View Full Version : mmm, I have a problem, maybe you

Bob Lenahan
20th May 2013, 01:11
have an idea or two--
I'm 70, some med problems I don't see as really serious- taking some meds and in treatment- the usual- blood pressure, lipids, low thyroids, etc. Feel the aches and pains associated with my age and of course physically, and mentally, tired- especially physically. Got a late start in this department in that my wife is 41, we have a boy in his last year of college and a girl in her last year of high school.
About last summer I was telling my wife that my working days were coming to an end, and she needed to get something going for income for the family. She has done different thing off and on, but not much consistently, bringing in enough money for basic "survival", at best. My number one goal is to get our boy thru college. This is one problem.
Other problem- her. She has become on an irregular basis, rather psychotic. Not really psychotic (neurotic?), but she displays very real personality disorders. It appears that she cannot handle any type of stress. For a number of years, I've tried different ways to get her into some type of therapy, but she absolutely refuses. Now, her problems are obvious to me. The only way I see to deal with her is to treat her as a child, doing nothing to cause any type of "disruption" in her life. Make it as easy as possible. However, I don't know if that is a realistic expectation.

So, here's where I'm at. Should I get both the kids together- he's 20 and she's 17- and tell them that we have a serious money problem and I have no solution, and that I really believe based on her actions that their mother is suffering from a personality disorder that makes her unable to cope with reality, causing a number of problems?
The idea is to level with them, so they are openly aware. Maybe they have some ideas. Or because of their ages, will that cause them problems? Supose I tell our boy he has to go to work- work and college???
I'm open to hearing your ideas on the matter. I'm thinking about having the "meeting" this coming Saturday.

20th May 2013, 01:21
Get her to a therapist and/or psychiatrist. These are common problems dealt with prescription drugs. I know lots of people who have the same issue but it is managed now.

20th May 2013, 01:23

Sorry to hear.

Firstly, at this stage don't get the kids involved, especially the girl
in the last year of high school - which probably means exams ????

Secondly, have you a 2nd and 3rd opinion as to your wife.
ie Friends, other family ?

Thirdly, do you think depression involved ?

I know someone similar who ended up on Anti-D's and it
worked wonders at leveling her out. Somehow this needs
to be considered but might need to be sold as medical not
therapy if your wife can take that line.

I'll come back later.

20th May 2013, 03:19
Work and college together isn't so bad. That's how I did it, working enough to pay my bills. I think I came out stronger for it. I chose a low cost university, and hustled every dollar I could get my hands on. I think it was good for me to go through it that way.

You might take one less course and take an extra year to graduate, but at the end you know you did it yourself. My dad didn't have much, but the few times I got desperate, as in unable to pay tuition, he came through. I knew, though, that he was only the backstop. I had to do it. And did. I've always been proud of that.

If your kid does it that way, he'll be proud of it, too. And so will you.

Loose rivets
20th May 2013, 05:54
Mmm . . . some parallels.

You know, if you get up in the morning, and the aches and pains are not too bad, it's as though someone's just given you a million dollars. This old-age thing is a drag, but out and out pain brings life as you know it to a grinding halt.

Have a look at having become allergic to wheat or some such. I spent three years getting worse with no idea what was happening. Gluten free diet, and my life changed. Worth a thought.

Mind you, it didn't alter this transmogrification women undergo. That can be a b:mad:d. Trouble is, us blokes are always at fault.

It seems huge personality changes are often deemed normal. I find this hard to understand, but certainly financial worries are a heavy burden 24/7, and that alone takes its toll.

Income? I vaguely remember income.

Milo Minderbinder
20th May 2013, 09:08
You have to be honest with the kids
If you're not, then you stand a chance of pissing them off and losing them. They have to understand whats wrong with their mother and adapt to it. Hiding the matter just delays the inevitable - but maybe to a point where you can't control the reaction.
She's ill. Its not fair on anyone to hide the fact.

Alloa Akbar
20th May 2013, 09:19

has the wife become used to a certain lifestyle, and now faced with putting in some effort, is finding it hard to cope / come up with ideas?

My Ex (OK I am a lot younger than you) was cast in a similar mould, we ended up divorcing, but I always used to say, when times were tough, she was useless. Never able to manage a problem as a team, only ever resorting to screaming, shouting and sulking until she got her way.. which invariably left is in even worse shape. My Ex's problems were, I am certain, depression, started when our eldest was born and through years of denial, simply got worse. Today, she is single, and still nuts. I am convinced that with some support from her family, and medical help, then we might still be married.

I wouldn't involve the kids, that could backfire.. I concur with above posts, has anyone else noticed her behavior? All of my friends openly recognized that my ex was nuts..

20th May 2013, 09:21
I'd be honest with the kids, too, even if it hasn't been the 'routine' before. After all, the birth year is something one can't change and no-one gets any younger nor healthier. Generally.
As for the wife - if she does not listen to you - is there any friend she trusts? Discussing matters with the one (if there's any) could help.
I personally found Littauer's "Personality Plus" very helpful in understanding my husband (somewhat, of course! :E).

