I do not know “what is going on with my wife”. I have even performed Internet searches with that exact phrase. I have talked to psychologists to try to help me, but thus far, nothing I do is a help to her. Some opinions would possibly help me to understand, to know what to do, to have some peace, to know what to expect, etc.
Because of my nineteen month old son, who is a miracle, I have filed a complaint with the court seeking custody and equitable distribution. I do not want a legal separation or divorce. I do not want to be doing any of this, but I have no choice. I must secure my son and hope my wife will be forced to a point of help.
We have been married for nineteen years. She is 42 years-old. In 1999, she left for a period of about 2.5 years, but we maintained a relationship. When I threatened divorce, she begged me to be patient. She said she would get help. She began taking Paxil and came home. It was the best it had ever been.
She agreed to try to have a baby (my heart’s desire). She did everything right while pregnant (she was advised to stop Paxil). She said what a wonderful job I did in caring for her. She needed me, and it was nice to be needed. Ben arrived a month early. The delivery went fast and well, but he was in ICU for eleven days prior to coming home. My wife had PPD. She could not function. I took her back to the OB-GYN, and she was prescribed Zoloft. She could then function, but she progressively turned on me. She didn’t cry anymore. She was just mean, manipulative, and lying. She did not want me to bond with my son.
Many other things happened in her life. Her best friend divorced. Her sister was battling breast cancer. Her mother was suddenly acting strange and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her sister and mother were admitted to the same hospital on the same day. Her mother is now in an undetermined state of recovery. Her sister died. All of this was before Ben’s first birthday.
During this time, it was seemingly necessary for her to support family. She was therefore away with my son intermittently for several days at a time. She began telling me I needed to go back to my counselor. She began telling others I have a chemical imbalance. She made us an appointment with my counselor. She told me it was at 9:00 pm. I tried to reason with her, but could not. On the day of the appointment, he called after 9:00 AM looking for us. She reestablished the appointment, but didn’t tell me when it was until my alarm sounded on that day. When I asked her why she didn’t tell me, she said it was written on the calendar.
She parked her shopping cart against another vehicle, and then argued with the stranger when he complained. Her response was “I have a baby!” She caused an accident and fled the scene. She wasn’t caught, but again justified her actions by saying there was no damage, it was disturbing, they were OK, etc., etc., and “I had a baby”.
She constantly blindsided me. She made arrangements to stay in our hometown after Thanksgiving without telling me. Her best friend brought her and my son home after a few days. She acted as though nothing had happened and was intimate. Otherwise, intimacy since our son was born was rare. Prior to that it had been good.
She did not attend her sister’s Hospice memorial service after Thanksgiving. At Christmas, she made all plans without telling me. I felt it important for us to establish traditions for our son in our own home. She went to family prior to Christmas, and then asked me where I was. The list goes on and on. She would not come home with my son until I went to a psychologist. She made the appointment for “us”. The doctor talked to me, and gave her a referral. He said I do not have a problem except that I refuse to accept the fact that my marriage is in the toilet (my words, not his). He said she cannot be helped without long-term counseling. She never went to the referral.
After this appointment, she said she was leaving again to go to a consignment sale in our hometown. I told her she could go, but not to take Ben again. I told her I would go back to the attorney if she took him again. She didn’t care. I went to court, and now have temporary custody half of the time. I am concerned for Ben’s safety while out of my care. He comes back to me cut and bruised. These may be normal for a toddler, but she tries to conceal them until she is gone.
Are these actions textbook examples of PPD? There are other issues in her family I do not understand. Both her mother and her younger sister dominated everyone they could, especially their husbands. My wife has never experienced the love of her mother, and my family’s love is foreign and offensive to her. I have allowed my wife to control me over the years. Now that I am responsible for my son, I must act responsibly. I requested court-ordered psychological evaluations. This will be the first time for her, and it will be more than one meeting. I know the court doesn’t care about my marriage or my love for my wife, but I am helpless.
Will a good psychologist be able to see through her façade? I love her now more than ever, but I know she doesn’t see it. How will she ever know the pain I feel for her? How will she ever know how much I love her? I could understand death, but I cannot understand any of this. All of her stuff is in our home. All of Ben’s stuff is in our home. Things that should mean something do not. Why does she run to her childhood home? She acted as though she is seventeen again and wanted an occasional date.
