Posts Tagged ‘Intermittent Explosive Disorder’

DON’T DIVORCE

 INTRODUCTION

In April of 1968 I married a very beautiful woman with a delightful personality that I had fallen deeply in love with.  In September of 1969 she divorced me.  In August 1978 I married a good woman who really needed my help and I wanted to help her.  In 2005 she divorced me.  Two marriages, two divorces.  What happened?  What can be learned from these tragedies that I can share with others to help them avoid the same type of mistakes that I made?

I’ll give my analysis first, since it is the most important part, and then I’ll give my account of the details of what happened that led to my div0rce (for anyone interested in how two people deeply in love ended up divorced).

ANALYSIS

I made many mistakes in my first marriage and in handling the breakup and divorce.  My first mistake was not being engaged much longer than our 5-month engagement.  This was important in order for us both to learn how to amicably resolve our differences…which renowned marriage researcher and author, John Gottman, PhD, says is the most important skill to have to prevent divorce and have a happy marriage.  Dr. Gottman also says that a couple should have at least five positive interactions for every negative in order to maintain a healthy relationship.  You can easily check the health of your relationship by applying the two aforementioned factors that Dr. Gottman discovered.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that my first wife had IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder) where she went berserk and out of control; therefore I should have taken anything she said or did while in this state with a grain of salt, and not automatically believe that she wanted to get rid of me because I might be permanently handicapped and therefore not be able to make her a good living (which is what I thought, though not what she directly said).  Another mistake I made in my first marraige was to inform family that we were having problems.  Family and friends are supportive and usually take your side, which although they make you feel good, family cannot be objective in analyzing and resolving marital problems…that’s the job of marraige counselors. We should have gone to a marraige counselor to help us resolve our conflicts.

Finally, and most importantly, as very difficult as it was for me, I should have gone to my divorce hearing.  Even if I simply showed up, limping, shaven-headed, one-eye-closed, etc., any judge would have been very skeptical believing that a spouse had legitimate grounds for divorce.  I needed to be there to tell what happened, and fight to keep her, perhaps through court-ordered marraige counseling.

Because we really loved each other, I believe that, were it not for my brain tumor, my wife and I would have worked out our problems and lived happily together and raised a family.  She was highly motivated to be a good wife and mother, and the irritation from my brain tumor eventually went away.

My second marraige was completely different and I believe I bent over backwards to make my wife happy.  In addition, my wife desperately needed my Federal medical  insurance. There’s not too much to be learned from my second marriage and divorce, except that in both of my marriages I should have done everything to prevent them since the hurt can (and did) last a lifetime.

ON THE OTHER HAND:

It was a stupid bath that precipitated my first wife to give me an ultimatum to either not bathe then or get out, and then follow it up with actually pushing out a severely-handicapped man only 5 weeks after he had a large brain tumor removed.  In addition, over the next six months she never apologized to me or shed a tear over our breakup (that I could see).  This problem should have been a 60-second-to-resolve problem.  It was never resolved.  A marraige is faced with many problems over a lifetime which need amicable resolutions.  Perhaps I was lucky to have been tossed out of our apartment early-on?

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If you’re interested, here’s my account of the significant details of our breakup (if I also knew my wife’s account, we  probably could have avoided divorce):

OUR BREAKUP

My first-wife-to-be and I lived a few blocks from each other in our parents’ homes.  Since we both worked in the same office, I drove her to work every day and got to know her.  We then dated for a relatively short period, got engaged, and married after only five months of engagement.

We had a wonderful honeymoon but a rough time learning to live together. We got off to a bad start when she cooked hamburgers that she made with a teaspoon of black pepper mixed in.  She said that her mother gave her the recipe which made me paranoid about her mom wanting to break us up.  I was too critical and she never learned how to discuss our differences, negotiate and compromise.  While growing up, her parents never fought in front of her so she thought that couples that loved each other did not fight.  In addition, she always got her own way to the extent that, when she was a child, she demanded and got the master bedroom in her parents home.

Our fights would sometimes end with her phoning her parents to come and pick her up.  I eventually learned that the only way I could end a fight was to make her cry…and the only way to make her cry was to talk critically about her mother.  On two occasions she completely lost control and in a fit of rage attempted to stab me with a steak knife in each hand which she tried to plant into my chest.  I consequently decided that she was not emotionally ready to raise children though she wanted to have four ASAP.  In order to prepare her to be the mother of our children, I thought that she needed to learn how to work out with me our differences and to compromise when appropriate.  I had to make her hate to argue and fight and therefore I had to see to it that she lost every argument from then on.  Unlike the first two months of our marraige, I had to win at all cost…no more understanding and kindness when we fought.  This strategy began to work just about at the same time that I began getting psychologically irritated from my brain tumor.  I was no longer in control…my brain tumor was.

