Apparently the mother of your children has very loose rules about her intimate behavior. Did she not have a good mother or good father? Bipolar disorder acts a lot like Borderline Personality Disorder, which is often anchored in a very unreliable relationship with mother, or no mother at all. You haven't written anything about your own mother--is she living in the household and relating to your father? Who is the head of household where you live now?--You?
Who do you trust in your household to be adequate for parenting your kids? Or are there several people who might each contribute some of the security and childrearing needs your five kids would naturally have?
I look forward to your answers some time tomorrow. I can't advise you on how to proceed until I know more about the love and power relationships in your household.
But initially I can say that you may have success if you focus on building a 1 to 1 relationship with your father without first confronting him about what might be going on between him and your commonlaw partner. And apparently spawning babies with this woman is easy, but providing a stable and supportive environment for them is NOT easy.
You sure do have a rough row to hoe. I apologize for the implied judgment behind the word spawning; but I was thinking "why create 5 kids if you're not willing to marry their mother." What's going to happen with those kids if you end up needing to divorce--and you're right that that could really happen? But you're taking the responsibility for now as the test of faith (and I'd say personality development via responsibility for little ones. I know what an ordeal that can be because I have sole responsibility for a 65 yr old wife and a 28 yr old daughter who are both disabled by severe and incurable illnesses and in chronic pain.
i would definitely have the same suspicions that you do about your father, since he lost his own wife to dementia a good while ago.
I was concerned about your partner's mother because an unaccepting/unembracing mother plus genetics for bipolar can develop Borderline Personality disorder, which is extremely difficult to improve. But the key emotional trigger-button for flipping-out is Shame = anything less than praise for her personality and actions--even "sensing criticism" where there is none. Strict religion naturally breeds quite a bit of moral judgment-which can work when applied to yourself, AND as careful training for your kids, but usually BACKFIRES when applied to a partner whose mother was Narcissistic (incapable of loving any child but the Perfect one for HER reflection) or or otherwise perfectionistic (Obsessive-Compulsive Personality could fit some teachers). You can look up the list of characteristics for these Personalities: Borderline, Narcissistic and Obsessive-Compulsive.
Even if your partner doesn't have enough BPD characteristics or her mother doesn't have enough NPD or OCD characteristics for them to fit the profiles, the best road to take for making your relationship last for the 20 or so years you'll need to give your kids their chance at productive & happy lives would be to add an ongoing "good mother" therapist relationship to her pharmaceutical mood management meds: a woman old enough to be her mother, with enough warmth in her heart to love the way your partner's mother could not and enough training and skills to handle your partner's difficult behavior.
I wonder if you're worried about your partner's declining interest in motherhood and perhaps also in you, because you're also worried that some day you're not going to feel enough love towards her to want to preserve the family you have with her, and you're not going to know how to get it back. I KNOW THAT LOVE IS RENEWABLE, but not as easily as an overdue library book. That's why I'm advising you to invest in a psychotherapeutically trained Good Mother (as "Grandmother") for your family: You had yours at a younger age when you needed her, but your partner never did. And you don't have yours anymore now.
I have lived a similar life in that way: My mother was good-enough until I was 23 when she died, while my father was a Narcissist (who couldn't love anyone less than perfect= anyone). But my wife's mother was a Narcissist, and her Good Father died when she was 11. Now I've had to learn to be the good mother for both my wife and daughter, and it's an uphill learning curve.
I assume it could be tight financially for you to furnish a capable therapist for the long term for your partner--but you'd be investing in her good-mothering (under professional supervision) as well as her emotional balance for becoming a good wife. You'd need to interview lots of psychologically trained people beginning with your partner's psychiatrist) to find the right person and then developa way to afford her ongoing devoted services (bipolar & borderline therapy, marital counseling and parenting consulting). She would become a valuable member of your family.
Now I haven't addressed your concern about your father well enough. So let's have at least one more exchange of messages--we have a week or more--or I can also offer you Skype or email counseling outside this website as a "premium service."
I do understand and respect your attitude towards me AND towards mental health professionals in general: My wife, who was also a very good mental health professional before she retired in 2009 due to lifethreatening disease (still present), was fond of quoting a NY Times article stating that 2/3 of counseling professionals were frequently unhelpful or more harmful than helpful. It's because they are underqualified and don't bother to realize it--due to normal human self-serving personality bias, but that cannot be tolerated in this profession. For in this profession (more than medical/body sciences) the counselor's personality is THE major "instrument" thru which the problem-solving (that's the easier part, techniques matter) and personality development (very hard part: therapist's life-commitment to self-development matters) must be carried out. That's the reason why the founders of the profession (let's say Freud and Jung as the best known in psychoanalysis) asserted that you needed several years of weekly analysis before practicing and lifelong supervision-analysis. I get what supervision I still get after 40 years of licensed practice with my wife, which isn't good enough for F&J standards, and particular human flaws will assert themselves anyway.
