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For the last couple of months my wife has been in angry and jerk mode towards me. Our marriage is not that great now and before it was better but not the greatest.
We have a 3 year old daughter and SHE MEANS THE WORLD TO ME and I just keep taking my wife’s constant rude comments and off the wall anger she has now developed towards me.
I deal with it and I don’t leave because I do not want my daughter to feel like I’ve abandoned her and I don’t want my wife to plant lies and negative thoughts in my daughters head about me, which my wife has said she will do if we got a divorce.
I’ve always had a feeling she is bipolar and I have brought it up to her once and it was WW3 in the house. Also in a few of our arguments she has threaten to hurt herself because she makes up some crazy stories to fuel her anger and her own beliefs of a situation where she slaps her face or threaten to cut herself in order to prove her point. I will sometimes agree to her crazy stories for the fear she could get really violent or actually do major harm to herself.
I’ve suggested counseling and she refuses saying it’s all my fault and a counselor would agree with her. I’ve told her ok let’s go to a counselor and see what happens, nope.
I know I should have run for the hills long ago, but these would be emotional out burst mainly during her period and it’s happen say once a year every year during our marriage, but now it’s getting frequent.
Now I’m actually scared for our daughter if we were to get a divorce and she turns on her if one day she believes our daughter is lying about something when she is not, forcing our daughter to agree with my wife’s crazy thoughts.
The mental abuse has got really bad in the last couple of months to were I feel like a divorce should happen, but like I said, I’m worried about our daughter and I know how the courts look to the mom to have child custody 95% of the time.
My wife has a short temper and I’ve seen it when our daughter has acted up in not to bad of ways. My wife has got upset with me allowing our daughter to do typical toddler horse playing to get a laugh, like stepping in water outside. Of course I will say something like she is a kid and allow our daughter to do those things for short amount of time because she is playing.
I’m really torn and concerned on getting a divorce because one, I’m a stay at home dad with no income which means I would have to be homeless till I got a job, two of course trying to pay for a divorce lawyer would be next to impossible since the costs is sky high, three doing legalzoom could screw me.
So in reading this you can see why I’m in a position of SOL and have no idea what to do.
I sometimes feel like it’s best to just grit my teeth for a few more years till my daughter is old enough to see things for herself and then explain why daddy can no longer be with mommy. I know it will be harder the longer I wait, but there’s a lot of concerns I have with her growing up on this house with my wife if I’m not here to protect her from the mental abuse.
What are your thoughts??
 

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You waited until the very end of your post before telling us that you’re unemployed.
Why is this, is their a medical reason or some other health issues that prevent you from working?
 

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First and foremost - any woman who threatens to use her own child as a pawn by "poisoning' her against her own father - just so she can keep you around as the convenient daycare center you ARE - is a complete piece of human garbage.

I know I should have run for the hills long ago....
That's an understatement of epic proportions.

I’m a stay at home dad with no income which means I would have to be homeless till I got a job
Why on earth would you put yourself in this position??? I'm guessing your wife clearly wears the pants and since she's the breadwinner, you have ZERO options. I'm also going to assume you likely didn't have much of an upward-moving or lucrative career if you were the one to stay home while she works. If it were you with the most lucrative career, it would have been her staying home.

Regardless, the FIRST thing you need to do is become employed again. You have exactly ZERO options as a penniless house husband - you need to be self supporting.

Either take this time while you're not working to get yourself an education so you can get a good job, or try to go back to whatever it was you were doing before you became a stay at home parent. Lots of folks will tell you how 'noble' it is that you sacrificed your career to raise your daughter, but most companies will just see that 3 year hole in your job history as a negative, not a "noble" positive. I'm just being realistic.

Get yourself EMPLOYED again and you'll be amazed at what your options become.
 

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I understand that it's hard to leave and that you are worried about your daughter. It is your job to protect her and that includes getting her out of this situation, even if part-time. Is it better for her to live with crazy 100% of the time or 50% of the time? One is far more damaging than the other, unless you truly believe she would physically harm your daughter.

