Thursday, July 02, 2015
Well over a year ago, I wrote in this post about something I discerned from what little my wife's family told me just before I had to take her in for a psych hold a few years back and by paying close attention to what she and a family therapist did and did not say to each other in front of me. What I had discerned is that she has been mentally ill on an ongoing basis, and, from time to time, very severe level, resulting in multiple suicide attempts and hospital stays.
I'd asked my wife about this and she continued to lie to me about it, denying her history.
Recently, while we met with with another family therapist, my wife, for the first time, explicitly recounted without details what I'd already discerned, dropping at least some of her lies.
There is flat-out no way I would have married/had kids with her if I'd known this about her before marrying or before having kids. I know a lot of people deal with mental illness and attempted suicide and people have great lives together after coming through those things. But it isn't for me, and it isn't what I wanted, and I knew I didn't want it because I had dealt with friends who had mental health problems. I made it clear before we had our first date that I wanted someone who was healthy, not constantly treating an illness.
But her attitude about it was the same as I figured her family had - it's no big deal. This is NORMAL for them. They didn't need to hide it from me the same way they didn't need to hide from me that they'd take family trips McDonald's once per week: it's normal to them, so they just didn't bother to say it. You don't make a point of telling a potential husband, son-in-law, or brother-in-law "Oh, yeah, we took regular trips to the supermarket when she was in college." That's the way they think about it. Being constantly drugged up and still needing to be hospitalized is normal to them.
It's not normal for me. It's not the way I want to live.
I was willing to make children with someone who had a physical disability that was apparently completely controlled (other than minor issues) with quarterly treatments by a doctor and a single medication. I was not willing to make children with someone who had a progressive physical disability, let alone someone with a history of dangerous mental illness. But I wasn't told. I wasn't given the option.
She said some positive things in the same therapy session that conflict with things she's previously said that that were very negative and are things you're never supposed to say to a spouse (especially a husband) if you want to stay happily married. Which is the real her? How am I to know? Maybe they both are, and she's simply unstable. We literally ran of time in the session.
The session, as well as statements my wife has made since this happened, reminded me that sometimes open, honest communication is NOT the best thing, despite so many relationship experts saying "communication" is so important. Communication can be good if you're dealing with a mentally and emotionally healthy person, not someone who is mentally ill in this way and emotionally immature. Everything I say is used against me. I'm some sort of monster for having feelings, needs, and wants, and, more importantly, wanting the kids cared for well, because after all, the poor dear is disabled. How dare I say anything at all other than "Yes, dear."?
Speaking up doesn't make things better. Keeping quiet reduces conflict and hostility. So isn't the practical thing obvious?
Provided she doesn't do Strike Three (meaning, something to hurt the kids beyond her normal level of neglect), and provided one of us doesn't die before, then the big question I'll have to decide over the next decade or so is whether or not I'm going to stay with her once the kids are raised. (I'm not going leave before then and risk her having any custody of the kids.) On the "stay together" side, off the top of my head: 1) I know it is often easier for adult children to have their parents together so as to be less trouble for things like family visits, holidays, and big occasions - but at some point, my own needs have to take priority over what my grown children want. 2) Unless I can maneuver us into moving to a better state, which is highly unlikely, the law makes it clear I'm going to have to support her for life one way or the other, so divorcing her will just mean I also have to pay two legal teams in addition to supporting her the rest of my life. 3) There's no way I'd ever remarry unless the impossible happened and some hot, young, pleasant woman with much more money than me really wanted me as a husband. So, if I were to be a good Christian, that would mean no more sex for me. At least with my wife at that age, I might get the occasional boring mercy session, but it would be something, and it would be something that was within marriage, right?
Sorry if this blog is depressing. I'm just keepin' it real.