Today, I read When My Crazy Father Actually Lost His Mind and with every word I heard my own story over and over again. The mental house system in this country isn’t just broken, it is shattered. But this story does not express the depths to which some mentally ill will go to sabotage their own care. Nor does it express the deep costs to family.. both financially, emotionally and socially.
For the last several years, I have not socialized at all. Granted, I’m not the most social of creatures to begin with but I couldn’t socialize. I couldn’t count on him to watch the children so I could join the book club or meet a friend. I couldn’t count on him to behave to have company over or to even keep his underwear off the kitchen counter. I couldn’t have playdates for my sons because his behavior was so unacceptable at times.
Emotionally, he exhausted me. The anxiety about what would happen next. The whirlwind that was his decision making process. The way he dismissed any concerns I had made me question my judgement only to later learn I was right. Hiding things that would piss him off because I couldn’t deal with his screaming, slamming, swearing. God forbid a dog poop in the house, that was worthy of a meltdown of nuclear proportions. Not wanting to have him in the car because stopping for a yellow light would send him into a fit attempting to destroy his phone. He once ripped a $20 bill into itty bitty pieces because I got a speeding ticket. I did almost all of the night feedings because it was bad, real bad if his sleep was messed up. Real bad. He once ripped my car seat because I did something stupid with the car that resulted in no damage yet he stabbed his keys into my car seat and ripped it.
Of course, there were the periods of depression but those were easier to deal with. He needed me to take care of him and I could do that. I tried to find things he wanted to do. I tried to be cheerful. I tried to make him feel better. When he was better, he was fun, clever, and so nice to be with. Looking back, the periods of normal behavior… where he wasn’t mean and wasn’t depressed were rare, shortlived and really weren’t the norm. And they were always followed by periods of gregarious, hyper active spells that I eventually realized lead to the manic phases.
I’ve only learned in the last six months how much he lied to me for a decade. Big lies. Small lies. Most of them unnecessary and unwarranted. And I’m having a real hard time piecing apart how much of this is the bipolar disorder, how much of it was abusive behavior, and how much of it was him being an ass.
I don’t think I’ll ever know.
But he’s still trying to punish me. I’m getting an insane amount of emails. The tend to be themed.
- I’m poor because you took everything.
- You stole my kids.
- You’re a bitch.
- You abandoned me.
- I’m going to come after you in court and I’ll win.
- You better do ____ or else.
Notice the pattern. It’s all about him or our relationship. Even when its about the boys, its really about him (how he misses them, his rights to the boys). He doesn’t ask what they need, what they are doing, how they are doing. He doesn’t ask. Ever.
My oldest son has been diagnosed with PTSD from observing his father’s behavior and is in therapy. But he thinks he’s a great dad. He thinks his behavior is perfectly appropriate.
Maybe he really has lost his mind.