Husband with Major Mood Swings

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I met my husband 3 1/2 yrs ago after he moved across the country to Florida. I later discovered that he had been married before and had 3 DUIs in which he had lied to me about. For the first 1 1/2 yrs, he was in a program which he was monitored for drugs/alcohol so our relationship was very good. We’re both pharmacists. Then during my pregnancy he started drinking all the time (passing out). He promised he’d quit when the baby came. I left him when our son was almost 9 months old and he never stopped. I found pills around the house that he had been taking from work, he’d come home from work or walking the dog and be intoxicated. He almost dropped our son several times, left him in the car, etc. This was too much for me. I finally asked his mother for help and she blamed me for his problems. We went to marriage counseling and he started telling me that the counselor thought I had mental problems. We’d get in fights and he’s block me in a room for hours. He’d tell me things like his mother had the same rights to our son that I had and that he was going to give her those rights and their was nothing I could do about it, what a wonderful person she was, etc. She would call me and tell me things like “you wait and see how you like it when your son is thousands of miles from you and you can’t do anything about it”. I had never met anyone like this before. His mother would call and he’d come home from work and make statement indicating he knew our conversation. I became extremely tired and he would tell me I wouldn’t hear the baby cry and that he got up with him at night, I’d wake up with my clothes off and he’d tell me that he thought I was awake, and tell people that I was scary. When we argued, he’d even start hollering for me to stop hitting him.

I left in March 2008. In July, his sister and her kids came down and he wanted to visit. Of course, he didn’t tell me that he was bring psycho girl. She started hollering at me telling me that he (our son) was just as much hers and mine and I couldn’t keep her from him. I tried to walk away and they all followed me. My husband stood in my way so that I couldn’t get in the car with her hollering at me. He’s painted his face and said I have blacked his eye and filed a restraining order against me, taken our son while breastfeeding and has no remorse for it. Of course, $15,000 later I got my son back but only to find that his mother was flew down to visit the next day and his sister came shortly after to take care of him. My son is scared of women with their similarities as the ped. office is aware. He claims that I should get another pediatrician and says that he took care of our son the whole time. He constantly lies. I’ve asked for a psych evaluation and agreed to do one also. Right before the evaluation, we were ordered to meet once a week for him to see our son. He started sending me 3 bouquets of flowers without that could not be traced back to him but he admitted to it. He said he wanted to work things out, he tried to plan a trip to the Bahamas with me, and said he quit his job and would move closer to me so that we could work on things. He wanted to get out of the evaluation. I told him that I thought we should both do it. A few days later he says that his girlfriend lives with him. He is now saying that I am the one on drugs and is mentally unstable.

This past week’s visit, he acted like he was scared of me. He wouldn’t walk outside at the same time and kept a video camera on me. But 2 weeks prior he asked to stay at my house because he was tired, and wanted us to get away somewhere. I really think that this guy is mentally ill. However, he is very charming, outgoing, and seems sincere. Behind closed doors after knowing him he is a liar, has no empathy, alcoholic/drug addict and will do whatever it takes to get his way. As it seems like it is a way of life for the whole family. His father, and brother are both drunks. His mother is a closet drinker like my husband (but a pastor after divorce and affairs), and his sister is hard drinker every chance she gets. His sister has had similar marital problems and I heard them plan to ruin this guy (my husband, his sister and mother). My son (18 months) has started disrespecting me (slapping me, hollering at me) and I think he may pick up on his father’s behavior toward me at the visits and I don’t know what to do about it. Can you help me?

A. You’re involved in a very complex and possibly dangerous situation. According to you, your husband is a compulsive liar, lies to get you into trouble, lacks empathy and abuses drugs and alcohol. It also seems as if he might do anything to harm you so that he may have access to your son. You have to do what you can to protect yourself and your child.

When I was reading your letter I thought of many questions that I would ask you if I were meeting with you in person. You said that in the beginning of the relationship, he was in a program that monitored his drug and alcohol usage. Was that a probation program? Was it a program that the pharmacy employer had in place for all pharmacists or was he placed on watch because of suspicious behavior? And if it were the latter, what did he do that led his employers to monitor him? Also, how soon after meeting him did you realize that he was being monitored by his employer? Was this a “red flag” for you? It would be interesting to know more about why he was in a monitoring program and how you came to know about it.

Other questions I have regarding the relationship have to do with when he tried to get back together with you after you had moved out and the two of you separated. He sent you flowers anonymously on several occasions, attempted to book a trip to the Bahamas and then quit his job and moved closer to you. Did you go on the trip with him? Did he move closer? Did you see him while you were separated? Did he quit his job? Did you get back together with him when he tried? That information would also be helpful to know.

It would also be helpful to know more about the nature of the relationship such as how you two met, how you learned that he had three DUIs and was previously married, what it means when you say the relationship was “good” for the year and a half that he was being monitored for drugs and alcohol, whether or not you drank or used drugs with him, and so forth.

Without knowing more details about the relationship and hearing his version of the story, I can only offer you nonspecific advice. Generally speaking, he and his mother seem as if they are deceptive people. They both seem willing to seek custody of your son at any cost. This is what makes them dangerous. That is, because they are willing to lie to authorities and manipulate situations for their benefit, they may be willing to impose harm upon you to get to your son. Both he and his mother have repeatedly told you that your son is as much his mother’s son as he is yours. This is not true of course but both he and his mother seem to believe it. Your husband also drinks and uses drugs. All of these things make this situation dangerous.

You need to protect yourself from him and his mother. When necessary, do not hesitate to call the authorities. Keep detailed records on your husband’s behavior. I’d recommend that you do this for his mother too. I don’t mean to literally record every single thing they say or do but be sure to document the consequential things (e.g. telling you that your son is as much his mother’s son, sending you flowers anonymously, etc.). Involve witnesses so that others can observe how they behave. If they call you and threaten you in any way record the call, save the voicemail and take it to the police immediately. Attempt to, when necessary, get a restraining order on either or both of them. You should also attempt through the court to decrease or eliminate the amount of time your husband and his mother spend with your child alone. Lastly, inform the court about your husband’s current use of alcohol and drugs. Be sure the court knows about his long history of drug and alcohol abuse as well. Also, notify the judge about the times when your husband has almost dropped your son and left him unsupervised in a vehicle while intoxicated.

The suggestions in the above section are general recommendations. If you want more specific advice, consider writing back and answering some of the questions I posed in previous paragraphs. Thanks for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Dec 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Husband with Major Mood Swings. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/12/29/husband-with-major-mood-swings/