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Avoiding the "forbidden" confrontation

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Avoiding the "forbidden" confrontation

Postby bsc » Wed May 19, 2004 11:52 pm

Since I have been posting here in the past few months, I have not actually started a thread. Much of what I say below will probably be repetitious - but here goes.

My readings on DD and other various personality disorders and mental illnesses, indicate that one should not confront the DD person or challenge their delusions.

My question is simply - how do you avoid it? Especially when they are directly asking you questions about how and why this was done to them. And especially when they are accusing you directly of being involved.

My afternoon phone call with my wife, for example, deteriorated pretty quickly. We referred to our conversation of the previous evening where we used the word, intuitive. She described the use of a piece of software, and how unexpectedly easy it was for her to use. I said it was intuitive, based on her previous experience with other software. She agreed that was a good word to use. This afternoon she said she had to look the word up in the dictionary. I asked why. She said her brain was too scrambled to really understand what we were talking about. I defended her intelligence by saying she knew perfectly well the meaning of the word and the discussion. She accused me of falsely boosting her ego to make her think she was normal, and she was tired of pretending to be normal. I said, as understanding as I could, I know you have these problems, but they're not really interfering with your ability to do things. She said she couldn't think clearly anymore and, of course, it was all my fault.

I wanted to say, you can go to the doctor and get help for your problems. But again, before I could say another word, she said, I am not crazy, there is no one for me to go to. I said there is nothing else I can do for her. She said I have to tell her what happened to her and why "we" did this to her (same old thing). I said I have nothing to tell her, because she only thinks this happened to her but it is something else inside her head that is at fault.

A loud verbal blast from the other end of the phone line, and a hang up, as usual.

Any advice on how to avoid these confrontations. Changing the subject rarely works because she calls me on those.

How can I avoid saying, none of these things happened to you. The other side of the coin is admitting she is right. Then I will have to explain all of the things she questions. Of course, thre aren't any explanations. Probably way too late for any of this.

By the way, glad to see MIC is keeping busy working hard. If my wife had an outside job and felt productive, perhaps she and I would be better off. And we could use the money.
bsc
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Postby mic » Thu May 20, 2004 12:31 am

bsc,

Just a quick thought. Actually delusional disorder does cause one to get their thoughts all mixed up and confused. My boss indicated to a friend of mine that he noticed I wasn't as focused as usual just before I was hospitalized. This is part of the disorder. You could say you were concerned - not about her being crazy, but about her feeling like she can't think clearly.

Talk to your family doctor. Tell him/her what is happening and see if they would be willing to talk to her.

Then tell your wife that you talked to your doctor and you told him/her about her concerns that she is afraid she isn't thinking very clearly. Tell her, that since they now have medications for things like Alzheimer's, maybe there is a medication to help her think more clearly. Wait for the right moment - like the one you described here, where she says she notices it.

Then tell her that you talked with the doctor and he/she asked that she come in to see him/her; that maybe she needs to have some tests done to figure out if anything might be wrong with her.

The Risperdal that is perscribed for delusional disorder is also good at straightening out your thinking processes. That is what it is for, so I am sure that is the problem here. Of course, the suggestion might be taken better coming from a friend or other relative. Just a thought. Good luck.

Mic
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Postby bsc » Thu May 20, 2004 1:47 am

MIC - thanks for the thoughts and ideas. She is dead set against going back to our "family" doctor. She stopped taking the HPB meds he prescribed. She insists they are part of what is making her "crazy", although she hasn't taken any for about 4 months. She feels that doctor is also in on "it".

She recently went to orthopedic dr for problems with her knee. He prescribed Celebrex for the arthritis he thought it was. She trusted him enough to take them for a while. Not sure if she is still taking them. She calls most drs quacks. One in particular, a few years ago, she insists, gave her an injection in her butt. She called up about a year later wanting to know what he gave her. He answered, nothing. There is no meds that he would administer that way. She didn't believe him, so now he is on the list of bad guys doing "this" to her. Can't win for losing.

I am just trying to figure out how to live with this and get along with her. But every word that comes out of my mouth is wrong. I even have to be careful what I glance at. I have been a very tolerant person over the last 2 and a half years. I can be very strong. I would like to avoid leaving her, although I refer to it in all my posts.

If I assume she will never get help, what do I need to do to survive with her? Most likely impossible.

