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Friends marriage advise

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:02 pm
by Brainfizz
I'm writing for my friend who has one child with his wife, he takes care of their daughter mostly by himself, his wife works but has had a lot of sick time due to borderline personality disorder, the problem is she is very controlling and if he wants an odd night out she refuses to allow him back into their house until the next day and then takes overdoses or severely self harms the day after he has been out.
I don't want people to think that everyone with this personality disorder is controlling and manipulative, having personality disorder is often because of very difficult childhoods and you can learn and recognise and to be a good person in a relationship and you can self improve on your issues. Most people who self harm do so to escape very painful feelings and extreme of emotions where as she seems to overdose or self harm directly after he has been out the night before.

My friend recognises that she has issues with him coming home after a few drinks so he stays around a friends house so she doesn't have to be around (not that he goes home plastered), he also has offered to make plans for their daughter to stay around a friends or his mothers.
She doesn't seem to have a problem with him drinking the odd drink when they are out together for a meal or at home, it is all related to him going out with other people.
She has called him childish for wanting to go out and had her friend round so they could sit together and have a go at him for wanting to go out.

He will be driving her to see her family which is about a 9 hour trip which he agrees to do even though he dislikes going he does it so his daughter can see her family and his wife also can.

When he does get to go out she sends him abusive texts saying he's a bad father and that he's selfish. The one time his daughter became unwell whilst he was out he went straight home to make sure she was ok.

Now the problem is he wants to leave but he has been advised that the courts would automatically put his daughter with his wife as they favour the mother, as I've said he cares for their daughter most of the time, takes her to school etc, and although sometimes his wife is good with their daughter there are times when she really isn't good. I know we all have our moments but for their daughter to be removed from his care would be detrimental to the little girl and obviously my friend.

What should he do next? Social care have been involved before when his wife took an overdose, she refused to speak with them but my friend sat and talked with them and they were happy that he was caring for her and closed the case.
He could move into his mothers spare room with his daughter temporarily but he's concerned that his wife will take her away which she has threatened before. He is thinking of asking her if she wants to stay in her home town when they travel there but I doubt she'd agree to this and their daughter would still miss her mother and he doesn't necessarily want to stop her seeing her.

Has anyone got any advise? Friends have told him her behaviour isn't right and she doesn't seem to care that he is becoming miserable being controlled like this. He knows it isn't right but he is concerned about losing his daughter.

Thank you for reading

Re: Friends marriage advise

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:38 am
by Tarantula
I suppose he'll have to fight the case for custody in the event of a separation, showing that she is an unfit mother which, from what you've said, sounds like she is.

She has serious mental health problems and although this doesn't justify her behaviour, I can't help but want to know more about her - as someone who identifies with borderline symptoms. What's her background? Was she always this unstable or has it developed as the relationship got more serious?

Most importantly... how self-aware is she regarding her problems? Does she realise that she has a problem or is it always his fault?

To be honest with you, I sometimes get funny about bf going out without me, as I panic about irrational things and I have intrusive thoughts about what he could be up to whilst at the same time knowing, logically, that there's nothing to worry about. I feel abandoned when he's not around. But, I mostly manage to keep my mouth shut and cope until he's back, and he's very understanding and supportive - I couldn't ask for more. I realise that time apart is important for the overall health of the relationship.

So, it sounds like your friend has already made his mind up, but I hope he's done everything he can to support her first. That's what marriage is all about, plus they have a child. So long as there's no cheating involved... they should both try their very hardest to challenge personal demons and work on the relationship. It's not easy, but don't get married if you're not prepared to do that...

She needs professional support and a whole lot of understanding, when addressing the underlying issues at the root of her disorder. Your friend also needs to look after himself and decide honestly if he can cope with her disorder. If not, as seems to be the case, then as I say, he should pursue custody through the usual channels. The daughter is the one who will carry the burden from all of this in future.

Re: Friends marriage advise

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:20 pm
by Brainfizz
Thanks for your reply.
He also had the disorder as do I, but we have more willingness to be reasonable, she refuses to look at herself and blames things on him.
He has been supportive to her and tries to talk reasonably with her but it doesn't work, he's also explained that he doesn't cheat or act unfaithfully and I've never seen this.
I understand she may feel abandoned or resentful of him going out Iv had similar feelings myself when my husband has gone out but I've tried to talk this through and understand that it isn't him rather it's my disorder playing on my mind and I don't stop him going out because as you said time apart is important too.

She has been more unstable than he has been and been in a&e and reported to social services, he was the one who spoke With them she refused to get up and see them. She seems to sleep all the time and he takes care of their daughter, and if he does go out he still takes care of the little girl while she sleeps so I don't think she is being abandoned in the literal sense.

He has equal parental responsibility as they were married when they registered the birth and he takes the most care of her so I'm hoping this would become apparent and he would not lose his daughter

Re: Friends marriage advise

PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:11 pm
by Tarantula
Hmmmm. It's difficult to offer quick solutions here. I think it would help for all parties involved to be honest and searching in how their disorders manifest. So far you haven't mentioned how it affects him, and if he is borderline... definitely it would be affecting him.

I'm also curious to understand how two borderlines even make it to getting married, as I imagine their respective issues would make it impossible - you can't have TWO people experiencing profound abandonment and mood swings intermittently... usually one person acts as the 'anchor' and is more stable, and the other unfortunately wears them down with their bad behaviour.

I feel like this is a very complex situation that requires much more analysis than perhaps is possible on this thread; so all I can say is, be there for him, be a good friend (and only a friend) and, all things considered, it does sound like a separation is necessary and imminent.

Re: Friends marriage advise

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 7:59 am
by snail
My brother had a similar (although less extreme) problem with his daughter. In that case the woman was simply a poor mother rather than unfit - incompetent, improvident (the house was always dirty and the child never had any clothes because her mother spent all the money) and with a stream of different men coming round. My brother took legal advice but was told that it would be effectively impossible for him as the father to get custody of a young child if the mother opposed it (which she did), unless the mother was absolutely a danger. He was advised that once the child was 12, the court would take the child's wishes as the main thing. So he had to wait, painfully, and as soon as my niece was 12, he got custody, as she preferred to live with him.

I think it will hinge on showing she is positively unfit - I would suggest he start keeping detailed records so he has something tangible to show in court.

Re: Friends marriage advise

PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:52 pm
by Brainfizz
His mental health is definitely better than hers and he has been very dedicated to getting help and improving himself, he was having therapy but the counsellor said he no longer needed to go as he'd
Worked through his issues, she said he was probably going to end the relationship soon.

I've asked him how he'd feel if she went out and he said he'd be fine with it and wishes she would go out more but she stays in and doesn't like seeing people.

He definitely wants to leave and he wants to keep his daughter so I think that's the main thing he is looking to find out if he will lose her in the process
Thanks for your advise and experiences

Re: Friends marriage advise

PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:55 pm
by David020549
There is probably no solution if he wants to keep in close touch with his child.

If he leaves and contests custody he will loose unless his wife has been proven to neglect the child, in addition he has nowhere to live and visiting rights will be controlled by his wife ( regardless of court orders ).

If he leaves and moves away with only occasional visits the child is likely to be neglected and end up in social care which is the worst of all scenarios

We all make sacrifices for our partners and kids ( I certainly do ) his best option at present is to give up his nights out, stay with her and make sure the daughter is looked after properly. Given time maybe his wife will improve, at least she will have one less excuse to self harm and cause trouble, yes it will be tough but if the result is a properly brought up daughter it will be worth it.