I am fairly convinced that my wife has some degree of bi-polar disorder. She goes into fits of rage over any question about her, her parents or upbringing. She constantly belittles me and talks bad about my family to the children.

It has escalated in recent years with her attempting to push me, going into 20 minute tirades where she brings up everything that I had done over the last 12 years and her drinking has increased. She drinks to the point that she is carried out of neighborhood parties with the children crying out of embarrassment then blames me. Those who dont tolerate it are ‘fake people’ but the others are ‘true friends’ and she has been going out and staying out all night this past month.

What is of greatest concern is that her explosions have increasingly come in front of the children resulting in them crying hysterically and her threatening to ‘kick me out’. She yells at them and then goes into a dialog of how much she does for them and how lucky they are.

It is very stressful but I need confirmation that this is what I am dealing with and how do I proceed?

A. It’s unclear whether your wife has bipolar disorder. Emotionally she is unstable but it might be due to her drinking. The fact that she is drinking makes it difficult to determine if a mental health disorder is present or if her drinking is the main problem. It may be a combination of both but I cannot make that determination based on this short letter.

What is clear is that your wife’s drinking is excessive and is causing a great deal of distress for your marriage and for your children. Both you and the children are subjected to her tirades. It’s abusive, unacceptable and something needs to change.

Encourage her to seek psychological treatment or inpatient rehabilitation if necessary. If she is unwilling to seek treatment, then you must take action. This might include seeking psychological help for yourself so that you know how best to deal with your wife or temporarily moving out of the home. Your children should not be subjected to your wife’s tirades. It most certainly frightens them and it’s abusive.

You may also want to consider an intervention. By this I mean you and members of your family come together as a group and ask your wife to seek help. During the intervention, members of the group describe how her behavior is affecting them and ask her to receive help. Perhaps she would be willing to seek help if she knew how her behavior was negatively affecting friends and family.

I can confirm the fact that there is a problem but I cannot determine the precise problem that is causing your wife to behave in such an unstable manner. Utilize the help of mental health professionals to assist you in dealing with your wife and children. I firmly believe that trained mental health professionals can give you the best advice about how to proceed. I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog