Posted by: Trapped | 2009/08/31

My wife is unstable but I am enduring it for the sake of my baby

My wife is extremely unstable. From the time we got married she had mood swings. She loses control of her life regularly and then she threatens divorce. We now have an eight month old baby (she deliberately stopped taking her birth control pills during an episode and got pregnant).

Her family has a history of mental problems (her father was a complusive gambler), and they deny that there is anything wrong with her. We were going to see a psychologist for marriage counselling for a few months, but she had a breakdown over a small issue, rushed to his office, and got enraged.

He was greatly disturbed, called me in, and explained her problem to me (he suspects an impulse control disorder), but before we had the appointment where he was going to help her deal with her issues, she packed her bags, and almost ended our marriage (I strongly suspect that it was because she was afraid to go for the appointment).

My family thinks that I should leave her, and fight to get my child, but the odds are heavily stacked in her favour as the mother. I am afraid of leaving my baby with her even part of the time, because she will turn her rage on him. I am therefore enduring her stormy behavior and constant insults, and her inability to conform to simple routine. She constantly picks fights with everyone (we are on our fifth maid in two years) and is starting to scream at the baby. She needs to be reminded constantly to do simple things like change his nappy, clean his teeth or feed him, otherwise these things get neglected. She has again started " forgetting"  to take her birth control pills (I now use alternative contraception as well).

Can I force her back into therapy? Her family is a huge obstacle. I am deeply unhappy, and I cannot see myself battling to add structure to her life, while at the same time enduring her constant insults and mood swings for much longer. What should I do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

A family history can be relevant, in increasing the risk of similar or related problems in another family member. You wife does indeed, from your description, sound unstable, but she needs to be seen by a good local shrink for a p[roper assessment to reach a useful diagnosis and then consider treatment options. And the problem will be her potential unwillingness to face the possibiklity that she may have problems that need treatment. There are provisions within the law to require compulsory assesment and treatment ( and your shrink could advise on this ) but only to people who areon good foundation considered to be a risk to themselves and or others.
The diagnosis suggested by the guy who did see her briefly, sounds quite possible. And maybe she is scared needlessly of what might happen to her if she admitted to having such a problem or being in need of treatment.
You may well wish to consider leaving her, if she continues to refuse proper assessment and treatment. And don't assume that she will automatically be given custody of the children. While the courts are too often imperfect, they are required to consider the needs of the child as paramount, and a mother so highly unstable is NOT likely to be considered as fit to have custody of a child, or even unsupervised access. It would be wise to consult a lawyer, who can advise on how to get evidence or her possible unfitness including perhaps child welfare assessment of the siuation.
Liza makes the good point that if she wishes to defend herself against your allegations that she has serious psychiatric problems, she would need to see a pychiatrist for a full assessment for the sake of the court case.

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Our users say:
Posted by: a | 2009/09/02

i dont think leaving her will be much of a solution to her condition infact it could make her worse. force her to see a shrink.

Reply to a
Posted by: Liza | 2009/09/01

Sounds like she desperate needs help from a qualified psychiatrist (not just psychologist). Her behaviour might stem from a chemical imbalance which might be greatly improved with correct medication.

The courts will take her mood swings into consideration when awarding custody. Don' t think that it will be so difficult to get custody. Especially since she sounds like she is a danger to her own child.

This might even force her to see a qualified psychiatrist for an assessment to prove that she is not a danger to her child. Since the psychiatrist will probably want to chat to you too, she won' t be able to hide her abnormal behaviour.

Good Luck

Reply to Liza

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