Quick Intro- ask for help

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AgileBSA

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Quick Intro- ask for help
« on: July 30, 2018, 04:18:31 PM »
Hi everyone,

Happy to find a support group. I can say that it is reliving to find out about Paranoid personality disorder and that perhaps some of the issues in my marriage are not all my fault. 

My story... I am a 40something male with many kids and a loving wife. I work in IT consulting and my wife and I have been married for 22 years. Over that time I have struggled with and come to terms with some of my own mental health issues (ADHD) and my wife has been very supportive and helpful through that process. I have over the years been very conflicted by my wife's reactions to some of my issues and to her constantly feeling like people are 'out to get her' socially speaking. Over the past few months I have shifted my focus from trying to fix my ADHD issues (which are fairly mitigated at this point) to her and trying to find out if there are ways I can improve our relationship. That process has led me to realize that her behaviors are not just a 'bad reaction' to my ADHD, or just the over-reactions of a 'sensitive' person.. Rather, I have come to realize that she is living with PPD and those struggles are causing her to have an altered state of reality. The basic issues are that she will flip, almost instantly, without warning, from being kind, loving and caring to being suspicious, angry and attacking toward me and our teenage children. I look at it as she gets triggered, and while I have spend many hours trying to change the things that 'trigger' her I have come to realize that it's not the triggers that are the issue. After getting some education on PPD symptoms etc. I realize that she is living in a state of paranoia about me, our children and everyone around her. She does not trust us, and while she seems to trust us sometimes, I think she is actually just putting on the good wife hat, when deep down inside she is still guarded and worried, and will often times lash out at the smallest perceived slight or mis-interpreted offense.

I have been walking on egg shells with her for the entire time we have been married and felt the problem was mostly mine.. but now that I have seen how PPD affects people, I realize that there has been more beneath it.  She has no solid friendships (except for our relationship). She feels abandoned by her family, she constantly expresses her mistrust of people and she very often feels like people are trying to sabotage her socially. While she seems to be coping with the world, she is not thriving, she isn't able to build solid friendships with anyone and then she feels alone. 

I am committed to trying to help her find her way out of this. My next challenge is to find a way to help her see that her behaviors are not 'normal' and that she may need to re-evaluate her approach and get help.  As I have read (and can personally attest) that will be a big challenge- especially because when she is in a paranoid episode, she is absolutely convinced that the world is out to get her and that my behaviors are the problem and that I am trying to sabotage her and our marriage etc., and I fear that any attempt to try to bring up the issue will cause her to go on the defensive and try to protect herself from the evil blaming husband who is just trying to get out of changing his ways.

So.. my first question for the group...  Has anyone been successful at helping a significant other get help for PPD? How did you do it? What would you do differently? What should one look out for? Any other general advice?

 Likewise... anyone who has not been successful at getting a significant other to get help.. what do you think went wrong? What do you think you would/should do different?

Finally- what coping mechanisms have you found successful when your significant other is 'raging'..   what do you suggest to defuse episodes and keep things moving positively. - After the episodes, how do you calm the waters and help things return to normal.

Happy to get be here and get support and help. Thanks in advance for your responses.

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Starboard Song

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Re: Quick Intro- ask for help
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2018, 04:42:21 PM »
Welcome to OOTF!

You are coming to this group with so much already accomplished. You've battled your own challenges, developed an awareness of the problem, described it in a calm and kind way, and know there is work ahead.

I've seen folks on the Chosen Relationships and Committed to Working On It boards who have managed to mitigate the impact of personality disorders: they can be managed and you can be successful. But it is hard work. My problems are elsewhere in life, so I do not have experience in what you face.

Please read and read and read. You can check out our Toolbox and resources on the website. And -- to the extent you are comfortable, and can do so without exposing your privacy -- share and share and share.

The biggest first think I got on these boards was the lesson that I was not alone. You are also not alone.

Good luck, and welcome.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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all4peace

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Re: Quick Intro- ask for help
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2018, 11:00:46 AM »
AgileBSA, welcome! I'd echo Starboard's suggestion to look in those 2 subforums, and I can add that I've noticed more posts lately about PPD and more people joining to get help with this disorder in their life partners. I wish you the best as you begin learning more tools to navigate this difficult challenge!

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Absent Minded Artist

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Re: Quick Intro- ask for help
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2018, 06:20:20 PM »
I also have ADHD, as well as Bipolar Disorder. I have come to realize that I cannot always change or avoid my triggers, but I CAN control how I respond to situations. If I find myself irritable or "snappy" I often tell my better half and ask for him to give me space.

We did a few sessions of couples therapy, and it really helped us learn how to communicate with each other, how to set appropriate boundaries, and how to respect those boundaries. It takes work but was so worth it for me.
"A manipulator makes you fear everyone around you so you don't see the monster right in front of you. They may have tied your blindfold, but you can take it off"
Erin Van Vuren

"Owning our story & loving ourselves through the process is the bravest thing we'll ever do"
Brenč Brown

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Tessalonia

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Re: Quick Intro- ask for help
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2018, 02:18:07 PM »
Hello and welcome!

I am also new here and I am one of the new members dealing with an uPPD spouse.  This forum is literally a treasure trove of support, encouragement, and DEFINITELY tools to help deal with PDs. Everyone has been so kind and helpful.  I am "Committed to working on it" and so I have posted there, but I have been reading everything.  I'm trying not to be obsessed with finding answers, but it's so wonderful and validating to see that I am not alone and this is a real thing.  A thing that unfortunately seems to have no cure. Lots of tools to hopefully help, but no cure.

I have found MC (medium chill) to be helpful when H is gearing up towards raging.  I am still struggling with not JADEing and setting boundaries.  So many others here have great advice and ideas.

I wish you comfort and hope.