The damage done by bad ideas part 2
Posted: 06 December 2006 12:52 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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In one of my first posts on this forum I mentioned my parents in law and their bullshit new-age belief that all medicine and all (western) doctors are bad, especially psychiatrists.
Well, now I am really stuck between a rock and a hard place.

My wife of 14 years, who has been having mental problems for a few months, moved out last week and is now living with her parents.
She is a total mess and her parents, who are kind, well-meaning people, think that they can treat her by reading articles on the internet.
All the while filling her head with spectacularly bad ideas; i.e. take herbal supplements, do meditation, etc.

Today, I visited her and she told me she wanted a divorce.
5 minutes later she said she didn't mean it, but I can see where this is going.

I met her dad last week and I went absolutely ballistic on him.
I told him that if my wife needed psychiatric drugs to help her get through this and he would convince her not to do this (which he will) that I would never forgive him. I also used the F-word about a hundred times.

I am so angry at these people that I just can not see them and this upsets my wife who wants us all to get along, but I know if I hear her lunatic mother addressing the "good universe' or how you can cure cancer by eating carrots ( and they talk incessantly about this crap) I will just blow up at them.

I am a private person and I don't like to hang my dirty laundry out, but I am so frustrated and angry and I feel so isolated, like I am the only sane person left here that I thought I should write this post.

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“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

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Posted: 13 December 2006 12:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Sander—I am sorry for what you are going through.  Maybe your wife will survive this phase of difficulty with the help of her parents.  Maybe her loving parents will end up making it worse.  I think the best you can do is try not to make it worse for her.  That doesn’t mean surrendering and letting her go, necessarily.  Fourteen years of marriage is a precious, wonderful thing and worth fighting for.  But fight wisely.  Know when to be silent and when to listen.  At the deepest level, your parents in law and you want the same thing.  You want your wife to be healthy.  Don’t lose sight of that.  You are not on opposite sides on this issue.  You just see if from a different perspective.  How can you help your wife?

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Posted: 13 December 2006 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Thanks Woofy for your post,

I was a bit depressed to get no response at all while this is so central to my life right now.
It is strange when you find yourself alone all of a sudden. And you have a lot of time to reflect on the past and you start to see things in a different light.
I remember falling in love with my wife when I saw one day how vulnerable a person she was and I wanted to take care of her.
Looking back I find that she has never been a stable person but ( as our therapist tells us) character traits become more pronounced when you get older and that prospect scares me.

My wife seems to regress to a childhood state of mind, living with her parents and feeling incapable to do anything.
The inconvenient truth is that I myself have never been a person who is well grounded ( this will be no shocker to people who read my posts smile ) so now that she is falling apart I feel like I am being sucked down too.

All this personal crap aside, the tragedy of the situation is that her parents (who are loving, and you are right we DO want the same thing) have constructed a belief system around themselves which they will not abandon or modify. And my wife is picking up these beliefs to my great horror.
My father in law has decided a long time ago to buy into his wife’s lunacy, probably to avoid the only other alternative. Divorce.
It seems that I am on the threshold of a similar dilemma and I have a very stubborn character and I wouldn’t be able to accept these ridiculous beliefs even if I tried.

The lunacy at my in-laws house has grown in isolation. They have few friends and the ones they have are like-minded weirdoes.
It is very much like a mini cult. And I am standing on then outside of this and I feel powerless and I am angry.
The abandonment of reason is a horrible thing to witness.

Anyway, thanks for your kind reply and sorry for this depressing post.

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“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

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Posted: 14 December 2006 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Sander,

Woofy’s solo response doesn’t necessarily mean people don’t care.  If people had solutions (suggestions) they’d be responding.  My suggestion will probably strike you as heartless - let her go.  She went to her parents by choice.  Let her go.  Let them do their thing.  If she comes back she comes back.

You have probably seen on the news that some anti-depressants are causing severe problems.  In school, I was puzzled by the fact that my psychology teacher had dark rings under his eyes and looked miserable.  (I think it was Thoreau who said that if a philosopher didn’t live a better, happier life than others, then his philosophy was worthless).  All I mean is that the best of modern medicine and psychiatry is no guarantee that they can cure.  I just heard on the news that every year 100,000 people die from infections they pick up in the hospital. 

While it’s true that New Age cures and superstitious hokum are bilking the public out of billions and causing millions of people to neglect worthwhile proven treatment . . . we simply can’t expect to change peoples’ faith in such things.  It’s almost as though there’s a gene that predisposes some people to believe in flying saucers, bigfoot, ghosts, and treating cancer with red clover.  Let’s say we’ve been human for over a million years - how much of that time have we had scientific medicine and psychiatry?

People who believe in witchcraft can be killed by a witch doctor, and, I suppose, can sometimes be cured by one.  More and more people are turning to a kind of New Age voodoo, as modern medicine gets more and more impersonal, financially ruinous - with doctors racing from one cubicle to the next - keeping you emotionally at a distance - big frightening machines, etc.

