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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm still a newbie here, but I've been lurking the last few days since my first post. Something new has come to light, and I need to hear some opinions on this.

My WH doesn't know that I have almost all of his passwords, and that I've been watching for a while...ever since he had the beginnings of an A with my best friend (internet flirting via email). I nipped that in the bud before it became something I couldn't forgive, but it made me keep an eye on things.

Recently, I found an email he sent to an old flame, telling her he loved her, etc. For me, that was it. There had been other things in our history, but this felt like the last straw.

Now, we've discovered via some testing he did to make sure he wasn't getting Alzheimer's like his mother, that he has neurotic depression, anxiety, paranoia, and class B personality disorder. Under all the descriptions I found about class B personality disorder, what I understood this to mean was that in some cases it could include behavior such as sexual promiscuity.

So, with in our vows of "for better or for worse," does his mental state mean I should try to help him overcome this behavior, or does that simply become his excuse to get around dealing with it? I have not confronted my WH with the fact that I know what he's been up to. Mostly because at the point in which I do this, he will change his passwords, and I'll be in the dark.

This is my own warped way of having some control in knowing what he's up to at any given point based upon his emails to others. So, instead of confronting him, I'm preparing to leave when the time is best for me. I worry that I'm too willing to bale out in this situation because I've been through it before with a previous spouse.

Quaker
 

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Quaker,

I struggle with this too. How much of my fWW behavior was induced by her myriad of mental illnesses that stem from her childhood? How accountable can I hold her for our marriage problems? How much is my codependency wanting to help fix or making me feel super guilty on the days I when I can't muster to care and can only resent my needs not being met in the relationship. I am finding balance is hard to come by...where does the affair overlap with her, my, and our dysfunction? Would I be a terrible person if I left?
 

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I have a parent with a personality disorder and depression who has cheated on my other parent since I'm pretty sure I was a small child. I love both of them but I've wanted them to get a divorce for years. Unfortunately they're still married.

Personality disorders aren't curable.

So, with in our vows of "for better or for worse," does his mental state mean I should try to help him overcome this behavior, or does that simply become his excuse to get around dealing with it?
No, you're under no obligation. There's also "till death do us part" which I'm assuming is also a vow but people split all the time after saying that as well. You leaving him might get him to recognize he needs to change his behavior but if you stick around chances are all you'll be doing is enabling it.

I worry that I'm too willing to bale out in this situation because I've been through it before with a previous spouse.
There's nothing wrong with learning from previous relationships and using that experience to address the problems in other relationships.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
wtf2012, something you said really hit home with me. I'm a "fixer." I want to help, but that's just co-dependent, enabling behavior in some cases. Finding balance within myself is something I'm hoping for. I find myself wanting to be on a mountain somewhere with very little, if any, human contact. I want to find a balance within myself so that I can see crap like this long before it can affect my life, or the life of my daughter...the way it is right now.

Jasel, your comment about enabling my WH's behavior also hit home. I have a history of feeling as though I've failed when someone else's behavior is about THEM, not me. It took a while to realize that I had done nothing wrong when married to my previous spouse. It took 2 years and an epiphany following a life-threatening car wreck for me to realize that I had not done anything wrong. His actions were about HIM, not about me.

In examining my marital vows, I know it perhaps sounds hypocritical to focus on parts of it without acknowledging that "till death do us part." In having a previously failed marriage, also involving infidelity, I have asked once again, what is wrong with ME? And do I give up too easily? Was I too willing to end things with my ex? So, in struggling with those personal questions, it affects how I choose to react in this marriage in regards to D or R.
 

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In examining my marital vows, I know it perhaps sounds hypocritical to focus on parts of it without acknowledging that "till death do us part." In having a previously failed marriage, also involving infidelity, I have asked once again, what is wrong with ME? And do I give up too easily? Was I too willing to end things with my ex? So, in struggling with those personal questions, it affects how I choose to react in this marriage in regards to D or R.
If they cheated on you THEY'RE the ones who gave up on the marriage as far as I'm concerned. All you can do is decide whether to stick around after your spouse checks out of the marriage due to their own behavior. But you shouldn't feel obligated to.
 

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Sadly, I think a LOT of people are dealing with WS's who have mental illness but they don't have the benefit of a diagnosis or diagnoses for their spouses, as you and I have.

First, it's important to remember that mental illness may help explain but it doesn't excuse.

Depression and anxiety, and to some degree, paranoia can be treated - and when those are treated, the most severe aspects of the personality disorder can be "softened."

If he's shown any willingness to follow up on dealing with his diagnoses, then you could consider helping him with that - but only you can decide if you've had enough.

