Please help me leave (or help) my crazy, suicidal wife
August 23, 2018 4:22 AM   Subscribe

Wife had bpd and narcissistic personally disorder. She regularly rages, is always suicidally depressed, and I'm waking on eggshells all the time. It needs to stop but we are married, both in the lease, and i pay all of the bills so i can't just leave.

I'll keep this brief, please excuse the delivery, I'm out for coffee and don't have a ton of time. I've been married for about 10 months now, to a woman i dated for about a month first. At first it was great, but her business tanked and now she is a wreck. She is ALWAYS depressed and taking about not wanting to live or committing suicide. She sees no silver lining in anything, and she refused to get help. I managed to get her to a psych for two visits and she refuses to go back or see anyone else. The psych said that she is most likely bpd + narcisistic pd.

She needs my attention 100% of the time when she is awake. I give her 1-2 hour long foot massages, cook, clean, and am constantly don't something for her to keep her calm. If she wants to do something and i don't, it is i voice the slightest discontent with anything she interprets it as i don't love her and she needs to die, then the night will most likely end up with her trashing the apartment in a blind rage. I'm constantly walking on eggshells and have lost myself to her mental condition. I don't remember the last time i has time to myself for me, i haven't even worked in my business in months which will begin impacting finances if it continues.

At this point the only options i see is to have her involuntarily committed, or to find a way to leave. I really don't agree with forced commitment especially when they force meds down somebody's throat, so i think i just need to get out. Problem is, I'm married, on the lease with her, and all of our stuff is in the same place. I pay all of the bills so i can't afford to just leave, and i know that if i tell her to leave she will make it a living hell and trash the place, or say that she doesn't want anything, or do any one of many crazy things.

I'm just so tired, angry and full of resentment after months of this, and i just want it to be over, to have my life back, but also to do it in the gentlest way possible.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (35 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
...so I can't just leave.

This isn't true; sure, leaving causes some logistics issues, but it's not preventing you from leaving. It sounds like you're living a life you absolutely hate, and looking at it from aspects of responsibilities on paper isn't the right way to go. Plenty of people stop paying bills, walk out on leases, and get divorced to release themselves from really shitty living situations.

You don't even have to entirely break things off: get yourself space so you can look at your relationship more objectively and tell your wife what you need to happen, which also gives her room to do, or not do, those things without you being right nearby to take the fallout.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:43 AM on August 23, 2018 [14 favorites]


You know you'll have to get out eventually. If you have anything especially precious (big sentimental value or important papers), you may want to spirit it out beforehand but you'll probably need to kiss the rest of your possessions goodbye. If you need to go back for anything, arrange a domestic belongings call with the police department but be aware that at this point she could say anything to anybody about you and that can go as far as claiming spousal abuse. Stuff is just stuff. You'll need a friend's couch. You'll need to borrow the money to cover the remainder of the lease if you can't negotiate an escape from it. Do this as soon as you can. Don't give into any duty bound/people-pleasing impulses. As the sole income earner, staying longer means paying more support. Staying too long means being bound to pay support indefinitely. You'll need to be out of the situation before you can expect to have any better understanding of the dynamics.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:51 AM on August 23, 2018 [65 favorites]


The only way to leave is to leave, I think. You may put yourself in some financial burden, and most likely, she's going to be in distress, but honestly, it sounds like she's not having that great a time in this marriage, either. I'd pack some things, let her know that you need to separate due to the behavior you described above, and then talk to a lawyer. Find friends who have spare bedrooms or relatives you can live with while you pay the parts of your life you will wind up owing for during this time (probably about a year, if you're stuck in a lease or whatever) and save up for the inevitable divorce.
posted by xingcat at 5:33 AM on August 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


You might consider seeking out a therapist yourself as a resource for carrying out your move. I've never been in your situation but I've at times had to deal with close friends who were struggling with mental illness, and have checked with a therapist on how to set boundaries and deal with the situation.

