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Anna, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 29 years in addictions and mental health.
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My ex husband has ongoing mental health problems. What would

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My ex husband has ongoing mental health problems. What would you consider his mental health status....we've been divorced almost 6 years....when he sends me an engagement picture with his new fiance, and it is the exact picture we took 10 years ago, complete with the same pose, the same flowers, etc.? He has visitation privileges, and this really concerned me.
Hello Jenn,

Welcome to Just Answers. It's very odd, but I don't know if it constitutes a threat. It may just be catty, or he could really be off his rocker...I can't tell from that one thing alone. I think you're doing all the right things, and need to continue on the same path with the counselors & lawyer- it's nice to see such a pro-active mother in a situation like this.

I would try to establish a relationship with the new fiance, since she'll be there during visitation and can maybe be a help to you. Not to save her from the guy...I wouldn't go down that path, but to let her know that you're there for the kids and open to her thoughts about safety and visitation. Anything to keep the lines of communication open, even if you have to grit your teeth to pull it off.

My best to you.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
There are ongoing mental health concerns, as I said. He has a history of suicide attempts, cutting and self-abuse, lifelong therapy since around age 8 or 9...the list could go on and on. He has had me back in court 3 times in these six years, and we are trying to mediate a 4th case right now. All have been based on lies and have been dismissed contempt charges over such things as being three minutes late to an exchange, which is 2 1/2 hours away through heavy traffic at rush hour. He has engaged in some scary behavior with the children, such as sleeping and leaving them unattended at ages 3,5,and 7, and taking the 7 year old to the police station to make a statement that he openly admitted he'd practiced with him 25 times, about something derogatory my mother had said about him to the boys. He's made threats to me about withholding the children or called repeatedly with harassing phone calls. My lawyer has written letters demanding this behavior stop, but it doesn't seem to both the courts, since he is a very convincing liar. There's an ongoing pattern, but I guess I want to know if the situation with the picture would be an indicator for you that his mental health status is deteriorating.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Just wasn't sure if the reply above had been sent/received. I just like a bit further response or clarification. Thanks
Wow. Deteriorating from all that? Yikes. It actually sounds like an upswing in that he didn't involve the children or police or courts. If that can even be called an upswing. What a horrible situation your children are in, and how great that you "escaped". If you're not already familiar with Randi Kreger's work with families of Borderline Personality Disorders (one of the diagnoses your ex most likely has), you should check it out. It will come in handy as your children grow up. BPD Central

Divorcing a narcissist

No matter what his diagnosis is, the two links above will help you with strategies.

But specifically, I can't tell you if it's a downswing at this moment in time. I think he most likely goes up and down quite rapidly on the surface and then has underlying ups and downs that pressure him from deep within. If you hadn't had any grief from him in awhile, it may be. If he's newly engaged, she probably took the focus off you for some time while she was the new love. As things settle down, he'll need to find another victim...perhaps this is what is going on now. I would just always assume that he's viral and dangerous to your children's emotional health, and fight for their protection.

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