Does My Husband Have a Disorder?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I fear my husband’s paranoia and anger is getting worse. I use to joke about my husband being “paranoid” and always “assuming” the worst. I thought he did it jokingly but it’s getting worse. If I’ve cooked a meal and it doesn’t come out right he will tell me that I knew it was gonna come out that way and that’s why I cooked it so I could waste the food he bought with his hard earned money. I make jokes because I know that is clearly not my intention but now I’m starting to think that he really does believe that in his head. We were at the grocery store one day and everything was normal but I walked into a guy by accident and he flipped! He told me that I knew the guy was behind me and I did it on purpose so I could get a feel. I was so angry I waited in the car for him to finish shopping. He came out and asked me why I was waiting in the car, like he totally forgot what happened. When my anger lasted until we got home he was totally clueless as to why. My cell phone was off due to non payment once and I was out of the house for a while, running errrands. When I got home he said I knew he was trying to call me. I told him my phone had been off for a week but he still insisted that I knew he was trying to call. I am starting to think that these accusations and delusions are something he really believes. He flips over the simplest things out of nowhere it seems. In the morning not even 10 minutes go by from the time he wakes up that he hasn’t gotten angry over something. He can get up and kiss me on the forehead and then ask me if I’m off work today. Then if I say yes, he’ll say that I didn’t tell him the night before because I was planning to meet up with a man, and storm out the room, leaving me angry and confused. Having me work from home seems like a dream come true to him because much of his delusional thoughts about me can be kept at bay since I’m not in the public. However, when he comes home from work he is always telling me that I had someone over while he was gone. We purchased a window air conditioner the other day and while he was taking it out of the car I went ahead and unlocked the door to the house but kept the door cracked open a little so I wouldn’t let the flies in. He yelled at the top of his lungs and to this day insists that I closed the door all the way knowing he was carrying in such a heavy object as that one. He can yell at me in one breath and in the next breath want to take me somewhere and get mad at me because I don’t want to do anything but stay away from him. I want him to see a doctor because I sense symptoms of bipolar or schizophrenia but I know this is something he will not do without a push. What can I do?

A. Though I cannot provide a diagnosis based upon limited information, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia seem unlikely. You have described your husband as being paranoid, accusatory and easily angered. It’s difficult to explain his behavior. If I interviewed you in person, I would want to know the following information:

  • How long has he been exhibiting this behavior?
  • Is it only recently that his behavior has become worse?
  • Has something recently changed in his life, such as a death in the family? Loss of a job?
  • Has he ever received a psychiatric diagnosis?
  • Is it possible that he’s using drugs or alcohol?
  • Did he recently sustain a head injury?

If his behavior represents a complete change in personality, then it is possible that he is using drugs or alcohol or it may be a sign of a neurological problem.

If he has always exhibited this type of behavior but just not as severe, then substance abuse might be to blame.

Generally speaking, without more information, it’s difficult to know what may be wrong. He should be evaluated by a medical and a mental health professional. Short of being evaluated by trained professionals, it will likely be difficult to identify what is wrong.

If he is unwilling to have an evaluation or to change his behavior, then you may want to consider temporarily moving. You should also see a therapist. A therapist could gather many more details about your relationship and his behavior and provide the necessary guidance in this situation. You did not mention whether your husband was a physical threat but given his irrational behavior, and the fact that he is easily angered, it is a concern. If you believe that he is a danger to you, then call the authorities immediately. In the meantime, see a therapist who can guide you through this difficult situation. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Aug 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Does My Husband Have a Disorder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/08/26/does-my-husband-have-a-disorder-2/