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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5095
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My wife after 13 years of marriage told me she wasnt happy

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My wife after 13 years of marriage told me she wasn't happy and wanted to leave. I found out she was having an affair over the internet. I knew somthing was wrong because of changes in mood and behavior but her actually doing it would never have crossed any of her family friends or my mind. We were the couple every one said they wanted to be like. Open and honest to each other and always had each other's backs. I found out the "guy" on the other end was a scam artist who is just after money which my wife admitted giving him. This was a popular romance scam involving people posing as army soldiers playing on emotion and there "situation" to get money. If you google search army romance scams you can read the "blueprint" and my wife's scammer followed it perfectly. I convinced her it was a scam and she understood and broke contact. A few weeks later he wormed his way back in and things took off again. Every time he is supposed to come here to meet her there is a problem or an illness that prevents him from coming. Yet she is totally sucked into that "reality" and believes 100% that he is coming to sweep her of her feet and marry her. She is not showing any other signs of deliution meaning living her life normally with friends and myself until she moves out for our seperation. She has been diagnosed bipolar2 and her friends tell me she is very emotional and cries when she does things like buy towels for her new place or somthing makes her see how hard it is to be on her own. She says she loves me but is not in love with me. I know she's lying because when we are together I can tell beyond a shadow of a doubt that she has to make a concuous effort to keep me at an emotional distance. Every now and then when I'm playful just to make her understand that I don't want her to go she will forget and start playing back then realizes her mistake and acts like she not interested. She had a breast correction sugery a year ago and has lost a lot of weight and her self confidence is through the roof because every Facebook picture she has posted in the last year has 8-15 comments of her friends saying you look great, haven't looked like that in years, and your are so beautiful I almost didn't recognize the picture. She is even getting more attention in public places with people noticing and talking to her. She has lost 80 pounds and it's not that her breasts or any bigger they are just correctly formed now. That was somthing she was always self concuous about. My question is with the background is it possible that believing so unconditionally in this scam could be a result of some kind of mental disturbance. We have proven that it is a scam beyond a showdown of a doubt. Could she be living some fantasy life in her head. And is there a name for it. We start counseling soon for our seperation and I would like to let the person know what is going on. At this point I am willing to sacrifice my marriage just to know she is getting the help she needs. I don't want to lose her but I will if it means she gets help.
Thanks,
Kevin
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

Give me a couple minutes to read over your question more carefully so that I can better assist you

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that your wife and yourself are going through this, I can understand why you would be worried for her

Dr. Z :

Since you have confirmed that it is a scam this "army romance" and she agreed, but yet still pursues could mean a possible variety of possible mental health disorders.

Dr. Z :

The first that comes to mind is a Delusional Disorder where she believes in something so strongly that no matter what evidence you prove to contrary she will just dismiss or not care about the irrefutable evidence

Dr. Z :

Delusional Disorder can occur throughout someone's life time and we are not entirely sure of the cause of them, but we believe there is a genetic susceptibility

Dr. Z :

The other possibility for her issues is Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) where she is very focused on her outward looks and also believes relationships are more intimate then they really are, which leads to be more influenced by these types of scams, that you described

Customer: Like what she is perfectly normal in every other aspect except for wanting to distance herself from me emotionally and slightly physically. There no sex but we still talk and hold hand. She still cooks and runs the errands. Her family does have a history of mental illness
Dr. Z :

I believe that your wife fits the criteria of HPD more as she has exhibited a variety of symptoms for this disorder

Dr. Z :

Well individuals with both disorders can appear normal to others, but deep down inside they have these issues going on. The strong emotional displays that she exhibits fits HPD very well

Customer: What can I do we did get her to talk to the doctor who did her sugery and he set up our counseling and prescribed her medication but she won't take it
Dr. Z :

Well typically medication does not work, there is some possibility that an antipsychotic medication can help her see reality better and the objective evidence that you explained, but it does not always work. The best treatment for an individual with a personality disorder is intensive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which she would have to be willing and motivated to do, which that does not appear to be the case her since she does not believe that she has a problem

Dr. Z :

Her treatment cannot be forced because she is not a danger to herself or others, and she is not gravely disabled, so she has to be willing to seek treatment voluntarily

