Torn over leaving my bi-polar partner who I have a 1 year old DD with...(82 Posts)
My DD is 1 year old. During my pregnancy and the whole last year her Dad & I have been having very regular blow-ups - recently involving physical aggression from him towards me. He is slightly hypomanic and un-medicated bi-polar at the moment. He is aware of it but doesn't really manage it in that he doesn't see the mania coming and adjust his lifestyle accordingly to try and head it off and avoid drugs or stimulus etc...
He went away on a stag weekend recently and took drugs & didn't sleep & our baby wasn't sleeping either so we were both just frazzled (him self inflicted so no sympathy there) so we ended up having a big misunderstandng / crossed words in the early hours of the morning whilst our baby was crying & he couldn't handle it and took his aggression out on me. That was kind of the last straw for me...I thought..But it's complicated. His Mum talked me down from leaving because she convinced me that we were both just driven insane by the sleep deprivation as our DD hadn't been sleeping well for months.
I am still feeling awful about our relationship though..I'm not sure it's fixable...I feel too much damage has been done & I'm afraid I don't love him anymore. But in some ways I really do. It really is like loving two different people in the same man sometimes. It's not just a case of "Oh he's a dickhead, leave". He is capable of all within the same day being the biggest twat & also lovely ??!?!
I think though it might be the hardest thing ever but maybe better in the long run to separate. Devastated at the thought of it though because it is SO not what I wanted for us or our DD. I am completely torn over what I should do....on one hand I feel like my patience has completely run out & that he has said and done too many horrible things to me. I was trying to be patient as there was always an excuse like "he's stressed" "we haven't been sleeping because of the baby" "it's normal to argue when you have a new baby" "maybe it's my hormones" "maybe I've got post-natal depression" etc etc. But on the other hand when things are good they are really good and we really do have a great time together & with our baby...we are a great team and great parents to her even if we do disagree on some fundamental issues ie smoking...
I know that when this manic phase passes he will be really down and really really sad to have lost me and my DD who he absolutely adores and is the best most present Dad to.....And I will feel horribly guilty for making a big decision whilst he is manic and not just being more patient or more understanding. But I feel like I'm giving all my patience to our baby and I don't have any left for him anymore...I feel like I can't go on in a relationship where I get little to no emotional support or understanding and yet am expected to GIVE so much to him. He won't take medication...which I kind of respect as he is low on the bi-polar spectrum if you know what I mean...he doesn't do crazy crazy things when manic except erratic driving, erratic moods and temper, very poor reaction to stress, loses focus on work and gets distracted with different projects and seeing loads of different people, drinks more, smokes more etc. And is just harder to live with and exhausting for me. We also argue a lot anyway and it's worse when he's manic. He becomes snappy and defensive about any tiny thing, especially if I'm perceived to be trying to curtail his fun like suggest maybe he doesn't go to this party or that party or suggest maybe he gets a good amount of sleep tonight or suggest maybe that a certain business idea is maybe a bit risky etc.
I am also just scared and totally unsure what to do to actually separate from him. We are currently having couples therapy with a really good therapist and are 2 sessions in....but I really feel I wish I was living separately to him and in a way I wish we could have a fresh start and spend some time apart to take the pressure off and get to know each other again & see if there's anything left. I need him to try and manage his illness better though & through therapy I am trying to make him see this. He says he wants & needs boundaries & structure & to be grounded by me but he resents me when I do impose boundaries and structure! On one hand he is very aware of his illness but he is not aware of the effect it is having on our relationship & how he needs to make some changes FOR GOOD if he wants to manage this without medication ie. not taking drugs on stag weekends. He is so stuck in his ways and 15 years older than me that I worry he doesn't want to and can't change, even when his relationship & daughter is on the line.
I don't want to disrupt my DD too much and I don't have any bloody money unfortunately as I have been at home with my DD for the last year, breastfeeding still...and have no savings or anything. I guess I could get housing benefit but I fear it'd be hard to find a decent place with a landlord that takes housing benefit in this area of London. I could move down the to the countryside to be closer to my family (they don't have anywhere for me to stay unfortunately) BUT I want my DD to be close to her Dad and see him all the time....I don't want to take her away from him and my MIL as they are so close.
Any advice about all of it would be SO appreciated. Thanks.
First off, take a deep breath, hold it for a second and breath out.
What are his reasons for not taking medication?
Could you both go to the GP together and discuss the medication side?