She has Ben physically, but she doesn’t have him emotionally. Others, including her family, don’t have a clue what has been happening. I am therefore “psycho”. As a man and an engineer I need to be able to understand what is happening. Is this PPD, PPP, or ? Will she ever come out of it? Will she ever love me again? How can I show her love while being responsible toward my son and our finances? I hate being in the legal system trying to protect my son, help my wife, and save our marriage.
Any advice is appreciated!
1 Week Later
I am a bit uncomfortable with psychology. I do not understand it. Give me some things to measure or test! This is why I am struggling so much. I don’t want to be in court. I don’t know what is going to happen (I have made many mistakes and reacted in anger all too often). !Will my son be secure? Will my wife be helped? Will all of the external people finally see and quietly excuse themselves from my family affairs?
Still I ask, Will an in-depth evaluation of my wife (and myself) by a qualified psychologist find anything, or can she suddenly be rational? The biggest hurt has been that I have been alone in the experience, some of my family and friends say “let her go”, and some of her family and friends say I am the jerk. I don’t care about the past. She is the only wife I want, and she is the mother of my son.
2 Weeks Later
I am not faulting our OB-GYN or anyone else, but why wasn’t I told in childbirth classes, by the doctors, or by anyone, to be aware of symptoms of PPD? My wife was given something initially for PPD, but she went from helplessness to hostility. In my desperation to understand what has happened, I found “postpartumdads”. The info there best describes my experience. If she is not experiencing PPD or some other identifiable problem, I think I will be even more devastated. Certainly, the information is a help, but if I had only had it at the onset. In effect, I was fighting an enemy I could not see.
Thank you so much for taking time to “listen”. It certainly helps to know that someone understands when everything seems to be spinning out of control. Normal life issues and marriage problems take on whole new meanings with PPD (if this is truly what it is). Everything becomes fuel for the fire.
3 Weeks Later
I am still waiting for psychological evaluations with regard to custody of my son. In the meantime, I am left wondering what is happening and will happen. After more reflection and experience, I feel that PPD is likely not the culprit.
Does “postpartumdads” have any experience with borderline personality disorder? How would you differentiate between PPD and BPD? I could see how the behavior due to a disorder like BPD could go unchallenged by someone as ignorant (or perhaps spineless) as myself until stress kicks it into overdrive. A child also changes the perspective on everything. Essentially, my infant son opened my eyes to things that have been there all along. My wife’s behavior in the past wasn’t as intense as it is now, but the type of behavior really hasn’t changed. Could this be the reality for other dads who think they are dealing with PPD? If so, they need to know about resources associated with BPD (books like “Stop Walking on Eggshells” and “I Hate You! Don’t Leave Me!”).
From my perspective, PPD and BPD have the same behaviors. Is PPD really just an amplification of BPD traits?
4 Weeks Later
I heard from the court-appointed psychologist yesterday. I have an initial appointment with her on Monday. The evaluation of my family is expected to be a lengthy process. The objective at this point is to secure my son. Nevertheless, it is heartbreaking to see my wife in chaos and not be able to do a thing to help her. My wife’s treatment (or mine) is a separate issue from the custody case. This is still so frustrating. We are on a path I don’t want to be on, but I was given no choices.
Please let me know as soon as possible what your doctor friends think. I am also an engineer. Some say, “Don’t try to analyze her.” If I don’t know what is happening, how can I know what is best for her, my son, and myself? I am not studying and searching because I love the subject.
I tested the waters when my wife called to speak to my son the other day. Just under the surface, she is full of venom. She said I had better take care of him (once before, she said I had better not hurt him). I replied that I had always cared for him and her. She said that I only care about myself. In our hometown, she has started rumors that I am a “monster”, that “I beat her”, etc.
7 Months Later
Although my wife experienced PPD, there are more serious problems. The verdict is not in, but I still suspect a personality disorder. When my son arrived, my wife was no longer the center of attention. She is a master at projection, lying, and manipulation. Rather than PPD material, some men should be studying books like “People of the Lie”, “Children of the Self-Absorbed”, “Stop Walking on Eggshells”, etc. For a biblical perspective, search for “The Spirit of Jezebel”. PPD, BPD, NPD, or whatever, the recommendation is the same – save your children. Use whatever may be helpful, but don’t assume PPD is always the issue.