It can be a nightmare trying to convince someone to get treatment and then to deal with all the privacy barriers (either you're allowed into sessions or he has to sign releases for people to be able to speak to you) so that you can inform his physician (psychiatrist for meds) and counselor (the one who does the ongoing therapy) about the TRUTH about his behavior, because he isn't likely to tell them all of it.

There's no easy answer here, but if you're struggling I think maybe that suggests one last try to help him might be order. That way if you do leave the marriage, you won't wonder if you should have tried to help him with his mental health problems before getting out.

Who did the testing? If it was your primary care doctor who initiated it (assuming you both see the same doc), you could schedule an appointment with him/her to discuss the diagnoses and treatment options and prognosis without worrying about having releases signed. Even though it might be terribly embarrassing, you could share the info about flirting with your friend and the email to the old flame so that the doctor could get the picture about what's really going on and deal with the mental health aspect accordingly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Class B includes that trifecta, swetecynamome. It also includes antisocial personality disorder.

Jasel, my initial emotional response was the same as yours. I just don't want to make it easy to jump for D, though. I automatically went back to that part which starts reexamining myself and my part in the relationship which might have led to WH's behavior. In the end, it's still his crap, not mine.

You also mentioned that mental illness is not curable. The question, I suppose, is can the behaviors be modified by the person with the mental illness?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
swetecynamome, my name here is not of religious significance, though I do have to deal with that somewhat, having been the granddaughter of a Freewill Baptist preacher who performed the marriage to my first husband. Quaker was just a reference to how my world was shaking and "quaking" when DDay occurred. It's misleading, I know, but it's also something my WH would never associate with me should he "see" me on any forums. Your comments have helped me feel a bit more solid today.

hopefulgirl, although my initial response has been to end this...on my terms and my timing, I will probably have to give it one more try just to know I didn't give up too easily. I still love the man whether he deserves it or not. In fact, I actually feel a lot of pity for him. That's not the same as forgiveness, though.
 

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You also mentioned that mental illness is not curable. The question, I suppose, is can the behaviors be modified by the person with the mental illness?

It can be managed with therapy and medication, depending on the particular illness (bipolar in my parent's case) but these methods aren't foolproof. And it depends on how willing/compliant the individual is with treatment. How they deal with stressful events and situations, etc. And if they're even willing to admit they have a mental/personality disorder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'll be mulling over these responses more later. I'm going to indulge myself now to my first orthopedic massage. Maybe it will help with the stress headache I've had for days now.

Later,
Quaker
 

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Quaker, my STBXH suffers from recurrent major depression/anxiety/PTSD. In one of the few MC sessions he was willing to attend, the counselor pointed out that his illness helps to explain his otherwise unacceptable behavior towards me and his children, but that it was not a free pass to abuse his family. At the time, I thought I could continue in the marriage provided he sought and continued treatment. Well, that didn't work.

I've struggled a lot with the "better or worse" and "sickness and in health" vows we both took. But we also took the "foresaking all others" vow, which he broke repeatedly. The vows only work when both parties choose to live by them. I did stand by him during treatment. I told him that was a condition for continuing our marriage. He then blew off treatment and sought out other women. The vows were never intended to be one-sided.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Pluto2, THANK YOU! Without knowing it, that is exactly what I was doing...expecting me to stick by my vows when he has not. The big question, now that I have more knowledge about his mental condition, is whether or not I want to stick around to give him yet another chance to follow those vows.

My head is still spinning, not just with DDay, but also with his mental illness and my own feelings about those vows.

The massage helped my body, but not my soul. My heart hurts.
 

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FYI, there are only a few things that one spouse can do that release the other spouse from their obligation under marriage. The biggest one of them is adultry. (After all it is one of the 10 commandments) So in my opinion, you are released from your obligation once the other spouse crosses the line. Doesnt say anything about whether the cheating spouse did it sane or insane....just says adultry. Just sayin....
 

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FYI, there are only a few things that one spouse can do that release the other spouse from their obligation under marriage. The biggest one of them is adultry. (After all it is one of the 10 commandments) So in my opinion, you are released from your obligation once the other spouse crosses the line. Doesnt say anything about whether the cheating spouse did it sane or insane....just says adultry. Just sayin....
In addition to either emotional or physical adultery, other Biblical grounds for divorce include abandonment, and mental or physical cruelty to a spouse, child, or some other family member.
 