If you are in the U.S., NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) might also be a helpful resource - I've linked to their helpline. Given that she trashes the place when upset I think this could be considered a domestic violence situation, so DV resources might be worth checking out too.
posted by bunderful at 5:49 AM on August 23, 2018 [7 favorites]


A domestic violence group in your area can help you make a safe escape plan and walk you through the practicalities of how to leave.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:54 AM on August 23, 2018 [58 favorites]


Reach out to your family and friends, even if you haven’t spoken to them for months. They want to help you, but were probably waiting for you to ask for help. Tell them the whole humiliating situation, ask for their help, and tell them you need to help you not slide back into this abusive relationship.

You have some options. If she threatens suicide, call 911 to request an ambulance so she can get evaluated. If she trashed the place, call police as she is out of control (however the risk is that she may claim you did it/were abusing her). You are the best judge in these situations.

Tell her you have a doctors appointment/business meeting/family emergency and go rent a storage locker/short term rental if there is no one nearby that can store your stuff. Move valuables out to it ASAP if possible. Try to visit a lawyer or a domestic violence shelter.

When you tell her you are leaving, have people with you. They can help you quickly pack (have them bring boxes etc). Stop paying mutual bills, she worked in the past and probably has resources you are not aware of. You need your money to rebuild your life.

Arrange therapy for yourself, it is easy to go back into an abusive relationship (part of NPD is the incredible charm and charisma). You were strong enough to survive months of hell, you are more than strong enough to leave.
posted by saucysault at 6:03 AM on August 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


You can leave. It is okay for you to leave. You may have to prioritize what you take with you and what you are willing to give up, and how to leave safely, but there are people who can help you do that. A domestic violence group is a great start. If you have a friend or two who you can trust, they may be able to help you in the lead-up by quietly taking possession of some of your things, lending you money or a spare room to stay in while you sort some things out, or even just moral support, which is no small thing. Hell, even if you have friends or family you've lost touch with during the course of this marriage (it's really common to get isolated in this scenario), reach out to them - they may come through for you in a crisis. An individual therapist might also be of help here.

She may trash the place. You may lose a lot of money to divorce proceedings, finding a new place to live, replacing stuff, etc. That will suck, and I'm so sorry, in advance, if the really bad scenarios occur. But even if they do, you might end up broke and without your stuff and having to do a ton of rebuilding - but you will have your life back. I know some people who've made that bargain and as far as I am aware from talking to them, all of them would do it again, except that they'd do it sooner.
posted by Stacey at 6:11 AM on August 23, 2018 [8 favorites]


She's known you less than a year. She's an adult, she managed to get by without you and she will manage once you leave .
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:12 AM on August 23, 2018 [90 favorites]


If you pay all the bills, this means you make all the money, correct? Then you absolutely CAN just leave. She's a grown woman, she can figure out her own support, like she was doing before she met you. If there are no children in the marriage, DTMFA.

I wouldn't worry about being "gentle" with her as it sure doesn't sound like she's being gentle with you.
posted by mccxxiii at 6:18 AM on August 23, 2018 [9 favorites]


I highly suggest talking to a domestic violence shelter. When I was in a similar situation I felt really weird, almost wrong, doing so (I didn't feel like my situation was bad enough to get help) -- but it was absolutely the right thing to do. It was more than bad enough.

They can help you come up with a safety plan so that you can exit.

I also strongly encourage regular therapy before you as you move through the process of leaving, grieving, and healing. A relationship like this does a lot of damage.

I'm sorry you're going through this.
posted by sockermom at 6:24 AM on August 23, 2018 [20 favorites]


I know it's hard to face up to needing to have someone involuntarily committed, but she is a danger to herself and to you - either of these is adequate criteria for involuntary commitment. Next time she threatens suicide or trashes the place, call for an ambulance. The way she is treating you is abusive, and you need to get out. Between now and then, talk to a domestic violence shelter or hotline for help with a safety plan; talk to friends about helping you get your stuff out quickly when the opportunity arises and about having a place to stay; and consider an order for protection - her trashing everything is an act of domestic violence, and her need to have your attention so much that you can't work is similarly abusive - many domestic abusers make it impossible for their victims to work.

Your situation is serious enough to get help for domestic abuse.

