t trust him to pay them when my name is on them. He has to pay $50/wk until that is paid and I’m not doing that, but it’s taking money away from paying other bills.

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  27. Generic Image Just B says

    I realize this post is old but just wanted to say that…the question of whether to tell your abusive spouse in public or private should not be a problem…simply choose for them to learn from the courts…

    I have known people to leave town and have divorce papers served…or just go to friends home and have them served…why must a spouse who has manipulated and abused you mentally deserve the consideration of a suitable time and place…if I thought my husband was going to be violent and had to be told in a public place…I would not even be in the same town when it happened….

    Another thing that I wonder about….with these long term marital problems…are you saying the word “divorce” never came up while all the dysfunction was going on?  The word divorce has been uttered by me for the past 12 yrs at least…

    Couples talk about divorce way sooner than it happens….I had a neighbor try to say he got divorce papers while he was working out of town…as if he was in shock….a month later his wife moved a new guy in….the likely story was they knew they were divorcing a year earlier when he moved out of town to work….

    I don’t think abusive spouses deserve consideration but thats just me

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