So, some things I would recommend...
  • Start looking for employment. I know the times are tough right now, and they certainly are not going to get easier any time soon. Better to start looking now. You will need to have a job and income to be able to leave, as well as support your daughter while she is with you.
  • Contact a lawyer, or two (second opinions are always a good idea), and see where you stand IF you decide to divorce. Many lawyers will do free consultations, and this may help you feel better about divorce. Some of your fears may be unfounded. One parent may be the primary but legal custody tends to be shared these days, and physical custody tends to be a default of 50/50.
  • Look into using a guardian ad litem (GAL) for the custody matters. They can be requested by either parent or appointed by a judge and their job is to act on the best interests of the child. Typically the cost is split between the parents based on income, though sometimes it is paid by whoever requested it (if one parent did). Judges usually listen to what the GAL recommends so this is something you want to discuss in length with a lawyer before proceeding. If your wife can trick the GAL, then you could be screwed. The GAL can talk to both parents, the child, teachers, daycare, grandparents, etc.
  • Start keeping a written and dated log of every negative interaction your wife has with or involving your daughter. This will eliminate any "he said, she said" because you will have a written log of it while your wife has nada.
  • Look up recording laws in your state first, but you can also record her when she is acting like this and saying these things. Those recordings may or may not be admissible in court but they may protect you down the line if she decides to claim YOU hit her or your daughter.
  • Next time your wife starts on about how she's going to kill or harm herself (which no, she is not actually going to do) then call in to have her taken to the hospital. The cops, or whoever comes in your area, can deal with her. It will also create a paper trail of your wife being looney.
  • For your daughter, get her some children's books on mental illness. Trust me, they are a great resource and helped my kids a ton.
  • Find your daughter a children's play therapist. Many offer a sliding scale and will work with what you can afford. Whether you can see it or not, this is affecting your daughter and it needs to be dealt with before it ruins her life.
  • Do not try to self-diagnose your wife. You are not a professional and there are reasons why doctors, etc. cannot treat family members.
 

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Thank you so far for the comments it does bring light to the situation.

To “shesgotit”, to add to my story, I’m out of a job because I got injured that kept me in the hospital for some time, then I was unable to continue doing the line of work I was doing, construction. After recovery I did attempt to get a second career, but during that time my wife got pregnant and then she got a substantial raise. This is when we came the conclusion for one of us to stay home.
Yes I will say she has more say unfortunately because of the situation and with this whole lock down and the way things are currently in the world, getting a new job that can pay for me to be on my own is next to impossible, considering the city/county we live in. Moving outside of the county would not make anything easier, and where that leaves me is having to move really far away to where a job and a sustainable income would work.
I have been putting away some “run” money for about a year and a half that would help a little on a move, but I definitely would need a job the day I bailed.

Bobert you bring up some great insight and information I was not aware of and I have started noting conversation between my wife and I and how she talks to our daughter and recording is a good option.
Regarding the police involvement, what you said brings information to me I did not know. I will definitely be doing that with the next outburst of hers and make sure to create that paper trail.
Lastly I will call around to a few lawyers and see what their thoughts are and hopefully it will shed some light on this situation.

It does suck being here and having things held over my head and her knowing if I bail it’s not going to be easy. But with what you 2 have said so far, and hopefully others will comment too, I believe I will have a better understanding on how to make things a little easier when I do make a final decision.
I know it’s not going to be easy.
 

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I’ve always had a feeling she is bipolar.
Perhaps she is bipolar, JJ. That is not what you're describing here, however. Rather, the behaviors you describe -- i.e., verbal abuse, self-harming threats, controlling demands, temper tantrums, black-white thinking, always being "The Victim," and rapid flips between Jekyll (loving you) and Hyde (devaluing you) -- are warning signs for BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder).

Importantly, I'm not suggesting your W has full-blown BPD. Only a professional can determine that. Instead, I'm suggesting you consider whether she is exhibiting a moderate-to-strong pattern of BPD symptoms (i.e., is a "pwBPD").

She has threatened to hurt herself... she slaps her face or threatens to cut herself.
JJ, of the 157 mental disorders listed in the American diagnostic manual (DSM-5), only BPD has "self-harming behavior such as cutting" listed as one of its defining traits. In adults, the primary cause of cutting and other self harming seems to be BPD.

A 2004 hospital study, for example, concluded that "the majority of those who self-mutilate are women with borderline personality disorder. This complex, maladaptive behavior is used by clients as a means of self-preservation and emotion regulation, and is often associated with childhood trauma." See J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv 2004.