You mentioned that mental confusion is not necessarily a symptom of DD. Actually my wife has symtoms of almost the whole DSM4 book. Before I bumped into DD I was looking at borderline, paranoid, manic, etc. The strongest symptoms are the delusions so I settled on that for me to concentrate on. Got to go....
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Postby Hab » Sat May 22, 2004 2:13 am

BSC,

Let me qualify first by saying I have never been in your situation, where I am one of the suspected people harming my loved one, so I throw out these suggestions as possiblities of alternative responses. Maybe you've already tried this approach...

I think of this as reflecting back what a person has just explained feeling wise and then commenting on those feelings in a way that honors them, acknowledges their emotional impact. Beyond that I don't try to fix the feelings or make them feel differently. It is a way of offering support without making the person's feelings wrong or misguided. Feelings are just feelings. We all have them. They aren't right or wrong.

Sooo...

To your wife you might say when she asks you why this is happening to her and why did you let it happen to her - one response might be to say - That must feel terrible to feel that your own husband would hurt you or betray you. To which she might say why did you? You might say, I know you feel confused and I would like to ease your pain but I don't know what to tell you that would do that. I know you are looking for answers from me. I wish I had those answers.

Kinda like that. Always refering back to her feelings and your regret that you can't be of more help. Telling her you love her in as many ways as you can think of can be helpful. Tone of voice is so important in these conversations. If you sound irritable and / or angry it will escalate to argument. Compassion is the key word. Remember always how much she is suffering and out of control of her own thought process. Remember how much you love her when your own impatience starts to rise.

I find the hardest time I have following my own advice is when I get sooooo tired of hearing the same story over and over again. Of hearing my husband curse to invisible people. I want my airspace calmer then life with him has allowed recently. I even confronted him with the treatment idea the other day as I had lost my patience. Of course it went nowhere and just wasted my breath.

I have much better days when I just stay calm with in my own mind and honor his feelings, offer support with care and compassion and relax into the " crazy " atmosphere of my homelife.

Hope this helps.
Hab
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Postby Alex47 » Sat May 22, 2004 1:24 pm

Dear Hab,

That was a great response, thanks!

I think it's the only approach that has a chance of working.

Acknowledge the feelings (pain, anger, etc.) and seek help for the feelings alone, not the source of the feelings.

I think this is somewhat different than just walking on eggshells everday.

All the best

Alex
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Postby bsc » Wed May 26, 2004 12:56 am

Thanks Hab and Alex - yes, sometimes our conversations go in that direction a little bit. When I ask her, why would I do that to you, I love you, she says I am doing it for the money. I must have an arrangement with these "people" paying me for the entertainment value of the video they must be making or putting it on the internet.

My next word would normally be "ridiculous". How can you think that of me? She usually says, very sarcastically, oh, play the martyr, you're so good and I'm so bad.

So the right reaction I should have, is to say nothing, shake my head, and say, ya right.

When I say (what you said), I wish I could help you and answer your questions, I get screamed at LIAR LIAR. You know exactly whats going on. Its at that time that I feel in my pockets for the car keys and feel like a trapped animal ready to run, in a defensive mode. Then she may (if I am lucky) calm down, crying, I am probably going to spend the rest of my life like this. I say, you don't have to, you can get help. She screams, I am not crazy, I am not going anywhere. I say jokingly, under my breath, shoot (suit) yourself. She usually doesn't hear me.

It was a pretty good 4 day weekend at home (2 work at home days), wrapping up some misc tasks, eating steamed crabs (her favorite). She seemed almost normal except when a little stress came up.

Next weekend is also 4 days. Its her birthday Sunday. I bought something for her that I have the feeling is going to arrive late in the mail. I better have some substitutes or there will be hell to pay.
She is already creating a problem by insisting I bake her a cake instead of buying it. Oh boy!!! Then she will have something to criticize.
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Postby Alex47 » Wed May 26, 2004 1:28 pm

Dear BSC,

Still walking on eggshells, it seems.

Acknowledging your wife's feelings and not her delusions is probably an even harder task. I think only Hab has managed to successfully walk this fine line.

I have made all the same mistakes as you, so you probably shouldn't listen to me!

Your last conversation (about being paid by the conspiracy): Of course it's "ridiculous!" But you don't need to be defensive and you don't even need to say it! Either say nothing and let it slide, or say something like "I'm sorry you feel that way." Even saying, "yeah right" is not going to be helpful.

You probably have to accept that anything you do won't be right. Baking a cake or buying a cake, no matter which you do it will be the wrong thing in her eyes, so just do what you want for a change!

