Wife with Schizoaffective Disorder

Submitted by Rico09, September 19, 2012

Hi everyone. My wife has been dealing with her condition for 4-5 years now.
Probably gone on for longer but her 1st major 'episode' was 4-5 years ago. She is currently in an institution for the 3rd time. This time she seems the deepest info her psychosis. At the moment she seems to hate me. She is convinced she wants a divorce and has even refused to see me? I don't know where this has come from. We have a good relationship the same ups and downs any couple will have. She has become fixated on other guys in the past due to her illness. She was fixated on her boss for a while and lately met a guy on a chat forum. I have tolerated it as I have out it down to her illness. I was shocked that she was so against
Me though. She will not even respond to simple texts. He feels on this arts very real. She understands why she is in hospital and that she is not well but she is convinced that in someway I'm evil. Is this behaviour 'normal' given her condition? I know being fixated on other people can be an issue but I've not read anything like I have described. She is even telling her best made that she is in a home for women who are beaten. Everyone who knows her and me know that is not the case. She is seeing her parents at the moment and seems ok with them.

I'm not sure how to handle the situation. I've stayed away from the hospital for 3 days now, just to see of if will improve. She requested to see our son tomorrow but not with me. I just feel so helpless.

I just want her to get better!!

Hi Rico, It's very difficult

Hi Rico,

It's very difficult being married to someone with a serious psychiatric disorder, particularly one that involves psychotic episodes.

Have you talked to her treatment providers at the hospital regarding her belief that you are evil, and that she is in a home for abused women? They know her case and would be in the best position to give you some guidance on how to handle this situation.

The other issue is whether and how much this is due to her psychosis (i.e., she is delusional) and how much it is due to underlying marital issues. If she is unhappy in the marriage then that is an issue that needs to be addressed when she is more stable - and I would recommend doing this under the guidance of a therapist who is used to working with individuals with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

If her behaviors (e.g. becoming fixated on other men, frequently chat rooms, etc.) occur only when she is symptomatic, and she is faithful, devoted, and seems genuinely happy in the marriage when she is doing well (i.e. not symptomatic), then most likely that's not an issue. But, addressing this in more depth at some point might be warranted.

If she is refusing to see you right now, then it would probably be best to honor her wishes. Forcing her to see you could agitate her, and that is not going to help her get better. But again, please talk to the hospital staff and go with their recommendations if they differ from mine, as they have the bigger picture and I just have a tiny snippet of what is going on.

She is fortunate to have a supportive husband like you. However, this may be a lifelong pattern and you may want to work with a therapist individually to figure out the best way to handle the emotional toll that it is taking on you, as well as how to best support her when she is like this.

Dr. Cheryl Lane