Does he normally self medicated with drink and drugs or was this a one off?
Right now the most important thing you need to remember is that none of it is your fault.
I got to the bit where he assaulted you while your baby was crying late at night after taking drugs and I just stopped reading really. This is so wrong, you need to leave. He basically hurt you because he didn't have enough self-control not to- and he will do it again, and potentially put your child at risk - either physically, or being aggressive and unpredictable, or letting them see the way he treats you.
This is far from ideal and you know that which is why I think you are posting. Your therapist can't be good if they know about the physical abuse and haven't advised you to leave unless you haven't told them. I suggest you contact Women's Aid and the CAB and get some practical advice on what you would be entitled to. I also think living near your parents would be best, are you really suggesting you leave the baby with him in his unmedicated manic drug taking partying aggressive state? You would be able to keep contact with his MIL, but ultimately her advice is plain wrong and borne of her own needs as a mother and a grandmother and not yours.
It sounds like you effectively have to mother him. And now that your DD is here, she needs to be your priority for mothering. I'm afraid that means for her good and yours, you would be better separating from him. He needs to find a way of managing his own life and condition outside of you taking responsibility for it, or taking the brunt of his anger when things go awry.
I am married to a man with bipolar. He knows that if he does not take his medication then I won't be around to deal with the fall out. That might sound harsh but I happily support him through tough times and have done so for 10 years, but if they are brought on partly due to him not medicating then I can't stick around for that.
My dh is never, ever violent and he is a wonderful man, who takes his meds like clockwork and would never take drugs or do anything that could worsen his illness. Your partner sounds like an arse, to be honest and is doing nothing to help himself and I would not stick around for that. I mention my husband just to let you know that living with someone with bipolar doesn't have to be this way. My dh would not hurt a fly when he is ill and it sounds to me like you dp is a violent arsehole, who just happens to have bipolar, if that makes sense.
You need to leave. I think you know that as well. For your safety and your happiness.
I wish I could offer you more advice and I know more people will be along who will hopefully be able to advise you more, but I just wanted to say that you have nothing at all to feel guilty about if you end it. Living with someone with a mental illness is hard. Living with someone who doesn't medicate, takes drugs and is violent is not a relationship you should be in or expose your child to
And of course he's lovely some of the time, people are not all bad. Let's face it, if he wasn't lovely sometimes, you really would have left, so he's nice when it suits him but extremely nasty when it does not.
I wouldn't help him at all to seek help, this has to come from him, and you need to get yourself and the baby to be safe first. If he then gets the shock of his life, decides to engage with medication, to stop taking drugs and shows you by his actions he's changed, all to the good, but you cannot risk this not happening.
I think you actually know what to do, you just feel guilty about it. Hope you make the right decision, remember you are protecting your LO and yourself and that's a bottom-line 'mummy lion' type decision.
Sweetheart, his bi polar is one thing, hitting you and abusing you is card carrying abuser 101.
You must get away from this man, for everyone's sake.
Reading what you've read about living separately, I would tell him and your MIL that he needs to move in with her for a bit and give you some space, for the relationship to have any hope of surviving. Personally I still think it'd be best for your DD if it doesn't, but this might be a temporary step to help you out.
I didn't get past the drug taking part before thinking you should leave. Drugs and children don't mix, this goes x1000 when a serious mental illness is involved.
He has small child, disrupted sleep and no meds. The absolute last thing he should be throwing in here is a bender. It doesn't sound like he wants to manage his illness (and life) at all.
Don't feel bad about leaving, I couldn't live like that.
Thank you for your responses.
He doesn't want to take medication because he says 'this is me' and he doesn't believe he has very severe bi-polar. I don't think it is very severe in comparison to others but I am telling him it is affecting his life & our relationship so he needs to commit to managing it & I need to be able to help with that as he can't always see when he is becoming manic. At the moment he gets angry with me or annoyed when I try & manage his moods with him... He says I'm being too anxious or controlling or letting stress and worry control my life.
I am also worried about my DD seeing him shout at me...& treat me without respect & the unstableness will affect her.
I did tell my therapist today about the aggression. He grabbed me by the arms hard and threw me into the bed. Then when he came back I was crying on the end of the bed & he told me to move. I said no. So he grabbed me again & threw me again into my side of the bed. In the morning he didn't apologise he was annoyed at me & said it was my fault for pushing him to talk when he didn't want to talk & because our DD was crying we were both stressed. I said it was because he's just come back from the stag weekend and couldn't handle his shit.
