Wednesday, June 01, 2005

A "Short" Recap...

I’ve had several questions recently about why my STBX acts the way she does, so I thought I’d post a “brief” recap of what happened and what I suspect.

First, there’s a few things you should know. My STBX’s mother is a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who was institutionalized for a while by her family. She’s doing much better now, but is certainly not “cured” – there isn’t a cure for schizophrenia. Having a schizophrenic parent makes you 13 times more likely to develop schizophrenia – there is definitely a genetic component. A hallmark characteristic of schizophrenia is a “lack of insight”. This means that a schizophrenic will not see that their behavior is not normal – they truly think that everything they do is normal. Many, many schizophrenics are never diagnosed because it is very hard to get them to see a doctor, much less a psychiatrist. That means that they are undiagnosed and therefore, unmedicated. The truly unfortunate thing is that with medical treatment a schizophrenic has a very good chance of returning to a normal life, without it, they decline.

Not being a doctor, I can only research and try and guess what is going on. It is my belief that my STBX is a paranoid schizophrenic, though I’m told that she could also have schizo-affective disorder, or any number of other possibilities. Being unqualified to diagnose, the best I can do is describe her actions and let you judge for yourself.

This is going to be very, very abbreviated. A lot of this is covered in earlier posts, so read through that if you want more detail. When we met I thought she was an incredible woman – smart, fun to be with, beautiful. We moved far to fast (isn’t hindsight always 20/20?) and got married about 6 months after we met. Not long after we met, I met he boss, who I thought was about as stupid as Dilbert’s boss, and twice as offensive. She worked for him under contract, and the contract was utterly bizarre. It was full of things that would never hold up in court, but was also written in such a way that no attorney would allow a client to sign it. I told her she should take it to an attorney to look at, since she was having problems with her manager. Not normal problems, but serious issues, like providing her with false financial information concerning her sales (and therefore, her commissions) and failing to pay her. He was a real jackass and when he found out I was questioning the contract and had gotten an accountant and an attorney to look at it, he developed a special hatred for me. He started making her life very difficult and exactly 2 weeks to the day before we were married he left a message on our answering machine firing her. That was far from the last we heard from him, but it’s good enough for now.

The pressure he was putting on her before he fired her was immense. She had to call him at least once a day and he would yell at her on the phone and make dire threats as to her job security. She began to make me go around at night and check all the door and window locks so he could not get into the house. She was afraid (literally) that he was going to drive down (he lived about 2 hours from us) and kill her rather than let her get away with forcing him to pay her the approximately $10,000 he owed her. I didn’t like the guy, and thought he was a jerk, but I didn’t think he was stupid enough to do anything like that. I just blamed this on the pressure he was putting her under.

Not long after that she also showed me a picture of an ex-boyfriend and told me I should run if I ever saw him. The behavior of her first husband started to come out – how he “took her for everything” in their divorce. How he raped her just days before the divorce was final, forcing her to have an abortion later. Hearing this last part made me very angry. He called once after that asking her something and she told me afterward. I didn’t know who she had been talking to, but when I heard that he wanted to come over to visit I told her that if he came over I’d physically throw him out.

She was having a lot of trouble finding a job. She started talking about how worthless she felt and started making comments like “I should just kill myself” and “I should just shoot myself”. One night she told me that earlier in the day she had thought about putting a gun to her head and shooting herself. I called her counselor (whom I insisted she see) and he talked to her. She was furious that I called him. I brought this up at a counseling session that we had and she was even more angry. She said that she meant these comments as figures of speech, but the counselor didn’t agree. He asked her how I was supposed to know the difference, and she just felt that I should have. She fired him not too long after that.

We liked watching CSI together, but it became more and more difficult for me. She’d turn to me and say things like “if you try to kill me they’ll catch you” or “they’ll know if you poison me”. One of the shows I was particularly disgusted with the criminal’s abilities in hiding bodies and said so. I also in the past had criticized the criminals on other crime shows. She turned to me and asked “what did you do?” She thought I had actually hidden bodies because I called a criminal on a TV show an idiot. I should have thought more about this, but didn’t. I found out later that she was telling friends that she thought I had killed some people in the past and hidden the bodies.

About this time I had discussions with two people. One of them was a neighbor who asked me what was going on, seeing her acting strangely. I told her about some of the things that were happening and that my wife was becoming physically violent. She had punched me a couple of times, though I was not hurt. She said that she had seen some strange behavior also.

The other person I talked to was a member of her immediate family. She could not believe the things my wife had been saying at dinner one night, so she arranged to go to the store with me on our way home from a restaurant (they were visiting from out of town). She asked me specifically about what was happening and we had a long discussion about what was happening. She was very concerned because she could see the hostility and paranoia my wife was exhibiting.

About a week after that in counseling my wife went ballistic. She accused me of plotting against her with her friends and relatives. She said that both of the people I had spoken to had called her to tell her that I was up to something. I found out later that the neighbor had approached her to talk to her herself and that our discussion came out. She called the family member and made several accusations. She said that both of these people had told her that I was trying to have her committed.

She wanted me to admit that I was “up to something” and “plotting something”, but I refused. She claimed that she had irrefutable proof, but would not say what it was or produce it. She just kept saying that I should just admit whatever it was that I was up to. Since I wasn’t up to anything I would not admit to anything.

The counselor tried to put a stop to it, but my wife wouldn’t let it go. She then went on to blurt out that I was planning to kill her. Her proof for this was that I owned a knife. I’ve written about this part before here. The counselor and I just looked at each other.

I think sometimes of filing a complaint against these counselors. I’ll have to think about that one though.

So, to review, the focus of her paranoia started with her ex-husband, boss and ex-boyfriends and slowly moved towards me. Once I became the focus of her suspicions things really got ugly. It all led to Ambush Day, the day that turned my life upside-down. I could have gone to prison if she had told her stories a little differently. Fortunately for me, the police paid attention and did their jobs. Her big gun was the claim (I was told by the policeman) that I had tried to strangle her. She had made a big deal about how dangerous I was, how strong (I am strong, but I only way about 175 and am 5’6” tall) I was, told them about my military training (implying that it was violent in nature, not nuclear power), and my martial arts training. I’m guessing, because I was not there, but I’m assuming she didn’t get far with this accusation because she didn’t have a mark on her. In general, if somebody tries to strangle you, they’ll leave marks and bruises, and have scratches and bruises from where you fought to escape. My wife had none of these, so she switched tactics. She said I was a danger to my son. This is particularly offensive to me, because she offered no proof whatsoever, just said that she “was afraid”, and that was enough.

Men have gone to prison for just such flimsy accusations. I know because I was told so by not only my attorney, but the police and the court personnel. To me that’s just scary. I have no pity whatsoever for men who abuse their wives (or vice-versa), but for something this weak to actually send somebody to prison truly just scares me.

Since then my main fight has been for visitation time with my son. I’ve been very kind, mainly because I know that a lot of her issues are not of her choice or making – mental illness isn’t a choice. It’s getting increasingly difficult, however. I’m ready to go and start filing complaints against the counselors who ignored evidence of her behavioral problems. I’m ready to write a “Get your heads our of your collective asses” (I’d actually state it as “the sand” instead of “your collective asses”, but you get the picture) to her family and friends. I want them to understand what she did to me and what their inaction is doing. I want to see my son more often. My mother is visiting me this week and I have a strong suspicion that my STBX is going to try to prevent me from having any extra time with him. If she does it will be the last straw. The letters will start to be mailed.

I’ve been very nice for a long, long time, and it’s getting to the point that I can no longer see any point in being nice any longer. I don’t think she’s going to ever stop.