Best of luck

Hope this is helpful

Alex
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Avoiding the "forbidden" Confrontation

Postby Guest » Wed May 26, 2004 1:58 pm

Your wife sounds exactly like my wife. There used to be a lot of confrontation in our household and bickering exactly as you describe. Its much better today than it used to be....not because she has changed but because I have changed. You can disagree with her and her delusions and accusations without taking them personally; have an unemotional response. Set aside time for these kinds of discussions (i.e. don't let them become the only topic that the two of you discuss). You set the rules through informal agreements with her and then all should abide. For example, if she accuses you of talking about her reputation behind her back. You say, "Well we agreed to talk about your feelings every Sunday morning. Let's discuss on Sunday." When Sunday comes, talk it through with her without emotion but using some logic. If you feel frustrated or emotional. Take a walk. I hope this is helpful
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Postby Hab » Fri May 28, 2004 9:46 pm

Dear Guest,

Yours appears to be a new voice here at the Delusional Disorder Forum. Thanks for joining the converstion. You appear to have some experience with the disorder and have found novel ways of coping with it.

If you feel comfortable sharing more of your experiences with your wife and how you have managed you would be offering a lot to those of us here also struggling along. There are really only 7 of us who post regularly here. Reggie is a newcomer as well. Another perspective is positively positive for all of us.

I hope you will come around more often and share with us the wisdom you have gained sharing your life with a delusional loved one.

Hab
Hab
 

Postby bsc » Tue Jun 01, 2004 9:53 pm

New Guest and all - well my 4 day weekend went better than I expected. As I said above, it was my wife's birthday Sunday so I think that helped temper the situation.

Thursday night, I brought home live blue crabs to steam, from the big city where I work. That always puts her in a good mood. She bought the beer and rented a couple of movies, so we were set for the night.

Friday morning we went shopping for a replacement back door. Last winter she put a hammer through the old one. I put a temp interior door in, but now it has to be replaced. Much arguing about which door. Funny, I say arguing, but I am usually in agreement with her. She actually argues with herself but claims that me and my "cronies" are controlling her thoughts and that's why she is so confused. She (and we) takes forever to make a decision about even the most insignificant things. When she was finally convinced that we were both in agreement, we bought it. Delivery in a few weeks.

I told her I needed some time alone to complete some birthday shopping, since she loves surprises. I dropped her off at the mall to go shop elsewhere. We syncronized watches and cell phones. I told her I would be back in 40 minutes. By 30 minutes she called while I was in check out line. She said she was walking home. She said there was problems with the people in the mall. She couldn't find the right shoe size and "they" were preventing her from shopping. She told me the route she was walking. About 10 minutes later I find her walking down the middle of one of the busiest streets in town, shouting and swearing at cars, giving them the finger, etc. I pulled over, she got in and told me the whole litany of what the "people" were doing to her at the mall. She doesn't know how she can ever replace the worn out shoes she is "forced" to wear if she can't just go shopping like regular people. This is not the first time for the middle of the street circus. Has happened several times. Sure wish a cop would happen by so I could say, she is mentally ill, officer. would you please take her in to the hospital.

Went home and listened endlessly to her banter about what all these people are doing and how I should stop "them".

Saturday morning I went down to the post office to pick up her gift. Yes it arrived on time. Bought the other things, cards etc for her birthday. Went home and did bake her the cake. She did give me a few hints. Turned out well except for the deco. I never could color inside the lines. She was improving since she knew what her big present was going to be on Sunday.

Up Sunday morn, made breakfast. Opened presents. She was very pleased. Threat of rain. We were going to a memorial day outing to a the next larger city about 70 miles away. She started to act like a spoiled child blaming everyone if she was going to miss this outing. It would be a first for to see fireworks on her birthaday.

Finally I said, lets go. In 70 miles we could be in and out of rain. We will go anyway and see what happens. Got there in time for a deluge which lasted about 15 minutes. Cleared up. She was happy. Spent afternoon walking and taking pics with her new present (a camera). Ate dinner, listened to music, watched fireworks. Drove home in downpour. But she was very happy. Amazing!!

Monday morn it starts with the "we've done this before", "how come we are always repeating history".

We have never been to this place in this city in our lives. But one of her "symptoms" is this dejavu syndrome. She insists everything keeps repeating over and over. Everyplace we go, everything we do, movies and shows we have seen, she insists we are seeing over again. Why are "we" trying to fool her and trick her with these repeats?

So I ask, did you have a good time yesterday? Yes, she says. So what if we did it before if it was fun. We will probably do it again. She usually screams at me for not agreeing with her about past history she makes up. This time I tried to agree up front to shorten the battle.

The rest of Mon went fine. This is now Tues and I am 250 miles away at work waiting for the nightly screaming contest by phone.

Sorry for the extensive detail. I guess I am just reviewing it in my own mind......
bsc
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