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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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After 10 years of marriage we divorced recently,though I

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Hello,after 10 years of marriage we divorced recently,though I doubt it was my wife who divorced me as I believe my sweet wife had MPD which only became apparent a few months before we seperated after everything had decended into complete chaos,her behavior was utterly bizare to say the least and sometimes she frightened me.I didnt want this divorce as I loved her dearly,doctors etc useless,as she would deny everything and then switch again when only in my company.I live in northumberland uk,How do I deal with the aftermath of horrible memories and the loss of the woman I loved so much.Also I cant find any support centres in my area.

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Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

Your situation is a bit similar to that of a spouse whose partner has developed Alzheimer's disease or experienced the evolution of a serious debilitating disorder such as Bipolar Disorder. The internal struggle you are experiencing is between a loving, highly emotional and not-so-rational train of thought that has regularly overlooked this woman's faults and the difficult stress she brought into your relationship because of MPD. The other part of your 'mind' or other major train of thought involved in this internal conflict is what we could call your wise, rational mind. It is the train of thought that wrote your post to me today. It realizes this was an illness, understands rationally, that your wife is quite 'lost' to you because she has multiple personalities. It realizes you somehow have to fully accept that her disorder makes it impossible for you to have a relationship with her, such as things are----she refuses to obtain the proper psychotherapy treatment, which of course, can take many months and years. My point is that you have a very severe, internal conflict between the loving/emotional/irrational part of your 'self' that wants to believe she isn't lost to you, wants to imagine everything can be o.k. in a relationship at some point; but the other part of your 'self', the wise, rational and objective mind, understands that this cannot happen. I suspect you have periods where one train of thought dominates your thinking, and then the other does so. And some people experience an inner dialogue involving an internal debate between these lines of thought and emotion. It can help to understand that there is nothing you could have done or can do at this time to help your ex-wife. Here are some clear facts regarding what we know about MPD. First, there is about 80% certainty that she experienced severe and ongoing sexual abuse at some point growing up, or severe, inescapable physical abuse. Second, it is 100% certain that your ex-wife has been subject to episodes of clinical depression at various points in her life and generally, has chronic struggles with emotion regulation and management. Third, your ex-wife genuinely has a truly 'fragmented' sense of self or identity. She has learned to adopt full personalities or 'roles' to meet the various demands and stresses of different life situations. Her identity divisions or 'personalities' come and go as situations require; they have represented the very best strategies she knows for dealing with difficult stress, emotional challenges, and interpersonal conflict. Until she gets into therapy on a regular basis, she will continue to remain in a fragmented status; she can't remedy her problems on her own because she literally doesn't know how. I'm sure you realize that your wife deserves a great deal of sensitive understanding, sympathy and pity regarding the severe trauma she had to endure growing up, whatever it was. You can probably accept that this is a disorder that is serious, one that will not correct itself and primarily, she has to want to obtain help. On many levels she realizes she isn't well and that she isn't well. She loses track of time; things 'happen' she cannot account for; she travels about and at times, has absolutely no idea how she got there or why she is where she is.

You are having a difficult time reconciling the divorce because the sensitive/emotional/irrational aspect of your mind cannot accept the fact she is literally 'gone'. Part of you clings to the hope that she might suddenly return, and have her inner conflicts resolved. So you cling to hope and expectation on some level that this is possible. Your rational mind however, understand that this scenario is highly unlikely, almost certainly cannot and will not happen. The battle is between hoping, expecting, wishing for her return, and the intellectual understanding and acceptance that it cannot. You won't be able to 'move on' until you reconcile this inner conflict.

I'm going to pause here and solicit your reaction to this post so far.
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Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience: Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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