Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
After researching many mental illness', I'm convinced that (Possibly amongst other things) that my wife suffers from paranoid personality disorder. It is a fact that she was diagnosed with dysthymia while in med school (which she never shared with me, I found out by accident a couple months ago) and she now believes that was only temporary and due to med school stress (she never continued treatment beyond the month she was diagnosed). If you read through my thread here, you will see that my wife and I are going through an 'in house' separation while waiting out the legal divorce process. My wife now sleeps in the childrens room for about 8 months now. Our oldest of the 2 daughters is nearly 3 years old and often wants 'to sleep in daddys bed'. My wife hates this. She will allow this only to avoid the confrontation that my daughter will put up if she tries to resisit, but my wife will wait until my daughter falls asleep with me, and then come into my room to take my daughter back to bed with her. I've asked my wife about this and she replied that she thinks its age inappropriate for a daughter to sleep with her father. Mind you, this is not a situation where I say "its time for bed" and then tuck my daughter into my bed...it is more at the daughters request to sleep in daddys bed from time to time (as her bed is now officially "mommy and daughter bed)'. When I mentioned that her own parents claimed she slept with them until she was 7, her response was 'that was different because it was with both parents'.
So, keep in mind, my wife claims her mother is undiagnosed bi-polar, both parents are very devoted lds mormons and tried to insist on such lifestyles growing up (note they are african american, which is rare in the lds and had place additional childhood pressures according to her brothers). Her only sister had her first child at 17 and 3 more by the time she was 27 all with the same man who she is not married to and they live together in her mother-inlaws section 8 home across the street from the mother-inlaw. And both of my wifes younger brothers have been incarcerated and spent time in mental health facilities due to diagnosed mental disorders including schizophrenia. One brother is gay (he may argue he is bi) and has been diagnosed with hiv.
So, my question is what 'really' is the underlying concern of my wifes when it comes to my daughters sleeping request? Does my wife truly have a moral concern or could this be deeper, and if so how can I go deeper? With all things considered, I'm now starting to wonder if sexual abuse existed in her childhood. Her family is very secretive (but so is the lds way of life in some manners). And, on many occasions, my wife has made bizarre comments like "I think someone (at the nursery) may have broke her hyman", and "she has a bad rash that looks like someone stuck their finger in here anus", and has commented on the manner that my daughter may have sat on my lap or givin me a hug (ie she's only 3 feet tall and a hug might put her face near my private area. My concern is I would never be able to prove she is mentally incapable of raising our daughter and sincerely XXXXX XXXXX believe she'd be the worse mother in the world. But, I do have reason to believe that her issues could impose on our daughter in a negative way if we cannot address moms issues.
I can understand your concern about your wifes behavior and your fear that she acts this way when your daughter expresses affection. Her behavior indicates that yes she may have been sexually abused as a child.
It would be hard to convince her that you daughter in not in danger from preditors. I agree with Doc that going to therapy for yourself can help you deal with the divorce and your wives behavior.
I think your wife may not have paranoid personality disorder. If she was sexual abused in childhood she may see the world from her experience and think this way. She is hyper sensitive and fears that sexual abuse can happen to her daughters also.
Maybe it time to not focus on her but on how you can help your children. If they come up with ideas like that you can tell them that you do not believe that. You do not want them to think that the world is a terrible place. Don't say anything negative about their mother. Good luck, and let me know how it goes.
If you want to talk to me, in addition to requesting me put this is for Penny in the question.
This is for Penny...
Penny said: I agree with Doc that going to therapy for yourself can help you deal with the divorce and your wives behavior. My response: I agree and I'm going to look into counseling this week.
Penny said: I think your wife may not have paranoid personality disorder. My response: I mention this because there is significant evidence to this that I have not put into this thread. I have been studying mental illness/personality disorders substantially for months now, and was shocked when I learned of PPD and how 'exact' the symptoms are to my wife. For example (just to take the top symptoms from WebMD):
Penny wrote: Maybe it time to not focus on her but on how you can help your children. My Response: I am trying, but currently it is a challenge separating my childrens needs with my wife's issues/actions. Hopefully counseling will help, as well as the eventual separation.
Penny wrote: If they come up with ideas like that you can tell them that you do not believe that. You do not want them to think that the world is a terrible place. My Response: Perhaps I was misunderstood, my daughter never eludes to misconduct at her school or otherwise. This is my wife's doing only (e.g. vaginal area is red, so she asks "Did your teacher stick her finger in your pee-pee?")
Penny wrote: Don't say anything negative about their mother. My Response: I never have said anything negative to the girls. On occasion during a verbal altercation with my wife, I have slipped 'crazy' or 'sick'...and this is not justification, but I have received much worse from my wife in front of the children.
Sorry about all that you are going through. It is very difficult to know what to do, and it seams that you are doing a good job trying to navigate the situation.
I am not sure that you can stop your daugther from doing some damage to your daughter due to her paranoia. You can only put your own possitive spin on things and hope that this will balance the negative out.
I am not sure if you ex is open to attending parenting classes with you, or open to conversation. I don't think you need parenting classess but I wonder if she would change her tune if she hears this from a parenting expert. Some couples also go to couples therapy even when they are going through divorce. This helps to break up in a friendly way and to talk about how to co-parent.
I know she is not a logical person, but I think everyone can change and learn. The paranoid personality disorder develops because of someones experiences and can improve with therapy.
I hope this can help. I think you are doing a great job with a very difficult time of your children's and your life.