It's just hard because one minute he's like that. And then the next day he is being so sweet with our DD & making me amazing food & being thoughtful & nice etc trying to show me he cares or is a good Dad or whatever. Partly because I don't think he is in control of his emotions - it's his illness that I see as the problem... Not him. So I try to look past that & be patient.. None of his friends would believe me if I told them this as he is the life and soul of the party, amazing with kids, the most helpful & lovely friend.... No-one sees this side of him but me. Well maybe they have at times in the past I don't know. Everyone just keeps telling me a the time what a great guy he is and what a great Dad he is and so sometimes I am confused and wonder if the problem is me... And I knew he was bipolar when we met & had a baby... I should just deal with it better ? I guess I just didn't know that it would manifest like this or that he'd be so resistant to change or doing without joining in with the parties in order to keep his mood balance.
Yes he has always self mediated with alcohol (not heavy drinking except at the odd party) drugs at the odd party or festival but again very very small amounts and she has smoked dope all his life and continues to to varying degrees. I have been trying to get him to quit smoking & be now does it significantly less that he would if he was left to his own devices (his words).
He needs to be medicated, he needs to not take drugs- self medicating in a manic state is dangerous and can lead to psychotic symptoms.
There is no straight road through your problems but unless he has a bloody good reason to not take his medication ie heart/kidney problems- I would leave on the basis that long term its not going to work and for your daughter. Growing up with a bipolar parent is very difficult especially if unmedicated/selfmedicating with other substances. Regardless to what you think he will bring to her life his illness will also add a lot of stress trauma and guilt for her.
My mother is bipolar and largely been unmedicated- but selfmedicates with drug and alcohol. It put me in situations as a child I should of never experienced, it made my life very different from other children around me and took into my mid 20s to try and understand. But only through learning about mental health and addiction can I only really being to scratch the surface of the places her mind goes.
I would suggest you look at the long road ahead.
Why should it be you who 'has to deal with it better'? Why shouldn't he?
Yet again we have a heavy dope smoker, there seems to be a theme at the moment, there are other threads of women in the same situation.
I think you are excusing too much because of his illness. He's not trying to get better, like if he had a broken leg or diabetes, is he? He's just happy to let you bear the brunt of his moods and to carry on being 'him' which includes drug use, aggression, volatility and so on. He has no intention of taking meds or changing, has he, and why should he when you are prepared to put up with this.
I actually suspect that people around him do know he's got a darker side. I would be very surprised if they haven't seen that over the past few years. Whether they have or not though is irrelevant- as you and your baby have to live with him.
Please talk with your mum or a friend who could listen, and Women's Aid.
The problem is definitely not you OP, the problem is the Bi polar and his reluctance to accept it and deal with it.
The alcohol is certainly not helpful which also affects the mood swings.
Perhaps a trial separation would make him realise the affect its having on you and DD and shock him into actually face up to his illness and how to manage it.
Yes... He should deal with it better. He doesn't handle his emotions well, or stress, or my emotions.... Or my DD's emotions. It's different because she is a cute baby who he thinks is the best human being in the world but what about when she is older & shouts louder & can talk back to him. I'm not sure he could keep his cool. I just never never thought it would be like this. I didn't think his bipolar would have this much effect. But he couldn't handle my emotions well during pregnancy & freaked out a number of times... We had a very traumatic birth & a very difficult newborn who wouldn't feed well at first... It was really really hard on both of us. I think that has done a lot of damage & I don't think things can continue unless things change dramatically. I don't think he wants to change anything. He just thinks it's the way 'we' are together. I say that any woman who had to put up with what I've had to put up with wouldn't be able to handle it anymore. I literally cannot stress more how he does mean well... He has good intentions... He is not a dickhead... He just can't control his emotions & he certainly can't deal with mine either. And he's in denial and won't submit to a diagnosis or mess & he was in therapy for 5 years but stopped it just before he met me... I think that has had a huge effect on things too.
When he grabs your dd one day and throws her he could cause serious harm . You just can't risk it. My exp when untreated picked up ds by the neck and threw him across room. I didn't predict it but with hindsight it was waiting to happen.
Unless he gets meds and help and shows insight you are putting dd at risk by continuing to live with him. He makes a choice not to address his bipolar (has he actually been diagnosed ?) .
