(Undiagnosed) Possible Bipolar Husband Wants a Divorce and I Don't Know What to Do

Posted , 7 users are following.

Apologies for the long post. I guess this is a half question/half story. But I'm concerned about my spouse's mental health and I'm not sure what to do. At this point, he refuses to seek professional help. He has a family history of bipolar but has not been diagnosed. I know that posting here is not a substitute for seeking mental health care, but I'm really trying to make sense of this since I, unfortunately, can't make him get help. I guess I'm wondering if anyone has experienced anything similar? I just feel so lost and am in so much pain. I love him so much and just want to make things better for everyone. I feel like I'm living in a nightmare...

I've been separated from my husband for two months now (together for 13 years, married for five). He began a new, high-stress job at the end of September and around the same time, his grandmother (who basically raised him while his mother worked) became very ill. It's at this time that I noticed a personality change in him. Fast forward to the beginning of November--we had a fight--I'm still not sure about what--that ended in him wanting a divorce. I was totally blindsided. We were having intimacy issues (I chalked that up to stress and both of us being tired from our workdays), but otherwise, we had a good marriage. Spent lots of time together, talked all the time, ate dinner together every night, went on trips together, he took me out of town for my birthday a few days before our fight, wrote "I love you!" on my birthday card, etc. During this fight he told me that he never loved me, always knew our marriage would fail, and only did nice things for me to convince himself that he loved me.

Since our separation--which was entirely his choice--he's essentially been gaslighting me, according to my therapist. Basically making me feel like I'm an abusive monster who doesn't deserve love or sex. I've also caught him in lies (e.g. he told me that our marriage counselor told him that his and my relationship is the "most (explicit-ed) up she's ever seen." Turns out she said nothing of the sort and was horrified that he'd tell me that). There's much more, but hopefully, that provides some context. I truly don't know where this is coming from. I'm definitely not perfect, but therapy has taught me not to buy into his perception of me.

I'm very concerned about his mental health. This is not the kind, supportive, fantastic man I married. I feel like he's an entirely different person. Not only do I feel this way, but his family, my family, and our friends feel this way, too. It's like everyone else sees there's something wrong except for him. His family has been trying to get him to see a mental health professional, but he's very reluctant. Currently, he refuses to see me because "our situation is difficult," I'm "so much a part of his pain," he's "doing everything he can to keep it together," etc. He also refuses to talk about our situation with me in any capacity, which really hurts me. All of this really hurts me.

Some more possibly relevant points: he's mentioned hallucinating before; stated that he's "losing his mind"; thinks he knows everything about everything but simultaneously admits to having "inadequacy issues"; is rather condescending; has difficulty concentrating and moves from "project to project" without completing anything; stated that he feels like he's "moving underwater," and has mentioned being both incredibly anxious and depressed. There are more, but these are some things that immediately come to mind.

0 likes, 9 replies

9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hello there.

    I'm truly sorry that you're going through this and I hope that you are doing your best to look after your own mental health. That is really important. In fact, the most important thing.

    It sounds like the 'perfect storm' of circumstances that initiated the change in your husbands personality. A lot of the symptoms you've detailed do fit well with depression and you will find that people in such turmoil and pain can take it out on others and blame them for their misery. In my experience this is mostly done un-knowingly as they are searching for reasons to why they are feeling so dreadful. They can also say very hurtful things in the same way and context as this so try to do your best to not take it too personally. Although I understand in the circumstances this can be extremely difficult.

    Apparently I'm cyclothymic (a slightly milder version of bi-polar) and I did have a girlfriend for a period who was bi-polar and suffered a manic, then depressive episode while we were together. I also suffer from depression so I can identify with being on all sides of the fence really. Your husbands family history of bi-polar could be a cause for concern but when I experienced my girlfriend having a manic episode it was unlike anything I'd seen before. She was speaking fast and incessantly, with such passion it was almost aggressive, when I first saw her in hospital and I literally couldn't find a gap to speak. During this period in hospital and until she 'came down' she seemed oblivious to any obvious advice she was receiving to get well and almost seemed like she didn't want this period to end. In fact I think she actually slipped into a psychotic episode for a period. Bless her. I did also notice an occasional attitude of blaming me for seemingly innocuous things in the relationship before and somewhat during the manic episode. I had to be very careful with myself, as at first these things were obvious to me I wasn't to blame but then I'd second guess my viewpoint and find it was taking its toll on me.

    A dis-engagement from friends, family and close loved ones can also be a trait of depression, its almost like it buys a bit of breathing space and avoids admitting that something is wrong.

    Ultimately no-one can force your husband to seek professional help unless he becomes an obvious danger to himself or others. Its a very difficult situation to be in so I'm sorry you find yourself in this.

    These are only my personal experiences but that's all I can offer I'm afraid. I hope its somewhat of a help or at least to know that you're not on your own.

    Take care of yourself and I hope things get better.

    • Posted

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience, @hobobard. Depression seems to fit what my husband has been experiencing, too, as he's texted me some really dark things since our separation and according to his mother (who calls him daily), he sleeps a lot and missed several days of work last week. It's just terrible to see someone who treated me so well seemingly turn on me in the blink of an eye, and then still seem to be in so much pain.

      I will continue to take care of myself, though. The things he said/accused me of had and still have me questioning my own reality, personality, and worth as a human being. Thank you for reminding me to prioritize my own mental health during all this.

      You take care as well, and thanks again.

  • Posted

    I am currently going through something similar and feel so lost. I hope things have gotten better for you.

    • Posted

      I hope things worked out for you, and you are in a good place now

  • Posted

    I just found your article, I'm glad you shared. I am going through the same thing. My husband of 33 years fights with me about everything, says it's all my fault. goes back 20-25 years to a story to blame me. puts me down, says he wants a divorce. my husband is a different person. His anger is off the charts. His dad and great grandfather had bipolar. My husband refuses he has anything wrong. He tells me how broken and in pain he is but only blames me for it. I don't want to leave my husband, I know he has bipolar, I want to be there for him. i am also scared to death to leave. we have been together since we were 17. he is all I know. I gave up everything to be a wife and mother. Yesterday, he screamed "I don't want you anymore".... What kind of person am I if I stay... I have lost the most wonderful man, he is not there anymore. And I am just breaking inside. i love him more than anything. He is part of my being.

    What do I believe. the sweet words of love when he is okay. or the painful words when he's not... I am so scared for him and so scared for me.

    • Posted

      I hope you are better now, I understand every word you are saying. I empathise with you

  • Posted

    Hope all of you are better now. I am going through something very similar, and on top of that my undiagnosed (and I am very sure) bipolar husband who is a doctor by training, has been hiding his mental condition for more than three years. But I am very sure now, given his cycles. My problem is he has been constantly threatening divorce since past few months (I am sure he is in some phase of his cycle) and I am on his spouse visa currently. Its making me feel very insecure, he sometimes also calls me abusive and says things like - I will make you pay, and my lawyer will take my revenge. All this makes no sense to begin with, on top on this being on spouse visa is making me feel so insecure

  • Posted

    I am sorry that you are going through. I am going through the same exact thing with my husband. When we first met he said that when he saw me, he knew I was it for him. We have gone on trips together. He recently started acting like a different person. he spend money a lot, I found out he was cheating. Now he has filed for divorce. His family and Friends are telling him that something is off to take time and get help. I am so hurt and praying.

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