Your wife's mental state is dangerous enough that involuntary commitment is appropriate.
posted by bile and syntax at 6:32 AM on August 23, 2018 [14 favorites]


Trashing your possessions and threatening suicide is grounds to call emergency and have her taken for evaluation. When it's happening you leave the house, you call them, and tell them you fear for your and her safety. I'm in Ontario Canada and I had to do this to my partner in a similar situation, he was taken in for a few days which gave me time to sort out what I needed to do (might be different where you are but here you can be "formed" involuntarily if you are a danger to yourself or others). It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, I had to tell my mom how bad it was first and then I knew if I didn't call she would.

We weren't married and I was able to convince him to leave after he returned but I regret not pulling the plug sooner, it did a number on my mental health. I should have filed an order of protection or restraining order, you can do one of those things right away. My knowledge of what happens stops there because we weren't married and there was no legal involvement but I think calling a local crisis line and or getting a legal consultation from a good lawyer would be my first steps.
posted by lafemma at 6:38 AM on August 23, 2018 [7 favorites]


It seems like you've known this person for less than a year and they've made your life basically hell, and they're a suicide risk? You're asking either involuntary commitment or leave, I'm saying... why not both? Get her safely committed to medical care, as your responsibility to any other human who is a danger to themselves, and then get the hell out of this relationship as your responsibility to yourself.

It's not cruel to do what's necessary; she needs help you cannot provide, and you need your life back.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:40 AM on August 23, 2018 [31 favorites]


In case you think you are “helping” her by staying, you aren’t. Her behaviour is not normal and probably makes her unhappy as well. But you staying allows her rationalize it as normal, and each time she pushes the boundary of what is “normal” in her mind. Having healthy boundaries around a sick person is the most helpful and compassionate thing you can do for them. If she had a broken leg I hope you wouldn’t think putting a band aid on every day (because the precious one fell off) was a loving act. Leaving her with a permanently broken and painful leg is not an act of love. Neither is normalizing escalating abusive behaviour. The loving act is to leave her to face the consequences of her behaviour.
posted by saucysault at 7:02 AM on August 23, 2018 [20 favorites]


You have to leave. It will be hard. You will have some emotional and financial recovery ahead. But that's better than years of misery digging a deeper and deeper hole. I could tell you all the ways my situation was incredibl similar, but just trust me that it was. Instead, let me tell you the bad things that happened to me after I left. Sometimes facing the "what-ifs" is the best tactic.

I stayed much too long because I "felt sorry" for her and was afraid she would follow through on her years-long threats of suicide. I finally left when both a marriage counselor and psychiatrist made it clear the situation was untenable, and that had to protect myself and our teenage daughter.

Here are a few "lowlights":

-She did end up committed against her will. She threatened suicide to her psychiatrist, then tried to physically fight her when the doctor was trying to keep her in the office while the receptionist called the police. She got out of the office but without her car keys, then tried to fight with the police who found her walking along the street. They could have charged her with assault, but knew she needed help. She was in for observation several days. During that time, the psychiatrist called me and told me that no matter what happened, it wasn't my fault, and that I should not let her use this situation as emotional blackmail to return. She further told me that for my sake and my daughter's (who I took with me when I left) I must follow through with the divorce, and that "even if the worst happened" it was not my responsibility. I had done over and above what anyone could be expected. YES this was terrible and one of the most stressful situations in my life. But I had already lived with threats of suicide for years, and worried constantly when she was out late with no contact. (She was usually gambling money we couldn't afford while I was worrying she was dead.) It was awful but it was better than staying. (She did not try to harm herself, and in fact voluntarily re-checked herself into the facility after getting out because she knew she needed help.)