P.S Alloa - what do you mean, involving the kids could backfire? Involving about health or economic issues? They have to face the facts of life one day, don't they?

20th May 2013, 09:59
It is a gamble telling the kids. It's entirely possible that they've noticed something and discussed it among themselves. So they might be relieved to realise you noticed it too.

On the other hand, they may be oblivious and it will be a shock for them. After all we tend to see our own family as 'normal'. So any erratic behaviour will be seen as simply some kind of personality trait.

As I see it there are one of two reactions in that scenario. They may take it on board and join with you in trying to help or they may reject your suggestion that their Mother is psychotic or neurotic and close ranks around her with you as the bad guy in all this. No child at whatever age wants to think of their parents like that particularly if they've been sheltered from reality all along.

I think only you can judge their character and possible reactions. My own approach would be start off telling then you're worried about their Mother and bring them on board by asking if they noticed anything about her behaviour. If you get a flat outright rejection, you'll know you have a problem. I would back off then but you will have planted the seed in their head and they will be now looking at her if only to prove you wrong. But once you've opened their eyes, they may come around.

On the other hand if you find them open to the suggestion and willing to accept your premise. I would still not drop the nuclear bomb on them immediately and tell them what you told us. Stripping away all the illusions in one fell swoop would be a bit cruel.

It's a tricky one because there's no right answer but lots of wrong answers.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Noah Zark.
20th May 2013, 10:07
At your wife's age, hormone replacement therapy might be the solution. I faced a very similar situation with regards to my wifes mood swings, at times becoming very irrational, argumentative, and just generally stubborn.
My daughters were becoming upset and a little frightened of their mother's behaviour, so I went to the family doctor and discussed the situation, and she said it might well be the answer.
Fortunately for us, it was. But, broaching the subject with my wife nearly cost us a new roof, because she almost went through it when she realised I had "been behind her back to see the doctor".
Good luck!

Alloa Akbar
20th May 2013, 10:45
Probes - I was more thinking along the lines of them reacting badly to the suggestion that mum is in need of some psychiatric help..:uhoh:

20th May 2013, 12:06
It's a very difficult situation to comment on, you can only read the comments and see if any apply to your situation.

I think it may be better to do a bit more before involving the kids, you probably don't yet have the answers they would expect.

Regarding your wife's attitude, there could be other reasons for her behaviour.

For instance, if she was a Filipina (my wife is) a lot could be due to pride and fear of losing face. I have seen the same attitudes in others as well.

It sounds as if she has had a fairly comfortable life to now, and felt secure. Maybe she also fears losing you and the kids. Could well have a lot of the same fears as yourself.

If she went to work, how much would she have to bring in to survive? (not looking for an actual answer) Could she do it with a part time job she could enjoy, or would she have to work her butt off (again, asking the question, but not wanting the answer) There are many things that could be worrying her, that probably don't need to.

Possibly if you wrote down all the figures, and what you could adjust etc., it would clarify it for you, and make a basis for discussion. When it comes to time to speak to the kids, written facts are far more solid than words, and easier to look at and have constructive thoughts.

20th May 2013, 12:58
Bob Lenahan:

You wrote that your wife is 41 years old? I know it might be a bit early in her life but did it occur to you that she might be exhibiting symptoms of peri-Menopause? Some women cruise through the "change in life" quite nicely. Others become, um... er... witch-like. (To word it nicely.) And, for others, there is both.

cockney steve
20th May 2013, 13:35
I'm with NZ, AA and RGB1..... Hormones have a massive effect on a woman "on the change"...In the case of my Ex- it was total denial, then we had a stable period when she went on HRT, until she unilaterally decided she knew better than her doctor and she was "too old to keep taking that stuff" We parted within a year.

I think you should appraise your children of the economic truths of life- "shielding" them is , of itself a form of denial. Mine were all aware that we didn't have a magic money-bush, finite finances meant making choices and marketing-hype had to be viewed rationally.

They understood that "budget-price" did not necessarily mean inferior.

there are no special "budget " cows to make "budget" butter No "budget " orange-groves " etc. -They could spend 100 on a pair of trainers WITH "the logo" or a similar pair for 20 plus a weeks' shopping and utilities.
They have all grown into responsible, well-employed adults. As very young teenagers, there was some resentment that dad didn't splash the cash like their schoolfriends' parents dod....but as they grew up.....

At University, many of their peers were totally shocked by the reality of Adult life, unable to cope, the dropout rate during the first year was well into double figures, percentage-wise.
Be honest about the finances, likewise ,regarding your FEARS about their mother....but tread gently with that!

Best of luck.

Bob Lenahan
20th May 2013, 18:06
Well, I have read all of your responses, carefully. Everything I've read seems to me to be very valid, useful info- your ideas, your questions, etc. And, thank you all very much- your help has been substancial.
My boy is very level headed and quite intelligent. My concern is bothering him on an emotional basis. I have no qualms about my way of raising him, however, in that, I did not push him into doing things he did not want to do, which, in retrospect, may very well have been an error- but you do the best you can, and we all have survived- in spite of our parents (mistakes). I have spoken with him. He sees that there are some things with her that are not quite right. He is close to, and in general, supports his mom. He recognizes he should go to work. We have discussed that before. He has been in contact with a company that would be very good for his career- if they decide to hire him. I hope I'm not digressing...
Talking to her from a medical point of view could very well be the answer- thank you for that. "Change of life" also. If her problem is stress, that would come out in talking with the professionals.
That's about all I can say for now- and thanks again.