My brain surgery took 5 hours and I was in the hospital for three weeks.  When I was allowed to go home, I could barely walk, the left side of my face was paralyzed and numb, my left eye lids were sutured shut to protect my left eye, I was deaf in my left ear, my equilibrium was bad to the extent that I appeared drunk when walking.  My wife was happy to have me home and cooked wonderful meals for me.  I remained psychologiclly irritated, however.

While my brain tumor was located between my Cerebellum and Pons, it and my disfigurement agitated me and aggravated my behavior and made me hyper-sensitive and slightly schizophrenic and paranoid and therefore I was difficult to live with.  In addition, enraged at something I said, my wife tried to stab me again.  She was scared and told me, “somebody said you need a nurse, not a wife,” and “somebody said you’re going to be fat and bald when you get old.”  When my mom told her to “have patience with him, he’ll make you a good living,” she replied “I don’t have patience.” One Saturday, five weeks after my brain surgery, my wife wanted us to go out shopping.  I told her that I needed to get a bath first…that it was one of the few joys I still had.  She replied, “if you get a bath you can get out.”  I retorted, “I’m getting a bath so I guess I’ll have to get out.”  I took my bath and sang made-up lyrics that were insulting to her.

She told me to call a taxi to take me to my parents home.  I dialed the phone and made believe I was calling a taxi…but I did not.  She made me call again once she  realized I did’nt actually call the first time.  The taxi came but I refused to leave but was too weak to prevent her from pushing me out the front door.  I went to my parents home since I had no other place to go.

FROM BREAKUP TO DIVORCE

The following day I returned to our apartment for a week, which I told her I would, with the hope that she would come by to discuss the breakup.  She never showed up.  It only took about six months from our breakup to our divorce (under Pennsylvania’s really brief “cooling-off” period in its divorce law).  After the first few weeks apart I arranged to see her, using the excuse that I needed to pick up some of my things.  I thought we would talk over coffee and each apologize to the other for the terrible things we said while angry.  When I arrived at the apartment she was wearing a see-through blouse with a see-through body stocking under that.  In addition, she told me that a (male) friend would be over soon.  Moreover, every chair and sofa had piles of clothes on them so there was no place to sit and talk.  After I was there about 10 minutes her doorbell rang so I left.  While I believe now that her intent was to make me jealous, I became convinced at that time that she was fooling around with another man only a few weeks after she threw me out of our apartment.

Since she had her home phone number changed, I couldn’t call her at the apartment.  So I called her every afternoon at her workplace.  After doing that for about a mon.th, her boss answered her work phone one day and told me that she was very upset after speaking with me.  Consequently, I stopped calling her.

When I received the legal notice of divorce, I immediately tore it up.  My lawyer never contacted me to discuss it or even inform me of the divorce hearing.

Meanwhile, my physical condition (one eye closed, 1/2 my face paralyzed and numb, equilibrium injured to the extent that I couldn’t walk straight), plus my wife throwing me out and starting divorce proceedings, no money, made me paranoid and I heard voices every waking hour shouting at me.

After much thought I concluded that my wife did not think I loved her and wanted her so I decided to make it very clear.  Consequently, I called her at work and begged her to take me back.  While on the phone my mom returned from work and overheard my conversation.  After the call ended my mom lit into me for not standing up to my wife and being a wimp.  The next day I called my wife again at work to get her answer.  My mom returned home from work as soon as I got on the phone, so I talked in a manner to please my mom and my wife said that she thought I wanted to get back together.  I replied, “you thought wrong.”  That was the end of my marriage.

POST DIVORCE

I did not attend my divorce hearing because I thought that my wife had become romantically involved with an old friend of hers and would cheat on me with him had I been able to prevent the divorce.  In addition, I didn’t even know where the divorce hearing was being held.  For days prior to my divorce hearing I repeated to myself under my breath again and again, “It’s stupid to want someone that doesn’t want me.”  I called my wife one week after our divorce was final, but her new husband answered the phone and let me talk with my x-wife.

I subsequently tried returning to U. of Penn to finish my Masters but my only thoughts were of my x-wife so I temporarily dropped out and needed and received  psychotherapy for awhile.  I remarried 9 years later because I found someone who needed my help, moved to Washington, DC (and worked there for 12 years) and then to Colorado (for 27 years).  After I retired I moved back to the western suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to be near my sisters and brother but I still thought of my first wife every day and concluded that I had an ethical obligation to apologize to her, even though it had been 46 years since our divorce.  Consequently, I sent her a letter of apology for not treating her well and also that I thought my brain tumor was at least partially responsible for my erratic behavior while we were married.  I pray that she and her family are healthy and happy.

With my second wife, after she divorced me, remained in Denver for a few years in the house she received as part of our divorce settlement, and eventually sold the house and travelled around the country.  When she ran out of money (from my pension) near the end of each month I would hear from her to pay for her lodging until the beginning of the next month.  I’ve been helping her for years and pray that one day she’ll be settle down and be happy.

 

 

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