-After I left, and after she got out of the mental health facility, she suddenly had all the motivation and energy in the world to try and get as much money from me as possible. I was voluntarily paying the lot rent (we owned a mobile home) during the separation. But she can be charming and manipulative to get what she wants, and she was able to get a lawyer to feel sorry for her and agree to take care of all the divorce proceedings for a flat fee, to be paid after settlement (in other words, from me). (She also filed the divorce papers as a means of having leverage. )This meant she could prolong things at no additional charge to her, but it would cost me an hourly rate every time something had to happen. There were depositions, court dates, and countless other unnecessary things just to blackmail me into an agreement. Here's what made it more ludicrous: she wasn't even asking for child custody or even visitation for our daughter. It was all about money and making sure I didn't have anything hidden or have more income than she thought I had. My lawyer told me we just had to come up with some dollar amount and length of time she would agree to, because that would be cheaper than the ongoing legal fees. She agreed to three and half years of about a third of my take home pay. Plus cashing out my retirement and splitting it, plus she keeps the house. (It was a very nice manufactured home, paid off, worth about $80k). We went to court to finalize this deal, then she backed out of it in the courtroom, resulting in more negotiations and another court date, where she finally agreed. Bailing out of the first court date was simply so it would cost me more money for my lawyer. Of course by this time her own lawyer was sick of her and on to her scheme, but he had to follow through with his agreement. (This I found out later.)

-In addition to the "alimony" which I still call blackmail, I had significant back taxes to pay. In the four years prior to my leaving, she wouldn't give me the information I needed to file joint returns. (She did freelance interior design when she was up to it.) So now had to file the past returns as "single" meaning I didn't have enough withheld for taxes because my filing status should have been "married." So on top of the blackmail payments, I was paying several hundred dollars a month to the IRS. It just happened that during the divorce is when the IRS was making threats of wage garnishment, etc. so it had to be dealt with at the same time.

-This financial situation was extremely difficult. My daughter and were forced to live very frugally. I'm thankful that we found a pretty nice but inexpensive apartment right across from her school. But we did without a lot of things. She got a part time job so she could have some spending money, and she handled our situation without complaining, and offered to contribute her income any time we needed it for living expenses. I had no access to credit because my credit score was so bad, so if there was no money for something, it just didn't happen. I'm thankful I had a marketable freelance skill (web and graphic design) because I was able to get some freelance work in addition to my regular job to make up some of the shortfall. But when car broke down beyond repair, I rode my bike for several months until I scrape enough together to buy another inexpensive vehicle.

Somehow we made it. My daughter even went off to college during a couple years after we moved out. I felt bad I couldn't help her financially, but she took student loans under her own name to get it done. (My application for a "parent loan" was denied.) When I made the final blackmail payment, I invited all the friends who has been supportive and helpful during this to a dinner nice restaurant where I treated them as a symbol of my thanks.

I didn't even touch on the emotional recovery during that time, but the short version is, with the help of a good counselor I was able to maintain an even keel and, especially, realize that I didn't have to feel guilty about putting my own survival and the health of my daughter above someone else's manipulations, even if they are caused by illness. I realized that no good will come from sacrificing my own life, and my daughter's, for someone else.

The four years after leaving were extremely difficult. But not as difficult as they would have been had I stayed. Some financial hardship was definitely easier to deal with than manipulations, accusations, threats, emotional blackmail, and emotional abuse, not to mention the effects on my daughter.

That was over twelve years ago now. I've now been married to a lovely lady for seven years, and we have an absolutely drama-free relationship. She, too, had enough drama in her previous marriage, so we both know how to navigate marriage without it now. I never imagined I could be in relationship that was so peaceful and full of love, partnership, and mutual respect. But even before I got married again, being single was so much more preferable than living in misery and drama.

My ex did not kill herself. It would have been terrible if she had, but it wouldn't have been my fault. No one can be responsible for someone else's mental health, reactions to life events, or decisions. Your foot massages are a very telling symbol. You think she can't survive without them, but she survived without them before she met you. I love giving my wife foot massages, but she doesn't demand them or make me feel obligated. Your wife's narcissism and mental health issues have trained you to react in a way to keep the peace at all costs. I know exactly what this is like. It's just easier in the short term to give in, but sets up a miserable life for yourself. (When I started setting boundaries with my ex and refused to give in to ridiculous demands, she would bellow "How can you be so CRUEL to me?!")

My only regret is that I stayed as long as I did, for both myself and my daughter's sake. There were always "reasons" to stay, but I was blind to how bad the situation was, and how far from normal it was. If you don't have a counselor, I highly suggest you find one who can help you see things clearly during this time and offer support while you arrange your escape. If will be hard to do, and hard to recover from. But it's better than the alternative.