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Personality disorders aren't curable.
Some of them are curable. And some can be treated successfully enough that the individual in question can live a healthy, normal life, even if that person will never be "the norm". Mental illness and personality disorders are not automatically a death sentence, nor do they make a relationship with someone hopeless or not worth the time and effort.
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Class B includes ....includes antisocial personality disorder.
Yes, Quaker, the Cluster B personality disorders (PDs) include AsPD (Antisocial PD, aka sociopathic), Narcissistic PD, Borderline PD, and Histrionic PD. My understanding is that the new diagnostic manual that will be released this May (DSM-5) will eliminate the separate category for Histrionic PD because it is being consolidated with NPD and AsPD.

Of the remaining three PDs in Cluster B, an essential difference is that, whereas BPDers are capable of truly loving you (albeit in a very immature way), narcissists and sociopaths are not. Another basic difference is that, whereas BPDers are emotionally unstable, narcissists and sociopaths are very stable.

I therefore suspect that, because you describe your H as being stable and not loving you, he was diagnosed primarily as being narcissistic or sociopathic. I say "primarily" because the vast majority of people diagnosed with having one PD also have strong traits of one or two others as well. And, in addition, they typically have at least one of the "clinical disorders," e.g., depression, PTSD, anxiety, bipolar, or ADHD.

Because those clincial disorders usually arise from chemical changes in the body, they often are treated very successfully by swallowing a pill. In contrast, the PDs do not arise from chemical imbalances and thus cannot be treated with medication. The reason that PD sufferers are usually given medications is to treat the co-morbid clinical disorders, not the PD itself.
You also mentioned that mental illness is not curable.
I agree with Jasel that PDs are not curable. The problem, of course, is that there is no disease to cure. Science has not yet proven, to a certainty, what it is that causes PDs. The general view, however, is that they are not caused by a disease but, rather, an interruption in the emotional development process that occurred in early childhood (e.g., by abuse or abandonment) or occurred even earlier in the womb (e.g., due to genetics or the expression of those genetics as the fetus developed).
The question, I suppose, is can the behaviors be modified by the person with the mental illness?
Having a PD does not give one a free pass to abuse other people. It therefore is important that the PDer be held fully accountable for his own behavior. This means he must be allowed to suffer the logical consequences of his own bad behavior. Otherwise, you are simply allowing him to continue behaving like a spoiled child and GET AWAY WITH IT. In that way, you are an enabler.

For BPDers, there are many excellent treatment programs available that will teach the very skills that the person did not learn in early childhood, e.g., how to better manage emotions, how to intellectually challenge intense feelings, and how to self sooth. It is very rare, however, for high functioning BPDers to be willing to stay in such therapy long enough to make a real difference in their behavior.

As to the narcissists and sociopaths, I am less familiar with the prognosis. My understanding, however, is that no treatment programs have been found that will make substantial changes in their behavior.
 

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First, let me preface that I'm no expert on mental disorders. But I can give you a layman's opinion.

If someone cheats because of a mental disorder, by all reasoning it could happen again, if treatment is not successful. My life experience has taught me that counseling and drug therapy is hit and miss at best.

I wouldn't want to stake my future marital happiness on the notion that my cheating spouse could be miraculously cured by psychiatry or counseling; nor would I be confident that they weren't using it as an excuse to avoid the deserved consequences.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Quaker,

We take the mental illness as like a physical illness as when a loved one is ill, we rear them back to health and then all is back to old goodness.

It doesn`t work that way with mental illness or with personality disorders.

It is not that if they can be cured (which they can`t be cured unfortunately, most of the time).

What matters is, such a poor soul, had never been able to properly know you, care for you or love you, right from the beginning.

All we had, with such a lover(?), right from the beginning was a dream we had.

What now ?
 

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With certain PDs, people can be taught how to function properly (such as in the case of something like BPD). A person who can then present as "normal" and is no longer reliant on therapy or meds would then be considered "cured".

Of course no one should take abuse or stick around if the person with the illness/PD is unwilling to take responsibility and get help to manage it...
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Uptown, I think your post has helped me more than any other. I've been scouring the internet, trying to find something which could help me understand my WH's behavior in relation to fidelity. The lines between all these Cluster B PDs has been blurring for me as I could see several of his behaviors that fit into different categories.

My WH has admitted to me recently that as a young teenager he began to lie about everything under the sun for no reason he could give his parents or himself. He said it in a way which made it SEEM as though he felt remorse for this as well as some confusion. He blames this period of his life for the way his parents and his sister have treated him.

More of what you said made sense, too, when you got to the part about abandonment. I'll explain more about this in a moment.

