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Old 05-27-2011, 09:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi,

I would like some opinions on a very difficult situation in my marriage. For a little background, my wife and I have been married for 10 yrs. We come from very different backgrounds...I'm a quiet southern boy and she is an outspoken northern girl. My wife has always had some sort of an "issue" with my father. My father is quiet and just keeps to himself. My wife always has to be talking or she's bored. Her and her family are ALWAYS bickering about something. There's never any friction on my side of the family. Anyway, on to my question:

A few months back, during a visit to my parents, one of my brother's dogs (the dog does not have any teeth left) nipped at one of our kids. The dog is very tiny and didn't even break the skin. I was not in the room that it happened in, so I didn't see anything. The dog yelped and my father came into the room to see what was going on. My wife says that he said "what did you do to the dog," and says that he didn't ask about our child. My father was very apologetic to me, but wasn't really concerned because the dog had no teeth. My wife expects me to have some sort of an ongoing issue with my father over this, but I just don't see the point because nobody got hurt. Where there's animals mixed with kids, these things will happen. Is this ridiculous, or is it just me?

We have been at a crossroads in our marriage now for a long time. I just think she isn't happy unless there's some sort of drama going on. I love her, but I just don't know how much more I can take. As I mentioned earlier, she is always arguing with her parents about something. I have a much better relationship with them than she does. She is constantly verbally attacking me, threatening to leave me, etc
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Old 05-27-2011, 09:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It sounds like the issue lies between HER and your father, so I don't get why she's trying to involve you either.

Ask what what you can do to hep this situation but ultimately it sounds like she's got unresolved issues.

Some people are addicted to drama. You know her best.

The verbal attacks & threatening to leave == not cool. What have you done in the past when she does that? If you're not comfortable with it, you need dto let her know stat. Don't be passive on something that is bothering you.
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Old 05-27-2011, 09:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The issues go very deep. She is bi-polar, but she didn't think it was necessary to tell me until after the birth of our first child. I was introduced to bi-polar disorder when she was hospitalized for a month. I'm admit that I'm a little resentful that she didn't tell me, but I've always tried to be supportive.

She is making this issue with my father "pivotal" for relationship though. My parents are not getting any younger. I would like to spend more time with them, but I purposely don't in order to keep her away. I'm afraid of what will come out of her mouth when we are there.
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Old 05-28-2011, 10:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Don't push your parents out of your life because of her, if you must, visit them without her so then you don't need to worry about her attitude.
I can understand you being upset that she didn't disclose her illness to you. That might not be something to discuss if the two of you had just started dating, but certainly as the two of you got serious.

IMO it sounds like she is addicted to drama and is trying to make something out of nothing. I can understand her being upset that your child was bitten, but like you said the dog had no teeth and probably scared your child more than anything.
It is certainly not grounds for a gigantic family fight.
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:15 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DelinquentGurl View Post
Don't push your parents out of your life because of her, if you must, visit them without her so then you don't need to worry about her attitude.
I agree. Tell her they are yor parents and will be part of your life forever.

What sorts of things were you afraid she'd say in front of them?
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with the others. Don't let your wife come between you and your parents. In the future I would leave her at home--you and your children visit with your parents. How far do they live from you?
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The issues go very deep. She is bi-polar....
NCGuy, I'm afraid the issues may go deeper than bipolar, which usually is successfully controlled by swallowing a pill. What you are describing -- verbal abuse, inappropriate anger, usually unhappy, need for constant drama -- are several traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). All of us occasionally exhibit the nine BPD traits (at a low level if we are healthy). They become a problem only when they are so strong as to undermine our ability to sustain a LTR. Significantly, BPD is far more difficult to treat than bipolar because medication cannot control it and it is rare for a person having strong BPD traits to be willing to stay in therapy long enough (several years) to make a difference.