At less than a year together, you already see this situation is untenable. I had all the signs that far in, but my mis-placed sense of obligation, and fear of her harming herself kept me in it. Plus there would be good times when things seemed ok. They never lasted. So by the time I left, it had been twenty five years. You have no kids. You have the income. You likely won't be paying years of alimony. What do you want your next twenty five years to look like?
posted by The Deej at 7:05 AM on August 23, 2018 [85 favorites]


I feel for you. It's easy to say "yeah you can just leave", but it's a lot harder to actually do it, especially if you're the kind of person who feels a strong sense of duty and/or the other person is in such a vulnerable situation. It's admirable that, even in all this mess, you're still thinking about her well-being.

Does she have any family you could contact for help? Maybe she could stay with them for a little while to put some space between the two of you. If they see how volatile she is, they can also assist you in getting her help (both in terms of treatment and financially), and it also gives you some time to work out your next moves.

I'm not a huge fan of involuntary commitment either, but this is pretty much the situation it was made for. If it helps to think of it this way, remember that she is suffering, too, and the treatment she would receive would not only improve your life, but also hers. It's also possible that she doesn't realize actually how ill she is, and this would be a wake-up call for her to take further steps to improve her mental health and/or your relationship (if you're interested in that).

Best wishes to you. This is a tough situation to be in, and you deserve a lot of credit.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:09 AM on August 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


I found it really hard to end a relationship I knew I needed to leave. In this comment, I describe how I finally managed it -- basically, by standing my ground over something small, setting a boundary and enforcing it by leaving (just long enough to go see a movie). That taught me I had the power to say I wouldn't be treated certain ways, and even to leave, and pretty soon everything fell apart because he really did want to treat me that way, and now I knew how easy it was (in a physical sense) to leave.

On another note, if you live in a place with a strong rental market, breaking your lease shouldn't cost you more than like one month's rent. What you want to watch out for is that she doesn't trash the place in a way that leaves you on the hook for damages. Has she caused any damage to the apartment yet? Maybe you could talk to the landlord and get yourselves evicted. The landlord probably isn't going to let you off the lease if she can't take it over on her own. But there are special rental laws (in some places) to help people dealing with domestic abuse leave so calling a domestic abuse hotline on your next trip to the coffee shop (and then deleting the record of recent call, and clearing your browser history) is a good idea.
posted by salvia at 7:48 AM on August 23, 2018 [10 favorites]


I have some experience of a very mild (mild enough to be livable) version of what you describe. As a temporary coping mechanism, I'll elaborate slightly on what salvia suggested. Your wife is bullying you with empty threats, false accusations, etc. You don't want to be aggressive, but you want to stand up for yourself.

Some portion of her problem is inner pain, and some other part is using the first part to get her way. It's difficult to sort out, but you have to live your own life, not just be a slave to her demons.
posted by SemiSalt at 8:03 AM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


It never hurts to appeal to your landlord's self-interest, so when speaking with them in terms of letting you out of the lease, I would note both your concerns for property damage (when your wife "trashes the apartment in a blind rage") and for your wife's welfare. I'll be horrifying cold for a moment and simply state that for their business interests, they are not going to want their property to be damaged or to have been a place in which someone harmed themselves. They would likely rather have an apartment in good shape they can re-rent.

If they simply let you out of the lease, this may save you thousands in rent, so I'd rather offer a cold argument that might work.
posted by WCityMike at 8:31 AM on August 23, 2018 [10 favorites]


This an abusive situation. This is domestic violence. Although you don't say what gender you are, if you had used the word "husband" here instead of "wife," people would be shouting at you to contact a domestic violence organization asap.

You are not going to save her, and you are going to be destroyed in the process.

Have her committed; while she is there, move everything out that's yours that you care about.