I didn't get to be there with my husband for his appointment with the social worker who went over the results with my husband. I highly suspect that he does not want me to know the actual diagnosis as it was explained to him. He has simply handed me the paperwork they gave to him to explain his diagnosis. He is still in a bit of shock over it.

As frightening as it sounds to me when I say it out loud, I would say that my husband is primarily sociopathic. His idea of "I'm sorry" is "I'm sorry you feel that way." Aside from the PD stuff, he was also diagnosed with depression, anxiety and paranoia. None of his depression has been helped at all with medication. He's currently taking Vibryd and Valium which he says enable him to remember his dreams for the first time in his life. Some are pleasant dreams. Others are horrible nightmares which, upon waking, he can not get back to sleep for the rest of the night.

Let me give a bit more personal background for my WH. WH was adopted when he was 6 months old. His adoptive parents doted on him until they adopted a daughter from a different family a few years later. As he describes it, his adoptive sister was the "golden child" while he was the "disappointment." He was an average student while his sister made straight A's, and he was often given the admonishment that he needed to be more like his sister.

After he graduated from high school, he escaped the farm (where he felt as though he had been imprisoned) to his Aunt and Uncle's home where his Aunt doted on him and treated him very well as he started his freshman classes at a nearby university. He admits that he did not speak to his adoptive parents for a couple of years, nor did he return to see them for 3 years following an incident in which they pulled him out of college and took away his car because he had failed to check the oil in the vehicle and the motor burned up. During this time, his adoptive parents burned everything in their home which had been his. They burned photos. They burned ribbons from races he had won. They destroyed any trophies he had as well as any scrapbooks or momentos of his childhood.

He eventually returned as the prodigal son, but was never forgiven for having left. His adoptive parents, according to my WH, never showed any affection to each other, much less to their children. He never saw his parents kiss, hug or hold hands. They were civil to each other, but never loving.

When he was 50, a friend of his found his biological mother. He then discovered the event surrounding his birth. His biological mother was a divorced mother of three in 1952. She became involved with a young man whom she loved and became pregnant. He planned on marrying her, but somehow news got back to her that he also had gotten another young lady pregnant in their town at the same time. She sent him a message to him never to come near her again. He honored this, according to my husband. His biological mother kept the pregnancy a secret from the rest of her family with the exclusion of her other 3 children. Two of those children were too young to remember my WH's birth, but the oldest was 16 years old and helped her mother through the delivery.

So, for all these years in which he already felt unloved by the adoptive family, he had also been an ugly secret kept in the dark by his biological family.

His biological mother, however, did embrace him warmly when he found her. She felt much sorrow about the past. His youngest sister embraced him as family, but the other two siblings have remained distant and cool toward him.

His adoptive mother became deathly ill in May of last year. His adoptive sister and he fought over what to do about her care after she had a massive heart attack at age 92. She had begged them for years not to put her in a nursing home. The adoptive sister wanted to hire 24/7 nursing care to come into the home. We could not afford to pay half of that, and we suggested moving into her home to take care of her, and his sister went ballistic. In the end, however, we did move in with MIL. I had been a CNA in the past, and it actually fell to me to care for my MIL. I did it out of love for my H because I certainly did not love the way my MIL had treated my H in the 5 years I had known her. My developmentally disabled daughter also helped in MIL's care, often helping me to bath MIL and to spoon feed her towards the end.

Neither my WH nor his adoptive sister shed a tear during the time their mother was dying. They did not cry at any point after she died either. Instead, it's been a fight over what was left behind, especially since my MIL had played a warped mind game with the two of them for the past 30 years, disowning whichever child was out of favor, only to flip that a few years later when the other child was out of favor. Playing them against each other for their whole lives...even after her death.

Before receiving this diagnosis, I would have simply described my husband as shy and reticent, with some anxiety about being in crowded places. My family full of Scots-Irish/Cherokee southern ******* loudmouthed fellows who love to hunt and fish made him a nervous wreck at times. He would simply find a quiet room and withdraw from the noise.

I think I have pitied my WH in all of this, feeling so sorry that he had never known the kind of familial love I had experienced. And yes, I've enabled him without meaning to do so.

As for treatment, my WH has already decided that it's not an option because it will be too expensive and that our insurance probably won't cover it.

I don't see him changing who he is or adjusting his behaviors. I am his 7th wife. He can't get married again in this state.

My WH is a cake eater, too. Long story for another time, but this most recent EA was not his first offense. It IS the last one I will experience, though. The toughest part is deciding WHEN is the best time for me.

I'm caught between still loving the fellow I thought he was and dealing with the fellow I've discovered him to be.

I need a break here...my hands are cramping from typing...bbiab.
 
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