So if you have a chance to see your wife, just hold her hand, or let her rest her head on your shoulder with your arm around her.  Avoid words if posssible.

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“The simple fables of the religious of the world have come to seem like tales told to children.”  - Nobel Prize recipient - Francis Crick

“It is time we recognized the boundless narcissism and self-deceit of the saved.” - Sam Harris

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Posted: 14 December 2006 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“unsmoked”]Sander,

Woofy’s solo response doesn’t necessarily mean people don’t care.  If people had solutions (suggestions) they’d be responding.  My suggestion will probably strike you as heartless - let her go.  She went to her parents by choice.  Let her go.  Let them do their thing.  If she comes back she comes back.

You have probably seen on the news that some anti-depressants are causing severe problems.  In school, I was puzzled by the fact that my psychology teacher had dark rings under his eyes and looked miserable.  (I think it was Thoreau who said that if a philosopher didn’t live a better, happier life than others, then his philosophy was worthless).  All I mean is that the best of modern medicine and psychiatry is no guarantee that they can cure.  I just heard on the news that every year 100,000 people die from infections they pick up in the hospital. 

While it’s true that New Age cures and superstitious hokum are bilking the public out of billions and causing millions of people to neglect worthwhile proven treatment . . . we simply can’t expect to change peoples’ faith in such things.  It’s almost as though there’s a gene that predisposes some people to believe in flying saucers, bigfoot, ghosts, and treating cancer with red clover.  Let’s say we’ve been human for over a million years - how much of that time have we had scientific medicine and psychiatry?

People who believe in witchcraft can be killed by a witch doctor, and, I suppose, can sometimes be cured by one.  More and more people are turning to a kind of New Age voodoo, as modern medicine gets more and more impersonal, financially ruinous - with doctors racing from one cubicle to the next - keeping you emotionally at a distance - big frightening machines, etc.

So if you have a chance to see your wife, just hold her hand, or let her rest her head on your shoulder with your arm around her.  Avoid words if posssible.

Hey Unsmoked,

Thanks for the post.
I’ve been told by smart and kind people that the decision to let her go or not is one that no one can make for me and I believe that to be true.
We are in counseling and I will try to see if we can go on together.

Your comments about the shortcommings of our current healthcare system are very relevant.
I think my in-laws decision to abandon western medicine all together has been partly formed by our poor healthcare system with its over-worked and impersonal physicians and also by the relentless efforts of the pharmaceutical companies to get us to (for example) take a pill for an upset stomach instead of telling us to stop eating the garbage that hurts us in the fist place.
The other thing is that my in-laws have seen a lot of death as older folk inevitably do.

It is their near-religious dogma that is the problem.

Thanks for the advice.

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“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

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Posted: 14 December 2006 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Hey Sander.

Sorry to hear about all the trouble. I can’t even comprehend the pain it must cause you and your family.

Since you both(You and her parents) want the same thing, one option is to strike a deal with her parents. Try their way first and if it doesn’t work try your way. They should be able to agree with that. Or better yet, try your way first and their way second. But that might be tougher to sell.

But a kind of, “if we don’t see results in x amount of time, we do it this way.” deal.

A vacation might also be benificial if your wife’s illness is due to depression. Warm, sunny, restful.

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“If your original Hebrew disagrees with my original King James—- your original Hebrew is wrong.”—FSTDT

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Posted: 24 December 2006 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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The cause and answer is this:

“I am so angry at these people that I just can not see them and this upsets my wife who wants us all to get along.” – these are your own words

Your wife loves both you, and her parents; and your actions gave her a situation which amounted to forcing her to feel the need to choose between you and her parents (re: post 1 of your first thread). 

And your wife made her choice. 

You’re getting angry and throwing a hissy-fit over it all isn’t going to get her back, all it will do is convince her she’s made the correct choice; and all without any input from her parents.

It’s not her parent’s beliefs, or faith that was the problem in the first place;  it’s you and your own immature attitude and ways you choose to deal with the situation in the first place.    When you can see this, see how could have done things differently,  and then admit it … you may just be able to get her back.  But without that, she’s most likely gone.

It’s late for your relationship; and this may not work for many reason (not just her parents objections) but you need to ask her to go to a marriage counselor with you;  and if you’ve already asked her this before and she said no; ask her again. 

But be prepared - at this late date her decision to divorce you may be final and if so you’re only recourse is to accept her decision with dignity,  and chalk the experience up to living through another one of life’s many lessons.

Good luck, to both of you.

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Posted: 24 December 2006 03:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Keep writing.

