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Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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I am seeking advice. I am currently seperated from my husband.

Resolved Question:

I am seeking advice. I am currently seperated from my husband. He is a survivor of a very serious traumatic briain injury due to a car accident 6 years ago. We were together at the time and married 4 years after the accident. We have been married for 3 years. Since we got married his entire personality has changed. He is not motivated to do anything, he has become an addict stemming from many years of pain killers he needed following the accident and is also an alcoholic. He has been diagnosed as bipolar and has been in and out of hospitals and rehab facilities for the past 6 months. We have no children and don't own a home. Recently, he has also gotten into some legal troubles from his drinking

I care deeply for him but am beginning to resent him. I want a good life for myself. I wanted to believe for so long that if he got the help he needed and followed through with a treatment plan things could get better. I am strongly beginning to doubt that though. I know he doesn't want a divorce but I'm unsure if it's because of his love for me, or that I always try and "fix" him. I should add he has no family or strong support system other than myself and my family.

I am leaning towards divorce but also feel so guilty doing it. I realize he is sick but should his illnesses keep me from true happiness?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Jean replied 1 year ago.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, I'm available to assist you. Welcome!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I'm sorry for your struggle in your marriage.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You lost the husband you fell in love with and married six years ago- he's a changed man.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

These six years have been filled with mostly challenges for you, it sounds like.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I get the sense that the of guilt you are experiencing is because you have been nothing but a very giving person- done your absolute best to work through this.

Customer:

Yes, that is correct. He and I were only dating at the time of his accident. The following 2 years were hard but there was an incredible love we had for one another. He was recovering and we were growing together. It seems the change has taken place since we got married

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Are you able to join me for a live chat?

Customer:

yes

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Thank you for joining me!

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You are quite powerless when addiction plays a role in this.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You sound like you have been a caregiver for so long- it comes natural for you- kind and caring person.

Customer:

yes that is correct

Jean N/20pluscounts :

How did the counseling go?

Customer:

it went well but that was at the start of his addiction. After a few months of counseling the counselor said she couldn't help us any more until he got help for his addiction. Shortly after that he went to rehab for the first time

Customer:

He did well immediately following rehab and things seemed good, then he relapsed a few times. Went back to rehab and has been in and out of psych hospitals.

Customer:

he is currently in treatment again. This time it is expected to be for much longer. Which he needs. I am just not sure if I can or want to go through these cycles again

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Does he seem motivated to try and get the help he needs? Yes help and treatment for addiction must come first. You are talking about a neurological change- that's a difficult thing- can not reverse it.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If you are looking at divorce, now may be the time, when he has the support of the treatment program- He may qualify for community support such as a group home.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It's important for you to take care of yourself- you have likely lost a lot of yourself in this. If taking care of yourself means divorce- may need to happen.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Unless he's willing and "able" to get the treatment he needs, as difficult as it is, for your own emotional health you may need to remove yourself. This is so painful- going back several years when he had the car accident. People go through the grief and loss process when such a significant change happens with a person- a personality change.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You want a good life for yourself- and you deserve a good life for yourself. Can you have that in your current relationship- that's where the resentment comes in.

Customer: Yes I know this and it makes it even harder as it isn't even his fault. It just upsets me so much since in the years immediately following his accident it didn't seem as bad. We were very happy. It was as if we got married and his entire personality changed
Jean N/20pluscounts :

It sounds like the addiction has become the main challenge currently. Those who love an addict, are hurt as much, if not more-than the addicted- being so helpless and powerless in all of this. The addict is numbing out and avoiding most of their emotions and problems. The loved one is "feeling" and "dealing" with it all.

Customer: Exactly
Customer: I do want a good and happy life for myself. I guess just accepting that it won't be with him is hardest. It's truly all I've wanted for years
Jean N/20pluscounts :

Sometimes the "switch" is flipped when couples marry- a change- it's intriguing. Have you attended Alanon at all? The support group for those who love an addict. You had lots of hopes and plans with this man- loss- that's grief, like a death.

Customer: I've tried it but didn't really connect the group most local to me was mainly parents suffering with their children's addictions. I am seeing a counselor on my own though weekly. I just couldn't wait until my appointment this week to get this all off my chest. When I found your site I jumped at it
Jean N/20pluscounts :

There are support programs out there for traumatic brain injury. He's where he needs to be for now- he needs much more treatment and structure than what you can provide- what can be provided in the home. I'm glad you jumped and posted-

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You have a lot on your chest- such mixed emotions- guilt is the most difficult- beating yourself up-

Customer: Yes it is.
Customer: He used to attend a program for tbi survivors. He seemed so well there compared to the other survivors that he felt guilt for even going and the therapies and activities he had there were for people far less functioning than himself.
Customer: I do agree though that he is where he needs to be
Jean N/20pluscounts :

Good to hear you are doing the weekly counseling- getting the support you need and deserve. In times like this we often say one needs support, support, support... You need others to talk to, help you sort this out. Process the many layers of the hurt and pain- loss. Having those cognitive abilities may make him more aware of the change in himself- numb it with the drugs and alcohol.

Customer: Yes that's exactly what he does.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

Even though this has led to lots of trauma, trouble, and upset, it has now led to getting more help, more intensive help for himself.

Customer: True, which makes the divorce even harder. I keep thinking what if this time he " gets it". Them I bring myself down to earth and think what if he doesn't. I suffer more...
Jean N/20pluscounts :

You don't need to make a decision for or against regarding divorce right now- you have the time you need to see how things work out, this time. I am hearing you say you are "tired" and worn out from the trying, over and over.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes, how many times does that loved one say "maybe this time" only to be hurt and let down again.

Customer: That's what I believe I'm doing. Separating for now and taking it day by day.
Customer: Yes, I realize I can't go through the heart ache of a relapse again and am not confident I don't think ill ever be 100% confident that it won't.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

There are lots of roller coaster emotions going on- that's the stuff you will have to sort through in your therapy- you are right where you need to be too!! A therapist is someone unbiased to guide and assist you. Day by day, one day at a time- the best motto for life overall. For today you are doing all you can- and taking more care of yourself. As you get stronger some of this will become more clear.

Customer: Thank you very much. Your advice has been very helpful. I'm glad I found this site
Jean N/20pluscounts :

Addiction is most difficult. I've heard a saying that when an addict dies, the addiction dies after- meaning it has such a hold on the person- so strong.

Customer: It is.
Jean N/20pluscounts :

I'm glad you found us too- keep us in mind in the future- can request myself by starting a question with for "Jean N/20 plus counts". Thank you for posting today.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

What you are feeling is normal and you need to be validated for that.

Customer: Thank you. I feel better just having talked about it a little and will gladly rate your service with the highest marks possible
Jean N/20pluscounts :

Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with me.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Great- glad I could help a bit!!

Customer: You're welcome. Have a nice day
Jean N/20pluscounts :

You too, take care!

Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience: Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
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  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
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