How Mental Illness Can Complicate Life – Part 2

The Drama Continues

After I was released from jail, I immediately filed for divorce. I mean, I walked out of jail and straight to my lawyers office- it was two blocks from the jail. There was a restraining order against me, and my truck was broke, so I walked to a hotel and rented a room for a week. During that time, I got my truck fixed and had a friend go to the house and get my clothes and some personal items. My wife told the friend she had not wanted to file the charges and wanted to get back together. This was when we started seeing the new counselor. Since my wife had what she wanted, she dropped all charges against me and the restraining order was withdrawn. I let her convince me to try and work things out and I moved in with her and the girls (our daughter and her daughter from a previous marriage). I decided we needed separate bedrooms. The girls took the bedrooms upstairs and I made a really nice bedroom out of the garage. It was air conditioned and roomy. Things were going ok until my wife started getting paranoid again. Then she wanted me to change the door knob on the garage so she could lock me out if wanted. She also demanded I ask for permission before I came in the house. I told her I was willing to warn them before I came upstairs, but not just to enter the house.

During this time, things got worse at home. I would fix dinner and she would volunteer to do the dishes. She would stack them in the sink, saying she would wash them after a cigarette break, and then she would forget. If I asked her about it, she would scream at me. So I started going to my room (the garage) after dinner. Several times I came out the next morning to find the dishes in the garbage. When I asked her about it, she would get upset and say she could not do them because they were gross and she could not let them just sit in the sink. I would wash and put away the dishes.

My wife smoked pot to keep her emotions from overwhelming her. I objected at first, and then I saw how well it worked. She did not deal drugs and she only smoked a little, unless she was stressed. When Riley was born, I told her she had to keep it away from Riley. The small pipe was a choke hazard and I did not want our daughter ingesting pot. We had a boundaried area in the living room for Riley to play freely in; this was supposed to be free from any child hazards. We had several arguments over this, because my wife would enter the area with her pipe and forget it in the play area. She also smoked cigarettes and we had a rule that she could only smoke outside and she could not bring the butts inside, because chewing on one butt could kill Riley from nicotine poisoning. . When we moved to the townhouse, my wife started smoking electronic cigarettes. The problem was the nicotine cartridge. The little cartridge contains enough nicotine to kill hundreds of babies, and she would leave them laying all over the house. After warning her once, I gathered them all up, along with the e cigarette, and threw them in a dumpster four blocks away.

Things got worse and, after repeated threats from my wife, I decided to move. As easy as jail life was, I did not want to go back. My wife was on disability and I had retirement pay from the Navy. I got a little over twice as much as she did on payday. She wanted us to put our collective money into one account and divide it in half. Then we could each use our half to rent places near each other and share custody of our daughter. I told her that I had retired from the military before we were married, so my retirement money was not a marital asset. I also told her I might have been willing to help her financially if she had tried to get help for her mental problems. All she wanted to do was paint me as the problem and when the counselor saw through that, she would get mad and refuse to refuse to return.

I found a three bedroom house in a nice neighborhood that I could afford. I thought my wife would calm down when I was no longer there to upset her. I was wrong! After I moved out, she started interfering with my seeing Riley. She made up numerous reasons, and sometimes she would say it was because she did not have to let me see Riley. After I moved out, she could not afford the townhouse. She bought a house trailer for $700. I was in need of help and I tore out the sagging floors and put in marine grade plywood, coated the roof, and helped renovate the kitchen. I did all this because it allowed me to see my daughter and kept a fragile peace between my wife and me.

Once the renovations were mostly done, the paranoia hit again. She accused me of moving things around and stealing stuff. She would not allow me to see Riley on a whim. The police were less than helpful; they refused to intervene in any type of custody situation. One time she called me and got upset because I would not bring her cigarettes. Her house was 10 miles away, the city was in the middle of a blizzard, and the heater on my truck was shot. I had driven a quarter of a mile to the store earlier and had to drive slow and continually scrape the ice off the inside of the truck window with a credit card in order to see the road. When I refused to get her cigarettes, she said she was going to kill the kids and burn the trailer down around their dead bodies. I recorded all phone calls that involved my wife- it is legal in Missouri. I got in my truck and drove to her trailer after I called the police. It took me almost a half an hour to get to her trailer and the police had not arrived. They had tried, but two cruisers and a police truck had gotten stuck in the snow. When they finally arrived, they refused to listen to the tape. I was told all they could do was a wellness check. They did the check and said there was no obvious threat and left. They also told me I had to leave the area or they would arrest me. I talked to the officer and learned they would not intervene for either side. Oddly enough, if there was a dispute the police would give custody to the parent controlling the situation. In the current situation, Riley was at her moms and there was no obvious threat. If Riley were at my house it would be the same. If we were at McDonald’s, the police would look at who had a car seat- we only had one. I stored this information for future use and went home.

Over the next couple of months, it was a constant fight to see my daughter. During this time we were going to separate counselors. My wife was going to a counselor, and later a psychologist, to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. I was going to a counselor we had originally seen together. My counselor was the one who had originally told me I was a victim of spousal abuse. She told me I had a helper personality, and I was trying to fix my wife. She told me there was not a way to fix people with BPD, there was not any proven treatment. On a good note, those people were not suicidal; most incidents of suicide would be from poor planning. For example, a wife with BPD knows her husband comes home from work at 6pm every night. She takes sleeping pills at 545pm, unaware that he has been involved in a traffic accident. When he finally arrives home at 7pm, she is dead. My wife seems to be trying, and I am willing to hold out some hope.

The hope is short lived. By summer, the paranoia sets in again. My wife believes someone has a key to her trailer and is coming in when she is gone. She only sees her counselor sporadically and is interfering with my seeing Riley again. After much thought I decided to proceed with the divorce.