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Posted: 25 December 2006 01:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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This is such a complex situation, and so heart-breaking! It’s entirely natural to have an emotional outburst when you feel caught in a double-bind, and this is like a double-bind coming from several directions at once.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I read you were in counseling together. I don’t know how helpful this ‘professional’ is, sometimes people who think they know something, and have credentials to back them up, can do more harm than the ‘weirdos’.
There are no easy answers here, no obvious choices, and a situation like this makes you wonder how much choice anyone ever has. Life runs some very cruel experiments on us sometimes, don’t you think?

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Posted: 28 December 2006 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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I hope things are going better for you.  You’re in a very difficult situation. 

I would only put in a good word for medical treatment of mental/emotional problems. You should not be afraid to seek treatment if nothing else seems to be working. I myself and others I know have greatly benefitted from anti-depressants and other psychoactive medications.  While I personally think they are prescribed too often, as a band-aid, overwhelmingly this is done by general practitioners.  The vast majority of head-med prescriptions are written by GPs.  These doctors want to help their patients, and they feel the newer head meds are pretty safe (compared to earlier drugs they are indeed).  But because they are not specialists, i.e. psychiatrists, they usually prescribe at a dose that is too low to have an effect on the symptoms.  So I would advise, if you get to the point of getting some medical treatment for your wife, that she be treated by a psychiatrist, an MD who specializes in treating the symptoms of mental illiness.  I wasted many years getting prescribed by my regular doc and not feeling any better. 

As is true of any drug, side effects are possible.  Educate yourself.  Make sure you understand what they are, and don’t hestitate to ask the doc as many questions as you need to.

Take care,

Ylle

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Posted: 28 December 2006 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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[quote author=“Ylle521”]I hope things are going better for you.  You’re in a very difficult situation. 

I would only put in a good word for medical treatment of mental/emotional problems. You should not be afraid to seek treatment if nothing else seems to be working. I myself and others I know have greatly benefitted from anti-depressants and other psychoactive medications.  While I personally think they are prescribed too often, as a band-aid, overwhelmingly this is done by general practitioners.  The vast majority of head-med prescriptions are written by GPs.  These doctors want to help their patients, and they feel the newer head meds are pretty safe (compared to earlier drugs they are indeed).  But because they are not specialists, i.e. psychiatrists, they usually prescribe at a dose that is too low to have an effect on the symptoms.  So I would advise, if you get to the point of getting some medical treatment for your wife, that she be treated by a psychiatrist, an MD who specializes in treating the symptoms of mental illiness.  I wasted many years getting prescribed by my regular doc and not feeling any better. 

As is true of any drug, side effects are possible.  Educate yourself.  Make sure you understand what they are, and don’t hestitate to ask the doc as many questions as you need to.

Take care,

Ylle


Thanks Ylle,

There is a bit of hope here.
My wife said she would like to try and come back to live with me and that is a good thing, because I can feel the distance grow the longer we are separated.
I agree that a psychiatrist is in a better position to proscribe meds.
I am actually making some headway in convincing her that therapy AND pills are a good way to go for now.

I am a bit hesitant to start delving into the specifics of meds and their side effects, because I feel it is out of my league.
I am lucky to have some doctors as friends and I even know a psychiatrist. I think I will ask them for their opinion on specific pills instead.

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“You know I’m born to lose, and gambling is for fools.
But that’s the way I like it baby, I don’t want to live forever.”

From the autobiography of A.A.Mills, ‘The passage of time, according to an estranged, casual tyrant.’

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Posted: 28 December 2006 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Hi Sander—
    I really like to see this thread develop, because it shows someone who is having a problem, and trying to find and implement a solution.  Some advice will be useful to you, some won’t—but you are using your resources.  The more minds that are working on a problem, the more solutions you will have to choose from. 
    Another poster made a point that getting angry and having a hissy fit about your wife going back to her family was not the best way to deal with the situation, and I agree to an extent; however, if I left my husband and went back to live with my parents and he didn’t have a fit and go ballistic, I would have been heartbroken.  When you care about someone alot, sometimes you go a little crazy.  How would your wife feel if you had no reaction at all?  I think it would probably have made her feel unwanted and unloved.  I say good for you, for fighting for the one you love.  Just be careful how you fight, and realize that just because you love someone doesn’t make you right in all things.  But you know that I think. 
    As far as official medications, I have no experience:  however, in addition to my previous recommendations of puppies and kittens—if they are a little on the difficult to manage side—I also get much joy from a little clear plastic tray birdfeeder that is attatched by suction cups to the outside of my kitchen window.  Never underestimate the power of a little plastic birdfeeder to save a marriage.  Sometimes it’s the small things. 
    Also, if you can get it—Lion Coffee Kona coffee from Hawaii.  Although I have never used anti-depressants, and only have limited experience with recreational drugs—I can tell you that if you drink coffee—this stuff is amazing.  Their motto is “The Cup the Cheers”  I recommend one cup of Lion coffee every morning for a month and if it doesn’t cheer you up at all, you are in a very dark place indeed. 
    I wish you and your wife and her parents all the best.  Keep us posted.

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