Customer: Just so you know I don't hate my wife for this. We don't fight or argue it is emotional but not bitter. She doesn't know that I know she started talking to him again because at this point all I can do is let her move out for the seperation and realize the problem on her own without a safety net "me" to shock her into thinking about the situation rationally. If I tell her I know she is talking to him again and want her to stop I don't know how she would react but I do know she would shut down any effort made to get her help because she doesn't think it a problem and she would then just freeze me out and I couldn't moniter the situation and make sure she doesn't get hurt. At this time I can tell you the guy will never come. I found the real soldier and know where the scMmer gets all his material he shows her form. The real guy has even told her himself it's a scam and she rationalized it to he must be the guy after he found her again. That contact with her was made on Facebook not by phone. I have the real guys phone number. And have thought about calling him to actually speak to her to tell her he is in the states not in Nigeria where all the money goes to. I just don't know what to do
Dr. Z :

Yeah I actually just googled these scams you mentioned because I have heard of them, but never knew a lot of details about them. I am so sorry that you wife is doing this which will hurt her mental health in the end when she does realize that is a true scam and also how she is hurting your marriage. You are doing the right thing by not bringing it up as that will cause her to distance herself from you, I think letting the therapist know about this behavior and also bringing up the possible HPD diagnosis would be helpful for the therapist to form a plan of treatment for her.

Dr. Z :

If you looked at the symptoms of the HPD diagnosis you would be able to see that many of them describe your wife, which is why I believe that she fits the criteria and a therapist can help with this and point out to her the problem with this scam and her behavior

Customer: Is there anything I can focus on at home to try to snap her back into her right mind. She will be at home for a bit while the other people move out of the place she is going to get. By the way I know she at least feels guilty about this because she doesn't want anything but for me to get things going for her to move out. She got a job and wants to do this on her own. She doesn't want the house or anything just for me to start her out because she has said for a while she doesn't feel like she deserves it because she never worked for it. I tried to tell her different but she said no. All she wants are her clothes and her personal stuff
Dr. Z :

Well this is a severe disorder and it will take intensive treatment, but I would like to recommend these two books that may be helpful interacting with her and helping her see that she needs help. The best thing you can do with the techniques in these books is to not judge her at all, but instead help her to try focus on objective thoughts and not her subjective thoughts of this "scam"

Dr. Z :

So far you are doing the right thing by getting her into a therapy session and hopefully she will respond well to an objective viewpoint about her behavior and seek more intensive treatment for these issues.

Customer: I don't judge her. I have forgive the emotional affair. As I said before even if it costs me my marriage I love her enough to know that her mental health is more important. It sucks but I just want her to be ok
Dr. Z :

I understand and you are very good and compassionate husband. Wit the right treatment she can be cured of this issue, but she has to be willing to seek the treatment herself and convincing her may be difficult.

Dr. Z :

Right you are trying your best to get her to seek help and that is a step in the right direction

Customer: Thank you for you time sir it has been a bumpy ride for me and I hope and pray that she gets help I just want her to be safe. Your answers give me a direction to go and for that I thank you
Dr. Z :

Anytime, I am always happy to help and I truly hope and pray as well that she seeks the treatment that she needs for the sake of your marriage and her mental health. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Customer: Thank you
Dr. Z :

You are most welcome :)

Dr. Z :

Before you sign off though, I would very much appreciate if you could rate my performance in helping you so that I can get credit for this question. Thank you very much

Customer: Yes sir I am trying to figure out how to save it so I can re read it then rate you as excellent
Dr. Z :

concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.


Oh and also when you finish rating me, this chat will be sent as a link to your email, if it has not already, so you can always use it for future reference. In addition, this chat will be saved in your JA account under My Questions so you can always go back to it when you need to

Dr. Z :

So the chat will always be saved for you

Customer: Thanks
Dr. Z :

Anytime, I am always happy to help

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5095
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Dr. Z
The only follow up I have on this question is if and when she crashes from the realization of this person not being real and to the devistation to our marriage. What are the possibilities of her reaction. Total shutdown, hurting herself or others. Nothing at all. I guess my question is how big of an impact could this be to her. She will have our son for a week at a time.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 10 months ago.
Hello again,

Typically with firm delusions, it will take a lot for her to realize that this guy is not real and that she will not meet him, but usually the initial reaction is more depression/sadness. Very rarely do individuals hurt others or themselves, but it is more like a shut-down/despondence of behavior. This is why it is important for her to be in therapy and on the appropriate medications to help her realize that what she thought was real, was in fact a delusion. Since she will be having your son for a week at a time, then most likely this will be a depression, but like I said individuals do no usually readily forgo their delusions easily. Hope this helps.
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5095
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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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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