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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have been married to my wife for 25 years. She has seen

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I have been married to my wife for 25 years. She has seen numerous psychiatrists and psychologists over this time and, I believe, has been diagnosed as clinically depressed. She is presently under the care of a psychiatrist, who has prescribed wellbutrin(?) - 300 mg per day. (I am almost sure that the situation is more complicated that simply depressed.)
It has been a very difficult path for me. I have been the object of unbelievably intense rages, and I have been accused of many things and on many occasions of things (lying, cheating, deceiving, somehow using her, etc, etc) that are simply not part of my persona. In addition, I have had to deal with her rages against others. She was arrested on one occasion, and I was barely able to interven to prevent her arrest on several other occasions. She has been banned from a couple of stores because of her rages.
I will not go on, but I believe that it would be almost impossible for anyone to believe what I have had to deal with for all of these years. And, she has remarkable skill in deceiving therapists; who generally begin pointing at me and my problems, while failing to recognize that my "problems" may have some relationship to dealing with my wife. Further, I have never received any help or guidance from any of these therapists as to how I can best deal with her -- to be able to provide the best support for her and/or to protect myself.
The result is that I see that I have become neurotic -- I do no intend to try to use a clinical term but only to describe an unstable reaction within me as I wait for the next shoe to drop.
I saw a psychologist a few years ago, who had both community and professional experience with my wife and who (I believe) basically suggested that the only way that I could protect myself was to leave this relationship. That may have been very good advice; however, I found and find that I am not able to go in that direction, maybe for reasons that I cannot understand.
But, I really need help. I am having a harder and harder time dealing with this and recovering after one of the frequent flare-ups (I am now 76 years old). Is there any chance that this kind of situation is sufficiently common or well understood that you can point me to some source of help?
Thanks for any suggestion or help that you might be able to give.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds as if your wife may have another diagnosis in addition to her depression. I agree with you, from what you described regarding your wife's behavior, it sounds as if she might have Intermittent Explosive Disorder or another impulse control issue.

However, it depends on whether or not this is a new behavior for her or not. If it is new, there could a biological cause. Was your wife's behavior normal during her earlier years? If so, there could be a frontal lobe problem or another physical cause.

If she has not done so, I highly recommend that your wife see her regular doctor for a brain scan to be sure there was not a physical cause for her rages and other behaviors. Often, as a person ages, there can be mini stokes or other brain issues that cause changes in behavior. This needs explored first, just to rule out the physical cause.

If your wife is cleared physically, try asking her doctor about an Impulse Control disorder. Although rare in women, she could possibly have this problem. That would change her treatment to include focus on the behavior problems she is having. Here is an excellent link to help you- It will give you a better idea if she has the symptoms or not.

Your wife could also be dealing with a personality disorder. Although I don't believe from what you said that she has one, it is a possibility. Her psychiatrist or therapist can explore this to see if she fits a diagnosis. I highly doubt they would have missed it, but because she can be manipulative, she could have hidden the symptoms.

There are also a few books that may give you ideas on how to deal with the stress of dealing with your wife's behavior. One is called When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness by Rebecca Woolis. Another is The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope With Mental Illness by David A. Karp. You can find these on or your local library may have them available.

I hope this has helped you,


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