But I'm NOT applying to become the counselor for your woman but only an advisor for you, because 1. I'm licensed in Florida where I was mainly a full-time college professor of Psychology and Humanities, but I've moved to Georgia, where I don't bother to jump thru the hoops to transfer my license because I don't have time to practice enough to keep up an office and advertise for clients because I'm too busy taking care of my chronically ill and very weak wife and ditto daughter (not-life-threatening, more chronic pain, less weakness) and our undermaintained house and liaison with the outer world. I 2. She should have a Good Mother type therapist, preferably very experienced thoroughly psychodynamically (& newer modalities) trained Social Worker or PhD who's got the patience for Borderline & Bipolar personality treatment. and 3. You need a skilled professional who could follow your family through 20 years as your family-supporter, too long for me. I've been practicing for over 40 years already, mostly part-time; I'd be surprised if desire & abilities were still good enough 20 years from now. 4. I cannot accept any insurance companies for payment, so I've always just lowered my rates down toward what the copayment would be anyway, because my income came from full-time professorjob and now from Teachers' Retirement and Social Security, and this counseling I've done is part of my service to humanity for the privilege of channeling the love of the Divine Source thru my efforts for whoever it may benefit
That's why I'd rather coach you for as long as it takes in finding the right Woman for your woman, so that both of your lives can grow towards the satisfaction that humans, and esp parenting couples need to thrive. As a parent of a disabled 28 year old woman I'm acutely aware of the challenges involved in balancing sacrifice and self-responsiveness for these needs and goals. I know it may not be possible to find such a good-fit counselor for your family, and also few laypersons know how to persist until they do succeed in the search I'm advocating for your moral and emotional satisfaction.
My wife's best advice for finding the right therapist is to call up the doctors you've seen and particularly the psychiatrists and ask them who they'd send her to (use words of Borderline Personality features--after you've checked on the list--and Bipolar). A major general weakness of female therapists is that many will cover for their lack of high level expertise by "using their intuition" which often means emotionally manipulating clients--aka "charm" or "good-mothering." My wife was referred to by many doctors and psychiatrists because she wasn't just manipulative (tho she was that at times too: I've ;seen & heard it) but also had had 10 years of Jungian analysis from both gender therapists and 2 years of weekly supervision by the best adolescent&adult psychologist in the FL county where she worked at psychologically detained boy's home.
So ask all the psychiatrists--assuming they're honest enough to know that they're inadequately trained to do talk therapy, but they should know who could help someone taking psychiatric drugs.
I am proposing to stay in touch with you via email to do some counseling of YOU, but mainly to guide you in finding a viable female therapist for your partner, and further guidance for you in dealing with your father. I think she needs an engaged, face-to-face female "good mother" counselor to help her develop the stability she never got from her own mother. I don't think my distant written or Skype expertise would be present and influential enough to keep your relationship (and therefore family) in a stable state--so I don't want to offer you what would not be enough for your needs. I'd hope to steer you through your bias against psychotherapy, but mainly toward finding someone in your town who could provide what you really need, which needs to be in-person.
I'm sorry it took me this long to notice that you had responded to me again. For years JustAnswer would notify me thru email that a customer had responded. But they stopped doing that some months ago, for reasons never explained to me. If you want to work with me, I want to consider whether it would be a wise use of your time and mine, and your money to do that. The way to do that would be to First choose a Premium Service Fee, $25. Then this would give us access to each other's private emails and to Skype if you have it as I do (it's free anyway). Second I would discuss with you through either email or Skype messaging What You Would Ideally Want To Accomplish. I would respond to what you can list that you would want, to begin discussion of which of those desired outcomes (or changes) with respect to yourself, your father, your girlfriend and your kids, may be possible to pursue under the conditions available to us, or not possible, and, if possible, how we might go about the learning & practicing procedures (that I'm competent with) for achieving them.
This is what a counseling contract is like: And that is where I'm willing to start--with negotiation. I think you want 1. to get your father barred from intimate relations with your girlfriend and 2. to get your girlfriend to embrace both her motherhood and your partnership with greater stability and commitment than you experience from her at present.
Are these statements accurate about what you want? If they're not entirely accurate, please let me know what you do want from counseling, so I can respond. I will only negotiate an agreement to do counseling if I think that we can accomplish what you want through methods that I'm capable of training you in. And both your father and your girlfriend are wild-cards in this game over which I have no control--which is the reason that I'm advocating to find HER a counselor who can handle her personality UP CLOSE, since that's a task I will not attempt at a distance.
Don't worry about the "timed out" notice. It doesn't mean anything. But creating our own private email & skype connection needs to be the next step,k so that we can manage our own relations instead of paying JA to furnish this forum.