The consequence is you have to decide to live apart so you can slept at night and be certain your dd is safe.
By staying now he knows it is ok to throw you around.
He smoke dope to keep him calm? From feeling as if his emotions aren't bubbling over/going to explode?
I'm sure when he's manic he's the life and soul of the party! And when he's cashes he might spend 3days in bed with a bottle of vodak or 2?
He is his illness it's part of his personality. I think you need to make yourself more aware of his illness and how bad it can really get, you seem in denial about the effect living with Mr Jackal/Mr Hyde can do to small children.
eepie get yourself sorted, and you know what, if he does mean well, has good intentions and so on, then he will want to get sorted out too- because he will want the best for your child. Please do not, however, bury your head in the sand, because toddlers are willful, and they do say 'no', my dd's favourite word was 'no' for about a year- what is going to happen when he can't handle her emotions and defiance. It's scary to think about.
You cannot live with someone who cannot control themselves. It is that simple .
Pm me if you want. I've been there, done it got the t shirt. And the worst bit was when the children were small. We're still together, still in love and my youngest is 15. He has never done anything to hurt our children. It's not you stop thinking that, its a horrible illness and he needs to address it properly now he has extra responsibilities
He has not been diagnosed no. He would never go to a doctor about it, his whole family distrusts trad doctors. He was in therapy 2 x a week for 5 years (stopped just before he met me) . But that was more to deal with his depression side. He knows he has some spectrum of bi polar and has manic periods where he takes risks, offends people, loses focus, talks LOADs and fast, does everything fast, has a temper / is irritable, is more sociable, has a million ideas & plans etc ... He has been more aware of it since when we had our DD he was manic after the birth for a few weeks but then since falling into a routine as in getting up at same time every morning, going to be roughly same time every night (me dealing with most night waking so he could sleep ) having the responsibility of our DD & me at home, not partying nearly as much (hardly ever anymore but still more than the average working Dad I'd say!) He has actually been amazing really balanced until recently. The mood swings generally organise themselves into down in winter/up in summer. And yes he smokes dope way more when manic to calm himself down/stop thoughts racing. Sometimes I am glad of it because he does need to chill out !! And I sort of distrust medication as well as my Uncle had awful experiences with it which led to his suicide. I'm not sure my partner would EVER consider trad meds. But I think he really could manage it with routine, sleeping & eating well & not taking drugs... EVER. But it's that which is resistant too... He loves joining in with his friends & events like stag do's too much. If I leave I worry without the structure of me & DD be will just go back to his old life & get worse with no wake-up time... No-one telling him to chill out & not party too much. Then I will almost be in a worse situation as my DD will still need to see him & he'll be more unstable than when we were together. I'd like to believe the shock would make him get it togrther... Maybe if some of his old friends or his brothers spoke to him... I think he really is still convincing himself it's my problem largely. Because it's too painful for him to see that it's him.
He's not a great dad. He's a drug-taking erratic wanker who is abusive to the mother of his child.
If he doesn't immediately change his ways, no ifs, no buts, then you need to be out of there before his behaviour harms your DD.
What if he drives erratically with her in the car and has an accident? What if he grabs her and throws her on the bed when she won't comply with what he wants?
I don't know much about bi polar. If medication can help, then he needs to take medication. If he refuses, then neither of you are safe and you need to get out of there.
He's not a good dad, he's an irresponsible abuser and a disaster looking for a coast line.
He has abused you, he can't cope with his DD...what happens when she's not in the 'super cute' phase and he loses control? Untreated, uncontrolled mental health issues can be very dangerous, add drugs and alcohol to the mix and you are in a precarious situation.
He needs to shape up or ship out, for your safety and that of your DD.
My ex partner has bipolar. Part of any medical condition is managing it. He is not managing it and it is having awful consequences. It is not right for him not to take responsibility.
My partner did manage it, and it was fine.
Truthfully, I think although people get manic or even psychotic, that does not change their basic personality. Even when my ex partner lost touch with reality, there was never any hint of violence.
Like U2the edge l too am married to someone with bipolar. Taking his meds is non negotiable . He is out of here if doesn't take them as it is too stressful for me and too serious for him. He also doesn't take drugs and only have very very odd glass of wine. He is absolutely never violent . You cannot cope with this. The drugs alone are enough . When he comes out of manic state and sees you are gone he may take meds and give up alcohol and drugs. It's his choice . He cannot live with you and little one in that state. It's not your fault.
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