I’ve suggested counseling and she refuses saying it’s all my fault and a counselor would agree with her.
My experience, JJ, is that -- if your W is a pwBPD -- marriage counseling would be a total waste of time until she has worked hard for many years in an individual and group therapy program such as DBT or CBT that can teach her the many coping skills she never had an opportunity to learn in childhood. Sadly, it is rare for a high-functioning pwBPD to be willing to do that long enough to make a real difference. Indeed, it is unlikely she will even start such a program if she is a pwBPD.

What are your thoughts??
I agree with Bobert that it would be wise to start carrying a VAR in your shirt pocket or a smartphone on your belt that automatically records loud discussions. I say this because, at the end of my 15-year marriage, my BPD exW called the police and had me arrested on the bogus charge of "brutalizing" her. When I got out of jail 3 days later, I learned that she had obtained a R/O barring me from returning to my own home for 18 months (the time it takes to go through the divorce process in this State).

Of course, learning to spot BPD warning signs will not enable you to diagnose your W's issues. Although strong BPD symptoms are easy to spot, only a professional can determine whether they are so severe and persistent as to constitute a full-blown disorder.

Yet, like learning warning signs for a stroke or heart attack, learning those for BPD may help you avoid a very painful situation -- e.g., remaining in a toxic relationship or running into the arms of another woman just like her. Learning the red flags also can help you decide when professional guidance is needed.
I therefore suggest you take a quick look at my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs to see if most sound very familiar. If so and you have questions, I would be glad to discuss them with you.
 

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On the contrary OP, you would be, as primary carer of your daughter, in a good position to get full custody of your daughter, with your wife getting visitation. You'll also get child support from her, and perhaps even alimony. You should look into it - women do this to men all the time.
 

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I therefore suggest you take a quick look at my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs to see if most sound very familiar. If so and you have questions, I would be glad to discuss them with you.
@Uptown, I read your 18 BPD signs and I checked each box o_O
In her childhood, her parents sent her to her aunt and uncle’s to live in order to go to a girls only higher education school, kind of military like. She went there from age 12 to 18 years old and from what she has said, this school was very strick.
She did not have a normal upbringing like her brother and sister that stayed at home and went to a normal school. If I compare her siblings to her, I can see the huge difference with them compared to her in the way they act, for example they’re not narcissistic.
After reading what you wrote, I can see where this must have been the start of what you described.
In your situation which involved the police and you getting arrested is my fear that she would do something exactly like this.

Last night we got into another argument but this time about the Covid19 situation. She is a germaphobe person and constantly using hand sanitizer, pre-Covid19. But since Covid19 she has become a very paranoid person to where she pretty much dresses up in protective gear, head to toe, just to get our daily mail as one example.
I’m the kind of person that thinks, wear a mask and gloves when at a store and wash your hands often is good, which you can see where the argument came from.
She ended up getting so pissed she said she was going to go to the hospital to contact Covid19 and bring it back just to infect me and to prove a point! She went out to our car to leave but I can disable the car via an app, so she couldn’t bail.
I know she wouldn’t do it, but it was getting late and I wanted to go to bed soon, she ended up staying up and pouting on the couch.
It’s going to be a roller coaster week as this week she will start her period and the way she is now, she is going to be a time bomb just waiting to explode.
I know this week the **** will probably hit the fan so I’ll just do my best to be distracted away from her and spend extra extra play time with our daughter.
It sucks, but I’m getting to a point I just don’t give a F and my censor is turning off and I don’t like that because the argument sometimes will be in front of our daughter. I try to recognize that and stop everything and go to our daughter and play with her while completely shutting off my wife in order to make our daughter not feel like anything is wrong. I don’t want her to see or hear any of that ****. Like I said earlier my daughter means to world to me and I will do my best to protect and shield her form my wife’s out bursts.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around everything and trying to figure out a solution, whether it’s separating for a time away from her, which unfortunately it would mean away from my daughter, or divorce, or just weather the storms which are becoming more frequent.
I looked into some marriage consulars, but the majority are closed due to Covid19:cautious:
It would be a no brainer if we didn’t have a child, but it’s a tug of war right now.
 
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