With my divorce, it was more accurate to say there’s her side, his side, the kids side and then somewhere balanced in the middle is the truth. I’ve mentioned before our divorce was acrimonious, violent and abusive in almost every possible way. Our divorce has been final 5 years. We should both be moving on, right? His bipolar disorder keeps that from happening for him.
The kid’s dad has adult onset bipolar disorder; not a fun mental illness. It literally tears families apart. He has been in a severe manic episode for the last few weeks. He has been exercising excessively, has lost 35 -40lbs in three weeks (he only needed to lose 10lbs), is refusing to eat, only drinks water, has uncontrollable constant tremors in all of his limbs, we are in the height of summer so our heat index runs 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and he continues to work by himself, climbing cell phone and water towers. He is apathetic and makes suicidal/self-harming comments on a regular basis.
Because of his mood, I have deliberately been in contact with him more than I normally would. I need to make sure he isn’t going to harm our children or himself. Due to the extra contact we have had several lengthy conversations, using the word “conversation” loosely. Those conversations revealed his perspective on several things that hurt me and make me hurt for him. He is hanging onto all his anger, bitterness and pain.
We were on the phone, he was screaming and wanted to go back through our 16 years of marriage and the entire divorce process, one of the things he said “I had nowhere to go; you kicked me out of my home, that shitty judge threw me out of my home, I was homeless. I had to beg someone to take me in” I was completely shocked by those statements.
He moved out of the marital home and into an apartment the week the divorce was final. I pushed a little in the conversation; I reminded him he had moved to an apartment from the home. He replied “no before that when you and that suck a## judge threw me out of my home.” I asked him what he was talking about; he replied “I can’t believe you don’t remember kicking me out and making me absolutely devoid of anything. The kids stayed in the house and you and I had to switch off weeks. I was homeless”. A light went on in my head, oh you mean the months when the judge said the best thing for our kids was to have some stability and they would reside in the marital home and you and I would rotate in and out for the good of our children? He replied “That’s not how it happened, you had the judge in your pocket all along, and you made her kick me out”.
The interesting thing is how widely different our perspective is on the situation we both lived through. We were both told to vacate the marital home every other week. We were both given the same rules and expectations on how to care for the marital home and leave it for the next adult coming into the home. We split the house payment and utilities which saved him a tremendous amount of money and cost me a tremendous amount because I was also paying for an apartment. I viewed it as a difficult (for me) situation but was grateful the judge looked outside the normal box and ordered a solution she believed to be the best option for our children. He views it as a personal attack by me, the judge and my lawyer. He cannot see that it had nothing to do with him or with me; it was all about our kids. It was court ordered “birds nest custody, nothing less, nothing more.
The second situation where our perspectives are so widely varied occurred Monday evening when he stopped by the house. We were outside talking about one of our kids, I asked him about his health. I asked him about the extreme weight-loss and the excessive trembling. He put me off, I asked again later. Asked him if he had seen a doctor about any of those symptoms. He replied “seriously? You are going to ask me about my health when you kicked me off your insurance? How am I supposed to go to a doctor when I don’t have health insurance, haven’t had it for years”.
I was quiet while I contemplated a peaceful reply, I finally suggested he go see a doctor and told him the names of two who are inexpensive and who would allow him to make payments. I didn’t mention that they also both accept the Medicare/Medicaid policy he had when we divorced. When our divorce was finalized I deliberately kept him on my insurance policy for months until my employer told me I had to remove him because he was no longer one of my dependents. At the time our divorce was finalized, he had insurance; his premium was much less than my premium. I have kept our kids insured since they were born and continue to keep them on my insurance even though the court order says it is his responsibility to ensure they are covered.
His perspective on these situations revealed he really hasn’t even started the healing process and that breaks my heart. We both filed for divorce, neither one of us wanted to stay married. However even the most innocent acts (like him finally dropping off my coverage) is viewed as a personal attack against him. His paranoia is scary when he is manic and this latest manic episode is off the charts.
I struggled after he left my home Monday night. I had been thinking about a safe way to let his mom know I am concerned about him, I finally called her. It was an interesting conversation, but she was open to what I needed to share about him. I kept the conversation focused on his physical issues, I didn’t go into any detail on his mental health except to tell her he was apathetic and mentions suicidal tendencies. She immediately called him and told him I had called her, which resulted in him calling our daughter at work and screaming at her because “your ________ ____________ mom can’t mind her own business, I can’t believe she called my mother”.
I knew it was a gamble when I made the decision to call her, however if he has something serious wrong or truly is suicidal I would be overwhelmed with guilt if something happened to him. He is the father of our children, we did have good times and we spent 16 years together. I don’t wish him ill at all.
Hopefully someone will be able to talk him into seeing a therapist or counselor to aid him in the healing process. Maybe someday his perspective will change but for now the kids and I continue to take the high road, carefully evaluate the possible ramifications for each of our decisions and go on with our lives as best we can.
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- The Crazy Making Ex: Bends, Twists, and Projections
- What Role Do Mental Health Professionals Play In Divorce?