You are not a bad person for doing this. Nobody can live like this. You are a human being who deserves better. Please, please go.
posted by tiger tiger at 8:48 AM on August 23, 2018 [11 favorites]


I really don't agree with forced commitment especially when they force meds down somebody's throat

The alternatives appear to be a sort of forced commitment for you or the potential suicide of your wife. Do you agree with these? I think you're looking at a "what's the least bad option" situation here. Psychiatric hospitalization isn't wonderful but it's safe. To look at this another way: how will things turn out if you keep doing this?
posted by Smearcase at 8:58 AM on August 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


You might find help over at https://www.reddit.com/r/LifeAfterNarcissism/ and related subs. r/RaisedbyNarcissists is the most active, though that's not exactly your situation.

Here's what you do:
-call 911 whenever she threatens suicide so that she can be involuntarily committed (she needs help that you cannot provide)
-secure your personal documents and things you absolutely cannot part with while she's committed
-move out
-get a lawyer and follow their advice. ask the lawyer about a restraining order and a divorce
-do not tell her where you are moving
-install security cameras and alarm systems wherever you move
-if there is anything of yours that she has a password to like email, utilities, bank accounts that are only yours (consult an attorney on shared things), change it to something she would never guess. two factor authentication on everything to prevent her trying to sabotage you financially
posted by purple_bird at 9:02 AM on August 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


To add: don’t let her charm you into having sex. An ‘unexpected’ pregnancy right now would be tragic.

And I agree with all the others who are telling you you can leave.
posted by MountainDaisy at 9:05 AM on August 23, 2018 [18 favorites]


Actually, https://www.reddit.com/r/JustNoSO/ might be the most helpful. I'm sorry you're going through this OP.
posted by purple_bird at 9:07 AM on August 23, 2018


You need to leave as everyone is saying.
If you are thinking up reasons you can't go like "I pay the bills" and so forth, it might be because you're in this cycle together where you are also negatively addicted to the adrenaline of chronic emergency. It doesn;t mean you really want this, but there are ways that people become symbiotic in BPD situations, where you feel yourself caught in this terrible dance together.
I am not saying it's your fault. I'm saying it's possible to analyze the reasons you think you can't get out as part of this cycle.
Read something about relationships in BPD. She needs you to participate in the drama or it won't happen. If you leave, it stops. She'll have to find someone else to do this with, or she'll get help and work on herself. Every time you think of a reason you can't leave, ask yourself if that reason is actually part of the cycle.
Good luck. You can have your life back. Hopefully so can your wife.
posted by nantucket at 9:30 AM on August 23, 2018 [11 favorites]


I am not saying you shouldn't call the police when she threatens suicide, but I do think you should include in your calculus the likelihood of the police responding inappropriately. If your wife is white, slim, English-speaking, attractive, and young, they are likely to handle taking her in appropriately. If she is not--especially if she isn't white or accentless-English-speaking, or looks "scary"--there is a nonzero possibility of their escalating the situation until someone is seriously injured or dead. The suicide risk may be greater and weigh in favor of the call, but you can't ignore how badly police have often responded to disturbance calls involving the mentally ill.

But, yes, you should get out, ASAP.
posted by praemunire at 11:36 AM on August 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


Married after a month of dating, and on eggshells since she lost her job - your friends and family will welcome your call. Please call them, and ask for help.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:42 PM on August 23, 2018 [13 favorites]


Call a domestic violence organization as soon as you can. They will have/know of reasources that may help you both. Your situation is serious and you should not try to handle it by yourself. I agree that reaching out to your friends and family if you can, would be good. Doccument everything that happens as best you can and keep your reccords some place safe, do not let her know you are doing this. Take photos if you can manage it. Take video. Gaurd your cell phone night and day, put a security password on it if you dont have one already. Put passwords on your computer and tablets and keep close track of activity on your credit cards as well, have the card companies notify you of charges made over a certain amount that you determine. Negotiate with the landlord to see if you can get out of the lease early. Keep your "Get The Hell Out Of There" bag packed and ready, somewhere safe, maybe hidden in your car. Worst case scenario, just walk the hell out and never go back, things are just things, you will get more things, you will never get the time you lived this hellish life back. Just get out.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:38 PM on August 23, 2018 [5 favorites]