Only a professional can determine whether your W's BPD traits are so strong as to meet the diagnostic criteria for having full-blown BPD. It nonetheless is easy to identify strong occurrences of these traits in a woman you've been living with for ten years. Moreover, if the traits are ruining your marriage, it does not matter whether they meet that threshold. Even when BPD traits are well short of the diagnostic threshold, they can make your life miserable.

A substantial share of BPDers (perhaps 20%) also have bipolar disorder. So your W may have both. I am not a psychologist. Rather, I am only a man who spent 15 years caring for a bipolar foster son and a BPDer exW. Based on that experience with the two disorders, I found that there are several clear differences between them.

The first has to do with frequency of occurrence. Bipolar mood swings are very slow because they are caused by gradual changes in body chemistry. They are considered rapid if as many as four occur in a year. In sharp contrast, four BPD mood changes can easily occur in four days (or even one day). BPD temper tantrums, for example, typically last several hours and rarely as long as 36 hours.

A second difference is that the onset is very different. Whereas a bipolar change may occur over several weeks, a BPD change typically occurs in less than a minute -- often in only 10 seconds -- because it is event-triggered by some innocent comment or action. Moreover, because BPDers feel suffocated and engulfed during intimate moments, it is common following such great evenings for a BPDer to create an argument over nothing to push you away, giving her breathing space.

A third difference is that, whereas bipolar can cause people to be irritable and obnoxious during the manic phase, it does not rise to the level of meanness and vindictiveness you see when a BPDer is splitting you black. The difference is HUGE: while a manic person may regard you as an irritation, a BPDer can perceive you as Hitler and will treat you accordingly.

A fourth difference is that a bipolar sufferer -- whether depressed or manic -- usually is able to trust you if she knows you well. Untreated BPDers, however, are unable to trust -- even though they sometimes claim otherwise. This lack of trust means there is no foundation on which to build a relationship. Moreover -- and I learned this the hard way -- when a person does not trust you, you can never trust them because they can turn on you at any time -- and almost certainly will.

A fifth difference is that BPDers are very controlling and, to make that controlling more manageable, they usually will try to separate you from your friends and family. Control is much easier when you don't have the support of a family member saying "That's the most ridiculous explanation I've ever heard...."

Yet, despite these five clear differences between the two disorders, many people confuse the two. The primary source of this confusion, as I noted above, seems to be the fact that many BPD sufferers also have the bipolar disorder. I therefore suggest that you read my description of typical BPDer behavior in GTRR's thread and see if it rings a bell. My four posts in that thread start at http://talkaboutmarriage.com/anxiety...tml#post188319. Those posts also provide links to several excellent BPD articles written by professionals. It the BPD traits sound familiar, I would be glad to discuss them with you. Take care, NCGuy.
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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For whatever reason, Bi-Polar, BPD, NPD, etc, etc, you have married yourself a self-centered drama queen who must be the center of attention. It's not enough for you to love her, you must love her to the exclusion of all other life forms because she is an American Princess and all must bow before her. There is no reason for you to be at odds with your dad. He didn't hear a kid yell, he heard a dog, so it's only logical and natural that he asked about the dog. Wife's position is unreasonable and illogical. Furthermore, you expect your wife to treat your father with respect regardless of how she personally feels about him because he is your father and showing him disrespect is disrespecting you. I assume you treat her family with respect and you go out of your way to make nice with them because you love your wife. Same rules apply to Drama Queen American Princesses. This isn't about dogs, kids, or your dad. This is about your wife disrespecting you and trying to show you (and your family) who's the boss. What greater power could a woman possibly have than to force her husband to alienate the father he loves and respects? That this train of thought even crosses her afflicted mind suggests she has narcisstic tendencies. What everlasting gall! Now, if my dad overtly and deliberately disrespected my wife, I'd call him out on it and I'd side with my spouse, but that's not the situation you described. You said her family is always bickering. Does her mother treat her dad like crap and boss him around and belittle him regularly? We learn how to act in marriage by watching our parents and your wife may be playing the role of wife the only way she knows.
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