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I think my husband suffers from a mental illness, how do I help him

Hi

I've been married for 10 years and have been putting up with my husband's (very false) accusations to me. Usually about me, my family, work colleagues, neighbours and friends. I think he has some sort of delusional or paranoid disorder and want to get some help for him, but don't know where to even start.

He sometimes seems to go into a bit of a dark mood which can last for an hour, or a day or two... where all of a sudden someone is spying on him, or someone is doing something deliberately to hurt him, or phsycologically abuse him, or play mind games with him. He thinks so many people around him for some reason are Narcissists and are all out to somehow harm him mentally or physically and play silly mind games. He somehow convinces himself that a whole series of events can only mean that something bad is happening either to him or to me. A noise he might commonly hear from the neighbours house "must" mean that they are always walking to the window and spying on him to watch his comings and goings. I can never convince him otherwise when trying to discuss other possible and very logical conclusions of certain events that he has witnessed or heard. A logical discussion rarely works. Sometimes it helps, but usually he seems to have his own narrative in his head, and he only looks for certain clues and events that support that narrative. He can't seem to see the bigger picture.

He has on multiple occasions falsely accused my family of being incestuous, simply because we are a close family. He is convinced my brother is spying on him, and frequently asks me about whether my family are trying to take me away from him. He is paranoid that they are going to talk to me and make me leave him. He is so fearful of rejection and seeks regular re-assurance from me about literally everything from do I still love him to do I support him, or do I think he has done a good job. I hardly ever get to compliment him or offer kind words off my own bat, because he is frequently asking me these questions to draw out that re-assurance from me, instead of just waiting for me to notice something or give him my gratitude or praise for something I appreciate.

He believes that all my family have a mental illness, especially my brother.... and before you make any comments about this being what everyone thinks of their in-laws, this is something well beyond just having a dislike of in-laws.

He has asked me on multiple occasions about how close I am to my brothers, father or male cousins, always seemingly trying to find some sort of evidence or clue that we are all in some sort of incestuous relationship. He is obsessed about any other male in my life, whether family or work. I constantly feel like i am being put on the witness stand with all the questions and often get asked if I am seeing anyone else, or if I have had close physical contact with another man, whether friend colleague or family.

He is always asking me who I spoke with today, how many boys I work with, are they good looking, etc etc. These are real jealous types of questions that I am often defending myself and my family, my neighbours, and even people i havent' even met.

I've given up contact with many girlfriends as he is constantly asking me questions if I ever go out anywhere, even just for coffee. Where did we go, what did we talk about, who else was there. He always asks "Who else was there?" without fail... Then he will accuse me of hiding something because he wasn't "invited", so there must be some sort of conspiracy that we are planning for me to leave him. Or he will try and make me feel guilty because if I had nothing to hide then there is no reason why he can't come along. We are after all a married couple and should therefore do everything together.

Thankfully he is not a violent person, but his mental attacks are debilitating enough. He does not take drugs or medication, but long before I met him, he had smoked marijouna for many years, so I think this has definately affected him long term.

It is so exhausting and I am at the end of my tether. I've lost all my friends and don't know where to turn.

I love him, but cannot live like this anymore.

How do you get someone the help they need when they believe everyone else around them has mental problems and can't see that they have a problem? I cannot reason with him. It always ends in arguments and tears.

6 REPLIES 6

Re: I think my husband suffers from a mental illness, how do I help him

Welcome to the forum community @KayEmms  and thank you for sharing. It sounds like you've been sitting with a lot for a long time. I hope you find the forums a helpful space.

Re: I think my husband suffers from a mental illness, how do I help him

Wow you're dealing with a lot more than you should. I am seeing a psychologist for the third time tomorrow. Not sure where you are but in NSW you can access free counseling by speaking to your GP. I organised mine in a phone appointment.