20th May 2013, 18:16

Good to hear what you have done so far.

Re "talking to her from a medical perspective" is one thing
but you will need to think through how, after hopefully
accepts this you can get her to a doctor and get her to
talk to a doctor. That can be the hardest part and is
needed for them to prescribe whatever they decide.

Good luck with it all.

20th May 2013, 18:20
Bob Lenahan wrote:

My boy is very level headed and quite intelligent. My concern is bothering him on an emotional basis.

As a parent myself I've learned over the years that leveling with your offspring is best and trying to shield them from the sometimes brutal nature of reality is a disservice. But that's just my opinion.

Good luck to you sir. I'm sure you and your family will work it out.

20th May 2013, 18:36
Stay strong and you'll get through. I just wonder about two aspects:

- How does Mrs react when contradicted? If she throws pots/destroys things you have less chance of persuading her to see a Dr.

- Would a 'meeting' with the two kids be seen as a conspiracy behind her back? "The three of you want to send me to the asylum".

20th May 2013, 19:32
Bob, I definately feel your pain. Had a similar issue with my ex, and it was of the of the most difficult challenges I ever faced.

Everything I tried seemed to backfire; she felt everything was a conspiracy and kept trying to put the blame on me. After 5 years trying to get her help, even trying to use leverage to get her help, did not work. She did go to a few therapy sessions though as she had not bought into the need for it, nothing happened, and the sessions stopped.

Looking back, I had used my love for her, and the commitment to our wedding vows to stick around, and help her, though in the end it probably did me more harm than her good.

My advice to you, is make a plan, a difficult choice, with two paths. One with her in the picture, one without, both with a financial plan.

It seems horrible to think about money in times like this, though it is a major fact of life, and if she is not part of the team, you need to protect yourself and your children as without it things potentially get a lot worse.

IMO, once you have done that, and it may take some time to get a sure footing, you need to confront her and lay out her options, with a strict time frame.

You need to decide what the goals are, and that they are being achieved.

If she is not making changes, meaningful changes to address anything, and not just one goal, a series of ongoing goals, I'd suggest you then look out for yourself and kids, and evaluate some difficult choices.

It's one thing to love and care for someone, especially someone you have been together with for a long time, and have kids with, and wanting to help them. It's another thing to let them take you down with them.

In otherwords, the best advice I can give you, is to try and resolve this, one way or another, in as quick a timeframe as possible. If she wont accept your plan for help, you need to have your exit plan ready, for your own health.

20th May 2013, 20:30
Interestingly, talk of menopause has stirred some memories. I remember my Mother going through it. She had a tough time and my Father never really understood. As the eldest a lot of it fell on me. I never understood what was going on. I remember her almost collapsing with a hot flush while out shopping with her. Scary for a 12 year boy.

My wife is in her late forties now, she herself has suggested she might be in the early stages of menopause because of certain issues and uncharacteristic behaviour. She is in fact a medical scientist so has a certain objective attitude that many women might lack.

Nevertheless I would reject the notion that women are prey to their hormones. It's a rather old fashioned view.

41 is very young though if not unheard of. But worth exploring. Perhaps it's worth bringing that to her. But leave it open ended.

I do think in the modern age we have been influenced by the soap opera effect. By their nature they have a beginning, a middle and end. A resolution where the central character recognises the problem and moves to resolve it in a couple of episodes.

That's not how life works. I fear this may be a long and difficult situation.

Bob Lenahan
20th May 2013, 22:48
Well, more good ideas, more things to think about. I hear your opinions about the kids, and they are all pretty much in line with what I think. It's interesting, but the support I get from all of you is really great. Due to things that are going on, I plan to talk to her again about it Wed or Thur. Plan A, Plan B, always a good strategy. I like the "captain" part. But I also like everything said here.

21st May 2013, 02:05
"It's a tricky one because there's no right answer but lots of wrong answers."

And without all the information including what factors are involved,
medical, mental, hormonal, environmental etc, it is very hard to provide

I agree though, the posts on here are good and I think the OP
is going about it the right way :ok:

21st May 2013, 04:53
I believe kids should be exercised on looking out to world and trying really "see" what is out there on their own. Therefore I leave "clues" around for my daughter to pick up and make her to follow a trail.
yep, but probably one has to see the clues are actually followed? Also it depends on the personality. And if it's something inevitable, it's better to discuss things before it all blows up.

A friend of mine always says "without pressure there's no counter-pressure" - does she see any problem at all? Maybe she's been feeling 'pushed' and is busy just fighting back, so if you stopped that, she could think things over?
Unless it's just medical, of course. Or compulsive.

P.S which reminds me - I should set up a club of 'compulsive knitting' these days :) - happens when there's too much to do and feels like grabbing any yarn and starting knitting. Just anything.