My Spouse Comes from a Family of Mentally Ill People
More than 50% of the population will be diagnosed with some sort of mental illness in their lifetime. Mental illness also has a genetic component. Because of this, it’s fairly common that your spouse will have a mental illness, and/or they’ll come from a family with a family of mental illness. Instead of worrying about what could happen, learn how to live life normally as possible, and cope with challenges.
Determine if They Have the Same Mental Illness
Just because someone comes from a family with mental health problems, doesn’t mean they will also be affected. If your spouse comes from a family with bipolar disorder or narcissism, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll have that same problem. Talk the time to talk to them (in a non-judgemental way) about their mental health. See how they feel, and whether they want to seek help before things get worse.
If you have issues with the family, it’s okay to set boundaries. Communication is key. Talk over your concerns with your spouse and set up some rules. If they’re comfortable with it, limit visits with their family to once a week or once a month. Let your spouse you love and accept them and their family, but that you simply need rules to manage your own feelings, too.
Learn About their Illness
If this is your spouse’s family, then they’re your family, too. Instead of worrying about them, try to understand them. Learn about their illness and the ways it presents itself. Learn how to be an ally to them, and better understand the ways in which they express themselves. They likely don’t want to make a fool of themselves or offend you, so try to figure out where they’re coming from. There doesn’t have to be any ill-will between you.
Don’t be Afraid to Say “Enough”
On the flip side, don’t over-exert yourself trying to fit in. If your spouse’s family isn’t making an effort to get help, or make you more comfortable, you may need to draw a line in the sand. Their mental illness does not excuse them from being rude or disrespectful toward you.
Find Others to Help You
Confide in your spouse or other family members about the problems you’re facing with the family. They’ve had to deal with them all their lives, so they are sure to have some valuable input. They’ll help you learn about the mental illness they suffer from, and how to not get taken advantage of. You’re a part of the family now. There’s no reason you should feel like you are on the outs, so get help from them. If they won’t help, get help from a therapist or support group.
At the end of the day, you have to look out for yourself!
Our Firm Specializes in Southern California Divorces Complicated by Narcissism and other Mental Illnesses. Do you have a divorce or family law question?
Call our office today at (949) 363-5551. We specialize in helping clients who have divorce and family law matters complicated by gaslighting, narcissism, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses. John A. Bledsoe is Orange County’s premier divorce attorney and a certified family law specialist. Our firm offers a confidential initial case evaluation. to learn more.
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