You need to check into your state’s laws surrounding filming people with one party consent. I hate to say this, but in my experience with this combination of personality disordered people in this situation— the threat of the relationship ending— you are at high risk for both being attacked, and of being falsely accused of committing domestic assault. There aren’t many situations where I expect women to make false accusations of abuse, but your situation, where a woman in a partnership is unstable, violent, and regularly destroying her partner’s property, is one of them. This goes especially if you are a cis man. It’s unfortunately very likely that she will blame you for damage to her person and any damage she causes to your home. Document everything. Please also be in contact with local domestic violence organizations. Good luck, and stay safe.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 1:55 PM on August 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Under the circumstances you describe, an involuntary commitment for evaluation is not inappropriate in the slightest. IMO it would actually be a kindness to her.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:12 PM on August 23, 2018


Before you attempt to get her involuntarily committed I'd talk to someone qualified about the likelihood of the commitment attempt being successful and how long it's likely to be for if it does succeed. I've had someone who was absolutely a potential danger to themselves sent right back home with me after a few hours sitting in the ER. They were able to pull themselves together in front of the Doctor and that was enough for the hospital to send them home with no additional help. And there I was, stuck hiding all the knives in the apartment to try to keep them safe.

If you're considering calling 911 (or the equivalent where you are) to get her taken to hospital, then yes that can be dangerous (to her, to you, to anyone within range) if she isn't 100% compliant. You might want to research whether your local Police has a trained mental health response team and what you need to do to have them come out instead (sometimes they work limited hours).
posted by Secret Sparrow at 3:44 PM on August 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


It sounds like the day-to-day stress of walking on eggshells may be giving you a form of tunnel vision that is preventing you from seeing how much danger you are in. Part of what can keep someone in a dangerous situation is a belief that when the abuse happens is something that can be controlled. That's why people walk on eggshells, because we believe that being careful can protect us.

I used to screen for high-lethality risks long ago when I was a legal aid attorney, so the red flags that stand out to me include the frequent suicidality, blind rages, refusal to participate in mental health treatment, the BPD diagnosis, and especially the controlling 100% of your time. Also, my sense is you may be minimizing how bad things are, which is normal for where you are in the escape process, but also a factor that increases your risk of being injured or worse.

I agree with the commenters who suggest contacting your local anti-domestic violence organization. Even if you identify as male, there is help, and a collection of resources are available at MeFi's ThereIsHelp wiki page. Please note that some of these organizations may be able to help you get a lawyer, in addition to help with safety planning and accessing local resources. A lawyer can help you figure out what your legal options are, and additional information about how to get a lawyer is available at MeFi's Get a lawyer wiki page.

Please learn more about your local options, and please trust your instincts when they say that you and/or your wife are in danger. This situation sounds very much outside of your control, and it sounds potentially very dangerous.
posted by Little Dawn at 4:30 PM on August 23, 2018 [11 favorites]


Look into your local laws. You might be able to get out of a lease because of a divorce. And the longer you stay, the worse it will be, so might as well get out now, since it's something that's going to have to happen anyway.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 9:17 PM on August 23, 2018


So, in the US, you can't just "have someone committed". If you credibly believe she may be suicidal and especially if she has a plan, you can call 911 and she will be evaluated in an ER or psych facility and they may admit her for a short period but will only be held involuntarily for a short time unless she's clearly completely unable to care for herself or is actively trying to harm herself. So, in other words, "having her committed" isn't really a way out of the relationship. If you think she is genuinely suicidal, please do seek emergency help whether you want to stay or go.

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Separately: as many have advised, it will be hard, but you should go. If it were me I would probably want to ensure she has bills paid for a couple months and then separate cleanly in every way from her.

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Final issue, the fact that you married someone after a month of knowing them is something you should probably do some thinking about. This experience is one I hope you learn from. Consider talking to a therapist. What kinds of relationship choices do you want to make going forward?

Best to you.
posted by latkes at 10:07 PM on August 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


Undisclosed mental illness can be a cause for annulment, so don't merely assume divorce is your only option here. Good luck and be safe.
posted by Scram at 9:46 PM on August 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


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