Support Groups

Wife of NGH………My View.

I was recently pointed to a support group for Family Members who are dealing with mental illness.

I may not have agreed with his point of view, but I am glad that he gave me the information …….I have gone out to the websites, which have been added in the right sidebar, and checked into the services they offer.

After looking thru the sites, I have discussed it with my husband and we will be taking the “Family to Family” classes. It is a 12 week course. I am willing to do anything that will help our family learn how to properly cope with this illness…..maybe it will allow us to someday mend the breach between my husband and his parents.

Even though my FIL still isn’t speaking to my husband, over his refusal to allow his mother contact with the kids, we are going to print the information on the NAMI group and send it to him. My desire is that it would offer him some hope and coping skills with MIL.

I understand why he is unwilling to accept, yet a third diagnosis of bipolar. He really thought this last time, when she was committed, that he would finally be getting help. Basically she was turned out from the hospital and he was told they had done all they could do. Accepting this diagnosis offers him no hope, grasping onto her “self diagnosis” of all the ailments she can come up with offers him some hope of a cure. It is very sad.

The kids have done a complete turn around. With the exception of son#1 wanting to hear some of the messages, we have tried to shield them from all of this. When they came home, even FIL didn’t want the kids to see her. He said she wasn’t stable enough to be around the kids. We explained to the kids what was going on and what steps we were having to take. This would mean they wouldn’t be spending time with MIL.

At least not for now.

It just snowballed from there. The messages started getting mean. It hadn’t reached the point where we were having to keep the phone turned off and the answering machine turned down, but some of them were unpleasant. It was a couple of those messages that the kids heard. We talked about what was being said, trying to get them to understand that MIL really couldn’t help what she was saying.

Now she is striking out to hurt anyone she can, kids included.

We have tried to make sure they were okay emotionally, having gone thru so many of these cycles over the past years. We have encouraged them to journal how they feel. When they have questions we have tried, to the best of our ability, to answer them. Always making sure they knew it was the illness that was doing the talking.

It’s tough trying to explain to your kids that even though you may love someone and hold them dear, their actions can be lacking. You can be angry at what they are doing and saying, yet still love them as a person. Sadly, some people that are like this make it difficult for their loved ones to be around them. That is the position we are in…….

We do not discuss this in front of the kids or make it our daily meal time conversation. When they are sitting there and see the phone flashing red a minimum of 15 times a day……they know who it is…..

These are very intelligent kids and they have asked why we keep the machine turned off. We simply told them that the angrier MIL gets, the more malevolent and twisted the messages become. We don’t want them to think of her in that way… far we have done a pretty good job of protecting them. We have actually tried exercises in remembering some of the fun things that they have done together.

Unfortunately even these memories are overshadowed with memories of MIL’s behavior. There has been no time that they have been able to remember that hasn’t contained memories of staying upstairs out of the way or outside.

The difference this time………….I have always been the target….at least since we have been married. I took over FIL’s place as number 1. Now they are being targeted along with myself and my husband.

Sadly they remember her at other times when she has been like this and they know that this time is the worst we’ve ever seen her. She frightened them during the previous episodes and they are frightened again……………..

Seeing their relief when they were told the number has been changed and there will be no more phone calls to the house was eye opening. They are so much more relaxed and at ease. Once in awhile they will ask if my husband has heard when they are coming home.

My husband has been blogging this to help clear his own mind. To set the events down as they occur.

It has been difficult for all who are involved this go around. The thought of them spending the rest of their lives alienated from their son and grandchildren saddens me. It is their choice.

My role is to support my husband and be a sounding board for my children. Not try to make someone else happy at the expense of my children’s health and welfare.

This hasn’t been easy on our marriage and has tried it in more ways than I would care to remember. It has cleared the air between my husband and I. There are things I understand now that I didn’t a few years ago. He is going to do what needs to be done for me. I will be more open with him about how I feel over this….that and not listen to anymore messages.

~ by namegoeshere on July 15, 2007.

One Response to “Support Groups”

  1. Thank you for sharing your perspective on all of this. I’m glad that you both are putting your kids before the parents.

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