Dear Ms. Vicki,
I just read your column about the soldier whose wife is bipolar and is turning his world upside down. I am in the same situation as he is and can relate to everything he says.
My wife sits in front of a laptop at home for most of the day. She calls me every name in the book, belittles me, and really makes me feel like I am the worst husband in the world.
I have never cheated on her and never will. I don't feel my wife is pushing me into the arms of another woman, but I do feel that she has been pushing me away from our marriage for a very long time.
My wife and I have been married nine years. Just before we got married, I found out that she had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She had a history of mental illness before I met her, so I knew to some extent what I was getting myself into. I wanted to take care of her and be there for her.
She has refused to take or try any medication to help treat her disorder since I have known her. I have seen her getting worse as the years go by.
We have been to a couple of marriage counselors in the past, but she has manipulated the sessions to make the counselors think that she is a victim and that I need to be on anti-depressant medication.
I just want to be loved by my wife. But I don't see it and I don't feel it, even though she says she does.
The verbal abusiveness is very hard to deal with when it's over very small issues. For a man who has put his life on the line for his fellow soldiers and this country, it's hard to deal with the pain of not being loved by the one who shares my house and wedding photo and more.
I know there is a lot of awareness of women being abused by their spouse or partner, but I don't see the awareness of men being abused by their spouses as much. I know it happens more among women than men, but men have feelings too.
I am ready to walk away from all this, though it would not be easy. It would be very hard to do that. Thank you for listening, Ms. Vicki.
-- Ready to Walk
Dear Ready to Walk,
This is not your fault. Bipolar is a disorder -- a treatable disorder -- but I don’t hear you saying that your wife is getting help in the form of psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy. This is very important because this disorder will ruin relationships and marriages, as you can see.
I’m very concerned about your abusive wife. Seriously, if you were a woman who wrote and told me about an abusive husband, I would tell her to report his behavior and to leave the situation.
I have to tell you the same thing. You cannot stay in an abusive relationship with a woman who doesn’t take responsibility for her behavior or for managing her bipolar symptoms.
I get the feeling that you are alone and isolated because you are concerned about your wife’s unpredictable behavior. You cannot sit and suffer in silence.
I totally understand the culture of abuse when the wife or female is the abuser. It’s embarrassing to men. Men tend to feel that people won’t believe a woman or a much smaller wife is abusive, so they don’t tell anyone.
If you haven’t already, I highly suggest you speak to a Victims Advocate (VA) on base. They are usually located in the Army Community Service (ACS) building.
In addition to speaking with a VA, you should seek therapy services on post. They could offer individual counseling on post, but if not, you should contact Military OneSource. They will connect you with a therapist in your local community. The appointments are free.
Lastly, I really don’t think you are happy in your marriage. It’s like you’ve been riding along in a fog and not really engaged in an intimate emotional relationship with your wife. This is not good and signifies that your marriage was over a long time ago.
Check in and let me know how you are doing.
-- Ms. Vicki