 

You definitely sound like you need it so you could maybe suggest to him that you both call your GP and go through it together. It's confronting opening up like that but it sounds like you won't be together long without you both going through it.

 

It takes a few weeks but you can get free treatment. Obviously there are many people going through tough times. Easier said than done but if you can convince your husband to open up and be honest with the psychologist, they deal with these stresses for a living.

 

Even if he isn't open to it please do it yourself. There will be many tears but you can't carry on as you are, regardless of how resilient you may be.

Re: I think my husband suffers from a mental illness, how do I help him

Hi, I'm so glad this forum is here. I'm sorry to hear what you are going through, truly. I know myself all to well it is very tough when a loved one is suffering.
What to do?
I really think support.for you is first and foremost.
Maybe U have tried talking to your GP and get some free counseling, just to check where U are at with all of what you are going through. It's very taxing and draining. Maybe U have tried a mental health plan for yourself.
Just give you a bit of head space, get things off your chest a bit.
It sounds like it could be a challenge getting him to agree to speak to someone, for me, I had to put my foot down and say I couldn't take how the relationship was going.
I insisted on counseling, luckily for me He had been to counseling before, and didn't put any resistance up.
I'm sure you have already probably tried to broach the subject, getting him to see a GP would be a good start.
Have you tried phone counseling together.
He may need alot of encouragement as most men do not like to admit they have any issues especially concerning mental health.
Is there perhaps a mutual friend you both have in common he would listen to.
Anyway, apologies if this sounds obvious ...
My main point is you probably need to get support for yourself, to get some perspective, and that's probably why your here. Maybe you have exhausted all these options, self care is the main point.
Relationship counselling by urself first and maybe he will come eventually.
Hope you find some help, and better suggestions..it's merely a starting point, take care of you and see if he is willing to work on himself and the relationship

Re: I think my husband suffers from a mental illness, how do I help him

Hi @KayEmms, welcome to the forums and thank you for reaching out. 

 

It really sounds like you've been going through a lot, and I just want to say that I hear you and am here for you with the hope of circumstances improving.

 

It sounds like your husband might be experiencing psychoses? Have a look at this resource and see if that sounds right to you. If so, though the resource is fairly long, it provides a lot of potentially helpful information which can guide you through this journey Heart

 

One of my biggest takeaways from mental health first aid (MHFA) training supporting people experiencing psychosis, is that it's important to empathise with how the person experiencing psychosis is feeling. When someone is saying that something extremely unusual or untrue is reality, it can be a natural response to say that it's untrue or ridiculous- especially if it's personally hurtful. The approach advised in MHFA training is to engage with and validate their emotional response- e.g. if they believe people are spying on them in their own home, that must be terrifying! Maybe closing the curtains/blinds would help them feel more safe to be able to talk. While their thoughts and beliefs may be about things which are not grounded in reality, their emotional responses to those are very real, as this is their lived reality. Denials of their reality are likely to increase distress further. The resource I linked above provides a lot more guidance on how to have these kinds of conversations, I do recommend having a look through.

 

Also, while your husband may be affected by mental illness and be in need support, I can also see that this is having a significant impact on you as well- so I also encourage you to seek support for yourself. A starting point could be this page under the section 'What help is available for family and friends?' Heart

 

Take care,

 

girasole 🌻

Re: I think my husband suffers from a mental illness, how do I help him

Thank you for your support and advice.

I have taken my first step now and made an appointment (for myself only at this stage) with a psychologist that has experience with psychosis and personality disorders. They can't see me til January unfortunately, but this gives me a little time to go see my GP as well and arrange a Mental Health Care Plan.

It's so nice to know other people "get it".

Thanks for taking some time out of your day to respond to me. It means a lot.

Re: I think my husband suffers from a mental illness, how do I help him

@KayEmms 

 

lots of us "get it". My problems are different to yours but it is also very hard sometimes when he can't see how irrational and unreasonable he is behaving.

 

This is a wonderful place to vent.

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